Archives For Political Theology

Last week, Ellie Goulding, an award winning British singer, decided to rethink a scheduled performance in support of The Salvation Army’s “Red Kettle Kickoff”, at an American Thanksgiving Day NFL Show. The decision was made in response to an Instagram follower falsely accusing The Salvation Army of discriminating against the LGBT community – claiming that the organization was employing passive euthanasia against the homeless:

“So sad to see Ellie supporting them :// they’re extremely homo/transphobic, literally to the point of letting queer homeless ppl die. Wish she had done some research beforehand or something.” – @        angelsporch

The comment was a reaction to Goulding’s Instagram post, announcing the singer’s partnership with The Salvation Army, showing the singer wearing a hair net and a Salvation Army apron.

Goulding then corresponded back stating,

“@angelsporch, Upon researching this, I have reached out to The Salvation Army and said that I would have no choice by to pull out unless they very quickly make a solid, committed pledge or donation to the LGBTQ community….thank you for drawing this to my attention.”

It’s unclear about what Goulding means by “research”. As the Daily Wire reported, unbiased information on The Salvation Army and the LGBT Community isn’t difficult to locate, beginning with The Salvation Army USA website itself.

In addition, the singer overlooked her own caption, in which she gave a clear outline of her own alleged positive experience of what The Salvation Army does for ‘addicts, the homeless, and those facing economic hardship via food, emergency relief for disaster survivors, and rehabilitation.’

Rather than take the hit, The Salvation Army responded swiftly and did so with class.

Commissioner David Hudson, National Commander of The Salvation Army issued a statement,

“thanking the singer and activists for shedding light on misconceptions and encouraging others to learn the truth about The Salvation Army’s mission to serve all, without discrimination…Ellie’s performance in the 23rd annual Salvation Army Red Kettle Kickoff during the Dallas Cowboys game Thanksgiving Day on CBS will kick off a season of giving that helps support these and many other programs and services throughout the country.”

Their official response reminds Christian organizations of the Biblical standard of keeping a cool head, when facing false accusations from Leftists, and their misinformed, generally always anonymous, keyboard warrior minions.

‘Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.’ (Proverbs 17:27, ESV)

NBC 5 said they’ve reached out to Goulding’s representatives for an official reply. As of today there has been no official response. However, the singer’s Instagram account is still active, with Rolling Stone reporting that her original reply has since been deleted.

Goulding either had no real idea about what the Salvation Army did and the content of her Instagram caption is a fabrication, or she was played by LGBTQAII+ activists; inadvertently participating in further perpetuating hate-filled, anti-Christian manipulative propaganda.

Business Insider’s, Allison Hope, applauded the singer’s ‘stance against the Salvation Army’, stating that they were ‘well known for being anti-LGBTQ’. Citing Huffington Post, and a bizarre “investigative” article from The Week, Hope squeezes everyone who holds to freedom of religion, and a biblical (scientifically backed) view of man for woman, woman for man, marriage, into poorly defined categories of hate speech, and discrimination against the LGBT community.

Hope then goes on to brazenly equate Goulding with “the people” of the UK, who recently pushed out Europe’s first Chick-fil-A because of the restaurant chain’s anti-LGBTQ stance.’

Hope’s analogy doesn’t do Goulding any favours. The example from the U.K. is one example among many of the thug like behavior of LGBT lobby groups, who are bullying people and organizations into total submission to their ideology, actions that persistently pose the question, who’s actually bullying who?

As far as Goulding being made accountable for attempting to shake down The Salvation Army, by black mailing them out of money designated for the poor, in order to placate the LGBT community, Goulding is likely to get a free ride.

The Left’s double standards have been applied. Exemplified by Allison Hope’s applause for what can only be described as an LGBT tax, or worse, extortion. The rash act has been white-washed, and the story has been abandoned; left to die, because appearance trumps substance; there’s no room allowed for due process, and burden of proof being applied to the original accuser. The singer’s alleged good intentions matter more than the potential or actual damage they may have caused.

Contrary to the misguided applause, Goulding’s example adds to the increasing list of caveats given to actors, actresses and musicians, looking to squeeze quick profit out of vanity metrics and virtue signalling.


First published on Caldron Pool, 19th November, 2019.

©Rod Lampard, 2019

An anti-Christian LGBT group from Spokane, Washington, have reenacted an ante-bellum, chattel slavery auction, using cut-outs of outspoken Christian leaders, who are actively opposed to abortion and Drag Queen Story Time.

The LGBT group, Spokane United Against Religious Extremism and the Church, targeted 500 Mom Strong founder, Anna Bohach and pastors from ‘The Church at Planned Parenthood’ in an October fundraising event for the industrial abortion platform, Planned Parenthood.

