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Saturday Selections – July 13, 2024

Click on the titles below for the linked articles...

One thing Trump and Biden agree on: tariffs

Both Trump and Biden want to protect American producers by imposing tariffs (i.e., fines) on foreign goods. Their approach would make those foreign goods more expensive for Americans. If the fine is high enough, it will also make American-made versions of those same goods look comparatively attractive.... which is then supposed to save some American jobs.

While tariffs do save some local jobs, they can do so only at the expense of other local jobs. Any American company that uses a tariffed good to make their own products, will have to pay these inflated prices, which in turn will make their own products more expensive... and less competitive in the international marketplace. Thus the tariff will cost them jobs.

Tariffs also help some local producers by hurting local consumers, who have to pay more now.

The overall impact of tariffs, then, is to help some domestic producers... but only at the expense of other domestic producers and domestic consumers overall.

That leaves us with the question: why should the government be picking winners and losers, giving advantages to some citizens at the expense of others?

How the US Republicans became pro-choice

This is a US article but with real relevance to Canadian voters for its explanation of "median voter theorem." As Joe Carter outlines, it is only when a block of principled voters are willing to abandon a party that they gain influence over that party.

If all their voters will always vote for the slightly lesser of two evils, then that is what their party will give them. The party only takes more extreme positions to appeal to voters who won't otherwise vote for them.

Southern Baptists take on IVF

Last month, the US's biggest protestant denomination passed a resolution on IVF. As Albert Mohler shares:

"Far too many Christians say they believe in the sanctity and dignity of human life at every stage, from fertilization to natural death, but when the issue turns to the massive ethical issues related to IVF, many evangelicals, including far too many Southern Baptists, have refused to connect the dots."

Jack Phillips still won't bake the cake

After 12 years of legal battles and a Supreme Court victory, a Colorado baker is being dragged to court yet again for the same supposed crime – he will not decorate cakes to celebrate depravity. John Stonestreet explains that Baker Jack Phillips won't live by lies – it would be easier to bake the cake, but he will not call good what God calls evil. So, Phillips is working out his theology of getting fired.

Forget grocery store boycotts - to lower food prices end supply management instead

"...regulation that restricts supply and controls imports... shields Canadian producers of milk, eggs and poultry from competition, allowing them to maintain higher prices for their products than would otherwise exist in a competitive market.... due to supply management the average Canadian household pays an estimated extra $300 to $444 annually for groceries."

Don't fall for projection

Projecting is a particular form of hypocrisy in which you accuse others of the sin you are guilty of. A recent example is Kamala Harris accusing Donald Trump of planning to use lawfare on his opponents. Paul has an answer to the vice president in Romans 2:1:

"Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things."

A recent, particularly blatant, instances of projection happens is this commercial below from Australia's Victoria State government below – they accuse a smaller woman of making a big guy in a dress feel "unsafe."

The Left uses projection as a weapon to deflect, much like when one of your kids is called to account and wants to talk about what their sibling, neighbor, classmate, or even you did, rather than facing accountability for what they've done. Projection works on the soft-hearted, so it's a particularly effective tool against Christians. But there is a time and place to acknowledge your own sins, and a time when it isn't about you. When the prophets confronted God's people, they didn't do so as perfect representatives of God. Sinful though they were, they brought His Truth. So, if a homosexual accuses you of being unloving – if they are screaming it in your face, OR TYPING IT IN ALL CAPS – then now is not the time to acknowledge how you could have said things better, parsed your words more carefully or expressed the grace of God more clearly.

Think like a parent, and realize that if you let their projection deflect you from expressing the truth they need to hear, you aren't doing them any good.


"It's wrong to mutilate minors," says governor

Both Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis and Alberta’s Premier Danielle Smith have backed bans on transgender “treatments” – breast and genital amputations, puberty blockers, and hormones – for anyone under 16. And both have been rightly celebrated by conservatives for their position. But even as she announced her ban, Danielle Smith also promised to make it easier for Alberta adults to get these same amputations, chemical castrations, and other experimental drugs. Currently, Albertans have to go out of province to get “bottom” and “top” amputations done, but Smith pledged to make efforts to attract “specialists” to Alberta, so these terribly-confused people can have their healthy body parts cut off in-province instead. So what Smith banned for children, she affirmed as legitimate medical treatments for adults. Meanwhile, after a federal judge struck down Florida’s ban in June, Governor DeSantis pledged to appeal and actually called out these “treatments” for what they are. “…it's wrong to mutilate minors…. You’re not allowed to get a tattoo, but somehow you can have your privates cut off? Give me a break. This is wrong…. Are we going to be rooted in truth as a society or not? If we are rooted in truth, then you would say, of course you can’t do these surgeries because it’s not going to take and transform somebody that’s a male into a female.” Let's not minimize the good Smith has done for confused children in Alberta, but let's also not overlook the monstrous harm she's doing to the province's deluded adults. We can praise her as the bravest premier in the country, even as we demand she be all the more so by following Governor DeSantis' lead. Smith, too, needs to call out transgenderism for the lie it is, and denounce bottom and top amputations for the mutilations they are. Edited photo from Gage Skidmore/ and used under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license....


