Commentary

Mohler: The Diminishing Dignity of Human Life

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill legalizing assisted suicide in the nation’s most populous state. This makes California the fifth state to legalize assisted suicide.

The major moral shift on the sanctity of human life is now focused in this bill at the end of life. But once one begins to diminish the sanctity of life at one end of the spectrum, inevitably, it will shift to the other end as well.

The increased cultural acceptance of euthanasia is only possible because there has only been a major moral revolution on the issue of abortion with millions of Americans re-classifying abortion no longer as the murder of unborn human being, but rather as a matter of choice for women and a matter of their own personal liberty.

But that will lead us to a second conclusion: These issues diminishing the dignity and sanctity of human life, this revolution, won’t stop with the two ends of the spectrum. It will inevitably re-define human life at every point along that spectrum, which is to say, at every age regardless of condition.

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An Awful Moment

Pepperdine California Democratic Party

In the wake the latest horrific shooting in Oregon, no television appearance elicits more angry comments from viewers than one in which the simple point is made that the “common sense gun control measures” would do exactly nothing to prevent that shooting … or any of the recent massacres that litter the American landscape with blood and tears.

If President Obama or former Secretary of State Clinton could appear in public and state that X measure would have stopped Y shooting, then that X measure would soar in public support. But they can’t. So they don’t. Instead they politicize these awful moments, speaking about straw men and magic, imaginary legislative solutions.

Everyone agrees that hate-filled extremists ought not to be able to accumulate weapons. But no one has a plan on how to stop those specific purchases and prevent those specific massacres.

News organizations have finally figured out that publicity for these killers is a reward that has to be denied them.

The president would have done well to deny the murderer notoriety as well.

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The Best Solutions for Poverty

When my mother’s grandparents first came steaming into New York harbor from Denmark in 1890, they were risking everything to get to a country where everyone could earn success. After a few years, they owned their own farm in South Dakota.

Most of you listening have a similar family story. That’s why mobility is such a big part of the American Dream.

People still want this, but the shadow of pessimism is growing. In December 2014, 76 percent of Americans said they were dissatisfied with the United States.

The problem is that Americans have come to think the game is rigged and the American Dream isn’t available to everyone.

Conservatives are in possession of the best solutions to the problems of poverty and economic mobility. We need to communicate—in the title of my latest book—“The Conservative Heart.” We need to put forward a hopeful, optimistic governing agenda—one that focuses on improving the lives of all people, especially the most vulnerable, through authentically conservative policies.

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Mohler: Springtime for Liberal Christianity

In the wake of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States, New York Times Columnist Ross Douthat penned a very important pieces about the so-called “Francis effect” in the Roman Catholic Church.

In “Springtime for Liberal Christianity,” Douthat explains how the Francis effect is “a gift the religious left sorely needed, because the last few decades have made a marriage of Christian faith and liberal politics seem doomed to eventual divorce . . . the tendency for a liberal-leaning faith [is] to simply become a secularized faith, obsessed with political utopias and embarrassed by supernatural hopes, until the very point of churchgoing gradually evaporates.”

This really isn’t something that just might happen in the future, this is the very pattern we can already discern. It’s a pattern very clear in the liberal churches ever since the 1960s.

So it’s hard to really understand how we can describe what’s taking place as a “Springtime for Liberal Christianity.” Because when it comes that liberal theology in a final analysis, there’s just not that much theology to it.

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Mohler: Originalism

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia recently gave a speech at Rhodes College in which, according to the Associated Press, he “criticized judges who believe the Constitution is a ‘living’ document, saying they amount to policy makers who are rewriting it and making moral decisions for the entire country about same-sex marriage and other issues. He also referred to this summer’s same-sex marriage ruling as ‘extreme.’”

Justice has become the most important intellectual defender of a way of looking at the Constitution described as ‘originalism’—that the Constitution should be interpreted as it was originally written (meaning, we are bound by the words) and as it was originally intended (meaning, as it was understood by the original authors).

These comments tell us just how concerned Justice Scalia is about how his colleagues on the court are interpreting the Constitution. This has a great deal to do with the very direction of our culture. The court has assumed authority far beyond its constitutional mandate and it is increasingly unbound by the words or the intention of the Constitution and its framers.

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Medved: A Cruel Delusion on “Equalized Achievement”

The New York Times recently reported good news on the education performance gap between black-and-white children—a gap that’s narrowed by 50 percent over the last 30 years. But the distance between privileged kids and disadvantaged children of all races has only gotten wider: offspring of college graduates are seven times more likely to earn college degrees themselves, than are the children of high school drop-outs.

Professor Jane Waldfogel of Columbia University says the problem begins before kindergarten. “If we could equalize achievement from zero to 14, that would go a long way to closing the college enrollment gap,” she says. But this is an absurd idea: even in the same classroom, there is never “equalized achievement.” Heredity is a major factor: children of parents who struggle with poverty will generally have less native ability than offspring of driven high-achievers. But even siblings growing up in the same family don’t perform identically or equally, so expecting “equalized achievement” is a cruel delusion.

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Hewitt: The First Freedom

Pepperdine California Democratic Party

Pope Francis has left America now, but long after his return to the Vatican, indeed long after he has left this life for the next, American courts will be quoting the pontiff’s words in opinions dealing with the “first freedom,” the freedom of religion.

The Pope delivered the most important address of his trip from a lectern used by Abraham Lincoln to deliver the Gettysburg Address.

The heart of his remarks deserve a close rereading:

He said [and I quote]: “In a world where various forms of modern tyranny seek to suppress religious freedom, or try to reduce it to a subculture without right to a voice in the public square, or to use religion as a pretext for hatred and brutality, it is imperative that the followers of the various religions join their voices in calling for peace, tolerance and respect for the dignity and rights of others.”

He continued:

“Let us preserve liberty, let us take care of it: freedom of conscience, religious freedom, the freedom of every person, family, and nation, which causes other rights.”

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