God Bless Vox Day!

I know he didn’t create the SJW list, but, to his credit, his blog was an integral forum through which the idea emerged among his readership (aka “The Dread Ilk”).

What is the big deal here?

Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) are activists–almost always left-wing, but there are exceptions on the right–who target their opponents for personal and even professional destruction. They’ll dominate the HR departments in companies; the key committees and leadership posts at universities; the rulemaking committees at various forums; you get the picture. SJWs will target anyone–sometimes other SJWs–in order to get a leg up. They get ahead by destroying others and fomenting a culture of fear.

The Dread Ilk of Vox Day has been instrumental in fighting back: the SJW list allows conservative business owners to take notice of people who might be corrosive influences in their organizations, in order to avoid hiring them.

Yes, it is a cruel tactic; at the same time, it’s long past freaking time that the SJWs tasted their own medicine.

Zelizer Misses It on Clinton Sex Scandal

And no, I’m not talking about the Monica scandal, but rather the Gennifer Flowers scandal. This is his piece on the quickie that served as a mere speedbump for Clinton in the 1992 election season.

Clinton was able to move past that scandal not because Americans had been moving leftward, but rather because

(1) Bush had fallen out of favor amidst a stagnant economy;

(2) Clinton was not running under the God-and-country banner, and his base couldn’t have cared less;

(3) Clinton had a sympathetic news media that failed to follow up with hard questions;

(4) “The economy stupid!”

Bush was a very uninspiring President and, if stories are correct, even had some extramarital baggage of his own that would likely have hit the fan had Clinton’s past become much of an issue. The Clinton campaign had an entire team set up to stifle the “bimbo eruptions”, but even if those had gained traction with the media, that would only have called into question Bush’s past, and they would have neutralized each other.

At the same time, the Flowers affair was a warning sign: character DOES matter.

In the 1992 Vice Presidential debate, Dan Quayle put in an excellent performance against Al Gore by hammering home the point: “Bill Clinton has trouble telling the truth!”

And when the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke, Americans found out that, indeed, Clinton HAD lied. He DID “have sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky”. (And yes, boys and girls, contrary to anything Clinton said, oral sex does count.) Oh, and in his deposition, he even acknowledged that he and Gennifer Flowers DID have a sexual encounter.

Even then, Americans dismissed the impeachment debacle, which died in the Senate. And there are several reasons why that happened:

(1) Prominent Republicans who had pressed hard for impeachment–Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL), Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN), Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-GA), and Rep. Bob Livingston (R-LA)–each had their own extramarital baggage, and this neutralized their case against the President.

(2) The economy was on the front end of the dot-com boom;

(3) The mainstream media was sympathetic to Clinton. (Reporter Nina Burleigh infamously quipped, “I’d give Clinton [slang for oral sex] just for keeping abortion legal!”)

But Zelizer misses another angle to this: a conservative Republican Presidential candidate would be highly unlikely to survive such a scandal. (Donald Trump doesn’t count, because his affairs are no secret, and, like Clinton, Trump isn’t carrying the God-and-country banner.)

The problem with a Republican, particularly a conservative Republican, is that conservatives actually have standards for those who claim to be on their side. If you’re a social conservative–pro-life, against the LGBT war machine, and want Christian business owners to have the freedom not to bake “gay wedding” cakes–but also have fooled around on your wife, then you lose most of your gravitas coming out of the gate.

Had the Ted Cruz stories provided any hard evidence, Cruz would be out of the race right now. The lack of hard evidence–and Cruz’s eventual affirmation of his own marital fidelity–work in his favor. OTOH, if soemone comes up with a sex tape, or an un-doctored photo, or hard proof of a “love child”, or a “stained dress”, Cruz would be done.

This is because conservatives have standards. We’re sick and tired of philandering ministers, we’re sick and tired of Newt Gingrich, Dennis Hastert, and John Ensign carrying our flag and then romping around with other women (or, in Hastert’s case, covering for molestations he perpetrated during his days as a high school teacher).

If Cruz has ever been unfaithful, it will sink him sooner or later.

If he has remained faithful and continues in that, then Cruz 2016 is Reagan 1976.

THIS is Why Theology of Marriage Matters

WARNING: YOU MAY WANT TO TAKE A NICE, HOT SHOWER AFTER READING THE LINKED ARTICLE, AS YOU WILL FEEL VERY DIRTY.

Given the level of permissiveness that Western Civilization is embracing, I am not surprised that this trend is emerging among high society.

It is yet another reason why the witness of The Church, and Her presentation of the marriage covenant, matters.

It is also why we must DEMAND marital fidelity from clergy and other would-be “leaders” (and that includes political candidates) who claim to operate on our behalf.

As I said a couple years ago, the Culture Wars–in particular, the Sexual Revolution–were never really about sex, but rather about a God who makes and keeps His promises.

Another High-Profile North Korean Defects

If this report is correct, then what we have here is a very high-value defection.

In this case, the defector is someone who was well-connected in the country’s intelligence establishment. If he can name names and provide both strategic and operational knowledge, then this will be huge.

When North Korean fighter pilot No Kum-sok (Kenneth Rowe) flew his MiG-15 into Kimpo Air Base on 21 September 1953, he provided great insight into the hardships and atrocities of the Soviet (and Chinese)-backed government of Ding Dong I (uhmmm…I mean Kim Il-sung). He wrote a book about it–(A MiG-15 to Freedom) available in both hardcopy and Kindle–and, last year, Blaine Harden wrote a book contrasting the lives of Lt. No with Kim (The Great Leader and The Fighter Pilot). Both are excellent reading. And I don’t simply say that because he was one of my professors at Embry-Riddle!

But this latest defection, if the reports are correct, will be even more damaging to the mercurial reign of Ding Dong III (Kim Jong-un).

I shall drink to the demise of Communism.

NYT Story on Triathlon Cheater Julie Miller

In all sports, you’re going to have some people who violate the integrity of the sport. From spitballs to steroids to blood doping, cheating is nothing new.

In endurance sports, doping is not uncommon among elite athletes, although technology appears to be catching up. Athletes who pass drug tests today, may fail them years later, as more sophisticated tests become available. Just ask Lance Armstrong.

But doping is not the only way to cheat in endurance sports. Some athletes intentionally skip parts of the course. The most notorious example of this is the infamous Rosie Ruiz, who “won” the 1980 Boston Marathon, until officials determined that she had not run the entire course.

Enter cyclist and triathlete Julie Miller.

Ostensibly an elite triathlete, Miller was very popular in her stomping grounds. Her triathlon and cycling accomplishments seemed impeccable. In fact, last year she won her age group at Ironman Canada, qualifying for the World Championships at Kona. (Elite triathletes often train for YEARS to earn a slot at Kona; usually, at Ironman events, you have to finish in the top five in your age group to go to Kona. Qualifying for Kona is a very big accomplishment.)

Unfortunately, Miller’s tale of hard work and accomplishment was a complete farce. In fact, the evidence seems to indicate that almost none of her “victories” were legitimate. The New York Times has a very good piece on this.

Looking at her Ironman Canada data, she actually had a very impressive swim-bike split–just north of 7 hours and 15 minutes–and that was legit, based on her chip.

But after T2 (the bike-run transition), she claims to have lost her chip. (This is where I call BS. The timing chip is fastened in a pouch, which is part of a Velcro strap that you fasten around your ankle. If she had that strap on at the end of the bike, then the only way it would have come off during the run is if she had TAKEN it off. In some isolated cases, they have come off during the swim, but athletes are told to always check. If they lose their chip coming out of the swim, they can get a replacement at T1. EVERY athlete knows that. The Ironman officials EMPHATICALLY tell athletes–MANY TIMES OVER–to always check their Velcro strap. The chip will not come out on its own. They beat it into you during the athlete briefings in the days before the race: “No chip, no time!”)

Even then, the Ironman officials extended her every benefit of a doubt. She had a Garmin GPS unit; all she would have had to do was submit the Garmin data supporting her side of the story, and they would have cleared her. She didn’t give them that data because she didn’t have it. She didn’t have it because SHE DID NOT DO THE RACE!

What is galling about this is she insists on her side of events even though the hard evidence shows she cheated. She stole the glory from athletes who rightfully earned it, and came within a hair of gaining a Kona slot that someone else had earned.

Den Empfield of Slowtwitch.com is on the money: these days, it’s not just the timing chip. There are photographers throughout the course, and photographic evidence can actually reconstruct an athlete’s entire race profile.

(I know this because, two years ago, I ran the Air Force 10K and half-marathon back-to-back. I wore both race bibs in order to keep from having to stop to switch them in between races. What I didn’t know: because I had two bibs on, the system did not log my times, and therefore I didn’t get an official time. When I told the officials what happened, they were able to go back and review the photographic evidence, and they were able to provide my actual times although they were unable to give me my official “split” times.)

Miller not only cheated at Ironman Canada, it also seems that all of her prior victories are now suspect, as well they should be.

As one of my favorite philosophers–Harry Callahan–said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” Miller, at Ironman Canada, had plenty of time to WALK and finish the race, and she would have received a finisher medal at a very tough Ironman venue.

But that wasn’t good enough for her. She had to get to the podium and get her Kona slot at any cost.

Now, it’s even money as to whether she’ll ever be allowed back in Ironman competitions.

Wrong Question by TWW

Our friends at The Wartburg Watch have wondered aloud whether there is a lack of discernment among the Mahaney Admiration Society.

Wrong question.

The right question is not whether they have the ability to discern the truth, but whether they even want to know the truth. Maybe, as the fictional Col. Jessup said, “[they] can’t handle the truth.”

This is but one reason why I have little use for the celebrity pastor circuit. That’s not to say I don’t like any of them. I like Keller, Piper, and Chandler, even though I don’t always agree with them. They are, most of the time, very solid exegetes of Scripture, even if, at times, their Calvinist dogma undermines them.

The larger issue here, and this is not merely about Mahaney or Piper or Mohler or any of the NeoCal high-flyers, is when believers in said churches are going to show willingness to challenge the authoritarian leadership styles, the eldership that has no character, and a culture that fosters abuses and coverups.

The more charismatic/Pentecostal folks had this problem during the days of the Shepherding Movement. The NeoCals are engaging in the same type of overreach today. In the hardcore Reformed movement, the overreaches are showing themselves in the form of Federal Vision, which promotes what I have often called Headship Theology on Steroids. THAT is what often leads to abuses in both churches and homes.

This is because, if my church begins to punish me for the sins of my wife, then they will be putting the onus on me to control her. Such leaders often insist that if a husband loves his wife the right way, she will be submissive in the right way. Therefore, if she’s a hellion, then it’s because the husband isn’t doing his job.

What such idiots–and that is what they are, as their teachings have ZERO Biblical foundation–tend to overlook is that, even in the Bible, you have exemplary husbands whose wives are less-than-exemplary (and vice versa). Abigail was a very submissive wife whose husband was an angry SOB who effectively spat on an anointed King. Hosea was a great husband, but his wife was quite the whore.

Jesus loves His Bride–the Church–perfectly, and yet the Church has never been perfectly obedient.

NeoCals are reaching a fork in the road. The abuses under the surface are beginning to reveal themselves. This is not simply about the Late Great Mars Hill Church, which rapidly imploded as Mark Driscoll’s authoritarianism came to light. Nor is this simply about Covenant Life Church, founded by Mahaney. This is about the entire direction of the conservative resurgence.

At this point, the “resurgence” is limited to NeoCals. They have been locking out many otherwise conservative Christians who aren’t in the NeoCal camp. The Gospel Coalition is less about the Gospel and more about the NeoCal version of it. The problem isn’t their Calvinist hermeneutical model; it is their NeoCal dogma, which includes a dysfunctional take on Headship Theology.

The issue is not whether they can discern it, but whether they even want to discern it. But the longer they refuse to take on this issue and arrive at a Biblical framework, you can expect the abuses and coverups to continue.

“Life is a story of suffering.”

Over at Donal Graeme, one of his commenters, Michael Kozaki, has written an excellent guest post titled, Life is Suffering.

Mr. Kozaki starts off writing on a topic that has been presented out here before:

Few Christians embrace suffering nowadays. A thumbs-up, therapeutic Jesus is in vogue. No historic follower of Jesus would have recognized this guy. For good reason. The “therapeutic” or “feminized” Jesus is not the Jesus of the Scriptures nor of the Church. He’s a pagan god, forged in man’s image.

Take a quick trip over there and finish his post. It’s short, yet powerful. I’ve often said that we need to learn to lean into the storms of life rather than fight them, and Mr. Kozaki does a great job articulating just that.

Done With Cruz

Exhibit A: Cruz dodges the question about infidelity
Exhibit B: Cruz phone number is on the DC Madam client list.

Read them for yourselves. And vote for whomever you wish.

Here’s my take: Cruz is just like Ame’s ex. Very intelligent, knows how to say the right things, and has a public persona that appeals to a Christian conservative. But under the surface he has a major storm brewing.

The National Enquirer story was crap, but only because they were barking up the wrong tree. Those alleged five mistresses were likely bogus, but the fallout in this shows that Ted Cruz indeed has some very severe skeletons in his closet.

Now some might ask, and this has merit: why is such a big deal if Cruz has cheated on his wife, given that Trump has probably had more affairs than Cruz has had dates?

The issue here is that Trump, whatever his faults, is not pandering to the God-and-country crowd, as Cruz is doing. He has not presented his life with respect to Christian faith, as Cruz is doing. Cruz is the one who has sold his agenda in terms of his word: when he says he’s going to do something, he does it. While that has been the case politically, it seems that Cruz likely had not kept his most fundamental promise: the one he made to his wife when they said, “I do.”

Now some might look at that and ask, “What if he’s repented and worked it out with his wife?” To that I say more power to him. The problem is that he did not honestly answer a question when it was posed to him. And that tells me that he is trying to cover things up. If he consorted a prostitute 15 years ago–and it looks like he did–then it’s still a big freaking deal from a spiritual standpoint. The Law of Sowing and Reaping shall not be up for repeal in the foreseeable future.

This is not simply about votes; this is about his wife and his children, too. If someone is running for office and tries to tell me he cares about children–and yet commits the very treason against his family that will be destructive to his own children–then he’s got more important things to address than being President.

Moreover, if he’s shown that he’s willing to betray his wife for, as Trump would call it, a “nice piece of ass”, then it is reasonable to conclude that he may not be trustworthy if he is elected.

I’m not going to get on the #TrumpTrain. Not in this cycle. If Trump gets elected and proceeds to keep his promises, then I will support him for re-election. But I won’t trust when there’s nothing to verify. For all I know, Trump is just pulling a sales job. He may be the real deal; he may be Shamwow’s long, lost brother. I’m taking a wait-and-see approach with him.

But I’m done with Cruz.

Cruz, Houghton, and Other Christians With Zipper Issues

NOTE: LANGUAGE WARNING
—-

I say this as someone who looked at Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) as a potential standard-bearer for conservatism. He has an impressive pedigree as a Constitutional attorney and Solicitor General who argued before the Supreme Court, taking cases (such as the Heller case, that the NRA didn’t even want to touch) that were very tough, and won. He is one of the sharpest legal minds, and has a very firm grasp on the issues facing America. He has run as a conservative Christian and has used this appeal as a cornerstone in his politics: trust. To his credit, he has kept his political promises.

At the same time, if this video is any indication, he has infidelities in his past if not his present. And if this is the case, his political career is toast. The only issue is whether this blows up before the convention, or during the fall. And if he has ANY infidelities, then–trust me–they WILL surface at the worst possible time. THAT is why I’m saying that, if he has ANY infidelities, he needs to get out of politics. If that is the case, he needs to think exit strategy.

Still, the larger issue is not political, but rather personal and theological. He has appealed to the voter as an outspoken Christian whose faith has driven his life. Ditto for his wife. Now I realize that everyone–and I DO mean EVERYONE–has baggage. We all sin and come short of the glory. And in the realm of matters of sexual nature, we all have lusts that we must battle daily. Even in marriage.

Adultery, however, is a very big stinkin’ deal. Some would like to dismiss it in Clintonian terms: “it’s only sex!” I had a co-worker dismiss the Clinton scandal in these terms: “People f**k! Get over it.”

Adultery, sadly, is not “just about sex”. Sex, even when “spontaneous”, isn’t really spontaneous. It takes WORK to remove your clothes. It takes WORK to get “hot and bothered”. It takes WORK to override Biblical warnings if you are a Christian. It never “just happens”. Even if a scantily-clad hottie walked into my office, totally naked, and shut the door, and said, “Let’s do it!” I would have to USE MY HEAD (not the smaller one) to MAKE A CONSCIOUS DECISION to commit treason against my wife.

In all likelihood, I would throw some very hard objects at her, and tell her, “GET THE F**K OUT OF MY OFFICE RIGHT THE F**K NOW!!!” And I would follow that up with a trip to the HR director’s office to file a sexual harassment complaint. I would also hire an attorney and look into whistleblower status if I received any backlash.

(Yeah, I don’t expect anyone to appreciate my use of blunt language, but I’m making a larger point here: if you’re going to invite me to commit treason against my wife, then all pleasantries go out the window. That’s non-negotiable. I don’t care who you are. I’ll take a little backlash over a few F-bombs over the fallout of an affair 100% of the time. A couple years ago, when I reviewed the book, A Twisted Faith, I gave attention to the case of Annette Anderson, a married mother of four who was propositioned by one of the pastors, Nick Hatcheney. Initially, she resisted in a sort of polite fashion, then–over time–capitulated to his advances, engaging in an affair that nearly drove her to suicide before she finally faced the music, found repentance, and walked a long road to restoration. At one point, after she had broken things off with Nick, he propositioned her again. Her response: “F**k off!” She probably found that liberating. She probably wishes today that she had told him that the FIRST time he propositioned her.)

That brings me to the latest case: gospel singer Israel Houghton.

Why do I include him in the same discussion as Cruz?

Assuming that Cruz has been unfaithful–and his evasive answers tell me that he likely has–then shame on him for betraying the trust of the very Christians to whom he appealed as a Bible-believing conservative. Shame on him for putting himself in such a position that, when things hit the fan, it will result in a fascist becoming President and further giving Christians a black eye. If Cruz has been unfaithful, then ANY future would-be Christian conservative in the public arena is going to be painted with the same brush. If he has been unfaithful, then shame on him for taking on a high-profile position when his life was not in order.

Ditto for Houghton. As a Gospel singer, and as a minister at a mega-church, he was in a position of leadership, and his high-profile status brought attention to his Christianity and also his promotion of such. His admitted indiscretions are yet another black eye for the Church. Shame on him for taking on a high-profile position when his life was not in order.

Leadership is not for the weak. And if you are a Christian, past infidelities are a form of weakness. If you assert your past early in your political career, and subsequently live up to your promises, then that is one thing. But burying things, only to have them surface later, will only damage your credibility.

If you aspire to church leadership, then adultery–particularly during your Christian life–is, in my book, a disqualifier under 1 Timothy 3. If you have broken your wedding vows, then a reasonable case can be made that you will never be “above reproach”. Some may disagree, but my point is valid in that the bar for ministers is a very high one and adultery makes that bar potentially insurmountable.

Still, if you are in a position of leadership, it is on you to honor your most fundamental promises. If you are married, that means the one you make on your wedding day. If you cannot do that, then it is fair to question your character.