Saturday Selections – June 22, 2024

What's wrong with marijuana This is the practical case against marijuana. For the Christian case, check out "Is recreational marijuana sinful?". Mothers' milk is amazing If you believe in evolution, you have to credit everything to the interaction of time and chance. That includes something you may never have considered before: the origin of mothers' milk. We know God designed moms to be specially able to care for their babies this way, so Christians shouldn't be surprised to learn that the closer we look at mothers' milk, the more amazing we find it to be. But if you think it evolved from "a glandular skin secretion in synapsids" then you might think that the human-designed substitutes available on store shelves would be the superior product. You might think that; it'd be a logical conclusion based on evolutionary presuppositions. But it ain't so. If Satan was a marriage counselor... ...he'd sound a lot like a newspaper advice column. Your family needs you (and you need them) My kids make me happy, but when they don't, can I abandon them? And what of my parents? If they become a burden or trouble to me, isn't that a reason to cut such "toxic people" out of my life? That's what the world would tell you. But as John Stonestreet explains (in this older piece), God says something very different. Baptists come out against IVF At their annual meetings last week, the US's largest protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, passed a resolution formally opposing the use of in vitro fertilization (IVF). While the majority voted for the resolution, many of the delegates opposed it, and spoke to how they believed IVF was a pro-life procedure, since it created life. But as IVF is practiced, it leads to the creation of "excess" embryos – "excess" children – that will either be destroyed (ie. killed) or frozen, which treats the child as a thing, not a human being. Some of these frozen children will then be given away via "snowflake adoptions" where the embryo is implanted in the adoptive mother's womb. But while the couples doing the adopting are rescuing these frozen children, it is still wrong for the biological parents to have engaged in a procedure that would leave them with "excess" children. Adoption is a rescue, but parents should never deliberately create a situation in which their children would need to be rescued. Homosexuals & some professing Christians redefine "love" It's been said that the opposition shares our vocabulary, but not our dictionary – they define words like marriage, hate, gender, tolerance, pride, and love very differently from how God defines them. With Pride Month in full swing, Christians need to be able to share that it isn't love to celebrate what God hates for the very same reason it isn't love to affirm anorexia – we wouldn't be doing the person any good to affirm as right the wrong they are struggling with. It's for their sake and for their good that we don't want to encourage their rebellious lifestyle. ...

Economics, News

Premier Ford calls on the feds to make EV cars more expensive

Ontario’s premier has asked the federal government to impose a 100% tariff on Chinese electric vehicles, which would make these cars twice as expensive as they would otherwise be. Why would Premier Doug Ford want to so strongly discourage consumers from buying these EVs? Aren’t EVs the way of the future? The premier explained he wants the tariff to protect Ontario jobs. Back in April, he announced he was gifting $2.5 billion of Ontario taxpayers’ money to induce Honda to build four EV manufacturing plants in the province. The federal government added in their own $2.5 billion in tax credits. Combined, this $5 billion would create 1,000 jobs, which works out to a cost of $5 million per job. It’s not surprising then, that the premier wants to protect these positions – they were a very expensive purchase. But why are these Chinese cars so cheap? In an interview with the Toronto Sun’s Brian Lilley, the president of Canada’s Automotive Parts Association, Flavio Volpe, raised the possibility of forced labor – slaves – sometimes being involved. That could be a reason to ban sales altogether, not simply penalize them. Another critique is that the Chinese government is heavily subsiding these vehicles. But The Hub has calculated that overall, the federal, Ontario, and Quebec governments have combined to offer $40 billion in subsidies and tax credits to our own EV industry. Or as Kiernan Green noted: “This represents 15 percent more than the companies themselves have put forward for their investments in Canada’s EV sector.” If subsidization is an unfair business practice, then shouldn’t we should stop it ourselves (Matt. 7:12)? And if it isn’t unfair, why are we complaining? There are other issues involved here: as Flavio Volpe noted, the same federal government that is subsidizing Canadian production is also involved in subsidizing foreign EV production too – the Liberals announced a program this past December that could credit EV manufacturers, both domestic and foreign, with as much as a $20,0000 credit per EV car sold. It is more complicated than that, but the short of it is, the government has gotten itself so muddled up in this market that its right hand is actively working against its left hand. Might that be evidence that it should get both hands, and its nose, out of the business sphere? Taxpayers are shouldering a heavy burden for EV cars. And now, if this tariff goes through, Canadians will be asked to shoulder even more, as less expensive Chinese competitors will be tariffed out of the marketplace. There is a broader lesson here, as this is what tariffs always do, protecting local producers at the expense of local consumers. God calls on the government to administer justice, and one of the first principles of justice is impartiality (Lev. 19:15, James 2:8). What we have happening here is an example of the government picking winners and losers, favoring EV producers over EV purchasers (and all of it done at the expensive of taxpayers). Why the one over the other? What business is it of government to show such favoritism? Picture credit: adapted from a photo by Bruce Reeve/ and used under a Creative Commons CC BY-SA 2.0 license....


