Archives For Political Theology

This is my response to a Facebook share and tag invite. Instead of posting one beloved book each day, for seven days, here’s the complete list all in one read.

I don’t normally do these, but the premise is worth supporting: “No exception, no reviews, just covers. The idea is to promote literacy and a love of great books.

The list is harder to compile than it looks. By no means is the list definitive. The list does, however, reflect some of the texts I consider to be essential reading. The wooden bookcase they live on, would be the poorer for not having them in it.

Day one:

Day Two:

Day three:

Day four:

Day five:

Day six:

Day seven:

 

Climatologist Dr. Judith Curry is a true black sheep of the climate science community. Curry is a tenured professor who had the moxie to question the Climate Change consensus.

In this interview from 2015, Judith gives a brief rundown on the factors, and many variables, surrounding this ‘relatively new field of study.’  Dr. Curry also unpacks how much trouble pushing back against the political narrative causes anyone who actually dares to apply the scientific method to the prevailing climate change hypothesis.

Curry’s explanations separate fact from fiction, giving an insider’s perspective on the function of data, discussing its interpretation, process, application and misapplication that plagues the climate science community.

The video is also doing a slow loop around social media after it was uploaded in 2017, by The Oppenheimer Project, an American high-Alpine self-sustainability experiment run by scientists, Leah Shaper and David Mauriello. In their description, Shaper and Mauriello appear to back Curry over concerns about the political bias, shutting down of opposing viewpoints, and the ‘tribal nature in parts of the climate-science community.’

The following is a transcript from the original 12 minute interview hosted by Rich Clarke, who hints that Curry’s freely expressed thoughts contributed to her resignation, noting that “approximately one year after the release of this interview Dr. Curry left her tenured position in academia forever”. You can read more of Dr. Curry’s work at her website: Climate Etc.

Clarke [Intro]: Hello, I’m Rich Clarke and I’m here today on the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Joining me is Dr. Judith Curry the outgoing chair of the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.

She earned her PhD in geophysical sciences from the University of Chicago in 1982. Then the years following she’d find herself a professor at Purdue University Penn State; ten years in the University of Colorado Boulder, before becoming chair of the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences department here at Georgia Tech in 2002. Along the way she received numerous awards and fellowships, including the Henry G Haughton award from the American Meteorological Society, the great singer moving school forward award from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and the coveted green faculty award from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Authoring and co-authoring almost 200 published peer-reviewed papers, and three books, she entered the climate change spotlight as co-author of the 2005 paper entitled: ‘Changes in Tropical Cyclone Number Duration and Intensity in a Warming Environment’, which was published in the Journal of science two weeks after Hurricane Katrina.

The paper made headlines around the world, shining light on the increased extreme weather events associated with a warming climate, she is the co-founder and president of the climate consulting firm ‘Climate Forecast Application Network’ and maintains her blog ‘Climate Etc.’ at JudithCurry.com.

Dr. Curry thanks so much for being with us today.

Dr. Curry: My pleasure.

Clarke: “So my first question for you is, according to your Wikipedia page you are part of what’s called the scientific opinion, or more commonly the 97% consensus on climate change. Yet, I’ve read on several pages that you’re referred to as a “climate skeptic” or even a “climate denier”; and when I Google your name one of the first things that comes up is an article in the Scientific American entitled, ‘Climate heretic Judith Curry Turns on Her Colleagues.’ So, why is it that people are calling you a climate skeptic or even a denier?”

Dr. Curry: “Well, Climate Science has become highly politicized, and the strategy used by the climate community to influence public policy is speaking consensus to power. So over the past several decades and they work to build this consensus, and following the 2009 Climate gate episode, I started challenging the consensus. Saying, “wait a minute, we haven’t been sufficiently transparent; we haven’t adequately characterized the uncertainties.” We shouldn’t be dismissing skeptics; I mean we have to do a better job, and I started saying things like that that I thought were completely reasonable, but I was immediately thrown out of the tribe if you will, and labeled as a “heretic”, “denier”,  whatever else. So it’s just a reflection of how politicized the science has become and how silly this debate really is at this point.”