According to Anna Bohach  (an activist against the sexualization and exploitation of children), the black slavery-era mock auction took place during an ‘Halloween themed drag show.’

Recounting the event in an article for Activist Mommy, Bohach said,

‘it started with Tiranny Hex lip-syncing and gyrating around the stage. She [He] was then followed by three back up dancers wearing effigies of Anna, Pastor Ken Peters, and Pastor Afshin Yaghtin…The main fundraiser of the evening which was billed as a fun surprise turned out to be a slave style auction. Drag Queens held up effigies of 6 prominent local Christians and auctioned them off to the highest bidder. The Christian effigies were lined up on a high stage and displayed in a fashion akin to the slave market auctions of America’s darkest past.’

Mocking the reports, the LGBT group dismissed the news on their Facebook page, with a typical juvenile, “l.o.l, it wasn’t us” defense, using the Breitbart article from Dr. Susan Berry, stating that the person used for the cover image “has nothing to do with them.”

The hashtag: “best counter protest ever”, the accusation: “they had no idea what really went on” and the threat: “we still have a surprise in store”, suggest otherwise.

Despite the dismissive, shrug of the shoulders response. The LGBT group’s poorly reasoned counter-claim doesn’t address Bohach’s original article. Neither has the group made any attempt to respond to photographs featured in the Activist Mommy article. All of which back Bohach’s recount of the event.

In commenting on why the group’s mock slavery auction of Christians, hasn’t headlined mainstream news media, Monica Showalter, for American Thinker referred readers back to  Bolach’s own powerful response:

‘Christians are the biggest threat to their agendas. We are the only ones standing in their way and telling them: ‘No, you will not abort babies; no, you will not exploit vulnerable women; and no, you will not expose our children to sexual deviancy and gender confusion.

Using effigies and a slave auction style fundraiser to raise money for an organization whose existence is based upon the extermination of black Americans is in very poor taste…But again, not surprising given drag itself is rooted in the blackface minstrel shows of the last century.”

As with many of this kind of blatant anti-Christian hate, the venomous intersectional dragon, and its head-spinning confusion about when woke social justice, becomes intolerance, prejudice and racism, is an intellectual quagmire many in the MSM aren’t yet brave enough to attempt to wrangle.

In latter estimates, Christian Post reported that the LGBT group’s mock chattel slavery auctioning off of Christians raised $1,865 dollars for Planned Parenthood.

The October slavery auction wasn’t an isolated case. It’s since been followed by a drag queen who performed a mock abortion,pulling a plastic doll out of his fake distended stomach in a Zombie Cannibal Performance,’ in early November.

Without any widespread condemnation of these events, they’re bound to increase. Silence will be interpreted as a free license for hostile LGBT groups to abdicate responsibility for their own hate, for more indifferent juvenile dismissals, and anti-Christian bigotry; obediently carried out in absolute allegiance to the LGBT flag, and deceptively waved about as counter-protest.

The mock chattel slavery auctioning off of Christians by members of the LGBT community, proves that many on the Left don’t fear theocratic rule, they see Christians as a direct threat to their own quest for a theocracy, driven by the ravenous lust of the LGBT religion, in worship to a false god, who rules under one of the greatest lies every perpetrated on the hearts of humanity, love is love.

As Karl Barth noted in 1921:

‘Eros deceives. As a biological function it is now hot, then cold. Eros does not merely deceive: it is also uncritical. Agape on the other hand, consistently accepts and rejects. Only the love which is strong enough to abhor that which is evil can cleave to that which is good. Agape is therefore both sweet and bitter [involving a Yes & a No]. It can preserve peace; but it can also engage in conflict.’ [i]

References:

[i] Barth, K. 1922, Epistle to the Romans, 12:9; Oxford University Press, assembled from pp.453 & 454 (See also Barth, CD.3:2 pp.280-285)

First published on Caldron Pool, 14th November, 2019.

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Regardless of how musicologists might try to placate pro-abortion political group-think, they would find it extremely difficult to deny that many of the best Cold War protest songs ever written share a ferociously pro-life theme.

Like Tolstoy, who, once describing a dream, said that when he found himself ‘hanging over a bottomless abyss’, his ‘heart contracted, experiencing horror’. If he looked down into the abyss, he felt himself slipping. Overwhelmed with a tremendous fear of losing his grip, he noted that the vastness below repelled and frightened him, yet the vastness above attracted and strengthened him.

Tolstoy said that he was ‘saved from fear by looking upwards.’ The more he looked into the ‘infinite that was above him, the calmer he became’; stating, ‘I remember seeing a support under me, in a position of secured balance, that it alone gave me support. It was then as if someone had said to me: “see that you remember.”