Mortgage delinquencies up more than 20%

Increased spending and costs are catching up with Canadian households, according to the latest figures from the credit agency Equifax Canada. Mortgage debt makes up a whopping three quarters (74.4%) of total consumer debt, even though the number of new mortgages hit an all-time low in the first quarter of 2024. More than a third (37.1%) of consumers extended their mortgage amortization as the effects of increased mortgage rates began to take hold. Particularly troubling is the increase in delinquencies, i.e. missed payments. In Ontario, the balance of mortgages in “severe delinquency” – 90 or more days without payment – increased to over $1 billion, or twice the level of severe delinquency before Covid. Rebecca Oakes, VP of Advanced Analytics at Equifax Canada, explained that “mortgage stress testing,” introduced back in 2016, helped prevent even more delinquencies. This “test” gauged whether or not a borrower would still be able to handle their mortgage payments if rates were to take an unfortunate bounce upward. “ has helped to mitigate against the full effect of sustained high interest rates, but we still saw more than 34,000 consumers missing a payment on their mortgage in Q1, which is up 22.7 per cent compared to 12 months ago.” In recent years our federal government has led the charge in running massive debts, with many provincial governments following suit. Although political parties used to campaign on the promise of balanced budgets, Canadians have rewarded parties who promise increased spending and large deficits. And especially since 2020, Canadians have followed their example, racking up massive debt from both home purchases and other big expenses. A few thousand years ago, a wise teacher taught us that “the borrower is a slave of the lender” (Proverbs 22:7). Our government acts as if it is possible to incur debt and not pay for it, but we mustn’t let their example mislead us. Solomon’s ancient warning remains every bit as relevant to today, so take on debt with great caution!...


Saturday Selections – June 8, 2024

Looking deeper at tiny, extraordinary engineers  Hives have been called the pinnacles of biological engineering, and we're only now learning just how extraordinary they are. The Sexular Age never sleeps: 4 stages We've seen the woke advance happen in sports, which the writer calls the West's true religion, in four distinct stages: What you cannot say - first Christian athletes were told to shut up about homosexuality What you must say - then Christian athletes were told to wear the jersey, or patch Who you must not associate with - Christians couldn't be on the wrong organization's board Who you must associate with - don't distance yourselves from men in dresses Why conservative Christian men make good husbands "Many people assume that most theologically conservative men are ...domineering. But sociological studies have refuted that negative stereotype. Compared to secular men, devout Christian family men who attend church regularly are more loving husbands and more engaged fathers. They have the lowest rates of divorce. And astonishingly, they have the lowest rate of domestic violence of any major group in America." Why not private providers? It worked (briefly) in Saskatchewan  When the government is in charge, long waits and high costs don't surprise anyone. And yet, in Canada, most seem to want public healthcare even though they have to wait half a year or more for surgeries. There is an animosity towards private care, in part, because it is thought it might allow richer Canadians to get quicker care than the rest of us. But isn't that akin to being jealous that our neighbor can have sushi when we can only afford hot dogs? Or, to put it in more biblical terms, isn't that the envy God forbids in His 10th Commandment? The lack of private care options eliminates the competitive pressures that could lower costs or speed up wait times for everyone. Even if the government is going to be the universal payer, why does it need to be the universal provider? We have private family doctors, so why not expand the private options to increase the competition? As the Fraser Institute notes in the report above, it seemed to work in Saskatchewan for the decade they tried it. How to ask for a raise Christians are supposed to be humble. But that doesn't mean we should underestimate our value to our company. So what might we keep in mind as we ask for more money? Bubba changed his name to Charlene Ray Stevens is still around, and still making music. Here he is with his latest, about our culture's latest shenanigans. ...


Ticked-off hockey fans, and 1.4 billion other reasons to defund the CBC

The CBC got into trouble last week, when it broadcast the finale of the Eastern Conference between two American NHL teams, but not the last two games of the Western Conference Final, which featured the Edmonton Oilers as the last Canadian team standing. That got folks upset, including Conservative Party Deputy Leader Tim Uppal, who tweeted: “The Edmonton Oilers are the only Canadian team left in the playoffs. Despite receiving $1.4 billion in taxpayer dollars this year, CBC decided not to air the Oilers games. Instead, CBC aired a Just For Laughs replay. It's time to defund the CBC. #DefundCBC” It’s not just those two missed games – there are 1.4 billion other reasons the CBC should be defunded. And they’re not the only reporters the government is funding – legacy media outlets like the National Post and the Globe and Mail divvied up approximately $885 million taxpayer dollars over the course of the last 5 years. The CBC took in more than $5 billion tax dollars over that 5-year span, and also more than $2.5 billion in ad dollars. How much of that advertising revenue could online independents like the Western Standard or True North have had coming their way if they weren’t competing against these taxpayer-propped-up giants? We haven’t even gotten into the CBC’s ”Pride” pushing, abortion-affirming, and transmutilation-defending agenda. On these three fronts, and more, the CBC is opposing God Himself. Then there’s the enormous problem of the government subsidizing the very media that is supposed to hold it to account. We can be thankful that some independent outlets do still exist, and the Opposition Leader has learned how to use his YouTube channel to sidestep the media altogether to get his message out. But it shouldn't surprise us if the CBC and the now paid-for legacy media is reluctant to bite the hand that feeds them. So yes, let’s defund the CBC. And let’s do more than that. As the Fraser Institute reported in their “Federal Support for Journalism” study, the government’s attempts to support journalism haven’t even preserved journalists’ jobs. Since 2011 more media outlets have closed each year than new outlets have begun. The Liberals’ most recent “media-supporting” effort, Bill C-11, has hurt rather than helped. It was supposed to support legacy media outlets by squeezing money out of social media heavyweights like Google and Meta whenever they listed a Canadian news article. While the government did get some money from Google, Meta decided that, instead of paying, they’d simply get rid of all the Canadian news off of Facebook. That hurt Canadian news organizations, big and small, by shutting off access to their own social media audience. So the government should defund the CBC, but it shouldn’t stop there. The government needs to stop meddling in the media in every other way too. Who knows what kind of media we might get if only open, fair competition were allowed to exist....


