Christian evangelicals: Those knuckle-dragging, anti-science Neaderthals not…

 

Contrary to the popular caricature that many politicians the mainstream media tout about evangelical Christians—likening them to knuckle-dragging, anti-science Neanderthals—a recent study, “Religious Understandings of Science,” found that ~70% of evangelical Christians believe that religion and science are not in conflict with one another. That is, they believe faith and reason are complementary.

pathways

The study, conducted by Rice University Professor of Sociology, Elaine Howard Ecklund, focused upon Christian evangelicals because they constitute approximately 26% of the nation’s population and frequently are depicted as the most hostile body of Christians toward science. About this focus, Ecklund stated:

We really wanted to determine if this claimwas based in any truth. Although many politicians and the media at large portray evangelicals as distrustful of science, we found that this is more myth than reality.

The professor’s findings:

  • 38% of Americans view religion and science as complementary; 35% of Americans view science and religion as entirely independent.
  • 48% of Christian evangelicals view science and religion as complementary; only 21% view them as entirely independent of one another.
  • 15% of Americans and 14% of Christian evangelicals agree that modern science does more harm than good.
  • 76% of scientists in the general U.S. population identify with a religious tradition.
  • Jews (42%), Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus (52% as a group) and the nonreligious (47%) are more interested in new scientific discoveries than evangelicals (22%).

Creationism vs. Evolution

These findings are noteworthy for a couple of reasons.

First: More Christian evangelicals than the population at large believe religion and science are complementary.

Second: The data indicate that fewer Christian evangelicals than the population at large believe religion and science are entirely independent of each other.

Third: It is astounding to learn that 76% of the nation’s scientists identify with a religious tradition and only 24% don’t. If one was to believe media interviews and investigative reports covering matters associated with science, one would mistakenly conclude exactly the opposite was the case.

In sum: The data indicate that the popular caricature touted by politicians and the mainstream media has it backwards. It’s the nation’s population at large that those politicians and the mainstream media should be lampooning, not Christian evangelicals.

But, of course, they can’t do that. Look what happened to Jonathan Gruber. And he was telling the truth!

Or is it that the mainstream media won’t do that? Why so? It’s impossible to assign a motive, but one can surely speculate that doing so furthers a much-cherished agenda: To drive from the public sphere all religious talk and especially the critique faith has to offer as a remedy from a science that is practiced devoid of religion.

Thank goodness, it appears 75% of scientists won’t or don’t do that…despite what the politicians and mainstream media would have people think to the contray.

 

 

 

To read Professor Ecklund’s study, click on the following link:
www.elainehowardecklund.com/research/

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

 

PopeWatch: Joan of Arc and Rules

 VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

Pope Francis continues berating those who follows rules set forth by the Church:

“This has also happened in the history of the Church! Think of poor Joan of Arc: today she is a Saint! She was burnt at the stake because she was considered a heretic… the inquisitors, those who followed the rules, those Pharisees: they were far from the love of God. And closer in time to us think of the Blessed Antonio Rosmini: all of his writings were placed upon the Index. You could not read them; it was considered a sin to read them. Today he is a Blessed. In the History of God with his people the Lord sent forth the prophets to tell His people that He loved them. In the Church, the Lord sends forth the Saints. And it is the Saints who carry forward the life of the Church, not the powerful, not the hypocrites: the Saints”. Continue reading

John Wilkes Booth: Born Under an Unlucky Star

 

Since the fall of 1864 John Wilkes Booth along with others had been plotting against Lincoln.  A supporter of the Confederacy, Booth was also a popular actor, a son of the great actor Junius Brutus Booth who had written  a letter, perhaps tongue in cheek, to Andrew Jackson, threatening to assassinate him.  His brother Edwin Booth, perhaps the foremost American actor of his day and who had saved the life of Robert Todd Lincoln, was a firm supporter of Lincoln and the Union, and had banned his brother from his house in New York.  Booth had an unexplained trip to Montreal in 1864.  It is tempting to suspect that he got in contact with Confederate intelligence operatives active in Canada, but no evidence has been found linking Booth to Confederate intelligence then or later.

Initially Booth and his co-conspirators had planned to kidnap Lincoln and smuggle him South and trade him for Confederate prisoners of war.  They gathered on March 17, 1865 to do so when Lincoln was en route to a play but Lincoln unknowingly foiled the plot by changing his plans.  Booth and his band awaited another opportunity.

In 1874 Asia Booth in a memoir of her brother, that remained unpublished until 1938, recounts a strange event that occurred to Booth while he was a schoolboy and that summed up his life: Continue reading

The Temptations of Christ-Part Four

1] Then Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. [2] And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry. [3] And the tempter coming said to him: If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. [4] Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. [5] Then the devil took him up into the holy city, and set him upon the pinnacle of the temple,

[6] And said to him: If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down, for it is written: That he hath given his angels charge over thee, and in their hands shall they bear thee up, lest perhaps thou dash thy foot against a stone. [7] Jesus said to him: It is written again: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. [8] Again the devil took him up into a very high mountain, and shewed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, [9] And said to him: All these will I give thee, if falling down thou wilt adore me. [10] Then Jesus saith to him: Begone, Satan: for it is written, The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve.

Matthew 4: 1-10

Go here to read part one of our Lenten examination of the temptation of Christ by Satan, here to read part two and here to read part three. With his first two temptations having been rejected, Satan was perhaps in a momentary quandary about what to try next.  One can almost visualize a Satanic smile as he determined the next temptation.

Most Jews assumed that the Messiah, the Son of David, would come to establish the liberty of Israel and to reign as King.  Josephus, writing about events occurring some three and a half decades after Christ’s crucifixion stated that this belief lead to the great Jewish revolt against Rome:  But their chief inducement to go to war was a equivocal oracle also found in their sacred writings, announcing that at that time a man from their country would become the ruler of the world. 

One of Christ’s Apostles may have been a member of the Zealots, one of whose slogans was Dominion Belongs to God Alone.  The Gospels say almost nothing about Simon the Zealot, so it is unclear as to whether he was a member of the Zealot party, or simply zealous.  That of course has not stopped speculation about him and the relationship, if any, of Christ with the Zealots.

Under occupation by a pagan power, Judea was always teetering on the edge of revolt, as Christ, and Satan, well knew, and the image of the Messiah coming in power and glory to restore the kingdom of Israel by force was irresistible. Continue reading

Ides of March: Continuing Fascination

CASSIUS

Stoop, then, and wash. How many ages hence
Shall this our lofty scene be acted over
In states unborn and accents yet unknown!

BRUTUS

How many times shall Caesar bleed in sport,
That now on Pompey’s basis lies along
No worthier than the dust!

CASSIUS

So oft as that shall be,
So often shall the knot of us be call’d
The men that gave their country liberty.

 

 

 

I think it would have amused the Romans of Caesar’s generation if they could have learned that the assassination of Julius Caesar would eventually receive immortality through a play written more than 16 centuries after the event by a barbarian playwright in the Tin Islands that Caesar had briefly invaded.  It would have tickled their well developed concept of the ludicrous, judging from Roman comedy.

In the above video William Shatner gives a pretty poor rendition of the Mark Antony speech.  Charlton Heston, below, shows him how it should be done:

 

 

It is strange the fascination that the assassination of Caesar, more than twenty centuries ago, continues to exert.  Popular historian Barry Strauss has just released a book on the assassination of Caesar, to join the ranks of the many volumes on the subject that came before.  (Strauss is a first rate historian, and I have purchased this book although I have not yet read it.)  Why should this assassination remain of interest?  I think the clue is Dante placing Brutus and Cassius, the chief assassins, in the maws of Satan in his Inferno.  Dante was a partisan of the Empire, and thus the murders of Caesar, the man who gave the dying Republic its final, fatal blow and set the stage for the Empire, were worthy to be placed in the mouths of Satan, along with Judas who betrayed Christ. Continue reading

March 15, 1865: Lincoln and the Almighty

On March 15, 1865, Abraham Lincoln took time to scribble a thank you note to Thurlow Weed.  A political fixer of the first order and a political powerhouse in New York, Weed had been critical of Lincoln after the Emancipation Proclamation and had only grudgingly supported him for re-election.  Interestingly enough, there is no record of Weed sending a letter to Lincoln complimenting him on the Second Inaugural.  Thus Lincoln was either mistaken, or the letter from Weed has vanished along with most correspondence written in the 19th century.  However, that fact is secondary to what Lincoln said in the note:

 

 

 

MARCH 15, 1865

     EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON

     DEAR MR. WEED:

     Every one likes a compliment. Thank you for yours on my little notification speech and on the recent inaugural address. I expect the latter to wear as well as–perhaps better than–anything I have produced; but I believe it is not immediately popular. Men are not flattered by being shown that there has been a difference of purpose between the Almighty and them. To deny it, however, in this case, is to deny that there is a God governing the world. It is a truth which I thought needed to be told, and, as whatever of humiliation there is in it falls most directly on myself, I thought others might afford for me to tell it.

          Truly yours,

                    A. Lincoln

Lincoln underlines in this note the passage in the Second Inaugural in which he thought the War might be a punishment from God inflicted on both North and South: Continue reading

The “Pernicious Habit of Charity”

As Catholic bloggers (or bloggers in general) know all too well, it’s easier to get into heated personal arguments on the internet than it is in person. Debates about various hot-button issues — abortion, capital punishment, just war, nuclear weapons, waterboarding suspected terrorists, voting for candidates who endorse immoral policies, etc. — can run to hundreds of comments. They also, at times, tend to degenerate into back and forth accusations of dissent from Church teaching, or not-so-subtle suggestions that those with the wrong stance on these issues are guilty of mortal sin.

With that in mind, I would like to offer a reflection that I have found helpful in dealing with these issues. It comes from one of C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, and it concerns the ever-popular topic of how to respond to one’s enemies.

The Letters were written during World War II, and in this particular letter, junior demon Wormwood has asked his uncle Screwtape for advice on how to shape the attitudes of his “patient” — a young man of draft age living in England — toward the war. They know that “the Enemy” (God) commands His followers to love their enemies; therefore, one might assume they would do all they could to encourage the patient to hate his country’s enemies, the Germans. But Screwtape cautions Wormwood against that assumption:

“As regards his more general attitude to the war, you must not rely too much on those feelings of hatred which the humans are so fond of discussing in Christian, or anti-Christian, periodicals. In his anguish, the patient can, of course, be encouraged to revenge himself by some vindictive feelings directed towards the German leaders, and that is good so far as it goes. But it is usually a sort of melodramatic or mythical hatred directed against imaginary scapegoats. He has never met these people in real life-they are lay figures modelled on what he gets from newspapers. The results of such fanciful hatred are often most disappointing, and of all humans the English are in this respect the most deplorable milksops. They are creatures of that miserable sort who loudly proclaim that torture is too good for their enemies and then give tea and cigarettes to the first wounded German pilot who turns up at the back door.

“Do what you will, there is going to be some benevolence, as well as some malice, in your patient’s soul. The great thing is to direct the malice to his immediate neighbours whom he meets every day and to thrust his benevolence out to the remote circumference, to people he does not know. The malice thus becomes wholly real and the benevolence largely imaginary. There is no good at all in inflaming his hatred of Germans if, at the same time, a pernicious habit of charity is growing up between him and his mother, his employer, and the man he meets in the train. Think of your man as a series of concentric circles, his will being the innermost, his intellect coming next, and finally his fantasy. You can hardly hope, at once, to exclude from all the circles everything that smells of the Enemy: but you must keep on shoving all the virtues outward till they are finally located in the circle of fantasy, and all the desirable qualities inward into the Will. It is only in so far as they reach the will and are there embodied in habits that the virtues are really fatal to us. (I don’t, of course, mean what the patient mistakes for his will, the conscious fume and fret of resolutions and clenched teeth, but the real centre, what the Enemy calls the Heart.) All sorts of virtues painted in the fantasy or approved by the intellect or even, in some measure, loved and admired, will not keep a man from our Father’s house: indeed they may make him more amusing when he gets there.”