Cold War protest songs share Tolstoy’s tense awareness of being caught between a yawning abyss and the calming awareness of the grip of the Infinite. Through nuanced prose these songs reach for the Infinite. Their very existence is proof of this. Without it, we’d hear utter despair, not pro-life defiance.

They are a protest against mass murder, a protest against industrial scale slaughter. They are a veritable “no” to the disorder of the Abyss and its violence.

Their “no” moves us, like Tolstoy to look to the Infinite above. To see as Dietrich Bonhoeffer saw, ‘that grace is what holds humanity above the abyss of nothingness’ [ii]; that we are ‘held over the abyss by the infinite.’ [iii]

These Cold War protest songs are pro-life protest songs. They reject Me-culture, and its murderous detachment of the, I and thou, in favour of the – me, myself and I – I.am.it.

Me-culture threatens to sever humanity from this grace over the abyss. It is the cheapening of grace, and the crass dismissal of the sanctity of ALL human life. It is the end of hope. To quote Pink Floyd, it ‘unleashes the dogs of war…signed, sealed they deliver oblivion.’ (Dogs of War, 1987)

These reasons show how fifteen unique songs which challenged the threat of Cold War also challenge abortion. Granted there are differences. Rather than lessening the impact of the message, these differences should make us shudder with horror even more. Where bunkers and a four minute civil defence warning exist for us, there is no such warning, defence, or even refuge, for victims whose life is violently terminated in the womb. Where the military industrial complex sells arms to prevent an apocalypse, the abortion industrial complex sells arms in the fulfilment of one.

15. Gimme Shelter – (Holy Soldier, 1992; Rolling Stones, 1969)

This cover of a much earlier Rolling Stones song is self-explanatory:

Oh, a storm is threat’ning my very life today. If I don’t get some shelter
Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away. War, children, it’s just a shot away…”

14. Eve of Destruction – (Barry McGuire, 1965; P.F. Sloan, 1964)

It’s cliché, and dated, but McGuire’s memorable cover of E.O.D joins, his ‘Don’t Blame God as two of the most powerful songs he ever performed in regards to Western attitudes to life. Both speak to all ages about abortion. In E.O.D, the word gun can easily be interchanged with forceps: “You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’, / You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’,”

13. Peace Sells, but who’s buying? – (Megadeath, 1986)

While the song is celebrated as a Cold War protest anthem, lead singer (and Christian – see also here & here), Dave Mustaine says he wrote the lyrics to protest the ‘mocking and stereotyping of metal, and fans of the genre.’ Since the song is widely accepted as part of Cold War protest song history, as an anti-abortion theme it speaks to those who take financial and political profit from stereotyping the child in the womb as a parasite, waste of space, or sexually transmitted disease.

12. Burning Heart – (Survivor, 1985)

Outside ‘Eye of the Tiger’, ‘Burning Heart’ is one of Survivor’s best known songs. It featured in ‘Rocky IV’ and takes up a common theme in Cold War protest songs which replaces an “Us vs. Them” dichotomy with the more accurate “human vs. human.” Its relevance to the Cold War and therefore abortion is highlighted by the phrases “man against man’ and ‘know it’s you against you.”

11. Blackened – (Metallica, 1988)

Metallica’s songs are laced with protest, some even address theological themes. Their 1991, Black album took the band more mainstream. From it, one could rightly argue that songs such as ‘Enter Sandman’, ‘Unforgiven’ & ‘Don’t Tread on me’ fall into the category of Cold War era protest songs. Though melancholic, as pro-life protest songs, each strongly support an anti-abortion message. ‘Blackened’ is from ‘And Justice for All…’ and falls easily into the Cold War category, lyrics such as ‘terminate its worth’ (among others), express anger at the cheapening of not just human life, but creation itself.

10. Seconds – (U2, 1983)

Seconds’ has a pro-life message, lyrics like “It takes a second to say goodbye / Lightning flashes across the sky / East to west, do or die / Like a thief in the night”, speak of an impending, but avoidable doom. Like most U2 protest songs, ‘Seconds’ draws on a specific context. In the case of abortion, it’s one that as stated above, is not that far removed from being aborted into oblivion by thermonuclear war.

9. 2 Minutes to Midnight – (Iron Maiden, 1984)

As surprising as it seems, Iron Maiden are one of the blatant in the list.

So much so, that the Cold War pro-life message and anti-abortion implications are self-evident: “Two minutes to midnight / the hands that threaten doom … / to kill the unborn in the womb.”

