Rule of law versus rule of opinion

From Rasmussen Reports comes an interesting poll revealing the public’s opinion about the Supreme Court. Of particular interest was this portion of the report there:

During his acceptance speech last night at the Republican National Convention in Minnesota, John McCain told the audience, “We believe in a strong defense, work, faith, service, a culture of life, personal responsibility, the rule of law, and judges who dispense justice impartially and don’t legislate from the bench.” Most American voters (60%) agrees and says (sic) the Supreme Court should make decisions based on what is written in the constitution, while 30% say rulings should be guided on the judge’s sense of fairness and justice. The number who agree with McCain is up from 55% in August.

While 82% of voters who support McCain believe the justices should rule on what is in the Constitution, just 29% of Barack Obama’s supporters agree. Just 11% of McCain supporters say judges should rule based on the judge’s sense of fairness, while nearly half (49%) of Obama supporters agree.

When you have people who’s idea of “fairness” includes a fundamental right to kill unborn babies you can see why elections are so critical. The people who make these decisions serve for life, but the people who appoint them don’t.

Thinking about India and religious violence

The Dalits make up 25 percent of India's population and are the poorest caste in Hinduism. They face severe discrimination and oppression.
The Dalits make up 25 percent of India's population and are the poorest caste group in Hinduism. They are severely discriminated against and oppressed.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention that I’m not always thinking about elections and hurricanes. In fact, this is something I’ve been watching and praying about lately. This was from a report in The Guardian from Aug. 31:

Thousands of terrified Indian Christians are hiding in the forests of the volatile Indian state of Orissa after a wave of religious ‘cleansing’ forced them from their burnt-out homes with no immediate prospect of return.

A mob of Hindu fundamentalists rampaged through villages last week, killing those too slow to get out of their way, burning churches and an orphanage, and targeting the homes of Christians. Up to 20 people were reported dead, with at least two deliberately set alight, after the murder of a Hindu leader last Saturday provoked the violence.

In some districts, entire villages lay deserted, abandoned by Christian populations who would rather shelter in the forests than return to face the risk of death. Some villagers attempted to return to their homes yesterday despite threats of further violence.

But Christian leaders who had spoken to those who have fled said that even among the trees they were not safe. Some of their tormenters have pursued them, trying to finish the job.

While the portion of the story above indicates the killings are in response to the killing of a Hindu leader the week before, the story goes on to say that Maoist guerrillas have in fact claimed responsibility for the killing. Still, there is tension between the groups:

Underlying the violence is a long-simmering dispute between Hindus and Christians in the state over the conversion of low-caste Hindus to Catholicism. The success of the Christian churches has fuelled resentment among hardline Hindus. The Vatican has condemned the violence. Most of India’s billion-plus citizens are Hindu, while just 2.5 per cent of them are Christians.

With that in mind, I would like to point out a resource that I use called Global Prayer Digest. From its site, the Global Prayer Digest:

(I)s a unique devotional booklet. Each day it gives a glimpse of what God is doing around the world, and what still remains to be done. Daily prayer for that still-unfinished task is at the heart of the Adopt-A-People movement. Condensed missionary stories, biblical challenges, urgent reports, and exciting descriptions of unreached peoples provide a digest of rich fuel for your own times of prayer for the world.

The Global Prayer Digest is a key tool in a movement to help fulfill Christ’s commission to make disciples of all the peoples of the earth. This movement involves a daily discipline of learning, praying, and giving to help reach the world’s nearly 9,000 ureached people groups. Unreached peoples are those groups which do not yet have a strong church in their own cultural and social setting.

This month’s guide is on the Dalits of India. They are the poorest caste group in India and face severe discrimination. In the story above, many of those are from this group. Each day GPD has a prayer topic related to that month’s guide. It is a valuable resource and one that I would encourage anyone who calls himself a Christian to explore. As it says on the site, “when man works, man works, but when man prays, God works.”

Is Joe Biden saying what he means on abortion?

Recently, on “Meet The Press,” Joe Biden said that, as a Roman Catholic, he’s “prepared to accept the teachings of the church” and that “I’m prepared as a matter of faith to say that life begins at the moment of conception.”  Yet he also says he is unwilling to impose his religion on anyone.

Gregory Koukl, at Stand to Reason, has some questions for Biden:

First question:  What, specifically, is Biden’s religiously based conviction on abortion?  Since he said in the interview that he was “prepared to accept the teachings of his church”—and he specifically confirmed his belief that human life begins at conception—then I take it he thinks abortion ends the life of an innocent human being and is therefore an act of homicide.  If not, why oppose it?

Second question:  Does Joe Biden believe that his belief is true?  Does he hold that his conviction is correct, that as a matter of fact human life actually does begin at conception and that abortion really does snuff out the life of a defenseless human person?

Koukl, who admits that his second question is really a trick question, but says he does that to bring up an important point about what passes for political discussion these days:

The reason for this question is tactical.  I’m taking away the weasel-room that this way of talking affords to duplicitous politicians. The query sets up a logical dilemma to show that the modified pro-choice view is simply political double-talk.

If Biden denies his beliefs are true, then I have no idea what he means when he says he believes anything, whether religiously motivated or otherwise.  If he doesn’t believe his beliefs are true, then what is the difference between believe and make-believe, between fantasy and reality?

But if Biden actually believes abortion truly takes the life of an innocent human being before birth in a way that is not morally distinct from killing a newborn immediately after birth, why would he not vote against such a thing?  Would it make any sense to say that as a matter of religious conviction I believe that all men are endowed with inalienable rights, but I could never impose such a personal belief on slave owners?

Here is Biden during his “Meet The Press” interview: