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Monday, February 17, 2003

Lane Core and Lew Rockwell.

The Blog From The Core attempts to reason with one of the Lew Rockwell faithful, Jeffrey Tucker, who issued a motu proprio on the President's Christianity. Lane does a fine job:

Referring back to your original reply, slaughter there has been, slaughter there is, and slaughter there will be. The real situation is this: Will it be deliberate slaughter of innocent civilians, anywhere around the world, for who knows how many years or decades, where terrorists have planted themselves to strike when and how they can? Or will it be unintentional slaughter of innocent civilians, in as short a time as possible, with as few victims as human foresight, planning, and action can manage?

* * *

It is wrong to care more for the lives of innocent civilians on the other side of the world who may be killed unintentionally than for the lives of innocent civilians among one's family, community, and nation who may be killed deliberately. I say it again: it is wrong. It is not the moral high ground: it is the moral swamp, where both rational thought and proper feeling have been abandoned. Our first (not the only, but the first) obligation is to those closest to us, not to those farthest away. And it is especially so for our leaders and our defense forces.

I would just like to add my own thoughts about the deficiencies of Mr. Tucker's analysis of "Baptistic" Christianity. Never mind that Bush is a United Methodist, not a Baptist--though admittedly the President is a member of its evangelical wing. The UMC's evangelical movement is fast becoming the only defender of Christian orthodoxy in an increasingly heterodox church.

Odd, too, that the Catholic Tucker would cite Presbyterian thenomist Gary North as an authority for evaluating the deficiencies of the President's type of faith. Especially given that, two paragraphs later, Mr. Tucker chides the President's faith as "Calvinist." Incoherent? Ditto the "two sacraments" charge, which describes all Protestants--Mr. North included--except for certain Anglican bodies. Further, if Mr. Tucker thinks that the Presbyterians specifically (and the Reformed generally) are of one mind on soteriological issues, let alone the scope and application of the Old Testament Law....

The presumptiveness of Mr. Tucker's analysis morphs into this:

We have here an entirely different constellation of incentives at work. Might Bush believe there is no eternal price to pay for killing thousands, even millions, in a good cause, since there is nothing he could do to endanger his immortal soul?

Well, I suppose it's possible. Ask Dr. North: Calvin certainly didn't lose much sleep over executing Michael Servetus. After reading this eye-opener, the astute Baptist from the American South rounds on Mr. Tucker. First, he starts quoting Exsurge Domine, particularly that part about the burning of heretics not being against the Holy Spirit. And what was that thing about St. Bartholomew's Day and the French Huguenots again? In other words, a denial of "Eternal Security" is no guarantee of good behavior either, Mr. Catholic. Mr. Astute Baptist follows up that heater by pointing to a Baptist heretic-burning rate of 0%, an identical rate for wars of religion and so on. As a clincher, he professes doubt as to whether fear of eternal hellfire motivated any of the responses to sexual abuse by the hierarchy of the Archdiocese of Boston during the past 20+ years.

Lane notes that Mr. Tucker responded with an accusation that he (Lane) was in favor of "slaughter." On that point, he sounds rather like Bishop Gumbleton.

Ah, brothers dwelling in unity!

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