8. Red Skies – The Fixx

This one’s a little vague, but still applicable. ‘Red Skies’ plays on the old fisherman axiom, “red skies in the morning, sailors warning”. Hence the words, “People ignoring / Should have taken warning, it’s just / People mourning / Running, hiding, lost / You can’t find, find a place to go…” In essence, though there are clear signs of a cheapening of the value of human life, those red flags are being ignored.

7. It’s a Mistake – (Men at Work, 1983)

The song uses humour to get its pro-life message across. The lyrics, “tell us commander, what do you think? / Cause we know that you love all that power’ to ‘Is it on then, are we on the brink? / We wish you’d all throw in the towel”, speak of an arrogant hierarchy treating soldiers as dispensable pawns; much like unborn children powerless in the womb.

6. Russians – (Sting, 1985)

Russians’ is one of the most balanced in the Cold War protest song catalogue. Questions like, “How can I save my little boy from Oppenheimer’s deadly toy? to sentences like, “There is no monopoly on common sense / We share the same biology, regardless of ideology / I hope the Russians love their children too” all argue from a father’s heart, for an end to violent divisions, based on an appeal to an universal understanding of the value of human life.

5. Two Tribes – (Frankie Goes to Hollywood, 1984)

The pro-life message here criticises the ‘new gods of sex and horror’ stating that ‘two tribes may go to war’, but in a nuclear exchange no one wins. An abortion holocaust may be promoted as win for the mother, but the long line of victims would, if they had a voice, surely argue otherwise. Kids should not be treated as the collateral damage of irresponsible parents.

4. Gods of War – (Def Leppard, 1987)

Next to ‘Russians’, ‘Gods of War’ is probably the most recognizable of all the Cold War era protest songs. Add in the epic harmonies, and remove the now dated, anti-Thatcher and Reagan sound bites, the song has an eerie timelessness to it. The Cold War pro-life message is one of reasoned defiance. Lyrics like, “When we walk into silence / When we shadow the sun / When we surrender to violence / Oh, then the damage is done”, give weight to the fight against increasing legislation which seeks to impose a gag order on criticism the multi-million dollar abortion industry.

3. The Great American Novel – (Larry Norman, 1972)

Norman was a pioneer in the Jesus music movement of the ‘70s.

The song is filled with hard hitting lyrics like, “You say we beat the Russians to the moon / And I say you starved your children to do it…” All of which lend themselves to the pro-life message.

2. Civil War – Guns n’ Roses, 1991

Civil War doesn’t quite make it into the Cold War era protest songs. Nevertheless the song stems from it. Like Metallica’s Black album, it is one of the great signal fire songs from the pro-life Cold War protest songs. Lyrics like, “all are washed away by genocide / history hides the lies of our civil wars… / with no love of God, or human rights/ Cause all these dreams are swept aside / by bloody hands of the hypnotised…” and “Your power hungry sellin’ soldiers / In a human grocery store”, all point to indiscriminate, unemotional, and clinical industrial scale mass murder.

1. Military Man – (Rez Band, 1984)

Military Man speaks of how militant ideological allegiances can be changed. A soldier, ‘considering chances in the nuclear zone’, ‘he caught sight of the future shock’, ‘defences crushed beneath the Risen Rock,’ reveal a pro-life message of perseverance fused with faith-dependent hope.

Though sometimes subtle, the Cold War pro-life message found in these songs lends itself to an anti-abortion platform.

As Johann Goethe once wrote:

‘It is not always needful for truth to take a definite shape; sometimes it hovers about us. Sometimes it is wafted through the air like the sound of a bell, grave and kindly.’ [iv]

Like Tolstoy, may we never fail to hear the past whisper into the present and say, “see that you don’t forget!”

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” – (Colossians 3:2, ESV)


References:

[i] Tolstoy, L. A Confession

[ii] Bonhoeffer, D. DBW 3: Creation & Fall

[iii] Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics IV:I (p.411)

[iv] Goethe, J.W.V, Maxims & Reflections, (#14)

©Rod Lampard, 2019.

 

Entitled ‘Gideon: God is my Lord’ [i] and preached in Berlin on February 26, 1933 ‘Bonhoeffer gave his first sermon’ since Hitler had been enshrined as chancellor 27 days prior.

Bonhoeffer’s decision to preach from the Old Testament was deliberate. In my opinion, he couldn’t have picked a more controversial figure, at the time, to make a political point.

Nazism, much the same as Communism, is an industry built on victimhood. These systems need a perpetual sense of victimization and sympathy in order to maintain membership and political momentum.

