Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The politics of emotionalism


In my previous two articles (not counting the fun one on American Pie lyrics) I have pointed out the deceptive practices of the political left in relation to the Adventist publications. Those two listed being Adventist Today and Liberty Magazine. I could and should include Spectrum Magazine (see this pathetic example) in this list as well. The troubling thing about this is that it reflects the puerile thinking of the political liberal/progressive who deal little with reality and heavily manipulate emotions. They assume that their listeners or readers are simply too stupid to think for themselves or question what they say, or they think that the reader/listener is just as prejudiced as the author. So they freely interpret usually incorrectly and with so much prejudice that their interpretations look more like arbitrary hatred then real analytical thought.

Since these gatekeepers of Adventist media have chosen to align with the political left and to use the same techniques of the left it becomes important for this blog to begin to deal with these political distortions. In the past this blog has rarely gone into political matters but it seems that they are too important to ignore since they infiltrate the church and it's leadership...even its alternative Adventist media leadership (in my opinion they have destroyed the Progressive Adventist movement).

As a particular example of the emotional manipulation of the political left here is a section from the Martin Bashir show on MSNBC as recounted by the Huffington Post:
MSNBC's Martin Bashir issued some extremely harsh words for Rick Santorum on Tuesday, comparing the GOP candidate to Joseph Stalin and Big Brother from the novel "1984." 
 
In his "Clear the Air" segment, Bashir said that watching Santorum speak before a crowd reminded him of the dictator in "1984," the classic novel about a totalitarian society under state surveillance. Bashir instructed viewers to "spot the similarities" between a clip of Santorum speaking, and footage from the movie based on the novel. 
 
He replayed clips from the film of "1984" featuring Big Brother proclaiming that "forces of darkness" must be wiped off the Earth and demanding the end of a "catalogue of bestial atrocities." Bashir contrasted them with Santorum's calls to end federal funding for contraception, among other things. "For example, he has asserted that the right to privacy does not exist and has equated same sex relationships with bestiality," Bashir added.
He then made his most severe comparison. He quoted a book reviewer who once dismissed Santorum as "one of the finest minds of the 13th century," and took the remark one step further. "If you listen carefully to Rick Santorum, he sounds more like Stalin than Pope Innocent III," Bashir said.  
You can also see the video of the segment on the Huffington Post site linked above. The similarities between Santorum and the movie 1984 is that the crowd cheers. They cheer in the movie they cheer for Santorum at a speech. Apparently Bashir has never seen any other political speeches or crowds, though you would think with the cheering and chants and fainting that occurred during Barack Obama's campaign he would have seen it at some point. He then says Santorum sounds like a theocrat and the then concludes that Santorum sounds more like Stalin then a Pope. Stalin a rather famous atheist and now I guess a theocrat at least to Bashir.

But what does Bashir report about Santorum? What quotes does he use of Santorum? Answer, none, like the authors referred to in my two previous blogs, no quotes are used, no references given, we are left to accept his interpretation of what someone said, though to Bashir's credit unlike the two previous authors mentioned Bashir at least tells us who he is interpreting, not just giving hints about some candidate running for President. Bashir could have quoted Santorum but he must have felt it was more important to play clips from the movie “1984”. That is emotionalism, and it is childish because it assumes foolish things and simplify complex issues into trite sayings. Is that something that the courts have defined or you can find in the constitution? If I do something in private does that mean I can do anything I want in private? How would you define the right to privacy? You will understand better once you actually see the quote from which Bashir is referring. Then of course you see that it is not as Bashir interprets and that Santorum does not equate homosexuality with Bestiality. Even though they could both be done in private.

AP: OK, without being too gory or graphic, so if somebody is homosexual, you would argue that they should not have sex?
SANTORUM: We have laws in states, like the one at the Supreme Court right now, that has sodomy laws and they were there for a purpose. Because, again, I would argue, they undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family. And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does. It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution, this right that was created, it was created in Griswold — Griswold was the contraceptive case — and abortion. And now we're just extending it out. And the further you extend it out, the more you — this freedom actually intervenes and affects the family. You say, well, it's my individual freedom. Yes, but it destroys the basic unit of our society because it condones behavior that's antithetical to strong healthy families. Whether it's polygamy, whether it's adultery, where it's sodomy, all of those things, are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family.

Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. Why? Because society is based on one thing: that society is based on the future of the society. And that's what? Children. Monogamous relationships. In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality —
AP: I'm sorry, I didn't think I was going to talk about "man on dog" with a United States senator, it's sort of freaking me out.

SANTORUM: And that's sort of where we are in today's world, unfortunately. The idea is that the state doesn't have rights to limit individuals' wants and passions. I disagree with that. I think we absolutely have rights because there are consequences to letting people live out whatever wants or passions they desire. And we're seeing it in our society.

AP: Sorry, I just never expected to talk about that when I came over here to interview you. Would a President Santorum eliminate a right to privacy — you don't agree with it?

SANTORUM: I've been very clear about that. The right to privacy is a right that was created in a law that set forth a (ban on) rights to limit individual passions. And I don't agree with that. So I would make the argument that with President, or Senator or Congressman or whoever Santorum, I would put it back to where it is, the democratic process. If New York doesn't want sodomy laws, if the people of New York want abortion, fine. I mean, I wouldn't agree with it, but that's their right. But I don't agree with the Supreme Court coming in.
Now you may not agree with Santorum's reasoning but at least he is reasoning and not simply trying to manipulate with emotionalism. We can't really allow this kind of journalism or whatever people like Bashir call themselves to continue as it is extremely harmful to thinking people. And even produces a lowering of standards for other media. Of course few people watch MSNBC but Bashir's practices are done just as often in the mainline media and now even in Church media. Maybe not as ham handed as Bashir does on his show but the appeal to emotionalism over honestly dealing with the facts and representing someone else's point of view accurately is all too common.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

American Pie The story behind more than meets the ears

 This is interesting, the story behind Don McClean's Song American Pie I think Beck gives some good insights into the song. There is also another version on YouTube which does not give too much of the story but uses more images as the song plays. That video seems more fixated on the Buddy Holly part of the metaphors. In any case it is a wonderful example of the power of poetry and how if you know a bit of backstory the poetry becomes even more powerful.



Here is the song with the images, it covers much the same material as Beck, but it seems a bit light on the sociological changes as being important to the song.If both accounts were put together it would really be a good exposition of the song


Thursday, February 09, 2012

The corruption of Adventist media


Recently I decided to stop contributing articles to Atoday.com. This was to some extent based upon the editor’s rejection of my article critical of the politicization in Liberty Magazine. I was critical of the assertions made in the opening paragraph of that article where there were accusations made against certain un-named Republican Presidential candidates, the accusations used no words of the candidates and did not mention or even footnote the candidates or their specific comments. You are just supposed to believe the authors assertions as the starting point for the article even though the writer is a fairly notorious political liberal writing about political conservatives and very evidently biased in his views. The Atoday  online editor was incapable of explaining what should be changed in the article, just I should tone it down and rewrite it. Not particularly helpful editorial input and since I was feeling that the editor did not have the intellectual ability for his job or was consistent in how he did his job I quit writing for the column.

My thinking then was that he did not want to embarrass Liberty magazine by pointing out their terribly biased article. Then I saw on the Atoday website an article by Stephen Foster which did exactly the same thing as the editors of the Liberty article did. That is allow an article to publish anonymous accusations against a Presidential candidate without using or footnoting the candidate or the words or context of the statement. This kind of shoddy writing I have come to expect from Stephen Foster who is like the Liberty article a political liberal, writing against a conservative candidate. Here is what Stephen foster wrote:
If you happen to be somewhat unclear as to what I mean about the religio-political class rhetorically lamenting the civil rejection of religion in order to reverse or undo the practice of conducting public affairs without a religious element; you should know that a well-known politician, who for now shall remain nameless, recently asserted that the United States is not a secular nation.
Now, look at those two definitions of secularism again. Is he right or wrong?
Here he asks for the decision to be made not upon what the candidate actually said but upon what Foster asserts the candidate was saying. With absolutely no context given or even referencing the candidate. Specifically saying : religio-political class rhetorically lamenting the civil rejection of religion in order to reverse or undo the practice of conducting public affairs without a religious element;” That is a lot to assume, but assuming is what Foster does and apparently the editor finds such assumptions perfectly appropriate.