Saturday Selections – June 1, 2024

If there is a common theme to this week's edition it might be government overreach. For Christians, who know God has set up different governments for different purposes – Family, Church, Civil – we understand that our elected leaders should only rule in a limited realm. But leaders who reject there is a God above them seem increasingly eager to step into His unlimited role. They want to expand their impact... but that they aren't doing so well with the areas already under their influence only underscores the importance of God's limits. Minimum wage up to $20 in California (6 min) Minimum wage laws are put in place by governments that run a deficit every year. If they can't mind their own business, why would they think they can run everyone else's (Matt. 7:3-5)? And it gets worse – as John Stossel notes below, some US minimum wage laws were originally put in place to discriminate against blacks. Raw sewage in the Thames: an actual environmental ill we can fix Some of the political leaders promising they can adjust the world's weather are having problems with more local matters – there is raw sewage hitting the Thames (Luke 16:10, Luke 19:17). "More people will die from real environmental problems than from the climate in 2050, whether it’s warmer or colder. We need to move beyond attention-grabbing headlines about distant imaginary threats and focus on actual ones." South Korea down to just 0.72 children a woman To keep its population stable, South Korea would need to triple its birth rate. Canada, in comparison, is at 1.33 children per woman (as of 2022) or about two-thirds of the 2.1 children per woman we'd need to keep our population stable. Canada was last at the 2.1 figure way back in 1971 (that so shocked me, I tripled-checked, but I think I have it right) and has masked its declining birth rate with massive levels of immigration. South Korea is not interested in that approach and is instead looking to government programs for the fix, but to this point throwing money at the problem hasn't really helped anywhere else in the world. Why not? Well, maybe it's because having kids is always a leap of faith, and the secular world is without hope. Christians are still having kids though; we have a God worthy of our faith. Another reason is the communion of saints that He provides can help lighten the load. June 1 is Dinosaur Day! Everyone loves dinosaurs, but there are some tall tales being told about them. So here are some fun facts to counter the fake news. Click on the title above for an entire chapter on dinosaurs – something for the serious reader – and for something shorter see below: Did dinosaurs fit on Noah's Ark? Is there scientific proof dinosaur fossils aren't millions of years old? Is there evidence dinosaurs died in the flood? Is there cultural evidence dinosaurs lived at the same time as Man? Yes, NBC, homosexuality is "natural" but so are... Just in time for Pride Month, NBC is broadcasting a series called "Queer Planet" to show that homosexuality exists among animals. True enough... but so does rape, slavery, necrophilia, and cannibalism, so "natural" hardly means right. As Kurt Mahlburg notes, we can aspire to act better than animals, because we are different from them, made in the very image of God. Jordan Peterson and whether euthanasia victims are drowning to death Euthanasia was sold to Canadians as a means of providing near-death patients some mercy and autonomy. But where is the mercy and autonomy for 49-year-old Roger Foley? When he admitted to medical staff that despair was driving him to have suicidal thoughts, he wasn't helped, but was encouraged in that direction. And, he says, since euthanasia has been put in place, his care has suffered. Perhaps that's because he's now seen as a patient who is stubbornly refusing "treatment." In the article linked above, Jordan Peterson is involved in a discussion about how the drugs Canadian doctors use to "mercifully" murder their patients may, effectively, cause them to die via drowning, with a paralytic drug preventing them from crying out. The neglectful care for Foley, and the possibility that euthanasia victims are dying slow drowning deaths, are both horrific. But the issue here isn't how euthanasia is being offered, or how it is being administered. (If it were, then we could be satisfied if only it were offered and administered better.) The real debate – the real battle – is over whose life is it? and who owns our life? The Christian answer to both questions is, God. He says, do not murder, even ourselves. The contrast we need to present then, is how following His ways leads to true compassion and mercy, and a culture of life, while following the culture of death, and its lies of autonomy, leads to where "even the mercy of the wicked is cruel" (Prov. 12:10b). ...


RP's 2024 Summer Photo Contest: Capture the Contrast!

