Posted by Brad A. Greenberg
“One of the stupider things I’ve seen about the Tiller murder.” I’ve got to agree with you on that, Mollie.
George Tiller was one of the few doctors in the nation who provided the late-term abortions, and yesterday he was gunned down while attending church. Now, I don’t know how a good, God-fearing Christian could perform late-term abortions. But I can find no biblical justification for murdering someone who does. Still, Reason magazine’s Hit & Run blog asks “Why is killing abortionists wrong?”—and argues that it just might not be:
Nor is it sufficient to note that killing Tiller was against the law. When the law blesses the murder of babies, it is hardly worthy of respect, any more than laws blessing the enslavement of Africans or the gassing of Jews were, and violent resistance against such enactments surely is justified in principle. Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry implicitly condemns Tiller’s murder, saying, “We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God.” Yet Terry continues to call Tiller a “mass murderer” and insists “the pro-life movement must not be browbeaten by Obama or the child-killers into surrendering our best rhetoric, actions and images.”
No, but condoning one murder for the sake of saving others is moral relativism. It seems ridiculous to even take the Reason blogger’s argument seriously. Unless he is talking about a real war between pro-lifers and pro-choicers—not one that is political or cultural or religious or even medical, but one fought with guns and explosives—than his entire argument completely falls apart.
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June 1, 2009 | 2:17 pm
Posted by Brad A. Greenberg
Bible studies are a common feature of Christian life. They supplement what is learned each week in church and facilitate closer communal bonds. And they typically meet in a member’s home. A Bible study is an informal gathering, like a book club or a weekly poker game. It’s not the kind of thing that would need government approval.
At least, you wouldn’t think so.
But a San Diego County code enforcement officer would disagree. On Good Friday he visited a Bonita home where 15-20 people attend a Bible study each week hosted by David Jones, a pastor. WorldNetDaily reported:
“Do you have a regular weekly meeting in your home? Do you sing? Do you say ‘amen’?” the official reportedly asked. “Do you say, ‘Praise the Lord’?”
The pastor’s wife answered yes.
She says she was then told, however, that she must stop holding “religious assemblies” until she and her husband obtain a Major Use Permit from the county, a permit that often involves traffic and environmental studies, compliance with parking and sidewalk regulations and costs that top tens of thousands of dollars.
And if they fail to pay for the MUP, the county official reportedly warned, the couple will be charged escalating fines beginning at $100, then $200, $500, $1000, “and then it will get ugly.”
Geez, I wonder what this guy would think of the House Church movement.
The Bible study story, which got picked up by CNN, led to international outrage. Damage control from county officials followed. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Saturday that the county wouldn’t force the Bible study to obtain a permit:
“No one respects the right to free religious expression more than I do, and no one would find the infringement of such rights more abhorrent,” county Chief Administrative Officer Walt Ekard said in a statement.
Chandra Wallar, the county’s general manager of land use and environment, said the county has re-examined the situation and decided that the Joneses don’t need a permit after all.
Religious assembly, under the county land-use code, is defined as “religious services involving public assembly such as customarily occurs in synagogues, temples, and churches.”
Wallar said that definition, which doesn’t spell out specific thresholds on when a religious gathering becomes a religious assembly, probably needs to be clarified and that more training may be warranted for code enforcement officers.
She said the county was not targeting the Joneses because they were exercising their religion, but rather it was trying to address parking and traffic issues.
“We’ve advised the pastor he has the authority to continue to hold his meetings just as he’s held them,” Wallar said. “My hope is we will be able to resolve the traffic concerns.”
June 1, 2009 | 1:51 pm
Posted by Brad A. Greenberg
President Obama, on his first visit to Egypt later this week, will give a speech at Cairo University in which he is expected to talk about what needs to be done to bring peace to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to bring calm to the greater region. (Here’s a little handicapping of his speech.) But ahead of the president trip to Egypt and the Mideast, Jim Hoagland urges in the Washington Post a bit of caution about just how much influence the president can have over Mideast peace:
Cling to one thought as you work on your greatly anticipated speech to the Muslim world Thursday in Cairo, Mr. President: There is no American solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict that you can heroically deliver from on high. Peace must be built from the bottom up by the warring sides. Cling to that thought but keep it to yourself.
It would be pleasing to your hosts to suggest the opposite—a made-in-the-USA plan for the Middle East. Some of your aides believe this is a special moment that can end the region’s Sixty Years’ War if you intervene forcefully enough. But that neglects history and the internal logic of the conflict…
Today the Arab side lacks a leader as visionary as Sadat to save a failing U.S. effort or a Palestinian leader as skillfully duplicitous as Arafat to keep a homegrown one afloat. It is a moment for what George Shultz, Ronald Reagan’s secretary of state, called the “gardening” phase of diplomacy—pulling weeds and planting seeds—rather than overly ambitious plans that raise expectations too high.
I did not read Hoagland op-ed in the paper yesterday, but just received those excerpts in my e-mail inbox. The message was from AIPAC, and the subject began “must read clip.”