Bonhoeffer understood this. He chose Gideon in a deliberate attempt to preach against the imagery used in Nazi propaganda. In a way Bonhoeffer was reaching for Martin Luther’s epic treatise ‘Bondage of the Will’, to challenge Nazism’s ‘Triumph of the Will.’[ii]

For example: Larry Rasmussen suggests Bonhoeffer contrasted a ‘young [powerless] man chosen by God to save Israel from their enemies and turn them away from the worship of false gods’ with ‘Siegfried, the unconquered Germanic hero figure (of the Nibelung saga), idealised by the Nazis.’ [iii]

Expanding on this Isabel Best writes that Bonhoeffer sets out to ‘describe God’s power in contrast to human might, and finally from Martin Luther’s ‘A Might Fortress,’ to assure his hearers that even now the power, and the victory, are God’s alone.’[iv]

Gideon’s message is God’s grace to the Israelites and through the witness of Gideon this message is also about God’s graciousness towards humanity.

Bonheoffer expresses this clearly:

‘Gideon, we recognise your voice only too well; you sound just the same today as you did then…
Who would be willing to say that he or she has never heard this call and has never answered, as Gideon did: Lord, with what I am supposed to do such great things?
But Gideon is silenced; today as just in those days, he’s told to shut up. You’re asking, “With what?” Haven’t you realised what it means that this is God calling to you? Isn’t the call of God enough for you; if you listen properly, doesn’t it drown out all your “with what” questions?
“I will be with you” – that means you are not asked to do this with any other help. It is I who have called you; I will be with you; I shall be doing it too. Do you hear that, Gideon of yesterday and today?
God has called you, and that is enough. Do you hear that, individual doubting Christian, asking and doubting Christian? God has plans for you, and that does mean you.
Be ready to see to it. Never forget, even when your own powerlessness is grinding you down to the ground, that God has phenomenal, immeasurable, great plans for you. I will be with you.’ [v]

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is someone I’d heard of, yet never read with any serious interest until I started college. Since then I have made inroads into understanding his life, theology and influences.

Most Christians who’ve heard of Bonhoeffer might only know him as a an obscure martyr; others will be able to match the name in more detail with the context and images of an era when Europe was consumed by an industrial military complex, imposing new cultural laws, issuing forth blitzkrieg, euthanasia, and mass murder; inciting euphoria through the progeny of Darwinian Socialism, the false doctrines of Nazi dogma.

The latter was swarming the globe, enraging some, and finding recruits in others. All through the promise of a new dawn for humanity – one embossed in the appearance of allegiance with Christianity, when instead it was firmly based on the survival of the fittest, racial supremacy, socialism, scientism, and pagan religion.

Faced with the uncertainty of the times, Bonhoeffer reaches for a tangible example from the Biblical text.

Some of us may find the times confusing. Some are frustrated, and feel powerless in the face of new industries built up around victimhood. Those of us in this category, who have a decent amount of knowledge of history, also lament at how those new victimhood industries are fast reflecting the old.

The truth is that we are witnessing a new wave of organized chaos that has to some degree breached walls where restraint has remained the stalwart of freedom. We are dragged into a fight for freedom and the Western world. A battle that must now be fought, but one we didn’t desire, nor ask for.

In the midst of this, Bonhoeffer and Gideon’s story speaks, reminding us to carry this burden without compromise, to maintain Christ-like integrity in the heat of battle, with the knowledge that though the enemy calls our faith weakness, God calls it strength. He still reigns, and we must trust that He, in His mercy will provide the means to address the challenges of today, and the challenges of tomorrow.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” – (Philippians 4:6, ESV)


References:

[i] Best, I. (Ed.) 2012 The Collected Sermons of Dietrich Bonheoffer Fortress Press, p.67

[ii] Veith, G. E. 2010. The Spirituality of the Cross, Concordia Publishing House

[iii] Rasmussen, L in The Collected Sermons of Dietrich Bonheoffer, Isabel Best, (Ed.) 2012  Fortress Press, p.67

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Ibid, pp.67-74 & Stroud, D.G. (Ed.) Preaching in Hitler’s Shadow: Sermons of Resistance in the Third Reich  Wm.B Eerdmans Press, pp.51-61

An updated version of Gideon Speaks & Sounds Just The Same Today As He Did Then  from September 24, 2014.

First published on Caldron Pool, 5th November, 2019.

Photo by Pavel Nekoranec on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019.

The Trudeau era and its burgeoning “progressive” totalitarianism got an extension this week as Canadians voted. Consequently, Canadian Liberals were reinstated, winning 157 seats, against the Conservatives who secured 121. Conservatives scored a narrow loss, winning the popular vote at 34.4%, but not securing enough seats to win a majority. [i]

In an opinion piece for Crisis Magazine, Canadian Professor Emeritus at St. Jerome’s University, Donald, DeMarco, presented a grim analysis of Canada’s Trudeaun landscape.

