Saturday, February 07, 2015

Core Curiculum


Discrete Delivery

But ... in a plain wrapper

Tom Jefferson, 2016

Jefferson in 2016

In recent years candidates have assumed that they can win over evangelicals by learning Christian slogans, by masking political rallies as prayer meetings, and by basically producing a long-form new birth certificate to prove they’ve been born again. This sort of identity politics is a luxury of a past era when evangelicals were part of a silent majority in the U.S., with our First Amendment freedoms assumed and guaranteed. That is not the present situation.

Yet the same Baptists and other evangelicals who wouldn't have let Jefferson near their baptismal pools were willing to check his name for president of the United States because he was willing to stand up for religious freedom. That’s why the most important test of 2016 may be the Thomas Jefferson Primary —the race to see which candidates offer a clear, coherent vision of religious liberty when the very idea is contested in American politics.
In the past several elections, religious liberty has hardly been mentioned. There was chatter about the sermons of the pastors of candidates Barack Obama and Sarah Palin in 2008, and about whether evangelicals would vote for a Mormon in 2012—they did, without much trouble. But candidates didn't have to answer how they would protect the legacy of religious freedom, fought so hard for by Jefferson and his Baptist allies.

Yes, the Supreme Court handed religious-liberty advocates a victory in the Hobby Lobby case—ruling in 2014 that certain private companies can be exempt from aspects of the Affordable Care Act for religions reasons. But who would have predicted a few years ago that a decision about whether the government could force employers to pay for abortion-causing drugs would rest on one swing vote on the court?

Even more troubling was the 2012 Hosanna-Tabor decision. Again, religious freedom won the day in a ruling maintaining a church’s right to hire ministers apart from government interference. But that court victory was against a White House arguing a point that no previous administration ever would have pursued.

In 2016, it doesn’t matter whether a candidate knows the words to hymns. What will matter to evangelicals is how the candidate, if elected president, will articulate and defend religious-liberty rights. This is about more than whether the candidate will repeat clich├ęs about appointing Supreme Court justices who will “interpret the law, not make the law.” We want to know how this potential president will rein in an administrative apparatus that has plunged the country into ongoing culture wars over, for instance, compelling virgin nuns to pay for birth control. [Full]

I'm not an evangelical, but have no problem with evangelicals being evangelical.  I do think  Russell Moore makes valid points about what we are all hoping to see addressed in the coming election.  I probably would have a quibble about Moore's depiction of Thomas Jefferson's views on religion, and how they have been misappropriated by the religious left  who use his "freedom of religion" letter quite improperly.

Particle Fever


Particle Fever                                

GeV Higher, Higher!

Arguing with an engineer is a lot like wrestling in the mud with a pig. After a couple of hours you realize the pig likes it.
It seems that I have an uncommon number of engineer types who stop here; I don't know why.  Either it's because they like the mental gymnastics; i.e., I am always one step ahead of them; or they enjoy shooting at a stationary target?  At any rate, I once chose Journalism as a major because it was the only course of study in all of the University of Maryland that had not a single math requirement.  And that's odd too, because all the various aptitude tests I've taken show music and mathematics as my strong suit.  I can only conclude that all that is trumped by recklessness, another trait, which has me doing stuff like this, or plain carelessness. 

Bottom line then is,  when it comes to astro physics I'm a spectator who could not if you put a gun to my head understand the numbers behind Particle Fever, but am nevertheless enthralled by them.  BTW, I was rooting for a 140 GeV. Why?  I know, but can't explain it.  Also, if I was involved,  Monica would give me a boner, for some reason.