Continue reading

PopeWatch: Squeeze

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:

 

 

At a press conference today in the nation’s capital, Cardinal Emeritus Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles announced that the USCCB is petitioning the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments to require that parishioners give a “good, humanity affirming squeeze” following the doxology which concludes the Lord’s Prayer during Mass.

“God’s people have been spontaneously doing this for years anyway,” Mahoney told EOTT, “We just want to bring uniformity by removing the awkward part. The people will now proudly raise their hands, which are held together as they have been doing, but when they finish praying ‘for thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever, amen,’ they will give that last squeeze, which is meant to communicate, ‘Don’t worry friend…I’m here for you until the very end of Mass.’” Continue reading

Spring?

 

Something for the weekend.  Well, after a February of frequent below zero temps and constant snow and ice, the snow has finally melted where I live, with just a few remnant patches.  Time for some classical music for Spring courtesy of Vivaldi, Strauss and Schumann.

Catholic Teacher Under Fire From Catholic School For Practicing Catholicism

 

 

Jannuzzi Facebook

I used to view as extreme those who predicted that faithful Catholics would face persecution.  Now such people every day are looking more like prophets.  What they forgot to note is that those doing the persecuting would often be fellow Catholics.

Mathew J. Franck at First Things gives this disturbing example of what I am talking about.

 

While Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone holds the line on the teaching of orthodox moral doctrines of the Catholic Church out in San Francisco, here in New Jersey a theology teacher in Immaculata High School in Somerville is threatened with dismissal from her position for . . . agreeing with orthodox moral doctrines of the Catholic Church.

Patricia Januzzi, the teacher in question, recently posted some remarks on same-sex marriage and homosexuality on her publicly accessible Facebook page. After remarking on the dubious proposition that protection of gays and lesbians as a class can be brought within the ambit of the Fourteenth Amendment, Januzzi wrote: “In other words they [advocates of same-sex marriage] want to reeingineer western civ into a slow extinction. We need healthy families with a mother and a father for the sake of the children and humanity!!!!”

Of course—of course—a firestorm erupted over this. Even (whatever happened to) Susan Sarandon weighed in with self-righteous condemnation (it seems her nephew once attended Immaculata). The principal of the school told Januzzi to take down her public Facebook page, which she did, and the school issued a statement a couple of days ago assuring the public that its “investigation” had “determined that the information posted on this social media page has not been reflected in the curriculum content of the classes [Januzzi] teaches.” Then followed the rote recitation of the gospel of “respect and sensitivity.” As stilted and impenetrable as all this was—Januzzi had not posted “information” but opinion, and what, after all, was the school telling us was not “reflected” in the classes it offers?—at least it seemed for one brief shining moment that this little flap would go away.

No such luck. Now it is reliably reported that Patricia Januzzi is under pressure to resign, and threatened with dismissal if she utters a peep about the matter. This is rapidly becoming an outrageous assault against a person whose worst offense was to speak with what some (but by no means all) would call an intemperate passion, in favor of the Church’s teaching. Continue reading

How Appropriate

 

That tribute to all things heretical, The Political Religious Indoctrination Education Congress a/k/a “Three Days of Darkness” sponsored by the LA Archdiocese, is getting under way today on Friday the 13th.  If you aren’t going, here is a sample of what you will be missing:

 

08  The Early Church’s Practice of Eucharist: A Provocative Treasure

Edward Foley, OFM Cap (bio 5-12)

Some believe Christianity was born in uniformity and has become more diverse over the centuries. This consideration of Eucharistic practice in the first three centuries will dismantle that myth. Exploring some of the great diversity of practice in these centuries will allow for fresh interpretations of our Eucharistic traditions. In the process, we will challenge narrow thinking about a moment of consecration, and offer pathways for thinking about inculturating worship today, founded upon ancient and foundational practices of Christian communities.

1-23  The Political Bones: A Mexican Reading of Ezekiel 37? 

In honor of my many Mexican and Mexican-American students, I decided to do some reflection on potential Mexican themes of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in relation to Ezekiel’s famous vision of the Valley of Dry Bones in chapter 37. It was a wonderful intellectual journey. The real joy of my reading was “discovering” (for me, anyway!) the early 20th-century Mexican artist Jose Guadalupe Posada. This session is a report of my findings on how Posada’s political art helps us think about Ezekiel’s magnificent vision!

Prof. Daniel Smith-Christopher

2-03  Dancing with the Saints 

Many saints and holy ones have encouraged us to “open our eyes” to embodied practices of prayer and praise. Through simple song-dances developed for the Abbey of the Arts and based on the spirituality and teachings of the saints, come see these mentors in a new way – as partners in embodied prayer. Kick off your shoes and learn how you (and your students of all ages) can dance with the likes of King David and the prophet Miriam, with Hildegard of Bingen and Mary our Mother, with Francis of Assisi and Thomas Merton. No previous movement experience needed … just a willing heart!

Betsey Beckman, MM

2-09  Leadership & Social Justice: How Catholic Schools Can Change Our World 

Catholic schools are called to be leaders in a world of change. Leadership skills can be learned and lived by every single child within a school setting, regardless of their age. This dynamic presentation will demonstrate how children from kindergarten to grade 12 can use the power of a “Social Justice” mind, the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” and “Effective Behavioral Supports” to become leaders for a lifetime. Using practical examples, Dan Friedt will give the educator a step-by-step process to support the current culture of their school, and invite every child to practice the habits of effective leadership that can change our world.

Dan Friedt

3-07  Catholic Ethics Concerning Acceptance of Gay and Lesbian Persons 

The Gospels challenge us to welcome all into our church communities, but should there be a limit to acceptance? This session will draw from Sacred Scripture, Church teachings and scientific research in considering how we are called to love our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. Through addressing difficult questions – such as whether acceptance of the person implies condoning one’s actions – this workshop will move beyond merely presenting Church teaching toward helping us make sense of it in our hearts.

Arthur G. Fitzmaurice, PhD

Dr. Arthur Fitzmaurice is Resource Director of the Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay Ministry, based in Washington, D.C. He formerly served as Chair for the Los Angeles Archdiocese Catholic Ministry with Lesbian and Gay Persons. Dr. Fitzmaurice has spoken at national and diocesan conferences, including the Faith Formation Conference, the annual Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay Ministry, and the Gay Christian Network. He also appears in several of Ignatian News Network’s YouTube series on pastoral care of LGBT Catholics.

-16    Walking Tall with Our Immigrant Brothers and Sisters 

This workshop will trace the biblical, historical and national aspects of immigrants and immigration policy. The plight of today’s unauthorized immigrants living in our midst is deplorable – an ethical and moral issue that cries out for the love and compassion of Jesus Christ and his disciples. All Catholics involved in any Church ministry need to know the truth about immigration policy and reform efforts. Sadly, too much of the public discussion of this issue is false and anti-immigrant.

Cardinal Roger M. Mahony Continue reading

PopeWatch: Pope Francis and John Wayne

 

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

I doubt if Pope Francis and John Wayne have been associated before, but based upon this interview the juxtaposition occurred to PopeWatch:

 

Pope Francis gave a recent interview with an Argentinian shanty town’s community paper, where he touched on how he feels about ISIS threats and jested about his lack of tolerance for physical pain.

“Look, life is in God’s hands. I told the Lord: ‘you are taking care of me. But if your will is that I die or that they do something to me, I ask you only one favor: that it doesn’t hurt. Because I’m a big coward when it comes to physical pain,’” the Pope told La Carcova News in an interview published in this month’s edition of their paper. Continue reading

March 13, 1865: Confederate Congress Authorizes Black Troops

 

110564l

 

Perhaps a war winning measure if the year had been 1861, by 1865 the action of the Confederate Congress authorizing the enlistment of black troops could only be regarded as a just before midnight measure of a dying nation. The measure is interesting for two reasons:  the black troops were to be treated precisely the same as white troops in regard to pay and rations, and the measure explicitly did not provide for enlisted slaves to be granted their freedom.  A historical curiosity now, the whole issue of black troops might have been one of the few paths to victory for the Confederacy if it had been undertaken prior to Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.  However, if the leaders of the Confederacy had been willing to consider such a measure at the onset of the struggle, it is likely that secession would never have occurred, since the preservation of slavery was the core reason for the creation of the Confederacy.  Here is the text of the statute: Continue reading

March 12, 1865: Letter From Sherman to Grant

Sherman2

 

 

With his invasion of North Carolina underway, Sherman took time after the capture of Fayetteville, North Carolina to bring Grant up to speed with his immediate plans:

HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, IN THE FIELD,
FAYETTVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA, Sunday, March. 12, 1865.

Lieutenant-General U. S. GRANT, commanding United States Army, City Point, Virginia.

DEAR GENERAL: We reached this place yesterday at noon; Hardee, as usual, retreating across the Cape Fear, burning his bridges; but our pontoons will be up to-day, and, with as little delay as possible, I will be after him toward Goldsboro. A tug has just come up from Wilmington, and before I get off from here, I hope to get from Wilmington some shoes and stockings, sugar, coffee, and flour. We are abundantly supplied with all else, having in a measure lived off the country.

The army is in splendid health, condition, and spirits, though we have had foul weather, and roads that would have stopped travel to almost any other body of men I ever heard of.

Our march, was substantially what I designed–straight on Columbia, feigning on Branchville and Augusta. We destroyed, in passing, the railroad from the Edisto nearly up to Aiken; again, from Orangeburg to the Congaree; again, from Colombia down to Kingsville on the Wateree, and up toward Charlotte as far as the Chester line; thence we turned east on Cheraw and Fayetteville. At Colombia we destroyed immense arsenals and railroad establishments, among which wore forty-three cannon. At Cheraw we found also machinery and material of war sent from Charleston, among which were twenty-five guns and thirty-six hundred barrels of powder; and here we find about twenty guns and a magnificent United States’ arsenal.

We cannot afford to leave detachments, and I shall therefore destroy this valuable arsenal, so the enemy shall not have its use; and the United States should never again confide such valuable property to a people who have betrayed a trust.

I could leave here to-morrow, but want to clear my columns of the vast crowd of refugees and negroes that encumber us. Some I will send down the river in boats, and the rest to Wilmington by land, under small escort, as soon as we are across Cape Fear River. Continue reading

Various & Sundry, 3/12/15

Lots to talk about today.

– I haven’t talked much about the tax reform put out by Senators Marco Rubio and Mike Lee. Veronique de Rugy offered this bit of analysis in which she expresses her support for most of the plan, but also offers some criticism.

The second problem with the bill is that many free-market types are underwhelmed (for lack of a better word) by the huge child tax credits in the bill, in particular since the inclusion of those credits is “expensive” in more than one way. For instance, the projected revenue loss is $1.7 trillion over ten years according to the Tax Foundation. I assume this is the reason Rubio and Lee not only aren’t proposing a bigger reduction in the top income tax rate, but are even raising marginal tax rates on a significant number of middle-class and upper-middle class households. (The 35 percent top tax rate in the plan takes effect at just $75,000 of income for single households and $150,000 for married households!)

It has been noted before, but it is worth repeating: The opportunity cost of expanding the child tax credit in this way is huge, in terms of the possible tax reforms it crowds out. If their proposed child-tax credit were smaller, Rubio and Lee could have also included a low-rate flat tax, for instance. No matter what we hear about top-marginal-tax-rate reductions not yielding as much return at the current levels as they would if the rates were higher, lowering them would still yield more growth than the child tax credit, which does nothing for growth. If bolstering the economic status of families is the point of all this, the way to go is lower tax rates, not a tax credit. So why not solve 100 percent of the problem rather than 50 percent?