DeMarco expressed concern about apathy, and a general lack of awareness at the slow erosion of hard-won, tried and true, classical liberal freedoms, stating that ‘many Canadian voters seemed indifferent to the fact that their culture is clearly shifting in a totalitarian direction.’

DeMarco’s concern isn’t unwarranted, as he points out,

‘The Trudeau government required students applying for government-funded summer jobs to sign an attestation professing their support of abortion, same-sex marriage, and the LGBTQ coalition. He banned certain Christian summer camps serving underprivileged children from participating in the Canada Summer Jobs Program because of their religious beliefs. (This “is nothing short of anti-religious bigotry,” commented Justice Centre staff lawyer Marty Moore.) He has committed $7.1 billion over the next ten years to promote abortion at home and abroad. He will not allow Liberal MPs to vote their conscience on matters of abortion and LGBTQ matters, and he will not allow pro-life candidates to run as Liberals. He opposes conscience rights for health care workers.’

He’s not wrong. Lifesite news provided evidence on the 15th October, which proved that Trudeau was ‘personally involved’ in the creation of this echo of the Hitler oath requirement.

For DeMarco, these are part of a growing number of signs that totalitarianism is darkening the skies over Canada.

These signs include: ‘1) unanimity of thought, 2) suppression of criticism, 3) denial of conscience, 4) abdication of reason, 5) government coercion, 6) mass conditioning of thought and will, and 7) persecution of dissenters. All these signs are evident in Canadian society and they became crystal clear throughout the campaign.’ [ii]

These signs are across the Canadian political spectrum. According to DeMarco, even ‘the leaders of the New Democratic Party and the Green Party think the same way concerning abortion, same-sex marriage, LGBTQ issues, doctor-assisted suicide, and the decriminalizing of marijuana and prostitution.’

The issue of totalitarianism isn’t just an issue for Canadians. All Westerners are looking down at this hypodermic needle, strategically poised to pierce the beating heart of the West’s foundations, most of which are grounded in the Biblical Christian witness of the Gospel; the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. There is no doubt therefore that the West is faced with a chiasm between a house of freedom under which we live out the liberation of the Gospel, and a house of slavery, under which we are enslaved by the destructive worship of idols and antichrists.

Without people (especially Bible believing Christians) who are willing to rise above the threat of isolation, above the noise of anxiety, and speak truth in love despite fear and timidity, history will repeat itself.Those on the Left, who’ve intravenously injected the Leftist kool-aid of modern liberalism, know this. Christianity is attacked beyond the boundaries of fair criticism because Bible believing Christians are a threat to totalitarian rule. They bring the Gospel witness to the state, which says, with respect for the role of the state, that the state is also subject to the sovereignty of the God who has spoken, and made Himself known in time and space, through Covenant with Israel, and in Jesus Christ.

Trudeau’s requirement is on par with that of Hans Kerrl. Kerrl was NAZI Minister for Church Affairs who acting on the National Socialist  decrees, famously demanded that,

“The Church’s proclamation [preaching/teaching; Gospel & service] must fall into the correct relationship with National Socialism [or else].” [iii]

Another grim example is United States, Democrat Presidential candidate, Beto O’Rourke’s threat to remove tax-exemption from churches if they don’t pledge allegiance to LGBT ideology, specifically same-sex marriage.

Like O’Rourke’s cheap shot at Christian charities, most of whom carry their fair share of social responsibility, and then some, Trudeau seems drunk with power.

Governments should not be putting in place laws that will ultimately punish free citizens from refusing to align with Leftist, LGBT ideology, or punish people for apostatising from the LGBT religion.

It may seem like an odd prediction, but I’m almost convinced that the “no” of future generations to the widespread “yes, anything goes” Leftist moralism of our day, will be far harsher than the “no” we present to this new totalitarianism today.

Like the push back against the heinous, but much celebrated at the time, practice of lobotomization. One day the push back against this new totalitarianism will be a major rebuke to those, who, in the name of “progress” have sought to destroy the fabric of freedom and responsibility, found in healthy Western traditions. All by imposing new cultural laws on the body politic who a) had no idea about the dangers, but found themselves becoming its victims, and b) on those who critiqued it, but were silenced because they saw the danger and rigorously opposed it.

For the discerning citizen interested in seeing an end to the increasing war against Western civilisation by hostile Leftist forces, the election result in Canada wasn’t all that grim. To be sure, the election didn’t reflect a Trump or Scott Morrison win, but the election results show that Canada’s Conservative presence and voice is still strong.

All the indications suggest that this will only continue to build. The best those of us, who are seeking to protect the basic freedoms and responsibilities Westerners have inherited at great cost, can hope for, is that Canadians who share those same concerns, not wallow in defeat, but keep up the gains by using this new found momentum to obstruct destructive Trojan horse laws, and win in four years time.

