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Actor Ashton Kutcher is winning applause from the pro-life community for sharing a powerful video about Down syndrome on his Facebook page, although it remains unclear where he himself lands on the hot-button issue of abortion.
Actor Ashton Kutcher is winning applause from the pro-life community for sharing a powerful video about Down syndrome on his Facebook page, although it remains unclear where he himself lands on the hot-button issue of abortion.
by Phil JohnsonA friend—actually a very good friend of mine—noticed that I had spoken on "virtue signaling" at the G3 pre-conference, and he put a comment on my FaceBook page asking if signing a manifesto like the Dallas Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel might not be legitimately seen as "the conservative equivalent of liberal virtue signaling." Here's my reply:f you listen carefully to the definition I gave, virtue signaling is when you affirm a trendy, politically correct, or socially popular position in order to claim the moral high ground or garner praise—especially when you have little intention of doing anything else about the issue you are publicly wringing your hands over.So my conscience is clear.Still, it's certainly possible that someone wishing only to trumpet his own notion of "stylish orthodoxy" might think signing a conservative group's manifesto could accomplish that self-aggrandizing purpose.But one could say that about anyone in any context who makes his or her opinions known publicly. Blogging, FaceBook comments, even sermons delivered from a sound church's pulpit all carry the same risk.So unless a person is willing to keep all his opinions to himself, he ought to examine his own motives on a regular basis. Because Scripture does say, "Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak."This is therefore a good reminder. "Let a person examine himself."But Scripture also says, "Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience." So silence isn't always a virtue.Anyway, I take your feedback as a good reminder, and not a rebuke. Anyone who knows you should understand (as I do) that you were not just trying to pick a fight for the sake of being contentious.ut: When one sees a massive bandwagon rolling by, filled with people who have all suddenly become concerned with a specific issue that is being hard-peddled to them by celebrities and trend-setters, and all these people are both trumpeting their own wokeness and shaming everyone who isn't woke yet (including aiming their newfound scorn at respectable Christian leaders who may not share the now-trendy opinion)—one can hardly help concluding that this is another wave of just what we saw when Emergents were saying similar things and shaming the rest of us for not being sufficiently postmodern."Woke," it turns out, is the new postmodern.The current wave of political correctness has simply put a veneer of evangelical moral outrage on the idea of "social justice," without carefully delineating how the term "social justice" as it has been employed in modern and postmodern secular academic circles (and in liberal religion) for more than a century now. And if you look at the landscape carefully, you'll see that leading the parade of those who are clamoring for a "woke church" is a pack of socialists and liberation theology buffs.Pointing out that fact is hardly an example of "virtue signaling."Here's that message from the G3 preconference:Phil's signature
WHAT'S UP, DOC?There have been some interesting events in Israel recently and in Gaza. Perhaps the most exciting event in Israel is the opening of the moved United States' Embassy.On a hillside in south Jerusalem is the location of the latest US Consulate. It resides next to the Ramat Rachael Kibbutz, in Arnona. There are actually two consulates in Jerusalem. One is located on Agron Street, near the Leonardo Hotel (the old Sheraton), and across the street from Independence Park.The other is, as we said, in Arnona, and with some adjustments, is the location of the Embassy, which has been moved from Tel Aviv. The current site is really a stop-gap situation until more new construction is completed.A friend recently asked me if the move was a good thing. Like almost everything, that depends on your perspective. Israelis, left and right-leaning are excited about the new situation.President Donald Trump issued the order, fulfilling the promises of at least four previous Presidents. They said they'd do it to get votes, and then allowed politics to keep them from keeping their promise. Trump seems the first President in decades who considers campaign promises sacrosanct and made the decision. The move was celebrated on Israel's seventieth birthday, so the celebration was a big deal in Israel, although the Prez skipped the party. Of course, the Palestinians were angry. After the zero-sum games that Obama and others played, trying to keep the PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Bibi happy simultaneously (which efforts were always doomed from the beginning). Trump, on the other hand, has maintained from the beginning that he is pro-Israel decided that enough was enough, made the hard decision and voila, the Embassy is in Jerusalem. President Abbas, who is in the ninth year of a five-year term, is his own worst enemy. As the old saying goes, he never seems to miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. For months he has been poking a stick in the spokes of any peace moves, even discussions. At the same time, he's been talking to Hamas about taking over Gaza. Egypt wants to see an agreement between both parties, although we wonder if they don't want Gaza for themselves. At the same time, Hamas had talked about a long-term peace agreement with Israel, though no one really believes that they mean a word of it. Gaza is desperate for more money to build tunnels and rockets, so they trot out the peace ideas, and then go on as they have since 2005 when PM Ari Sharon gave Gaza back to the Palestinians.In 2007, Hamas ran off the PA security forces in an armed insurrection. Since that time the common Palestinians have seen their meager standard of living nosedive. Millions of dollars came to Gaza in the 2005 agreement that would have allowed the Arab government to build housing, infrastructure and a profitable business environment, but rather than do something sensible, the money went into the pockets of politicians and a war machine. Now electricity and water are scarce, only on for a couple of hours a day, tunnels continue to be built under the Israel security fence, and yes, leaders' bank accounts still grow. There was a statement out this week by a left-wing Israeli politician that broached the idea of Israel annexing the West Bank, all of it. That is an idea that we have long supported and written about in the past on these pages. It is a shocker, though in Israel, that a leftist would consider such a shocking idea in print. We have just completed a book that will be out in a couple of weeks titled, The President, that we think you will find interesting and entertaining if you are interested in Israel and the Middle East mess. We'll announce it on the Ernie Moore Facebook page and of course, here when we release it. Jordan's King Abdullah II is doing what he normally does. Issue statements indicting his best friend, Israel, and hoping no one starts a war that he could be dragged into. We wish he would come out of the cave into the open with statements of approval of Israel. The two nations share so much in the areas of military, education and environmental areas already, but with over 70% of Jordan's citizens being Palestinians, the political pressure is on the King and that reality makes it difficult for him to speak the truth. Politics in Israel are so predictable that we almost hate to discuss them. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the longest serving PM in Israel's history. His popularity is a given, but men like Yair Lapid constantly are like terriers nipping at his ankles. Then there's the standard ruse to flush politicians. Accuse them of some skullduggery. Every past PM for years have been hounded from office by the combination of opposition politicians and the left-wing media. They drum up some kind of case against the man in power and keep repeating it until they get enough of the population to agree and out goes the guy. In Netanyahu's case, it's been against him and his wife, Sara, too. Sara is guilty of being a shrew, of spending money on the official residence and a private home in Caesarea. Bibi is accused of accepting gifts of cigars and wine. So goes the media, but thus far Bibi is stayed strong. And don't dismiss the charges as nothing. I invited a government official to lunch a few years back. He and I met for in his ministry's cafeteria for some conversation. Since I had asked for interview, I offered to pay for lunch. He was having none of it. “I cannot allow it!” he said. “If I accept your kind offer, I could be accused of accepting gifts and fired.” That is how serious this kind of thing is to people in government. Of course, we all know that some kind of payoffs do occur. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert went to jail for the crime. Olmert was, in my opinion, not just corrupt, but inexcusably inept, and we were not sad to see him go. But this is how Israeli politics work. If someone accepts gifts (or bribes), they will likely get caught and broomed out of power. Don't misunderstand me. I'm against pay-offs at any level, but when the leftists use the press to build their cases against people who are doing the job of protecting Israel, then it can get way out of hand. The latest US jetfighter, the F-35, recently made history. It flew its first combat mission over Syria. Some of the jets were sold to Israel and messed up some Iranian installations inside the disaster zone that Syria has become, having overseen the death of over 200,000 of its citizens. Russia's President recently requested Iran to leave Syria, but that was, of course, rejected. With Hezbollah, the Iranian proxy, in Syria, they could well do without the Iranian Revolutionary Guard there, but it seems that Iran wants to be closer to Israel, so they don't have to travel so far when the time comes to attack. President Trump has stated that he is going to pull all US troops out of Syria, and we are pleased by that decision. Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria have never turned out well for the US. We believe it is time for bringing those troops either home or to be stationed in Israel as a safeguard in case of an attack there. Having them there endangers the troops for no real advantage. Incidentally, there seems to be some reporting that Obama was shipping arms to someone in Syria from Benghazi. Most likely to the supposed American allies who are/were waging war against Assad, troops. Those “freedom fighters” have sided with al Qaeda at times, and we fail to see how that bunch could be considered our allies. Better, from our perspective, to let the sides fight it out until the dust settles and see who's left standing. In Israel there have been over 200 stabbing and ramming attacks inside Israel in the past few months. Civilians are constantly at risk. Most of the victims are either the elderly, the Hasids, the infirm or the military, especially the Border Police. This last group is armed, and the attackers usually end up dead or wounded, but no one has ever said that the attackers are Mensa candidates. President Abbas, of the PA is sick. He is said to have a heart specialist that travels with him everywhere he goes. Recently he was at Johns Hopkins for a checkup. And more recently was hospitalized inside the PA for what was reported as an ear infection. An Arab newspaper showed him reading a paper with a photo of a terrorist on the front page. Abbas has been to various celebrations lifting up these “martyrs” as heroes. Until that nonsense stops, we predict that there will be no decrease in the attacks on Israelis.His spokesman reported this week that the uproar over the new Embassy location has him hospitalized. Well, that is our summary of recent events around the area. Right now, the most predictable report in Israel is the weatherman's statement that it will be hot and sunny. We will be adjusting our regular Barnabuspress.com site with a weekly analysis or report, rather than trying to keep up with events on a daily basis. And we thank all who have prayed for our recovery. We suffered two heart attacks, open heart surgery and a debilitating stroke. My wife more recently underwent her second heart valve replacement. We are both on the mend, for which we are grateful. Thanks to some wonderful doctors and therapists, both at the Houston VA hospital and other locations who have been a rich blessing to us. I'm able to walk again, though I'm not back to normal, and my wife is recovering well. Praise the Lord. More ...
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