Clarke: “Speaking of debates, you hear public figures say all the time, that the debate is over and that we need to move forward. What do you what about those comments?”

Dr. Curry: “Well, physicists are still debating quantum mechanics, and gravity, okay, things that we think … are relatively settled. Science is never settled; and something as complex as the climate system and in a relatively new field, climate change, there’s no way the science is settled. There’s a whole lot more that we don’t know then we do know.”

Clarke: “You talked about the politicization of the field. What do you see is the greatest danger of this mixing of politics with science?”

Dr. Curry: “Well, two things. You end up with science as going off on the wrong track – I don’t know if you’ve heard the joke about the drunk looking for his keys under the streetlight? – and somebody asked, “why are you only looking there?” “Well it’s the only place I can see.” The same thing has been happening at climate science. We’ve only been shining a light on one little piece of the problem – the part about increasing Co2 from human activities. We haven’t been paying sufficient attention to natural climate variability; and as a result we’re doing a great disservice to understanding the climate system; and as we fail to adequately understand the climate system, we have tremendous opportunity to mislead decision-makers.”

Clarke: “One thing I thought was interesting about another interview that I heard with you, was, you were talking about how, even if all the measures for carbon reduction were adopted, and then perfectly implemented, we might not see an effect from that – those measures would be maybe 50 years out.”

Dr. Curry: “It’s really much worse. The commitments that people have made to the UN – in terms of their emissions reductions out to 2030 – well, if you say well how much (assuming that they keep those commitments steady through the end of the 21st century) the amount of warming that would be prevented is about two-tenths of a degree centigrade. Most of the benefits wouldn’t be realized for a longer time. We’re really talking about a minuscule amount of warming that will be saved, and because of the [lags] in the climate system owing to ocean heat storage, any emissions reductions that we do now, it’s still going to keep warming; because of the thermal inertia in the oceans. So, you know the accounting is just being done. You know, as economists are reacting to; and trying to interpret all these commitments and what it actually means. But the studies that I’ve seen suggest that we’re only accomplishing a few you know a few tenths of a degree centigrade decrease in the rate of warming, and this assumes that you actually will believe the climate models, I mean I think the climate models are running too hot. If the climate models are in fact running too hot, even less warming would be saved.”

Clarke: “So these numbers these figures of projected curbing of warming due to essentially regulating greenhouse gases, these numbers are…”

Dr. Curry: “Well, they use climate models to seeing how the climate will respond to the reductions and carbon dioxide associated with reduced emissions.”

Clarke: “You know just this year there was a report released sound the alarm bells about new data with regard to sea level rise, and this report said that “sea level rise may occur ten times faster than originally thought, and that in forty five years we could have ten feet of sea level rise.

Dr. Curry: “Several weeks ago I was giving a public lecture and I was talking about sea level rise, and one of the audience members raised his hand, and said, “wow I didn’t realize that sea level rise you know was rising before humans started emitting fossil fuels”. This whole issue of sea level rise is so tied to human activities that most people don’t realize that the sea level has been rising for the last ten thousand years, since we’ve been coming out of the last ice age. The question is whether sea level rise is accelerating owing to human caused emissions. You can say, “well, obviously yes”, well it’s not obvious at all because even the most recent IPCC report published in 2013, presented a figure that showed that the rate of sea-level rise around 1940, 1950 was just as high as it is in the last few decades. So, it doesn’t look like there’s any great acceleration so far of sea level rise associated with human-caused warming. These predictions of alarming sea level rise depend on massive melting of the big continental glaciers, Greenland and Antarctica. The Antarctic Ice Sheet is actually growing. Greenland shows large multi-table variability, in when it’s growing and shrinking. So sorting out natural versus human cause variability and what’s going on with these ice sheets, you know it’s very difficult to do, but in any event there’s no evidence so far that humans are increasing sea level rise in any kind of a worrying way.”

Clarke: “If it’s true that curbing carbon dioxide in here and now is going to have very minimal effects, in the here and now, what kind of solutions are you proposing or do you have any solutions your proposal?”