In the meantime, Canada’s Trudeaun landscape will not be as it was. The election result significantly limits totalitarian Trudeau’s power, presenting the discerning citizen with a potential bulwark against the Left’s hatred for Biblical Christianity and Classical Liberalism, in their ever widening embrace of the abyss.


References:

[i] The Guardian, Canada Election 2019: Full Results sourced, 26th October 2019.

[ii] DeMarco, D. 2019 citing Michael O’Brien, 1993. The Family and the New Totalitarianism, Divine Providence Press.

[iii] Bethge, E. Bonhoeffer: A Biography. p.575

First published on Caldron Pool, 27th October 2019.

©Rod Lampard, 2019

The line between inciting hate or violence and informing others about that hate and violence is being blurred.

Facebook’s recent heavy-handed actions against Caldron Pool, and Caldron Pool contributor, Evelyn Rae, suggest that the social media platform is happy to unfairly conflate reporting or fair criticism of an event with endorsement of that event. Rae was given a 13 day ban, restricting posts from her Facebook page appearing in newsfeeds because she shared a screenshot of another person’s tweet for people to comment on. Caldron Pool experienced similar censorship after posting an article reporting on ‘Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram, who had executed two Christian aid workers.’ The post was removed. Then restored on appeal, but the restrictions we left in place.

There’s a difference between advocacy and commentary.

If we apply descriptive and prescriptive linguistics to how news worthy events or commentary are presented, we can see that companies like Facebook will inevitably hurt their customer base, because they continue to blur the descriptive and the prescriptive, rather than hold them in tension.

Descriptive is freelance, risky. Prescriptive tells everyone exactly what to do and when. The failure to determine who is saying what, and why, will mean that the prescriptive parameters of speech shut down all descriptive aspects of speech and vice versa. In short, this failure kills freedom of speech and with it constitutional democracy.

Rather than being a paradox of contrasting terms, the descriptive and prescriptive can be viewed as dialectical. There is a relationship between the two. Think of it as a dynamic, dialectic linguistic muscle which moves the limbs of thought and communication forward. This relational dialectic is exemplified by feedback.

Feedback consists of both positive and negative communication. Each serves a unique purpose in evaluating information and data. Without the positive and negative, feedback is pointless. Likewise, without the descriptive process there is no freedom to communicate. Without the prescriptive process, we have no idea how to communicate.

Without the working connectivity of this relational dialectic, conflicting viewpoints have no platform. Feedback has no real role to play other than what it is allowed to be channelled into cheap echo chambers. As a result, freedom of speech either ends up adrift in a sea of discordant noise, or it becomes stuck in the paralysing quagmire of political correctness and identity politics.

We end up with what Chantal Mouffe, in The Democratic Paradox (2005), called a ‘third way’, a ‘one dimensional world’ where the ‘blurring of the frontiers between Left and Right, jeopardise the future of democracy’. This is because of an aversion to freedom of thought and freedom of speech. An aversion played out through a fear of losing, a fear of conflict, fear of people being able to discriminate and choose between two competing ideas. This would include a fear of free speech because of insecurity, and the overbearing, unachievable quest for absolute equality.

Political opponents are no longer friendly adversaries, but are pitted against each other as bitter enemies.

Constitutional Democracy ends up like a ship that’s lost its ability to move – fodder for jagged rocks; the play toy of manipulative propagandists, the progenitors of totalitarianism, and their progeny: lies, confusion and powerlessness.

There is no push and pull; no dialectic muscle to empower Mouffe’s idea of classical liberal democracy, where friendly adversaries negotiate, disagree, are diplomatic, and apply temporary compromise under the banner of unity in diversity.

According to Mouffe, the future of ‘modern democracy lies in the recognition and legitimation of conflict, along with the refusal to suppress it by imposing an authoritarian order. It’s strength lies in its ability to replace antagonism (intense dislike and deep seated hostility) with agonism (positive struggle; constructive conflict).’

For Mouffe, ‘conflict need not involve the identification of an enemy whom one wants to destroy; conflict between adversaries who may disagree can exist, but ultimately they respect one another’s right to exist.’ Bitter political enemies are ‘no longer perceived as an enemy to be destroyed, but as an ‘adversary’, that is somebody whose ideas we combat but whose right to defend those ideas we do not put into question.’ [i]

The dialectic muscle that is push and pull, allows us to hear different perspectives, formulate an opinion for ourselves, and freely communicate that opinion in a way that others can understand it. This dialectic muscle is a vital muscle for the body politic. Communication as descriptive and prescriptive dialectic, are good for constitutional democracy. They are the ingredients necessary for freedom of speech to function properly.

Social media platforms must embrace this relational dialectic by seeing that there’s a difference between describing and prescribing; the difference between commenting on events or ideas, and using those events or ideas to ‘incite violence or risk imminent harm.

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg broke with the norm this week. Standing up and speaking out in favour of freedom of speech, the CEO outlined how one of his biggest challenges at Facebook was finding an answer to policing freedom of expression, while ensuring such an action doesn’t hurt freedom of expression.

Describing how difficult this is, he said “some people think our policies don’t prohibit content they think qualifies as hate, while others think what we take down should be a protected form of expression. This area is one of the hardest to get right.”

He expressed concern about ‘polarization’, saying that Facebook ‘has an important role in designing their systems to show a diversity of ideas and not encourage polarizing content.’

Zuckerberg believes that Facebook has two responsibilities in this regard: First, ‘to remove content when it could cause real danger as effectively as we can, and second, to fight to uphold as wide a definition of freedom of expression as possible — and not allow the definition of what is considered dangerous to expand beyond what is absolutely necessary.’

He said that he believed “people should be able to use our services to discuss issues they feel strongly about — from religion and immigration to foreign policy and crime. You should even be able to be critical of groups without dehumanizing them.” He also admitted that Facebook makes “enforcement mistakes” because judging who is saying what and why, “isn’t always straight-forward.”

Pointing to precedents in the United States, the Facebook CEO said, he wants to uphold broad speech rights, stating: “I know many people disagree, but, in general, I don’t think it’s right for a private company to censor politicians or the news in a democracy.”

Zuckerberg rightly stated that “while he worries about an erosion of truth, and that he doesn’t think most people want to live in a world where you can only post things that tech companies judge to be 100% true.”

His quest is to leave a legacy that protects freedom of speech. In doing so he said part of the process is keeping Facebook free of fake accounts, malicious entities exploiting the platform with dubious money making scams, and removing deliberate misinformation that could lead to someone taking hazardous advice.

Part of his concern is the increasing restrictions on free speech in other countries. For example, China’s exporting of their vision of the internet, which suppresses dissent, monitors users speech and determines what kind of speech is allowed.

For me, outside his reliance on the term hate speech and polarization, Zuckerberg’s speech hit the right notes. He says a lot of the right things when it comes to putting in place protections for freedom of speech on the platform, but as with a lot of promising talk, actions speak louder than words.

I was both impressed and surprised by his stance on China, and encouraged by how he acknowledged the importance of preserving freedom of speech and its important role in a vibrant constitutional democracy.

Mennonite theologian, John Howard Yoder wrote, ‘democracy, with its judicial and constitutional processes can be essentially defined as communication.’ [ii]

The danger to constitutional democracy is the undermining of this ability to communicate freely. Free speech is let down through a failure to recognise the distinction between advocacy and commentary; the failure to acknowledge the relational push and pull dialectic of prescriptive and descriptive.

Failure to acknowledge the relational dialectic undermines free speech by emphasising prescriptive speech over the descriptive, or vice versa. This happens through the quest to control others by imposing new cultural laws on the body politic, such as anything not viewed as politically correct, being far too easily hated on, as hate speech.

We’re already see this when political groups, a lot like China’s vision for the internet, prescribe politically correct speech as the only legitimate speech. Nowhere is this more powerfully seen than in forced speech laws regarding Islam, transgenderism, or the LGBT religion in general.

The relational dialectic of push and pull has the power to preserve constitutional democracy, through agreement and disagreement. Just as tension in a muscle is necessary to ensure motion, so is the necessity to have a platform or open forum, where ideas can be aired, challenged and either adopted or reasonably rejected. All of which is built on mutual respect, not necessarily on an obligation to mutual agreement.

Zuckerberg’s concern about polarization places him in agreement with Mouffe’s argument. The preservation of constitutional democracy lies with an effort to utilise constitutional democracy’s capacity to replace antagonism (intense dislike and deep seated hostility) with agonism (positive struggle; constructive conflict).

Freedom of speech is the great relational dialectic muscle of constitutional democracy. Its push and pull gives constitutional democracy momentum. Only through its preservation, and the exercise of it, will we be able to move forward, while also preserving healthy tradition, freedom, rights and responsibilities.

 


References:

[i] Mouffe, C. 2005. The Democratic Paradox, Verso

[ii] Yoder, J.H. 1964, The Christian Witness to the State, Herald Press.

Full transcript of Mark Zuckerberg’s Speech

First published on Caldron Pool, 23rd October 2019 & also featured on The Spectator Australia, 24th October 2019.

Photo by Alex Haney on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019

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