Kennedy Retires. Will Roe Go Down? Not So Fast

First, a few stipulations:

(1) I’m very much in the pro-life camp. I’m opposed to abortion, and support its criminalization. People who have abortions–provided they are doing so out of choice and not compulsion–are murderers, as are any parties who perform or assist in them. The repeal of Roe v. Wade would trigger great celebration in my household.

(2) (1) is the key reason why I voted for Trump over Hillary in the 2016 election.

(The other reason: from my experience in government, I saw it imperative that we do everything possible to hold off the onslaught of the Marxist SJWs that would complete the hijacking of federal government if Hillary won. But that is a different discussion.)

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With that out of the way, I am thrilled to see Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy retiring. Originally billed as a conservative pick by Reagan, Kennedy became a total cuckold in 1992 in the Planned Parenthood v. Casey case, when he joined Sandra Day O’Connor and David Souter to betray the unborn by refusing to overturn Roe.

His leftism extended to the Lawrence v. Texas case, which opened the door to the infamous Obergefell v. Hodges decision that redefined marriage.

Good riddance, Mr. Kennedy. Don’t let the door hit you in the rear-end…

This obviously creates a wonderful opportunity for President Trump to nominate a solid conservative to the Court, which currently has four hard liberals (Kagan, Sotomayor, Breyer, Ginsburg) three hard conservatives (Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch), and one mostly conservative Chief Justice (Roberts) who got too cute by half with ObamaCare and refused to reverse himself when he had the chance.

A hard conservative would tilt the court to the right, and this would seem to spell the doom for Roe v. Wade.

This is why the left is acting like Armageddon is near: they know that their right to murder babies is in the greatest peril since 1992.

Making matters worse for them, this is a midterm election year.

What does this mean?

(1) With the retirement of Kennedy, the Democrats–who depend on the abortionista base and the labor unions for money–now must go all-out to take back the Senate.

If they fail here, it will be a worse defeat for the Dems than the Reagan elections. This is because Trump may get not just this pick, but potentially two more Court picks, thus creating the most conservative Supreme Court in the last century.

That means the GOP will likely keep the House, as the Dems must pour their resources into Senate races, as they have several vulnerable Democrats who are up for re-election as well as a few vulnerable Republicans they hope to challenge. If the GOP holds serve, it will be a major victory.

Having said that,

(2) Trump still will face a major battle to confirm his next SCOTUS pick.

Currently, Republicans have a 51-49 edge in the Senate. Two Senators–Sens. Susan Collins (ME) and Lisa Murkowski (AK)–are pro-abortion and could easily scuttle any nominee they don’t like, and with little consequence to their re-election prospects. If they flip, Trump won’t have the votes.

Meanwhile, the two Senators from Arizona–John McCain and Jeff Flake–are very anti-Trump. McCain is on his deathbed and could easily vote down any Trump pick just to stick it to Trump. Flake, also a Trump-hater, could also vote it down out of spite.

That’s 4 potential GOP votes against a Trump pick coming out of the gate.

If Trump wants to get his pick confirmed, he will need to appeal to Red-State Democrats who are on the bubble.

That will be a very tall order.

I’m old enough to remember when President Reagan nominated Robert Bork for SCOTUS. Six Republicans voted against Bork. The biggest embarrassment came from my home state at the time–Pennsylvania–when Arlen Specter (R-PA) attacked Bork. When he abandoned Bork, five other Republicans on the bubble also followed suit. The Bork nomination died, 58-42.

From there, Reagan nominated Douglas Ginsburg. His nomination never made it to a vote, as his past marijuana use created too much controversy.

Reagan would then settle on Anthony Kennedy. And we know what happened from there.

Trump and McConnell have their work cut out for them.

My prediction: there will be no vote on a SCOTUS pick until after the election.

(3) Even if Trump gets his pick confirmed, it does not guarantee that Roe v. Wade will die.

My cynicism on this stems from two observations.

First, recalling Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

At the time, the conservative majority on the Court seemed poised to kill Roe. O’Connor unexpectedly sided with conservatives in the 1989 Webster case, hinting that she might be up for sticking the fork in Roe. And Bush had appointed two conservative Justices–Souter and Thomas–who, at the time, were living up to their billings.