So as with the Liberty article  I researched and here is  what we can ascertain Stephen Foster is referring to. Mitt Romney at a rally said:
“We are not a secular nation. We are a nation that believes in a provident hand.” http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/ROMNEY_7031449/ROMNEY_7031449/
For some reason Traditional Adventists like Foster seem to have a great fear of any political person who actually has religious beliefs even if those beliefs are well founded in the history of the United states. The belief in God is not something unfamiliar to Americans, not just a couple of words on money that say “In God We Trust” In fact 9 out of 10 Americans believe in God. http://www.gallup.com/poll/147887/americans-continue-believe-god.aspx
Traditional Adventists it appears have migrated to the atheistic side of politics, because they fear people of their own belief system (Christians and theists). Not because of what those Christians have done but because of what they fear they will do based upon their rather silly eschatological beliefs developed in the 19th century. These people can’t get past their traditions so they align with those raging against Christianity. The logic of their position is so poor that it requires making horrible assumptions which if anyone saw the actual quotes they were referring to they would laugh at their foolishness, so as in the two articles mentioned above they hide the information and rely upon their biased assertions.  The people who should know better…the editors of these articles go along with it because they either don’t know the facts, and/or are so political biased as to not even question this kind of manipulative writing.  

For me I can’t support these groups any longer, They are not behaving in any kind of accountable way and it is a tragedy to see this happen to Adventist media but it may be the inevitable consequence of having such a broken theological and eschatological system of beliefs where facts must often be ignored to hold to Adventist doctrine and traditions.
See the following quotes for famous American founders and their belief in providence.

George Washington was a spiritual man who recognized the paternal protection of God in not only his own life, but in the life of the country he was fighting to free from tyranny. His own witness of the many miracles that thwarted the victory of Great Britain over the often ill-equipped army he was leading likely inspired the following words he wrote in a letter to General Thomas Nelson in 1778: “The Hand of providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations.” http://thenewamerican.com/history/american/10040-faith-of-the-founding-fathers


“If it were not for my firm belief in an overruling Providence, it would be difficult for me, in the midst of such complications of affairs, to keep my reason on its seat. But I am confident that the Almighty has His plans, and will work them out; and, whether we see it or not, they will be the best for us.”
President Abraham Lincoln, Speaking to the Christian Commission during the Civil War

[Benjamin]Franklin maintained a firm belief, however, in "a Being of infinite Wisdom, Goodness and Power" (165) [3], a God who by "providence" [4] acts frequently in the world, a power who could and would suspend deterministic natural laws at will. http://home.uchicago.edu/~ahkissel/papers/franklinreligion.html

Samuel Huntington
SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS; JUDGE; GOVERNOR OF CONNECTICUT
It becomes a people publicly to acknowledge the over-ruling hand of Divine Providence and their dependence upon the Supreme Being as their Creator and Merciful Preserver . . . and with becoming humility and sincere repentance to supplicate the pardon that we may obtain forgiveness through the merits and mediation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.54

Benjamin Rush
SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; SURGEON GENERAL OF THE CONTINENTAL ARMY; RATIFIER OF THE U. S. CONSTITUTION; “FATHER OF AMERICAN MEDICINE”; TREASURER OF THE U. S. MINT; “FATHER OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS UNDER THE CONSTITUTION”
The Gospel of Jesus Christ prescribes the wisest rules for just conduct in every situation of life. Happy they who are enabled to obey them in all situations! . . . My only hope of salvation is in the infinite tran¬scendent love of God manifested to the world by the death of His Son upon the Cross. Noth¬ing but His blood will wash away my sins [Acts 22:16]. I rely exclusively upon it. Come, Lord Jesus! Come quickly! [Revelation 22:20]98
I do not believe that the Constitution was the offspring of inspiration, but I am as satisfied that it is as much the work of a Divine Providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament.99


Saturday, February 04, 2012

National Council of churches when politic become Ecumenism

Spectrum magazine online had a recent couple of articles on the National Council of Churches former President's presentation by Dr. Michael Kinnamon he gave a talk entitled, “The Ecumenical Movement and Why You Should Be Involved.”

What I find more interesting is what is the reason behind the NCC, if you read their website you see that though the language is very couched it has an overriding concern for liberal politics. In point 4 listed in the Spectrum article you read the following:

In seeking to manifest the unity we have in Christ, ecumenical churches refuse to separate theological truth from social justice; they integrate theology and justice.

