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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

The Nature of Love

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During the week just past Scott Rasmussen, in a post intriguingly entitled, “The Culture Is Powerful Enough to Fix Our Broken Political System” wrote of listening to Arthur Brooks lecture on what will fix our politics:

Brooks, the president of the American Enterprise Institute, shocked many in the room by saying that civility and tolerance are not the antidote to political polarization. What, he wondered, would we think of his marriage if he and his wife were civil and tolerated each other?

The answer, according to Brooks, is that for our political system to work effectively, we need to love those who disagree with us. If we are attacked on social media, for example, Brooks said we should not fight back. Instead, we should offer a warm-hearted response. He encouraged everyone in attendance to seek out those who disagree with them and find a way to respond with love. Thank your opponents for taking the time to comment on your work. Thank them for their opinion. Show them you really care.

Which sent me to reevaluate a piece I wrote earlier this week about the fact that “love corrects.”  I still stand by that, because in the scriptures I quoted there are adverbs and adjectives that call for “gentleness.”  There is style, there is substance and there is making sure your style and substance match each other and reality.  In other words, acting nice, while being spiteful just is not going to cover it.

This is why Brooks contrasts civility and tolerance with love.  In the modern era, civility and tolerance are cover for spite and worse, not antidotes.  But they are not contrasted to love, they are part of it – but only part.  Brooks wants to make sure we partake of the whole enchilada.  All of which has me thinking a lot about the nature of love.

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Church Under Fire

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Two stories this morning that show Christianity under fire, both earned and unearned.

Let’s start with the earned:

Federal prosecutors have opened an investigation of child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania, using subpoenas to demand secret files and testimony from high-ranking leaders in what victims’ advocates say is the first such probe ever launched by the U.S. Justice Department.

But here is the kicker:

While the subpoenas hint at possible charges of sexual exploitation of minors and fraud, legal experts said that if federal prosecutors can show that church leaders systematically covered up for child-molesting priests in the past five years, dioceses could also be charged under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, the law originally passed to bring down the Mafia.

That’s right folks.  It is possible the Roman Catholic Church will be prosecuted just like the mob.  In his tweet on the matter the host points out how the RCC has entirely earned such treatment.  I am not Catholic so I don’t want to get too critical here about Catholic stuff, but I will say this, having a church, any church, prosecuted as a criminal organization does enormous and scarring damage to the gospel itself.  When you make that the only church to stand throughout Christian history, and the largest in the world, the damage is pretty hard to get your head around.

If the RCC is smart they are going to move very quickly to get out ahead of this, and the rest of Christianity darn well better.  The key is going to be to somehow maintain some sort of Christian unity while condemning this crap.  Christianity has enough fire coming in from more conventional sources to take this kind of damage. Consider for example, a WaPo piece from this morning.

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Things That Will Pull You Up Short

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Two useful stories from Bloomberg this morning.  Thing One:

Top 3% of U.S. Taxpayers Paid Majority of Income Tax in 2016

You know, I understand, and to some degree, agree with the principle behind progressive tax rates, but don’t you think that is taking things a bit too far?  Stunning stat, “The top 50 percent of all taxpayers paid 97 percent of total individual income taxes.”  Do you know what it takes to qualify in the top 50%?  Income over 40 grand a year.  That’s not that much money folks.  So not only is our tax structure excessively progressive, which you would think meant people on the lower end of the spectrum got off easy, it still punishes the near-poor.  I don’t see anything anywhere near resembling “fairness” in this picture at all.

But Thing Two is what really took my breath away:

Almost Half of U.S. Births Happen Outside Marriage, Signaling Cultural Shift

They are quick to try and soften that blow with, “The data show such births in the U.S. and EU are predominantly to unmarried couples living together rather than to single mothers, the report says. ”  However, that is somewhat misleading.  One source says, “In the United States and in the UK, couples who live together are at a greater risk for divorce than non-cohabiting couples.”  One study shows a 27% chance that couples cohabiting at the time of a child’s birth will split by the time a child is 5, while it is only a 9% chance for married couples.  In other words, the odds of that “not-really-out-of-wedlock” child ending up in a single mother household are pretty strong.

This is more than a cultural shift, this is a change in the basic dynamics of our society.

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Congressman Mike Gallagher On The Tyndall F-22s And The Navy’s Missing Plan For a 355 Ship Navy That President Trump Has Promised Again And Again

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Congressman Mike Gallagher joined me this morning to talk about the state of the F-22s at Tyndall Air Force Base, as well the glaring gap in the “promises kept” list of President Trump: The lack of a 355 ship plan for the Navy. Representative Gallagher wrote about it here, and here’s the audio:

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