Dr. Curry: “I’m a climate scientist. I’m not in the business of proposing solutions. So, I mean I can tell you which ones make more or less sense to me. The technologies that we currently have trying to pull this off using wind and solar, it’s not going to work. We need you energy technologies and additional research and development on new energy technologies; makes more sense than trying to implement wind and solar those aren’t up to the task. But I think the bigger issue is a real danger with climate change and variability, whatever its cause, is extreme weather events. You know the heat waves, the floods, the droughts, the Hurricanes – and trying to reduce vulnerability to these extreme weather, and climate events, can help people in the here and now. Whether climate change is due to natural variability or due to humans, it can help us reduce our vulnerability to these extreme events that have always happened and will continue to happen.”

Clarke: “Right, so you’re saying that we know that we’re gonna have more extreme weather events, and we should be putting our resources into preparing more for those?”

Dr. Curry: “I’m not telling; I never tell anybody what they should do, because it’s a very complex problem. There are a lot of other problems out there, so why should we spend all our resources on this problem. It’s a complex issue and I avoid telling anybody oh we should do this or we should do that. All I do is look at policy options and try to point out their unintended consequences, and whether they’ll have the intended effect.”

Clarke: “When you begin saying the things you were talking about, like more transparency in science, and in climate science, and writing about it – you are already the chair of a department at a major technical school in the United States, you had already been published at least a hundred times. Do you think that a younger Dr. Judith Curry in the kind of climate (no pun intended), but in the political climate we have now would have had a harder time doing what you’ve done?”

Dr. Curry: “A number of scientists have lost their jobs over speaking out against the consensus. I’m a tenured faculty member, I’m pretty senior. So I could afford to do it. A lot of younger people who aren’t tenured,  can’t afford to do it – I hear from scientists all the time who say they wish they could speak out of etcetera, but they don’t want to they don’t want to go through the kind of baloney that I’ve had to go through and I can’t blame them.”

Clarke: “And what baloney is that exactly?”

Dr. Curry: “Well, Google my name! And you’ll see it. Google, Judith Curry and you’ll see what I have to put up with.”

Clarke: “That’s about all the time we have for today but I’d like to thank you very much for letting us into your office and having this interview.”

Dr. Curry: ‘thank you, my pleasure.”

[Music]


First published on Caldron Pool, 18th January, 2020.

© Rod Lampard, 2020.

 

Round one of consequences for the mass slandering of the Covington Catholic school boys, may have seen The Washington Post skip past go with get out of gaol free card, when a judge dismissed the lawsuit last year. Cable Network News (CNN) didn’t get off as easily.

The media giant has decided to settle with Nick Sandmann after a defamation lawsuit was also brought up against the organisation. The Washington Post’s, Paul Farhi, noted that L. Lin. Wood, lead lawyer for Sandmann was also lead lawyer in the lawsuit filed by Richard Jewell against CNN after he was ‘vilified by journalists’, (now the subject of a major Clint Eastwood film).

Sandmann was the target of mass slander, when Twitter users fuelled by the mainstream media lobbed abuse and threats at the schoolboys. All because of brief video footage uploaded to the internet, which was later proven to misrepresent the event.

Media organisations appeared to jump to conclusions, making Sandmann the poster boy for their own giddy, schoolboy, bandwagon anti-Trump hate. Reporting on the reopening of Sandmann’s case against The Washington Post, The Federalist’s, Margot Cleveland, said that they labelled the schoolboy a “smirking MAGA-hat-wearing racist”, and accused him of “blocking Native American elder Nathan Phillips’s path” to the Lincoln Memorial.”

The Hill’s, J.E. Moreno stated that Sandmann had sued CNN for $275 million dollars in ‘May over its reporting, saying CNN was “vilifying and bullying him” and had twisted the story to fit an anti-Trump agenda. In total, Sandmann was seeking $800 million in damages from The Washington Post, NBC and CNN.’ Moreno also said the ‘amount of the settlement was not made public.’

