Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Tea Party conservative Tim Scott headed to U.S. Senate to replace Jim Demint

Republican Senator Tim Scott

Republican Senator Tim Scott

Those darn Republicans and their racist racisty racism!

The leftist New York Times moans about it:

Ms. Haley seriously considered a number of potential contenders, particularly Jenny Sanford, the ex-wife of former Gov. Mark Sanford, who supported Ms. Haley in her race two years ago. But in choosing Mr. Scott, she selected a lawmaker with a strong conservative voting record during his two years in Congress.

Mr. Scott, 47, also offers a unique story and background, one that is in scant supply in the Republican Party right now. Raised by a single mother, he was, by his account, a lost child who struggled with school and with life until a Chick-fil-A franchise owner took him on as a protégé and schooled him in conservative principles.

“Coming from a single-parent household and almost flunking out of high school,” Mr. Scott said in 2010, during his bid for the House, “my hope is I will take that experience and help people bring out the best that they can be.”

[...]Mr. Scott will become South Carolina’s first black senator, and the first black Republican in the Senate since Edward Brooke of Massachusetts left in 1979. Over all, he will be the seventh black senator, and the chamber’s fourth black Republican.

He is the only black Senator in the Senate, from either party. Racism!

The leftist Washington Post is not happy:

 Since 2010, Republicans have either elected or appointed a black Senator, two Hispanic Senators (Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas) as well as two Hispanic governors (Susana Martinez of New Mexico and Brian Sandoval of Nevada) and an Indian-American governor (Nikki Haley of South Carolina). That group joins Gov. Bobby Jindal, an Indian-American, who was elected in 2007.

“As the country changes, our party is walking the walk in reflecting the role of all Americans in our politics today,” said Eric Ueland, a Republican lobbyist and one-tim chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (Tenn.).

Tim Scott with Nikki Haley and Michele Bachmann:

Tim Scott with fellow Tea Party members Nikki Haley and Michele Bachmann

Tim Scott with fellow Tea Party members Nikki Haley and Michele Bachmann

They also had some interesting facts about Tim Scott:

  • Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) grew up in Charleston, S.C., where he was raised by his mother after his parents divorced when he was 7.
  • In 1997, he found himself at the center of controversy when he hung the Ten Commandments outside the Charleston County Council’s chambers to remind the members of the morals they must follow. The Commandments were later removed after the council was sued by Charleston residents and the American Civil Liberties Union. “I’ve always said and remain in this position: Whatever it costs in the pursuit of this goal (of displaying the Commandments) is worth it,” Scott said at the time.
  • He was first elected to the House of Representatives with strong support from tea party groups during the Republican wave election in 2010.
  • He was one of two freshmen selected in 2010 to join the House Republican leadership.
  • After graduating from college, Scott sold insurance and co-owned a real estate agency.
  • Scott crashed the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte with South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Rep. Michele Bachmann (see picture above)
  • After his mentor died when Scott was 17, the future congressman wrote a “mission statement” setting the goal of having a positive impact on the lives of 1 billion people before he dies.

Life News is happy:

Republican Congressman Tim Scott, a black pro-life advocate, will replace pro-life Sen. Jim DeMint in the U.S. Senate, after DeMint stepped down to take over as the head of the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina announced today that she chose Representative Tim Scott to replace Jim DeMint in the United States Senate, a move which makes him the first black senator from the South in decades. Scott will serve until a special election is held in 2014.

Like DeMint, Scott is a staunch pro-life advocate who has a 100 percent pro-life voting record with the National Right to Life Committee. This year, Scott voted to stop abortion funding in Obamacare, de-Fund the Planned Parenthood abortion business, and stop taxpayer funding of abortion in various instances. He voted for a ban on sex-selection abortions, for enforcing parental notification laws, to repeal Obamacare, and to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in the District of Columbia.

[...]In 2010, then candidate Tim Scott outlined the development of his political positions and party allegiance to The Weekly Standard, which wrote: “As he tells it, Scott became a Republican in three stages. First, there was the military influence… Second, there was his becoming a Christian in college. That turned him into a social conservative and strong foe of legalized abortion. This, too, turned him toward Republicans, he says.”

And so is the pro-America Tea Party:

Conservatives online cheered the news on Monday that Rep. Tim Scott has been picked for Sen. Jim DeMint’s South Carolina Senate seat, citing both his conservative credentials and the diversity he brings to the table.

Guy Benson of Townhall.com noted on Twitter, “@townhallcom readership reaction is pretty much unanimous: Enthusiastic virtual applause for Gov. Haley’s pick of Tim Scott for US Senate.”

Katie Pavlich, also of Townhall.com, added, “Super happy about Tim Scott, great job Nikki Haley.”

[...]“So happy it’s Tim Scott that will replace Sen. DeMint!,” offered Kathleen McKinley, a conservative blogger.

[...]“Tim Scott has taken our core values seriously in the House and we have every reason to expect similar, principled behavior in the Senate,” said Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots group, in a statement.

[...]“Tim Scott is among perhaps the rarest kind of Washington official: One who knows how to articulate the moral case for conservatism and explain our fiscal challenges to the average American,” said Ned Ryun, the president and CEO of the conservative group American Majority Action, in a statement. “This form of leadership outweighs identity politics.”

[...]The conservative commentator Dana Loesch tweeted, “great news about Rep. Tim Scott.”

Colin Hanna, the president of the conservative group Let Freedom Ring, also heaped praise on Scott.

“Gov. Nikki Haley made a wise and courageous choice by nominating Rep. Tim Scott,” Hanna said in a statement. “Sen. DeMint was a voice for limited government, fiscal responsibility and the advance of liberty. We have the same hopes for Tim Scott.”

This makes up for losing Allen West in Florida – a Congressman I deeply admired and respected. Maybe he will win again in 2016.

Even though I am visible minority myself, I really only care if people are conservative or not, not what color they are. But when stories like this come out, I must mock the racist Democrats who are obsessed with things that don’t matter, like race. What matters is this – promoting policies that defend the rights and freedoms of all the people equally. And Tim Scott is going to do about as well doing that as anyone in the Senate can do. That’s why we like him.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The blind men and the elephant: an argument for religious pluralism?

From Please Convince Me, a post by Aaron outlining 7 problems with the blind man and the elephant story.

Here’s the set up:

Maybe you’ve heard the parable of the six blind men and the elephant. In this parable, six blind men feel a different part of an elephant and come to different conclusions regarding what the elephant is actually like.

One blind man grabs the tusk and says, “An elephant is like a spear!” Another feels the trunk and concludes, “An elephant is like a snake!” The blind man hugging the leg thinks, “An elephant is like a tree!” The one holding the tail claims, “An elephant is like a rope!” Another feeling the ear believes, “An elephant is like a fan!” The last blind man leaning on the elephant’s side exclaims, “An elephant is like a wall!”

This parable is often used to illustrate a view known as religious pluralism. Like the blind men, no religion hasthe truth. Rather, all religions are true in that they accurately describe their personal experience and the spiritual reality they encounter, given various historical and cultural backgrounds.

There are various types of religious pluralism, but one way to define it is as follows: “the view that all religious roads – certainly all major or ethical ones – lead to God or to ultimate reality and salvation.”1 This idea is commonly reflected in such statements as “All religions basically teach the same thing” or “All roads lead to the top of the mountain.”

The elephant parable, while attractive to many, suffers from a number of problems.

And here’s one problem:

Problem #4: The parable commits the self-excepting fallacy.

The religious pluralist who tells this parable claims everyone is blind, except the religious pluralist himself! In other words, there is an objective perspective presented here. However, if all religious views are essentially blind, this would include the religious view of religious pluralism. But the religious pluralist conveniently exempts himself, having somehow escaped the spiritual blindness which has enveloped all other religious views and has come to see the truth of religious pluralism! In so doing, the religious pluralist claims to have the only objective perspective:

In fact, he wouldn’t know that the blind men were wrong unless he had an objective perspective of what was right! So if the person telling the parable can have an objective perspective, why can’t the blind men? They could – if the blind men suddenly could see, they too would realize that they were originally mistaken. That’s really an elephant in front of them and not a wall, fan, or rope. We too can see the truth in religion. Unfortunately, many of us who deny there’s truth in religion are not actually blind but only willfully blind. We may not want to admit that there’s truth in religion because that truth will convict us. But if we open our eyes and stop hiding behind the self-defeating nonsense that truth cannot be known, then we’ll be able to see the truth as well.5

5 Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist (Wheaton: Crossway, 2004), 49.

Read the whole thing!

UPDATE: Greg West of The Poached Egg tweets an announcement of his post on the same topic.

Filed under: Polemics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

India Supreme Court exonerates eleven Hindus who murdered three Christians

Map of India

Map of India

First, let’s hear about an anti-Christian crime that occurred in Orissa, the most anti-Christian area in India.

Excerpt:

The Central Bureau of investigation (CBI) wanted the death penalty for Singh, who was linked to extreme right-wing Hindu group Bajrang Dal. The GCIC has opposed the request for a death sentence. The wife of the slain pastor, Gladys Staines, had already forgiven Dara and his accomplices involved in the brutal murder of her husband and children. (20/01/2009 Widow of Graham Staines: “Do not give up hope, pray for India”).

Twelve years ago, Graham Staines was burnt alive with his children aged eight and ten years in the small village of Manoharpur, in the tribal area of Orissa. Graham Staines had worked for thirty years with leprosy patients in Orissa, and was sleeping with his children in a car, on his journey home on a cold December night. A group of attackers poured petrol on the car, and burned them alive.

The Staines tried to escape, but the assailants, fifty in all, prevented them. A witness said the attackers shouted slogans in praise of Dara Singh, the Hindu movement and the god Hanuman.

In 2003 a court in Khurda judged all 13 accused guilty. Life in prison for everyone else, a death sentence for Dara Singh. In 2005, the Orissa High Court commuted the death penalty to life imprisonment, judged Hembran guilty and exonerated the others.

Shalini sent me this story about how the Supreme Court upheld the High Court’s decision.

Excerpt:

Dara Singh killed Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two minor sons by setting fire to the vehicle in which they were sleeping, but the Supreme Court on Friday ruled that it was not a “rarest of rare” category crime to warrant death penalty for him.

In a judgment drawing curtains on court proceedings in the sensational incident of January 1999, a bench of Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan upheld the Orissa High Court judgment imposing life sentence on Singh alias Rabindra Kumar Pal and Mahendra Hembram. The trial court had awarded death penalty to Singh.

The bench said the Orissa HC was justified in awarding life term to Singh and Hembran as the crime was committed in the passion to teach Staines a lesson for his alleged attempts to convert tribals.

“Though Graham Staines and his two minor sons were burnt to death while they were sleeping inside a station wagon at Manoharpur, the intention was to teach a lesson to Staines about his religious activities, namely, converting poor tribals to Christianity,” it said.

“All these aspects have been correctly appreciated by the high court and modified the sentence of death into life imprisonment with which we concur,” the bench said.

Justice Sathasivam, writing the judgment for the bench, also dismissed the CBI`s appeal challenging the HC`s decision to acquit 11 other accused. “We have highlighted the weakness and infirmities of the prosecution case insofar as acquitted accused, who are poor tribals,” he said. The CBI had taken over the probe from Orissa Police on May 3, 1999.

“In the absence of definite assertion from the prosecution side about their specific role and involvement, it is not safe to convict them. We entirely agree with the reasoning and conclusion of the high court,” it said.

While condemning killings in the name of religion, the bench also expressed its disapproval of conversion. “It is undisputed that there is no justification for interfering in someone`s belief by way of `use of force`, provocation, conversion, incitement or upon a flawed premise that one religion is better than the other,” said the bench.

This story is interesting because it shows how the pluralist view that “all religions are valid” can actually lead to violence. The pluralist view is itself a point of view that takes itself to be true. Pluralists think that religions like Christianity, which claim to be true, are actually FALSE. In short, pluralism DOES disagree with Christianity. If disagreement with other religions is bad, then pluralists are just as guilty of being bad as Christians.

Is what they say about Christians being “exclusive” true? Does being “exclusive” make Christians dangerous? Well, the reason why the practice of Christianity DOES NOT result in violence is because part of the “truth” that Christians believe is that they should love their enemies and pray for the people who persecute them. That’s why the victim’s wife forgave the murderers for their crimes.

I actually have Hindus and Muslims in my family. They treat religion as a cultural or national identity – not really something to investigate to see if it is true or false. Hindus are not usually Hindus because they did some big investigation and found Hinduism to be true. (Hinduism requires an eternally oscillating cosmology, which contradicts physics and the Big Bang theory). It’s more like that they do it for personal reasons or community reasons – it’s like part of their national/cultural identity.

Why do some Hindus oppose evangelism?

A while back I posted this debate featuring a Hindu who disagreed with Christian evangelism and wanted to make it illegal. He complained about Christians using “force” (being kind and giving gifts) to convince people to become Christians. In the next breath he was pushing the government to use force his anti-Christian views onto Christians. He did not want them to evangelize, so he wanted to pass that view into law and force his neighbors to accept HIS views by force. He thought his view of Christianity and evangelism was TRUE, and he thought the traditional, Biblical Christian view was false. He actually insisted that his interpretation of the Bible was correct and all the Christian theologians were misinterpreting the Bible. He expected Christians to act like Hindus! And he thought that Christianity WAS Hinduism – or that it should be redefined to be understood to be Hinduism. Then he complained about Christians who thought that their views were TRUE and that his were FALSE.

The difference between Christians and Hindus is that committed Christians think they are right and use ideas and words to persuade, while militant Hindus think they are right and are willing to use force to make people agree with them. I think the difference is that a Christian can appeal to facts like the Big Bang theory, and the Hindu cannot really do that, as this Hindu commenter to another post showed.

I really recommend that you listen to that debate, and there is a play-by-play summary that I wrote in case the bandwidth is too high. And read my exchange with the Hindu commenter, too.

Here is the major persecution story in Orissa that I blogged about before. And here’s another small story from Orissa that I found.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mitch Daniels thinks that government should cut spending

Story about frugal Indiana governor Mitch Daniels at the Weekly Standard.

Excerpt:

Daniels is a font of statistics, but one comes to his lips more than any other. “Only 61 cents of every education dollar gets into the classroom in Indiana.” School funding increased every year under Daniels before the recession, and since the downturn, when most areas of state government have seen cuts of 25 percent or more, education has been reduced by only 2 percent. Yet the local school boards and their Democratic allies in the state legislature continue to complain. Daniels calls education funding “the bloody shirt” of Indiana politics: “It doesn’t take long before somebody starts waving it.” One of my favorite bits of Daniels video on YouTube shows him at a press conference defending a bill to end “social promotion” in the state’s grade schools. School districts were appalled that the bill would pass without “additional resources” to educate the kids who would be held back.

A reporter asked him about it.

“By the time a child has finished third grade, the state has spent $40,000 and the school district has had 720 days to teach that child to read,” he said, tight-lipped. “If that child can’t read by then, there is a fundamental failure in that district. And they’ll need to remedy it. The most unacceptable thing to do is to shove that child along to fourth grade into almost certain academic failure. That’s a cruel thing to do, it’s a wrong thing to do, and we’re going to put an end to it.”

The reporter pressed: But won’t the schools need more money?

Daniels’s eyes got wide.

“More than $40,000 to teach someone how to read? No. It won’t and it shouldn’t and any school district that can’t do it ought to face consequences.”

And this is actually normal behavior for him:

When Daniels took office, in 2004, the state faced a $200 million deficit and hadn’t balanced its budget in seven years. Four years later, all outstanding debts had been paid off; after four balanced budgets, the state was running a surplus of $1.3 billion, which has cushioned the blows from a steady decline in revenues caused by the recession. “That’s what saved us when the recession hit,” one official said. “If we didn’t have the cash reserves and the debts paid off, we would have been toast.” The state today is spending roughly the same amount that it was when Daniels took office, largely because he resisted the budget increases other states were indulging in the past decade.

No other state in the Midwest—all of them, like Indiana, dependent on a declining manufacturing sector—can match this record. Venture capital investment in Indiana had lagged at $39 million annually in the first years of this decade. By 2009 it was averaging $94 million. Even now the state has continued to add jobs—7 percent of new U.S. employment has been in Indiana this year, a state with 2 percent of the country’s population. For the first time in 40 years more people are moving into the state than leaving it. Indiana earned its first triple-A bond rating from Standard and Poor’s in 2008; the other two major bond rating agencies concurred in April 2010, making it one of only nine states with this distinction, and one of only two in the Midwest.

Yes, let’s elect people like Mitch Daniels who like to cut costs instead of increasing spending – people with a record for caring about balancing the budget.

UPDATE: Or not! ECM pointed me out this “truce” comment that he made. It turns out that he is soft on social issues and probably a little soft on foreign policy issues as well! Thanks, ECM.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Indian-American Nikki Haley wins South Carolina governor primary

Nikki Haley and her husband Michael Haley

Story here from the Wall Street Journal.

Excerpt:

South Carolina State Rep. Nikki Haley, a favorite of tea party activists, survived a turbulent primary campaign Tuesday to advance in her bid to become her state’s first woman governor, on a night that results nationally reaffirmed this year’s anti-establishment tide.

In early returns, Ms. Haley held a double-digit lead in a four-person race for the GOP nomination. She will head into a runoff with the second-place finisher, Rep. Gresham Barrett, the Associated Press reported.

Ms. Haley had trailed badly early in the campaign, but won support from the tea party movement and an endorsement from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Her competitors included top officials in the GOP establishment, including the state’s attorney general and lieutenant governor.

[...]In South Carolina, Ms. Haley surged in recent weeks from long-shot to leader. After that, the race became rocky, as two GOP political operatives said they’d had affairs with Ms. Haley.

The attacks only seemed to strengthen the prospects of Ms. Haley, 38, who was born a Sikh but converted to Christianity. If she wins the governorship, she could quickly become a star in a Republican Party eager to reach out to minorities, women and young people.

Nikki is the daughter of first-generation Sikh immigrants from the Punjab, in India. She’s only 38! The only other Indian-American governor is Bobby Jindal, who I really like! Now I might have TWO Indian-Americans to blog about! If she wins! By the way, she is a Protestant, which is really rarity for India. Most Christians in India are Roman Catholic. Jindal is a Roman Catholic, and a solid one.

Oh, and a couple of businesswomen won the Republican nominations for governor (Meg Whitman) and senator (Carly Fiorina) in California. Ho hum. That’s commonplace in the world of conservatism. The Republican party is the party of conservative women who succeed on their own steam, without needing the government’s help. After all, we’re the party of Michele Bachmann, Marsha Blackburn and Sarah Palin. We like SMALL government, because we like STRONG families, and fathers who bring home the bacon.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , ,

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