From the first day of creation, God crafted stunning contrasts: light and darkness, dry land and waters, fur and feathers, work and rest. In this year’s photo contest what we’re looking for is a snapshot that captures one of the many astonishing contrasts in God’s creation. As always, this theme is meant as a springboard for your creativity and not any sort of limitation on it. The contrast can be of any sort: a bird bursting past a plodding turtle, an in-focus foreground against a blurred background. maybe the contrast is between something God made, and something His imager-bearers have come up with. it could be a sharp difference in ages, heights, colors, locations…. anything! Just try things, have fun, and share what you capture with all of us! So, get out there and start clicking! Categories: Children and youth (under 18) Adults (18+) Rules: Maximum 3 entries per person Must be an original photo, taken this year Include a line to explain how the photo relates to the theme (max. 100 words) Provide permission to RP to publish your photo online and/or in print if selected Include the name of the photographer and photo title, and for the under 18 entries, the photographer's age. Prizes: Winner and runner-up, and a selection of other entries, for both categories will be printed in Reformed Perspective this Fall. Winner of each category will receive a $100 gift certificate to; runner-up will receive a $75 gift certificate. Deadline: Send your photo (high-resolution) to [email protected] before Aug 15, 2024 ...


Saturday Selections – May 11, 2024

Click on the titles for the linked articles... Rend Collective: Lighthouse This one had our girls dancing... How deer grow antlers They do it every year again, and we're only just starting to fathom how much is all involved. Stem cells have something to do with it, but " do the two antlers maintain their bilateral symmetry, such that they branch at almost exactly the same points while separated by many centimeters to feet apart? Don’t ask they deer. They don’t know." Rex Murphy passes away at 77 Though he was a long-time presence on the CBC, and once touted Pierre Trudeau as "the greatest Canadian ever," Murphy was still a favorite among conservatives for his criticisms of Justin Trudeau, and his common sense objections to Trudeau's climate agenda. Women are forfeiting rather than competing against men in dresses This isn't quite Eric Liddell and Chariots of Fire, because, so far as I know, these athletes aren't forfeiting because they are Christian. But their example is worthy of imitation, and that opportunity – to forfeit to the glory of God, in celebration of how He made us male and female – may present itself to our own daughters very soon. True North covers the March for Life Three to four thousand pro-lifers' March for Life hit Ottawa this past Thursday, though you'd be forgiven for not knowing that if you only read mainstream news. True North did cover the event, and that shibboleth is why, if you haven't already heard of them already, you might want to check them out. As the linked article demonstrates, True North is willing to cover Christians, listen to them sympathetically, and quote them accurately (and even employs at least one or two), but this is a conservative, not Christian outlet. They covered the March, but didn't really explore the heart of the conflict – they didn't explain how the issue is between what God says about where our worth comes from – being made in His Image (Gen. 1:27) – and the non-explanation for our worth offered by those who say the unborn only have value if their mom wants them. That said, True North is still one of the better media outlets in Canada. And the price is right – you can sign up to their daily email newsletter for free. The New York Times says it is now okay to question the COVID vaccine ...and they're not the only one. CNN host Chris Cuomo, who was calling people crazy for not getting the vaccine, is now compassionately raising the issue of vaccination injuries. What's important to understand is that this reversal isn't simply a matter of error – we all make mistakes – but showcases the arrogance of their original stand. When people then expressed the ideas the NYT and CNN are only allowing to be expressed now,  these two media entities didn't just differ, but advocated for those people to be fired and otherwise penalized, because to do anything other than be vaccinated was crazy. They couldn't conceive they might be wrong. But for some, it now seems getting the vaccine was the wrong thing to do. The point isn't that the vaccine was bad, or that it didn't help millions, maybe billions. The point is that there were inevitably going to be tradeoffs – there always are – and our political leaders not only didn't discuss those tradeoffs, but ridiculed those who tried to. And penalized anyone who refused to do as they said. This, then, is one more reason we don't want big governments. When they make mistakes it is on a grand scale, forcing everyone to join in with their mistake. The power to compel is one to use only with great restraint... but restraint isn't a quality of the arrogant. Check out the video below for Chris Cuomo vs. Chris Cuomo. 🚨Watch former CNN host Chris Cuomo's (@ChrisCuomo) dramatic 180 on Covid vaccines! — MilkBarTV (@TheMilkBarTV) May 6, 2024 ...