With the settlement come new precedents. Although, The Washington Post’s case was dismissed last year, a judge has reopened the case and the lawsuit is waiting to once again go to trial. What the CNN settlement with Sandmann tells the many who are culpable for leaping before they looked, is that this isn’t going away. The settlement strongly suggests that CNN didn’t want this to linger over their heads. Given their ratings, this is no surprise. Absent of a forthright open admission of wrongdoing, this is probably the best those involved can expect from the Leftist backed media organisation.

As with Rugby Australia’s settlement with Israel Folau, CNN’s settlement with Sandmann shows that politically motivated attacks on members of the public, by those in positions of power, will not go unnoticed, nor be allowed to stand without a fight, regardless of how well co-ordinated and well-funded those behind the political attacks are.

Sandmann’s win is also a strong warning to those seeking to advance by using a zero sum game against the innocent, all in the hopes of achieving fast political gain, which has about as much long lasting benefit as ordering fast-food from a drive-thru.

This settlement isn’t just a win for Nick. This is a win against the Leftist funded, political and academic establishment. Hope is seeded here. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of the most well-known political prisoners the Nazis imprisoned and executed, once said “the only fight which is lost, is that which we give up.” [i]

 

References:

[i] Bonhoeffer, D. cited by Bethge, E. 2000. Bonhoeffer: A Biography Fortress Press, (p.907)

Note: Since the screenshot was taken, Aslan appears to have deleted the old tweet, not without mocking Dinesh (link).

© Rod Lampard, 2020

If Christianity Today is to remain at the top of its game after their recent support for the full impeachment of Donald Trump, on what is already widely agreed to be manufactured political manoeuvring by Leftists, they’ll now need to give voice to a broader theological critique.

Australia’s Eternity News also seemingly plopped itself onto the bandwagon, defending what looked like its own giddy, veiled applause with the dismissal that “reporting the news is not the same as supporting the contents of it.” This is despite individuals calling the article “brave.”

Readers of both Eternity News and Christianity Today would be right to now feel a fresh entitlement to see from them a FULL Christian theological critique of the spirit of the age, if they are to remain consistent, including:

1.Speaking out against abortion;

2.Exposing the lies of deep state Democrats and career politicians;

3.Providing a complete and rigorous defence of the rights of charities who graciously hold to a biological and biblical definition of marriage;

4. Criticism of Islamic terrorism;

5. Criticism of the abuse of women under Islamism;

6. A blanket protest against the manipulation and mutilation of young people via transgenderism and the apocalyptic climate change propaganda;

7. Condemnation of the bullying of Israel Folau, Margaret Court, and others under the guise of “LGBTQ rights.”

Given the trajectory, this all seems unlikely. As one commentator said, after reading about Christianity Today’s apologetic track record of Barack Obama, “don’t hold your breath, mate.”

Christianity Today’s treatment of Donald Trump and the previous President are miles apart. One simple search engine comparison proves it [same search engine, same search parameters, completely different result]:

Why the concern?

Franklin Littell, in analyzing the antebellum (pre-civil war) condition of the American churches, identified a pattern of ideological servitude. Churches across America, both North and South were internally divided along ideological grounds. Pastors preached a mix of politics and theology, subsuming the theological critique into the service of a louder ideological master. Thus, he said, was the precursor to the most devastating war the United States ever experienced.

How far Littlell’s analysis is to be viewed as a litmus test for us today remains an intriguing open question. Christianity Today has a right to voice their opinion, as we have a right to demand, and expect that this voice be a consistent one.

It’s in this demand for consistency; the necessity of a consistent Christian theological critique of all ideological strong-holds, that gives rise to a diverse, but united front, joined in understanding against all unnecessary division.

This may seem utopian, but the further people wake up to the Left’s own totalitarian sins while being fully conscious of the sins on the right, the more opportunity there is for the Church to boldly reflect light in an otherwise dark place. Thus perhaps avoiding what Littell identifies as an inevitable slide into a broader, all-out civil war.


First published on Caldron Pool, 23rd December, 2019

© Rod Lampard, 2019

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.