To make matters worse, I don’t buy the justification for the size of the tax credit they’re proposing. It is one thing to support some sort of child tax credit in the name of the idea that every flat-tax proposal has some zero-bracket amount based on family size, generally based on the principle that households shouldn’t be taxed on “necessity” or “poverty level” income. But providing giant credits, based on the premise that children are investments in maintaining entitlement programs and that parents should be compensated for the cost of raising their kids goes way overboard.

According to the senators, the tax credit would compensate for ”a parent tax penalty.” They compare it to “the marriage tax penalty.” But while I think that characterization is a brilliant marketing move on the part of those who think that parents should be rewarded/subsidized, it is also misleading. The marriage tax penalty is real and manifests itself in the form of higher taxes for certain people who get married and file jointly. That’s because government taxes the first dollar a married-couple secondary earner earns, often the wife, at her husband’s highest marginal rate rather than at the rate the wife’s salary warrants. The higher the marginal tax rate, the bigger the penalty.  However, people aren’t taxed at a higher rate nor do they pay more taxes the moment they have children. In fact, it is the reverse because of personal allowances. So there is no “parent tax penalty.”

I have to concur in large part with de Rugy’s analysis. Ramesh Ponnuru, Reihan Salan and others have been beating the drums for expanding the child tax credit, and I have yet to hear a convincing explanation of how this is anything but more social engineering through the tax code. Indeed that is my beef with much of Salan and Ross Douthat’s book, The Grand New Party, which felt like 200 pages of nothing but pleading for more tax credits. As a father of (almost) four, I would certainly benefit from an expanded credit, but even I have to say enough is enough.

Attention men: if you are nice, happy man who holds the door open for women, you are clearly signalling that you are nothing but a sexist.

Benevolent sexism makes men more smiley when they interact with women, and that’s bad news. Men who put women on a pedestal may be the wolves in sheep clothing hindering gender equality.

A new study examining the nonverbal cues thrown out during interactions between men and women finds that men who have high ratings of “benevolent sexism” — attitudes towards women that are well-intentioned but perpetuate inequality — finds that smiling and other positive cues increase when this kind of sexism is prevalent.

I clearly missed my calling. Who knew one could earn a living conducting such insightful “studies.”

– Fact-checking the fact checkers, part one million: Speaking of earning a living, I am starting to consider developing a fact-checking website that only fact-checks fact-checkers. Patterico writes of one of the most egregious examples of a fact-checker sneaking opinion into her column, as a manifestly true and simple observation made by Ted Cruz got rated as kinda false. WaPo editor Glenn Kessler at least had the dignity to respond to a few questions about this assessment, and offered up some whoppers. Continue reading

PopeWatch: Special Edition

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

A childhood friend of the Pope reveals what he alleges the Pope told him on a recent trip to the Vatican:

A childhood friend of Pope Francis has claimed that he intends to overturn the centuries-old ban on Catholic priests from getting married and that he told a divorcee ‘living in sin’ that she could receive Holy Communion.

The Pope considers the law on priestly celibacy ‘archaic’ and ‘not part of the doctrine of the Church’, according to the confidante.

The friend also claimed the Argentinian-born pope also vowed to reform another Catholic rule which bars divorced people in new relationships from taking the Holy Communion, MailOnline can reveal.

According to Oscar Crespo, Pope Francis said that changing the Catholic law which bars civil divorcees from taking a full part in church life is the ‘number one priority’ of his papacy.  Continue reading

Sir Terry Pratchett Dead

Died at home, surrounded by family, with his cat on his lap.

No other details available; Otherwhere Gazette will add them as they become available.

Much loved for being intelligent and honest enough to come around to the truth from entirely the wrong direction– I don’t know about anybody else, but trying to figure out how that could possibly happen was one of the ways I found out about “natural law philosophy.”  Even someone who stared with some really bad assumptions will, in some cases, come around to the truth as a matter of course if they just keep going.

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