History, News

Israel at War

Once again the Middle East is in flames. The incalculable human misery that is graphically portrayed in the media cannot leave one unaffected. The terrorists’ abuse and massacre of unsuspecting Israeli civilians on October 7, 2023 was horrific and of unprecedented barbarity. When Israel responded, Palestinian families have seen their homes and possessions disappear in rubble and dust as bombs fell on Gaza. The ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians seems intractable and without any solution. The war is also being fought through the media. Both true facts and lies are vying for a hearing. Winston Churchill is said to have once quipped: “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” Well, that may be the case, but an effort should at least be made, even within the confines of an article, to separate some facts from fiction. Some key facts Although present day Israel has no biblical right to the land (see “Is the State of Israel a fulfillment of biblical prophecy?” at, yet Israel has every legal right to be there as a nation according to international law. Here are some key facts. In 1947, the United Nations (UN) voted to partition Palestine into two states when the British Mandate authorized by the League of Nations would come to an end in the following year. One state was to be for the Jews and the other for the Palestinian Arabs. Jerusalem and Bethlehem were to be in an international zone. When Britain withdrew, Israel declared its independence and occupied the land designated to it by the UN. However, rather than adopt the UN’s plan of two states, Arab armies from all the surrounding nations attacked Israel, determined to exterminate it. They were not successful. This was not the last time that the Arabs would try to rid the Middle East of Israel. When Egypt, Syria, and Jordan were preparing to attack Israel again, Israel launched a pre-emptive strike in 1967. The war lasted six days and ended with Israel occupying the Sinai Peninsula, the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank. In 1973 Egypt and Syria once more attacked Israel, with Israel once again prevailing. Eventually, Egypt under Anwar Sadat recognized Israel in 1978, and for his trouble, he was assassinated by Arab extremists in 1981. King Hussein of Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain have also made peace with Israel. Morocco has diplomatic relations with Israel. The refusal of other Arab nations to recognize the State of Israel has continued up to today. This refusal, especially as demonstrated by Hamas, has been the key obstacle to peace in the region. Arab grievances Many grievances fuel the hatred for Israel and the determination to wipe the country off the map. A common charge against Israel is that the Jews displaced Palestinians who had been living in the Holy Land for centuries. A little history lesson is needed to answer this accusation. Prior to the massive immigration of European Jews to Palestine in the late 19th century, the land, which is now the land of Israel, was mostly barren and under-populated. An 1857 report from the British consul in Jerusalem reported that the country needed more people. As time went on, further reports noted that the area was becoming depopulated, villages were abandoned, and land was going out of cultivation. All this is credible information because living in that area at the time was extremely harsh. Infant mortality was high, life expectancy short, and water scarce. People were not moving in but out. When Jews started coming in, they bought land usually from absentee landowners, and over time dramatically improved the living conditions. By the mid-1890’s the Jewish presence was important and by 1947 they formed a majority in the territory that became Israel. Because the Jews prospered, Arabs moved in to share in their prosperity and the improved health care. It is a myth that European Jews displaced a large, stable, long-term Muslim Arab population that had lived in that part of the Middle East for centuries. There has never been a Palestinian people as a separate ethnic and national entity. Technically speaking there is no such thing as the Palestinian people since there has never been a Palestinian State, that is, an Arab state in what is now Israel. Many of the people who call themselves Palestinians today are descendants of the relatively recent economic immigrants mentioned above. Because of the growing number of Jews who legally owned the land they lived on, the territory at the eastern end of the Mediterranean, historically known as the land of Canaan, became in essence a homeland for persecuted Jews. This development eventually led to the formation of the State of Israel in 1948. Israel has the full political right to be a nation in the Middle East, occupying the land that their ancestors have lived in for thousands of years. Israelites and their descendants have been dwelling continuously in the land since the days of Moses. With the establishment of the State of Israel, the Jews had encouraged the Arabs to stay and build the country with them. However, the Palestinian Arabs were advised by the surrounding Arab nations to leave Palestine and that after the war (1948) and the anticipated defeat of the Jews, they could return. Israel, however, won the war and 700,000 Arabs who had left Israel were homeless. Here are the makings of the refugee problem. Meanwhile, the Arabs who had stayed in Israel were relatively well off and shared in the general prosperity of Israel. They still have their own representatives in Parliament, and enjoy freedom of the press and religion. Arabic is also an officially recognized language. As a minority within a Jewish state, they undoubtedly have their own special difficulties and hardships. However, in the past wars, they have shown solidarity with the Israelis.1 Another Arab grievance with more validity is that Israel continues to build settlements in the West Bank, which is not part of Israel according to the 1947 UN partition plan. Arabs living in the West Bank are understandably upset by the establishment of Jewish settlements in the region and the gradual encroachment of more and more settlements into what they regard as their territory. Israel is therefore accused of being an expansionary colonial power. Even prominent Israelis and some of the most ardent supporters of Israel like Alan Dershowitz oppose these settlements. But, for context, a couple of things should also be noted. From Israel’s government’s point of view, their occupation of the West Bank is a result of their winning the 1967 war, a conflict with which Arabs had hoped to obliterate Israel. Wars have results, and who controls what changes with those results. Furthermore, Israel has shown that the matter of settlements is not a barrier to peace if Arabs would be willing to recognize Israel. When Israel made peace with Egypt in 1979, Israel removed their Sinai settlements. In 2003, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon indicated that Israel would be willing to make “painful concessions” regarding the settlements in exchange for peace and give up some of them. Under his watch, Israel left everything they owned in Gaza when 21 settlements were dismantled in 2005.  