Thursday, July 16, 2015


I’ve been in a funk since yesterday. Paying attention to the news of this world tends to do that to me.

It all started when I read a news release about Dinesh D’Souza. For those of you who don’t know much about how he ran afoul of the federal government, I’ll give you a brief thumbnail. D’Souza has been a forceful, often persuasive critic of the Obama administration. He’s produced films like “2016: Obama’s America” and “America: Imagine the World without Her,” that have been widely praised by Conservatives and panned by Progressives. His work has been so effective that some have dubbed him the “anti-Michael Moore.”  Moore, of course, is the documentarian who has become the darling of America’s Progressive movement.

To say D’Souza’s has been a political lightning rod or a target would be an understatement.

Well, sooner or later the shoe was bound to drop. In 2014, he was charged with violating federal campaign finance law. His crime? He’d used straw donors during a political campaign, something many donors do without much notice on the part of federal authorities. But, D’Souza had the dreaded target on his back.  He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years’ probation, another eight months in a halfway house, a $30,000 fine, and what I think of as “therapeutic psychiatric counseling.” It was the judge’s way to coerce D’Souza into to thinking more kindly about the Obama administration in particular, and Progressives in general.

Was the sentence justified? Most Progressives seemed to think so, but there was one notable exception. After the sentence was handed down, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz commented on the whole affair – “The idea of charging him with a felony for this doesn’t sound like a proper exercise of prosecutorial discretion.... I can’t help but think that [D'Souza's] politics have something to do with it.... It smacks of selective prosecution.”

If there was a bright side to the spectacle, it was in discovering that there’s at least one honest Progressive out there.

A year has passed since D’Souza was sentenced. At the most recent judicial hearing, his lawyer presented evidence from D’Souza’s psychiatric counselor, who testified that he “found no indication of depression or reason for medication.” Another counselor provided the court with a written statement that concluded “there was no need to continue the consultation, because D’Souza was psychologically normal and well adjusted.”
That should have been the end of the story, but it wasn’t. Judge Richard Brennan ruled that D’Souza’s violation of campaign finance law was evidence of a “psychological problem” and ordered another four years of “therapeutic counseling.”

God knows what might happen to D’Souza in four years if he doesn’t straighten out his thinking. Massive doses of Thorazine perhaps? A lobotomy?

A while later I read about Hillary Clinton’s novel approach to dealing with malcontents who just won’t get with the program. Clinton, who is an ardent supporter of abortion, made the following statement in a recent address to the Women in the World summit: “Far too many women are denied access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth, and laws don't count for much if they're not enforced. Rights have to exist in practice—not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will. And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs (emphasis added) and structural biases have to be changed.”
Clinton, as she often does, tried to be vague, but I don’t think she succeeded. What she was saying was that if people have cultural codes, structural biases, or religious beliefs that aren’t in keeping with her agenda, she will use “resources and political will” (the law and the federal bureaucracy) to straighten them out.

I doubt that she was aware of it, but she was doing a brilliant job of channeling revolutionary French politicians who gave us their 19th century “Reign of Terror.” The following, for example, comes from Billaud Varennes, a prominent member of the “committee for public safety,” who oversaw the mayhem that came with all the talk of liberty, equality, and fraternity:  “A people who are to be restored to liberty must be formed anew. Ancient prejudices must be destroyed, antiquated customs changed, depraved affections corrected, inveterate vices eradicated.”

Who knows? If Hillary Clinton gets elected we just might get to see a latter day Madame Defarge sitting at the foot of the political guillotine, stoically knitting schemes to deal with dissenters. “Knit one, pearl two…Chop…Chop!”

What might this mean for people like the Little Sisters of the Poor, who are locked in a battle of faith and conscience with the federal government? Just this morning, a three judge federal appeals panel in Denver ruled they had to get with the program and provide¸ through a slippery third-party arrangement, free contraceptives for their employees. The Little Sisters believe that the government’s “accommodation” still makes them complicit in an immoral act they cannot in good conscience support.

What have the Little Sisters done that’s so ruffled the feathers of Progressives. I’d like to know and so would the Little Sisters. This is how they put it when the three judges ruling came down: “we should not have to make that choice, because it violates our nation’s commitment to ensuring that people from diverse faiths can freely follow God’s calling in their lives. For over 175 years, we have served the neediest in society with love and dignity. All we ask is to be able to continue our religious vocation free from government intrusion.”