A 7-2 vote to kill Roe seemed plausible, and would have been poetic, as a 7-2 vote created Roe in the first place.

But in the Casey decision, O’Connor could not get herself to vote down Roe. Souter and Kennedy would join her.

What seemed like a 7-2 death-knell for Roe turned into a 5-4 affirmation of it.

Currently, you have 3 justices who will almost certainly kill Roe: Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch. I put Roberts on the bubble only because of his misstep on Obamacare.

For Roe to fall, you need at least one woman on the Court who will vote to kill it. It will take a woman to get the other 4 conservatives on-board.

None of the current woman on the Court will do that. Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sotomayor are hardcore pro-aborts.

There is a woman on Trump’s short list: Amy Coney Barrett. A charismatic Catholic and mother of 7.

If Trump nominates Barrett, you will know he is serious about kicking Roe‘s ass.

And if she gets in, I would rate the chances of Roe going down at about 70%. She will have the chance to be Deborah and Jael, in one fell swoop.

But that’s a big IF, for the reasons stated. If he nominates Barrett, the Bork hearings will be a walk in the park in comparison. Democrats will be in full meltdown.

Second, I am not sure if the ranks of the Church are serious about killing abortion.

I say this from experience. I have been in many churches and have given presentations on various angles of the pro-life cause. I was a counselor at a crisis pregnancy center. I was a speaking director for a maternity home. I spoke in a lot of otherwise conservative churches. I’d say that the vast majority of my abortion-minded clients were otherwise professing Christians. (I only recall one who was an Atheist.)

Here’s the thing: the Church has a mother lode of family jewels under the surface. Many families that would identify as pro-life on paper, have a pregnancy-abortion scandal under their tent. They may agree with you about the reality of abortion, but they want it there for their kids “just in case”. These are the types who voted for Clinton in 1992.

Combine that with a cadre of otherwise conservative ministers who have demonized Christians who supported Trump over Hillary–yes, Thabiti Anyabwhile, I’m talking about you–and you have a critical mass of confusion among the Body. It also doesn’t help when popular evangelical authors like Beth Moore and Jen Hatmaker and Rachel Held Evans are not forceful on matters of life and, in the case of the latter two, have jumped off the cliff for every SJW cause under the sun.

(And no, I’m not saying that ministers need to tell people who to vote for; it is, however, perfectly appropriate for a minister to say that particular issues are of very significant importance, and that those who vote with those issues in mind are not selling out to the devil.)

So, to make a long story short, Kennedy’s departure is a great opportunity. But victory for pro-lifers is far from certain in this matter.

America’s Dumbest Criminals Strike Again!

Figure it’s time for me to get back into posting a little. How, may you ask? Well, let’s get back to a favorite theme of mine… stupid criminals!

How about this one… a Florida moron Googles “how to rob a bank” and proceeds to do just that? Needless to say, he soon got caught.

Or this one: Man in Georgia decides to rob a game store. Before doing so, he disguises himself, using plastic wrap from water bottle packaging. It didn’t work… his face was clearly visible despite the “disguise”. Not to mention that he didn’t bother to cover a distinctive tattoo on his right forearm. It took the police a couple of days to catch him… but not until after they told the public, “You can help us catch him, once you stop laughing.”

And a creep in Pennsylvania put a hidden video camera in a porta-potty at a construction site, and recorded several victims before a worker found the device. Unfortunately for him, but fortunately for future users of that toilet, he forgot that he had recorded himself setting up the cam.

And finally, another moron out of Florida. He bought some meth and had a bad reaction, and thought that his dealer was cheating him. So what does he do? Calls the local sheriff’s department and asks them to test it. The cops were more than happy to oblige… and arrest him once they confirm that it was indeed meth. The quote at the end of the linked story is absolutely priceless.

To shamelessly adapt a famous H. L. Mencken quote, police will never go broke underestimating the intelligence of your average criminal.

Southern Baptists and #ChurchToo: A Homeowner Analogy

Many years ago, Jim bought a new home. It was in a good location, it looked nice, and it was a very popular house. Jim entertained many guests there.

