Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Judge Jean Boyd gives no jail time to drunk driver who murdered four people

State District Judge Jean Boyd

State District Judge Jean Boyd

Here’s the story from CBS News.

Excerpt:

A Texas teenager killed four people while driving drunk in June. Prosecutors pushed for a 20-year sentence, but a judge sentenced the teen to 10 years probation and no jail time.

[...]A psychologist testified for the defense that the teen was a product of something he called “affluenza.” He meant [Ethan] Couch doesn’t link bad behavior with consequences because his parents taught him that wealth buys privilege.

That psychologist cited one instance when Couch, then 15, was caught in a parked pickup with a naked 14-year-old girl who was passed out. Couch was never punished, the psychologist said. He also testified the teenager was allowed to drink at a very young age and began driving at 13.

Investigators said surveillance tape showed Couch and his friends stealing beer from a Walmart store in June.

After leaving a party, police said Couch had his pickup going nearly 70 mph in a 40 mph zone. About 400 yards down the street, he slammed into Holly and Shelby Boyles, who had stopped to help Breanna Mitchell fix a flat tire.

Youth Pastor Brian Jennings was driving by and had also stopped to help. All of them were killed. Couch was charged with four counts of intoxication manslaughter and tried as a juvenile.

[...]Boyles said the verdict doesn’t give victims’ family the justice they need for closure.

“My immediate reaction is I’m back to week one,” he said. “We have accomplished nothing here. My healing process is out the window.”

You can read more about State District Judge Jean Boyd here. I can’t believe that this woman is a judge in Texas, of all places.

I was listening to Dennis Prager talk about this at lunch on Thursday, and I wanted to relay two points that came up. First, Prager noted that the judge was a woman, and that women tend to focus more on compassion and non-judgmentalism than men. Men tend to focus more on justice and moral standards. Men tend to believe that punishing evil harshly is the right thing to do because it deters future crimes. Men also tend to believe that punishing evil sends a message to the rest of society about what is wrong, which deters future crimes. What message does this judge’s sentence send to 16-year-old boys? It says “you can kill four innocent people and injure a fifth and get off Scot-free”.

Second, a caller to the show said that if the murderer is deemed not responsible because of what his parents did to him, then why are the parents not being punished for it? That’s a good question, and it prompts me to think about what real justice in the case might look like. Here is what real justice would look like, from someone who is not affected by the crime. First, disbar the judge so that she cannot practice law in Texas. Second, give the murderer the 20-year sentence sought by the prosecution. Third, confiscate every penny of the assets of the parents, and distribute it to the families of the victims. That is not lenient, but it would be restitution, which ought to be one of the functions of the law.

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Peter J. Williams lectures on the historical reliability of the gospel narratives

Peter J. Williams

Peter J. Williams

This is a lecture I found from British historian Dr. Peter J. Williams.

Here’s the main lecture: (54 minutes)

And here’s the Q&A: (9 minutes)

About Peter Williams:

Peter J. Williams is the Warden (CEO) of Tyndale House and a member of the Faculty of Divinity in the University of Cambridge. He received his MA, MPhil and PhD, in the study of ancient languages related to the Bible from Cambridge University. After his PhD, he was on staff in the Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge University (1997–1998), and thereafter taught Hebrew and Old Testament there as Affiliated Lecturer in Hebrew and Aramaic and as Research Fellow in Old Testament at Tyndale House, Cambridge (1998–2003). From 2003 to 2007 he was on the faculty of the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, where he became a Senior Lecturer in New Testament and Deputy Head of the School of Divinity, History and Philosophy. In July 2007 he became the youngest Warden in the history of Tyndale House. He also retains his position as an honorary Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies at the University of Aberdeen.

Summary of the lecture:

  • What if the stories about Jesus are legendary?
  • were the gospels transmitted accurately?
  • were the gospels written in the same place as where the events happened?
  • do the gospel authors know the customs and locations where the events happened?
  • do the gospels use the right names for the time and place where the events took place?
  • do the gospels disambiguate people’s names depending on how common those names were?
  • how do the New Testament gospels compare to the later gnostic gospels?
  • how do the gospels refer to the main character? How non-Biblical sources refer to Jesus?
  • how does Jesus refer to himself in the gospels? do the later Christians refer to him that way?
  • how does Jesus teach? do later Christians teach the same way?
  • why didn’t Jesus say anything about early conflicts in the church (the Gentiles, church services)?
  • did the writers of the gospels know the places where the events took place?
  • how many places are named in the gospels? how about in the later gnostic gospels?
  • are the botanical details mentioned in the gospels accurate? how about the later gnostic gospels?

And here are the questions from the audience:

  • how what about the discrepancies in the resurrection narratives that Bart Ehrman is obsessed with?
  • what do you think of the new 2011 NIV translation (Peter is on the ESV translation committee)?
  • how did untrained, ordinary men produce complex, sophisticated documents like the gospels?
  • is oral tradition a strong enough bridge between the events and the writers who interviewed the eyewitnesses?
  • what does the name John mean?
  • why did the gospel writers wait so long before writing their gospels?
  • do you think that Matthew and Luke used a hypothetical source which historians call “Q”?
  • which gospel do critical historians trust the least and why?

I really enjoyed watching this lecture. He’s getting some of this material from Richard Bauckham’s awesome book “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses”, so if you aren’t familiar with it, you can get an idea of what’s in it. Peter Williams is a lot of fun to listen to – an excellent speaker.

You can read an interview with Peter Williams here on Between Two Worlds.

And you can listen to the Peter Williams vs Bart Ehrman debate. That link contains a link to the audio of the debate as well as my snarky summary. It’s very snarky.

And Apologetics 315 also posted Peter Williams’ assessment of Bart Ehrman’s “Misquoting Jesus”.

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Great news: Supreme Court declines to hear appeal of Texas ban on late-term abortions

Life News reports.

Excerpt:

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia issued an opinion today indicating the Supreme Court will not get involved in a case out of Texas that has abortion facilities there appealing a law that has closed numerous abortion clinics that can’t protect women’s health.

In a big victory for pro-life advocates in Texas earlier this month, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Judge Lee Yeakel of the Western District Court in Austin and restored key portions of a pro-life law in Texas that will ultimately stop abortions and could close abortion clinics. Abortion clinics appealed that decision to the Supreme Court and Justice Scalia issued a ruling today saying the high court will not get involved.

“The underlying legal question — whether the new Texas statute is constitutional — is a difficult question. It is a question, I believe, that at least four members of this court will wish to consider irrespective of the 5th Circuit’s ultimate decision,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote with Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito concurring. “I would maintain the status quo while the lower courts consider this difficult, sensitive, and controversial legal matter.”

The justices voted 5-4 to leave Texas’ pro-life provisions in place and the four Democrat-appointed pro-abortion justices all voted to overturn the pro-life measure. Justice Stephen Breyer write a dissenting opinion saying he expected the case to return to the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy did not join an opinion or write their own, but they sided with Scalia, Thomas and Alito.

So the pro-life side wins, for now. All five Republican-appointed judges sided with Texas. But that decision could change if we elect another Democrat to be President and the balance of the Supreme Court changes to be more pro-abortion. For example, Hillary Clinton is almost as pro-abortion as Obama is, and she would definitely appoint pro-abortion judges.

However there was some bad news in Texas to spoil the good news:

A grant from the Obama administration is allowing the Planned Parenthood abortion business to reopen a clinic in Texas it closed after the passage of new pro-life laws there.

Planned Parenthood has closed a number of clinics after Texas Governor Rick Perry signed into law a bill that bans abortions after 20 weeks and holds abortion facilities accountable for higher health and safety standards. Other clinics closed after Perry signed a bill to stop taxpayer funding for the abortion giant.

But now, thanks to federal funding, a Planned Parenthood clinic will reopen in Mission, Texas that has been closed for two years.

The Obama administration is the most radically pro-abortion we’ve ever had. They have no qualms at all about about using the tax dollars of pro-lifers to fund organizations that provide abortions.

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Texas judge rules that it is OK for Planned Parenthood to put women’s lives at risk

Some bad news from Life News.

Excerpt:

A Texas judge today issued an opinion striking down two parts of a Texas pro-life law that protects women from dangerous abortions.

The judge blocked part of the law that required its doctors to have the right to admit patients to local hospitals. Texas became one of several states that require abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals so women can be treated when they are victimized by botched abortions.

The admitting privileges statute “does not bear a rational relationship to the legitimate right of the State in preserving and promoting fetal life or a woman’s health and, in any event, places a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus and is thus an undue burden to her,” Yeakel wrote. “The court concludes that admitting privileges have no rational relationship to improved patient care.”

[...]The judge also ruled that the part of the law that requires abortion businesses to follow FDA protocol, by only dispensing the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug in person, can apply except when the life or health of the mother is in danger — even though abortions routinely put women’s lives and health at risk.

Texas legislated in part because Planned Parenthood’s off-label usage of the drug led to numerous deaths and injuries to women.

The (Republican) Attorney General of Texas will appeal the decision.

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If you want to annoy the left, then raise your children to be like Texas senator Ted Cruz

Texas Republican senator Ted Cruz

Texas Republican senator Ted Cruz

Here’s a profile in National Review of my one of my favorite senators.

Excerpt:

The party’s highest-profile Texans, George W. Bush and Rick Perry, tended to match inarticulateness with cowboy swagger and lend themselves to mockery as intellectual lightweights. Bush went to Yale and Harvard Business School, yet no one naturally thinks of him as an Ivy Leaguer. The two Lone Star State governors played into the Left’s stereotypes so nicely that if they didn’t exist, the New York Times editorial board would have had to invent them.

Cruz is different — a Princeton and Harvard man who not only matriculated at those fine institutions but excelled at them. Champion debater at Princeton. Magna cum laude graduate at Harvard. Supreme Court clerkship, on the way to Texas solicitor general and dozens of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Cruz is from the intellectual elite, but not of it, a tea-party conservative whose politics are considered gauche at best at the storied universities where he studied. He is, to borrow the words of the 2008 H.W. Brands biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt, a traitor to his class.

Democrats and liberal pundits would surely dislike Cruz no matter where he went to school, but his pedigree adds an element of shocked disbelief to the disdain. “Princeton and Harvard should be disgraced,” former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell exclaimed on MSNBC, as if graduating a constitutionalist conservative who rises to national prominence is a violation of the schools’ mission statements.

[...]In a Washington Post column a year ago, Dana Milbank noted Cruz’s schooling and concluded that his tea-party politics must be a put-on, that he is, underneath it all, an “intellectually curious, liberal-arts conservative.” Note the insulting assumption that an interest in books and ideas immunizes someone from a certain kind of conservative politics.

One of the Left’s deepest prejudices is that its opponents are stupid, and Cruz tramples on it. At hearings, Cruz has the prosecutorial instincts of a . . . Harvard-trained lawyer. Watching Attorney General Eric Holder try to fend off Cruz’s questioning on the administration’s drone policy a few months ago was like seeing a mouse cornered by a very large cat.

Cruz hasn’t played by the Senate rules that freshmen should initially be seen and not heard. In fact, he joined the upper chamber with all the subtlety of a SWAT team knocking down a drug suspect’s front door.

For people who care about such things — almost all of them are senators — this is an unforgivable offense. At another hearing, as Cruz says that the highest commitment of senators should be to the Constitution, another senator can be heard muttering that he doesn’t like being lectured. Chairman Pat Leahy (probably the mutterer) eventually cuts him off and informs him he hasn’t been in the Senate very long.

Cruz lacks all defensiveness about his positions, another source of annoyance to his opponents, who are used to donning the mantle of both intellectual and moral superiority.

And here’s a quick review of where Ted Cruz came from:

Rafael Cruz, the father of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, invigorated the crowd during tonight’s FreedomWorks Free the People event.

Describing his own personal journey escaping Cuba and working hard to build a life for himself in the U.S., the elder Cruz noted comparisons that he believes exist between Fidel Castro’s governance and President Barack Obama’s executive actions.

Upon rising to power, he said that Castro, like Obama, spoke about hope and change. While the message sounded good at the time, it didn’t take long for socialism to take root in his home country. And he paid the price.

For his part in the revolution — one that many originally assumed would yield a more vibrant country — Cruz was punished while in Cuba.

“I was in prison,” he said. “I was tortured, but by the grace of God I was able to leave Cuba on a student VISA and came to the greatest country on the face of the earth.”

Cruz described his efforts working as a dishwasher in America and paying his own way through the University of Texas. From there, he built a life for himself — one that was filled with experiences that caused him to greatly appreciate the country that had given him so much.

His plight in Cuba colored his American experience

“You can’t understand a loss of rights unless you’ve experienced it,” Cruz told TheBlaze following the speech.

His unique perspective leaves Cruz with the ability, he argues, to see the troubling signs surrounding socialism. Young people in America today, he told TheBlaze, take for granted the rights and privileges that the U.S. has afforded them.

Fascinating.

Now people always complain when I say that I am trying to find a wife with the background, education, experience and temperment to raise effective, influential children. I have a whole list of influential people I want to clone, in fact. I want a William Lane Craig, a Wayne Grudem, a Michael Licona, a Guillermo Gonzales, an Ann Gauger, a Jennifer Roback Morse, a Scott Klusendorf, a Mark Regnerus, and… a Ted Cruz. And I’ve saved the money to be able to get at least a few of those, too. The truth is that I had some of the experiences that Cruz’s father had, and if he can make a Ted Cruz, then so should I be able to. They have to come from somewhere!

Now of course it’s hard to guarantee outcomes when it comes to raising children, but there are some things you can prepare for. You can study things you hate that are hard, and save your money for Ph.D tuition. You can go to grad school yourself and publish research. You can look for a wife who shows the ability to nurture people so that they get better and rise higher. And maybe, you might just raise the next Ted Cruz. I think the old adage “if you aim at nothing, then you will surely hit it” is a good saying for marriage. If you are going to put hundreds of thousands of dollars and decades of your life into a marriage, then you should aim at something. You might hit it. You’re not just there to make another person feel good – you’re there to make the marriage serve God. Raising influential, effective children is one way of doing that. But it doesn’t happen by accident. And it isn’t necessarily going to be “fun”.

By the way, my Canadian readers might like to know that Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta – the most conservative city in Canada. And it shows. You guys up north still have your Stephen Harper and your Ezra Levant, but we took your Ted Cruz and your Mark Steyn. We need them more than you do!

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