Social Justice has become one of the code words of liberal politics (other such words, Environmental Justice, Economic justice etc). As you read the above sentence why would anyone include “social justice” in the first part of the clause and then theology and justice in the last part? (See my articles on Social Justice and here.) The insertion of “social justice” is to inform the listener/reader that  political aspects are being referred to. This reflects the Rev. Jim Wallis view that social justice is the heart of the gospel. So theology and social justice must be equated and social justice is the political lefts answer to the gospel therefore it is equal with theology, they cannot be separated. Likely no one would have a problem with the statement of justice, justice being doing what is right and fair but the political left is not trying for equal justice thus the favored term social justice.

A good quote on the subject is found from the Christian News Wire. Com:
IRD President James Tonkowich commented,

"Edgar's view of the church's role in society usually involved a more expansive federal government. While some hailed him as a prophetic voice on issues of war, poverty and environment, what he advocated exclusively pointed to liberal politics and human institutions as the answer.

"Edgar placed the council on a firmer financial footing by seeking funding from secular liberal foundations that were interested in a leftist political agenda, not the spread of the gospel.

"The NCC's ever-reluctant member communions were unconvinced by Edgar that they needed to further bear the financial burden of the activities done in their name. Clearly, the NCC's increasingly political agenda did not appeal to many of the member denominations, many of whom declined to contribute any financial support to the organization.

"Edgar often dismissed the precipitous membership plunge of many of the NCC member communions, saying that influence was more important than numbers. Both however seemed equally in decline as the national media, policymakers and everyday churchgoers increasingly directed their attentions toward mainstream Evangelical voices and away from older mainline leadership and tired institutional ecumenism.
"During Edgar's tenure, the NCC continued to prove unappealing to more orthodox faith groups, with evangelicals wary of the NCC's agenda and one member denomination choosing to permanently disassociate itself from the council.

"Bob Edgar's legacy is a financially sound council, but unfortunately not a strengthened ecumenism."
The Institute on Religion and Democracy is an ecumenical alliance of U.S. Christians working to reform their churches' social witness in accord with biblical and historic Christian teachings.

In 2005 in reply to such charges as the above Edgar responded:
“There are those who try to dilute our witness and mislead our friends by suggesting that the National Council of Churches is a partisan, left-leaning organization,” said Rev. Edgar. “But you know who it is that calls us to pursue peace, fight poverty and injustice, and care for the earth. It is the Prince of Peace who each day of his life showed his bias for the poor and prayed to the Creator who gave us this beautiful world,” he said.”

This always sounds good, as if right leaning organization don't want peace, don't fight poverty and injustice or care about the earth. It seems that only the political left uses this kind of logic. As most people of good will would agree with those goals the question is always how to arrive at them. Only when you start to think that your politics are the will of God do you become intolerant and become obsessed with seeing things only one way. Edgar went from his NCC position to the political liberal organization Common Cause.

During the recent so called budget debate (The US Senate has not passed a budget in over 1000 days) over the rise in the debt ceiling the leaders of the NCC took it upon themselves to protest:

The National Council of Churches out-radicalized even Jim Wallis, boasting about arrests of its officials in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda in protest against budget "cuts." "Our elected officials are protecting corporations and wealthy individuals while shredding the safety net for millions of the most vulnerable people in our nation and abroad," hyperventilated the NCC's former president after his arrest. Another arrested NCC official explained, "We are citizens first and foremost of the realm of God," When steps Congress is taking contradicts our call as followers of Jesus Christ, we must take action." Interestingly, Wallis, despite many arrests in his colorful past, declined to join the civil disobedience this time.

It may, in the short run seem that the way to protect the poor is to keep devaluing money or borrowing money from China but that may not be correct. But it does point out that there are differences in how people respond to problems. To claim that your way is the only way or the way that Jesus would do it is most often simply a gratuitous assertion, but it becomes even worse when it becomes attached to theology.

Unfortunately for Adventism, Spectrum and Adventist Today magazine and online have become havens for this kind of politics as theology. Thinking that Progressive Adventist is more about politics then theology and then equating the politics with theology has left them with with little momentum to deal with the actual theological problems in the Adventist church.