But as the years passed, Jim started to notice a problem. His basement had some cracks, and–when it rained–water was leaking into the house. The walls of the basement started bowing. He clearly had a foundation problem. He also noticed some termites in and around the house. He had heard the horror stories about termite damage, but it didn’t seem like that big of a deal at the time.

So Jim, realizing that this was an imminent threat to the house, hired the right people. He had a structural engineer assess the problem; he hired the best contractors to install rebar to reinforce his foundation; he hired a landscape firm to install French drains to provide easement. He even installed a sump pump.

In short order, Jim had the best foundation of any house in his neighborhood.

Unfortunately, Jim failed to address his termite problem.

So, as the years progressed, his foundation remained strong, and the house looked very good from the outside. But, unbeknownst to Jim, the termites were multiplying, eating the wood in his house, and weakening the structure of his home.

This year, things got bad in a hurry for Jim, as an entire portion of his roof completely collapsed.

Calling in the contractors, they determined that the extent of the termite infestation, and the damage, have rendered his house on the verge of condemnation. Without immediate, extensive renovation, his house will collapse by the end of the year. The money required for the renovation would be at LEAST half the value of the house itself. It would be a painful cost, but–sadly–he is facing this problem because he failed to address it when doing so would have been inconvenient but otherwise harmless.

Now, his options range from very painful to disastrous. If he punts on the renovations, he will lose everything. But the cost of renovation will be very exacting.

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In a nutshell, I’ve just described the Southern Baptist Convention.

About 45 years ago, the SBC was drowning in liberalism. They weren’t as liberal as the Episcopalian Church USA, or the Presbyterian Church USA, or the United Church of Christ. But they were heading in that direction.

A couple of bright, young stars in the SBC–Paul Pressler and his protege Paige Patterson–teamed up with old-school conservative stalwarts like Adrian Rodgers and W.A. Criswell and mounted a frontal assault on the liberalism problem. In the ensuing years, the SBC flushed out the liberalism and re-established themselves as an evangelical denomination with unwavering Biblical conservatism defined by Classical Fundamentalism.

Unfortunately, under the surface, the SBC had an abuse-coverup culture. A critical mass of churches, associations, and people within the SBC entities had some horrible and embarrassing family jewels–sexual abuse, intimidation, domestic violence–that they swept under the rug. Victims were often dismissed, maligned, told to “get over it”, were discouraged from reporting their abuses to authorities, or were told that authorities were contacted when in fact that never happened.

As now-disgraced serial sexual abuser Larry Nassar learned, those victims grow up. The victims of the old-school SBC “keep it all in the family” paradigm have become adults. And they have a voice. The Internet and social media have in fact become force multipliers that have amplified that voice.

Today, a large section of roof has fallen off the SBC house as their 2018 annual meeting approaches. The abuse scandals have shaken them to the core, and there is no hiding from them.

Paige Patterson has been fired, his title and compensation–including his retirement home at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS)–taken away.

And his problems may not be over, as he remains a defendant in a sexual abuse lawsuit against his mentor, Paul Pressler.

In other words, by year’s end, the two most prominent architects of the conservative movement in the SBC–each enshrined in stained glass at SWBTS–may see their legacies forever tarnished by severe abuse and misconduct.

Here’s the real problem, though: if this were merely about Pressler and Patterson, it would be a tempest in a teapot, as they are only two people.

Sadly, the abuses and coverups are much, much worse, and more far-reaching than Pressler and Patterson. The abusers and their enablers have infested churches, local Baptist associations, state conventions, denomination entities, and the highest echelons of SBC leadership. Just this year, Frank Page, the President of the SBC Executive Committee, was forced to resign due to a sex scandal.

Paige Patterson is slated to preach the keynote sermon at this year’s annual meeting. Unless the convention holds a vote to stop that–or unless Patterson demurs–it will happen. And if Patterson preaches, it will be a catastrophic defining moment for the SBC.

What is needed: serious, unadulterated repentance. Many victims have been steamrolled over the years. The SBC needs to apologize to them and seek to make amends to the extent that this is feasible.

But the change needs to go further than that, (a) we need to rid the termites from the house, (b) repair the structure, and (c) make fundamental changes to discourage termites from entering the house.

(a) and (b) will be difficult and painful. Many current leaders–some of them very popular, and with letters after their names–must be held to account.

But (c) will take a lot of soul-searching, as that is going to require a major cultural change. The existing ministerial-industrial complex rewards charisma over character, and this makes it easy for predators and those of otherwise unscrupulous motives, to join the ranks of ministers.

Make no mistake: when a youth minister is taking a girl in the youth group home and deliberately goes to a remote place, pulls his pants down, and solicits a Clinton, that is more than just a young horndog with self-regulation issues; in fact, that reflects a person who will use people under his care to service his twisted desires.

Make no mistake: when someone is abused, reports that abuse to the church, and the church–in turn–lets the minister resign and go elsewhere, and they refuse to report the conduct to authorities, it reveals a dark truth about the church: they are materialistic, just like the world, and more interested in their personal prestige than in doing the right thing for someone abused by one of their own.

The SBC must face that sordid, ugly truth, repent of serving Mistress Mammon, and start training ministers who love God and refuse to pay homage to Mammon.

If they don’t, they will be irrelevant within the next five years.

The SBC And The Paige Patterson Disaster: My $0.02

First, a few disclaimers:

(1) I don’t know Paige Patterson. Nor have I ever met the man. I have a former pastor who is a friend of his. But otherwise, I only know him by reputation.

(2) I am technically a Southern Baptist, as my church is an SBC affiliate for local purposes.

For those unaware, Paige Patterson is one of the iconic Southern Baptist leaders of the last 50 years. He and judge Paul Pressler were the co-architects of the “conservative resurgence”, which led to the conservatives retaking the SBC from the liberals.

Over the decades, those conservatives took back every SBC agency–the Home Mission Board (now the North American Mission Board), the Sunday School Board (which is now LifeWay), the Foreign Mission Board (now the International Missions Board), the Executive Committee, and, of course, the seminaries.

There are very few SBC leaders today who would not be where they are without Paige Patterson.

To hear the story, the SBC was in danger of going the way of the Episcopalian Church USA, the United Methodists, the Presbyterian Church USA, and other mainline Protestant denominations, until the conservatives rescued the SBC from the liberals.

And make no mistake, that story is 100% true.

The problem is that the SBC had more than just a liberalism problem; they had a longstanding culture that covered up scandals. When a pastor had an affair, it was treaed as just an affair rather than an abuse of of the power of the office. Conservatives didn’t invent the mindset, but neither did they confront it either.

Making matters worse, SBC churches became infiltrated with pedophiles, perverts, narcissistic pastors, and other abusers. SBC leaders, in many cases, covered up offenses. They let offending ministers and workers quietly resign, move on to other churches, and repeat their offenses.

SBC leadership did NOTHING to confront this epidemic.

Enter Paige Patterson.

On the surface, he was the face of the SBC. He would serve as President of Criswell College, two terms as President of the SBC, and then President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS).

His impact was so great that he, and Pressler, are enshrined in stained glass at the SWBTS chapel. (That is so North Korea, but I digress.)

Unfortunately, we are finding out the sordid truth about Paige Patterson. And it keeps getting worse.

With the June meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention approaching, footage surfaced of Patterson claiming to have told an abused wife to submit and pray for her husband. More footage also showed him condoning actions and mindsets that would promote the objectification of women.

As the SWBTS trustees were set to meet, a report surfaced, in which a student at SEBTS reported a rape and Patterson urged her not to report it to authorities.

The initial action of the Trustees was outrageous: they retired Patterson, promoted him to President Emeritus with full retirement benefits and a new retirement home on campus.

In the days after that decision, more information surfaced, showing a culture of misogyny that Patterson fostered at SWBTS, and also more allegations of sexual assaults of which Patterson tried to quash the reporting.

Then, on Wednesday, 30 June, the Trustees met again, this time terminating Patterson immediately, with no benefits or title.

This ignited a debate about what information they had that prompted such a reversal. On Friday morning, a wife of Patterson’s chief of staff published a scathing letter that included confidential documents–a probable FERPA violation–seeming to contradict the narrative against Patterson.

Last night, however, the chairman of the board of trustees published a damning, scathing letter detaling the new information.

Among that information: a stated desire to meet with a student who was reporting a rape to “break her down”.

Make no mistake: that firing was warranted, and it was rightly unanimous.

If I were his pastor, he’d be under discipline, one step away from excommunication. What he did was every bit as serious as immorality and fraud.

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This begs a lot of questions, and a time of reflection. If you think there are easy explanations for this, you’d be wrong.

This isn’t about women pastors or deacons. I can point to sectors of Christianity and denominations–the Eastern Orthodox, and the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA), as well as the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC)–that are Patriarchal but lack this degree of scandal. I can also point to egalitarian churches–like Willow Creek–that have a very pervasive culture that breeds scandal.

At the same time, the SBC has embraced a theology that denigrates women. Complementarianism is nothing but cultural patriarchy cross-dressed in Scripture, bound in genuine leather.

And yes, there is a difference between Biblical Patriarchy (BP) and Cultural Patriarchy (CP).

In the Bible, the Pharisees practiced CP. Women were second-classers. They couldn’t learn the Torah from a rabbi. They couldn’t even talk to men in public. The Bible prohibits neither of those things, but the Pharisees of Jesus’ day were too good to bother themselves with women who were unimportant. And home life? A man was allowed to divorce his wife for the capital crime of burning a meal.

Jesus hammered Cultural Patriarchy. He talked to women in public, even recognized their faith on at least two occasions. He taught women in the same manner that He taught men. And when questioned about divorce, He gave an answer–challenging their culture of divorce–the implications of which leave conservatives frustrated to this day.

Biblical Patriarchy (BP) is a different animal. BP accepts the premise that (a) the husband is head of the wife, just as Christ is head of the Church, and (b) in general, particular offices (overseers, pastors) are off-limits to women.

In the Bible, Paul ripped into both sexes. He chastised husbands for abusing their wives,suggesting their prayers weren’t being answered because of their abuses; he chastised wives for not submitting to the husbands; he exhorted husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the Church; he ripped men for being sexually immoral. Paul even had the stones to challenge Peter–to his face–over his preference of Jewish believers over Gentile believers.

And don’t forget Jesus, who–in addition to confronting disrespect for women–also opened the door for children, even warning that those who do harm to children would be better off drowning with a millstone.

THAT’s Biblical Patriarchy.

In contrast, the complementarianismcultural patriarchy we are seeing today has made the church safe for abusers and little else.

That needs to change.

Biblical Patriarchy has been the standard in the Church for 2,000 years, and yet the degree of scandal that we are seeing–from the top down to the local church–is a more recent phenomenon. It precedes the conservative takeover of the SBC, but it got worse under the conservatives.

If you think the problems are constrained to Patterson, you’d be wrong.

If you think the other faction of the SBC–the NeoCalvinist wing–is any better, you’d be wrong. Given the track record of the NeoCals, they may even be worse.

C.J. Mahaney’s church is Southern Baptist, and yet Mohler has not called him out. Mohler has never demanded a truly independent investigation of Mahaney and Sovereign Grace, even though there is damning proof that Mahaney has committed some terrible wrongs.

Nor is the problem restricted to the SBC. The Gospel Coalition has failed to hold any of their members accountable for flagrant scandal. And in their theological formulation of complementarianism, the CBMW has endorsed a very controversial model of the Trinity known as the Eternal Subordination of the Son, which is heterodox if not outright heretical.

Baptist leaders are going to need to rethink the way they approach gender relations. Complementarianism is Cultural Patriarchy, not Biblical Patriarchy. Like the cultural patriarchy of Jesus’ day, compers promote a mindset that treats women with contempt and disrespect.

That is not a Patriarchy that recognizes Deborah, Abigail, the Queen of Sheba, Huldah, Anna, Phoebe, or Priscilla.

In fact complementarianism–which seeks to impose dogma where Scripture does not–is more of a Talibanized Christianity that bears no semblance to the liberty you get in Scripture.

Baptists need to rethink this and endorse a Biblical conservatism that promotes a healthy, accountable form of leadership and protects the vulnerable, making the Church a refuge from the world.

That also requires a commitment to building that culture at every level, from the local church to the highest positions of leadership