Polls have shown that the majority of those who live in these settlements are willing to abandon their homes if it means peace for Israel.2 The legality of Israel’s occupation is currently before the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The UN General Assembly had asked the court for a non-binding advisory opinion on Israel’s policies in the occupied territories. The issue is incredibly complicated. It came before the court in February (2024) but the expectation is that it will take the judges months to issue an opinion. The refugee problem The media have informed us at length of the tragedy of the refugee camps where Arabs who fled from Israel now live and where new generations are being raised. What is not often made clear is that Arab countries do not want the refugee problem to be solved. They want it to serve as a permanent pressure and weapon against Israel. The Arab leaders show that they do not care about the refugees by refusing to let them be permanently resettled in their own countries. Meanwhile the refugee camps continue to be breeding grounds for hate and terrorism. Here is a problem that could have been solved but the failure to do so is ultimately because Arabs refuse to recognize the legitimacy of Israel. A resolution of the problem of the refugees has been further complicated by the emergence of The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1964, and more recently Hamas which is even more radical in its determination to wipe Israel off the map. Hamas was founded in 1987 and took over from the PLO in about 2006, assuming control of the Gaza Strip shortly after that. It also launched the massacre of last year in southern Israel. Because everything depends on recognizing Israel’s right to exist, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is not seeking solutions for the resettlement of the refugees as would normally be the case. Instead it is simply maintaining these refugees in the camps. According to the UNRWA the total number of refugees was about 5.6 million Palestinians in 2019, of which 1.5 million lived in camps. The numbers have continued to increase. Entire generations are being raised and educated to hate Israel. The refusal to recognize Israel Much could be solved if Arab leaders would have accepted a two-state solution of Israel and a Palestinian State in 1937 (the Peel Commission), 1948, and 2000. On all these occasions, Israel accepted a two-state solution, but to no avail. There was no Arab reciprocity because it would involve recognizing the legitimacy of the State of Israel. This was dramatically displayed with the Camp David peace negotiations in 2000-2001 (a result of the 1990’s Oslo Peace Accords). To everyone’s amazement and even shock, Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians virtually everything they had been demanding: a state with its capital in Jerusalem, control over the Temple Mount, a return of approximately 95 percent of the West Bank and all of the Gaza Strip, and a $30 billion compensation package for the 1948 refugees. Yet Yasser Arafat rejected that historic offer. Why? Because he would have had to acknowledge the legitimacy of the State of Israel. He preferred to go to war. Suicide bombings and terrorist attacks followed. When Israel responded with force, it was blamed for overreacting and not caring about the Palestinians. Arafat and his PLO, and now Hamas, did not and do not care about the fate of the Palestinians in their camps and in Gaza. Hamas continues to use civilians as shields in their war and then blame Israel for the casualties. After the horrid and barbaric abuse and slaughter of civilians by Hamas on October 7, 2023, Israel has responded as they have the full right to do so in self-defense. They have, however, taken extraordinary measures to safeguard civilian life in Gaza – measures unprecedented in military history according to one expert.3 But if the enemy uses civilians as a shield what can one expect but civilian deaths? One must not forget that according to the polls taken after the attack, most of the Gazan population was in favor of Hamas and its barbaric terrorism against civilians in the October 7 atrocities.4 There is also an important underlying religious dimension. Islamic fundamentalism will never recognize Israel as legitimate because according to them, territory once conquered by Islam, as the territory of Israel was once conquered, can never be relinquished. It must be retaken. The Hamas Charter (1988) states that “the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgment Day” (Art. 11). Hamas therefore “strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine” (Art. 6). Consequently, “there is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time” (Art. 13). Not surprisingly when Hamas terrorized southern Israel last October, they did so crying: “Allahu Akbar!” that is, “Our god is the greatest!” The hatred of Jews and their perceived illegitimacy has a long history in Islam. They regard the Jews as being under God’s curse5 and terrorists shouting “Allahu Akbar” undoubtedly think that to kill Jews is to do the will of Allah. Where does the solution lie? The root political problem is the refusal to recognize Israel. As long as that is the case, there is no solution. Combined with the underlying problem of nationalism and self-determination are also the conflicting claims of Judaism and Islam. Both Israel and Arab Muslims have a strong emotional attachment to Palestine. Arab Muslims assert that they are descendants of Abraham, through Ishmael. As Muslims, they claim Jerusalem as a holy site because according to Islam, Jerusalem was the last place Mohammed visited before he ascended into the heavens and talked to God. Neither side can appeal to the Bible and say on the basis of the Scriptures, “The land is mine!” Many experts think that a solution should be sought in having two viable and realistic states in the Middle East, one for Jews and one for the Arabs in the region. For that to happen, however, Israel needs to be assured that such an Arab state would not have the desire to keep working on the long term goal of putting an end to the State of Israel. That trust is understandably completely lacking at the moment. A young woman, in front of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, looking over a wall of pictures of the Israelis abducted by Hamas during its October 7 terrorist attack. (Photo credit: Jose Hernandez Camera 51/Shutterstock) Endnotes See also Alan Dershowitz, The Case for Israel (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & sons, 2003), 80–85. Dershowitz, The Case for Israel, 176–77. Ruth Marks Eglash, “Urban Warfare Expert says Israeli Military Taking Unprecedented Steps to Protect Gaza Civilians” Fox News, 17 February 17 2024, accessible at Fox News website. TOI Staff, “Poll Shows Soaring Palestinian Support for Hamas; 72% back October 7 Atrocities” 13 December 2023, accessible at the Times of India website. See Haggai Ben-Shammai, “Jew-Hatred in the Islamic Tradition and the Koranic Exegesis,” in Antisemitism Through the Ages, ed. Shmuel Almog (Oxford, UK: Pergamon Press, 1989), 164–66. For further reading Helpful resources for information found in this article include: Alan Dershowitz, The Case for Israel (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & sons, 2003), a defense by a Professor of Law, Emeritus, at Harvard University, of Israel’s rights, supported by indisputable evidence. He is however not an uncritical supporter of Israel. Most recently he also wrote War Against the Jews (2023). Joan Peters, From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict Over Palestine (New York, NY: Harper & Row, 1985), a classic compilation of the facts by a former White House consultant on the Middle East. Its publication was hailed as a historic event.  Top photo is a section of Gaza City after bombardment by Israeli forces. Photo credit: ImageBank4u/Shutterstock...


Saturday Selections – May 4, 2024

Did ancient cultures believe in a third gender? This is an interesting question, in as far as, what point would it prove if they did? Does our culture now believe that because something is traditional, is is right? If so, I have some other traditions to tell you about! Why you should go to sleep early tonight There are physical, emotional, and spiritual reasons too, for why you should be early to bed. Can a Christian be a lawyer? (15 min read / 25 min listen) The short answer is, yes, of course. The longer answer is, yes, but the job does come with some real challenges. Two celebrities talking about how disobeying God hurts Recently Joe Rogan and Oliver Anthony were chatting about how disobeying God's will for sex really messes people up. Anthony is a self-professed baby Christian, and Rogan is no Christian at all, so they aren't talking about this from a biblical perspective. They've just come to the realization that porn usage doesn't work. Theirs was a practical, pragmatic case, but an observant one. Sin really is stupid, and some people learn that the hard way. Others don't have to suffer through the pain that running into the brickwall of reality will cause you, and instead trust God's Wisdom as He's revealed it to us in His Word. What's the difference between venting and lamenting? One is sinful, the other godly, yet they share a lot of similarities. A moral case for capitalism If you have an economic system that respects property rights (i.e. the 8th Commandment), and doesn't covet what the wealthy have (10th Commandment), and doesn't look to the government as savior (Commandment #1), then what sort of economic system would you have? Well, it wouldn't be socialism, communism, or crony capitalism. What you'd be left with is the free market, aka, capitalism. And you'd be left with it, not because it has raised more people out of poverty than any other economic system, but because it is the system God proscribes. The prosperity that results is simply a blessing that comes with obeying our Heavenly Father. This gentleman below makes a different moral case for capitalism (and gets a few things wrong, going back 12,000 years, on a planet that's only been around for about half that) but brings in one more wrinkle that I did not... but which has a biblical parallel. He speaks of capitalism being the result of a society that has moved from "status to contract." In kingdoms and empires it is about who you know – if you are a friend of the emperor, you will prosper, but if he doesn't like you, you're in trouble. But when rules were elevated above the ruler, when even the king could be held accountable to the law, then we had a society built on agreements – contracts – rather than status. Though this gent doesn't describe it as such, that development has Christian roots. Christians understand that the most powerful king has always been accountable to God and His law. ...


Saturday Selections – April 27, 2024

Click the titles below to go to the linked articles... Strawman and other logical fallacies Here's a fun way to get our kids to really understand how logical fallacies can be used – deliberately or not – to misdirect and confuse discussions. Watch below, and click the title above for a list of fallacies (including the strawman) you can work with.   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Brett Pike (@classicallearner) Horribly neglected patient "chooses" euthanasia A quadriplegic Quebec man, stuck on an emergency room stretcher for four days, developed a bed sore so bad it left bone exposed. After being denied even the bed he needed, Normand Meunier then "chose" to be euthanized. Having doctors murder patients is portrayed as compassion. What it really is, is cheap and easy. "Even the compassion of the wicked is cruel" (Prov. 12:10b). Are you financially literate? 5 questions to find out Christians are called to be good stewards of what God gives us but it isn't harder for some than others. Here's 5 questions to help you figure out where you are at. Why is teen anxiety on the rise? The author of Why is my Teenager Feeling Like This? shares 4 thoughts... Caring for the adopted child Our kids' frustrating misbehaviors will often be a matter of déjà vu for parents who recognize they acted similarly when they were kids. But adoptive parents can face the additional challenge of dealing with behaviors they haven't seen before, perhaps because of their children's very different history, or physiological repercussions that might have come from having an alcohol- or drug-addicted birth mom. So how can adoptive parents be sensitive to their child's different needs, without succumbing to the temptation of just excusing bad behavior? Two biblical counselors offer some helpful biblical advice. Global warming isn't making weather more extreme If you listen to David Suzuki, Al Gore, or Greta Thunburg, you'd have every reason to believe that global warming was causing an increasing number of, and severity of, droughts, floods, hurricanes, and forest fires. But a new study by the Fraser Institute says, it simply isn't so. Click on the title above for their report, or watch the video below for Dr. Judith Curry's take. And for why we might consider them both more credible than their more mainstream critics, see my "Catastrophic Global Warming? A brief biblical case for skepticism." ...

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