The next step will be the Supreme Court, with Ruth Bader Ginsberg and her Progressive cohorts waiting in the wings. By the time the ruling comes, Hillary Clinton might be our President. Then what? “Knit one, pearl two…Chop…Chop?”

As you can see, my frustration level is pretty high. It’s a good thing, though, that I didn’t write this essay last night. I was in a fury. Nancy and I watched PBS’s “Frontline.” It was an investigative piece about the barbarism going on in ISIS controlled territory in Syria. There were interviews with Yazidi women and children as young as nine years old who were being repeatedly raped by ISIS thugs and being bought and sold as slaves. There were videos of young ISIS recruits laughing and joking about being able to rape children with no fear of retribution for their evil. There were other videos of Yazidi men being executed in masse. There was photographic evidence of ISIS executioners throwing young men suspected of being gay off the tops of buildings. There was a graphic video of a young woman being stoned to death for supposedly committing adultery, although the man she was supposed to have committed the sinful act with was nowhere to be found.

The only saving grace to the piece was a Syrian lawyer who is trying to save as many of those trapped in the hell of ISIS controlled Syria as he possibly can. Using a network of trusted agents, he’s been able to find a way to help a couple of hundred Yazidis escape the terror. He’s engaged in a noble effort, but it’s wearing on him. You can see it in the video. He’s tired. You can see that he feels the enormous weight of the task he’s taken on.  There are hundreds of thousands trapped, but he can only rescue a few.

As the program rolled on, I found myself muttering at the grainy images of the young ISIS thugs, “You filthy swine… filthy swine.” In the recesses of my soul I began to think, like David of old, “I hate them with a perfect hatred.” (Psalm 139) I even caught up in thinking that if I could only get a hold of some of those evil bastards, I would “dash them to pieces like pottery.” (Psalm 2)

After the show, Nancy and I talked about how powerless watching all these events made us feel. We pray about these things every day, but there’s very little that we can do beyond that. Will changes in our politics change things in America? Can we Christians change that? I don’t think so. We’re the minority report these days. We’re in the gunsights now. Just ask the Little Sisters of the Poor. Can we convince ISIS to stop pillaging and raping? No! Their theology dictates that they annihilate anyone who gets in the way of the establishment of their caliphate.

My frustration comes close to boiling over. Like the great cloud of witnesses in heaven, I keep asking, “How long, oh Lord? When will the cup of iniquity be filled to the point where you will intervene on humanity’s behalf?”

All I can do is pray. Arrayed against the principalities and powers of this age, my prayers seem feeble. But, I have to be satisfied that in praying, I’m doing my part. So, I’ll watch and pray, and look to the eastern sky for that glorious day we’ve been promised, when the crooked places will be made straight and the valleys will be exalted. All of these things are in God’s hands. They haven’t escaped his notice. We have our plans and methods. He has his!

As I was thinking about these things this morning¸ I turned my Pandora app on and the first song that came up was Bob Dylan’s 1963 classic “When the Ship Comes In.” I’ve always seen it as a theological piece. The eschatology is raw and powerful. As I listened I found myself longing for the time when I would see the fish laughing, the seagulls smiling, and the rocks standing, as the ship of salvation descends upon the earth one last time. I could almost feel my tired toes resting on the sands that will become a carpet of gold and the wise men will proclaim that the whole world is watching.

There’s a YouTube video at the introduction to this essay. If you haven’t listened to it already, I highly recommend it. I’ll also close with the complete lyrics to the song, which follow. Read them and be edified.


Oh the time will come up
When the winds will stop
And the breeze will cease to be breathin’
Like the stillness in the wind
’Fore the hurricane begins
The hour when the ship comes in

Oh the seas will split
And the ship will hit
And the sands on the shoreline will be shaking
Then the tide will sound
And the wind will pound
And the morning will be breaking

Oh the fishes will laugh
As they swim out of the path
And the seagulls they’ll be smiling
And the rocks on the sand
Will proudly stand
The hour that the ship comes in

And the words that are used
For to get the ship confused
Will not be understood as they’re spoken
For the chains of the sea
Will have busted in the night
And will be buried at the bottom of the ocean

A song will lift
As the mainsail shifts
And the boat drifts on to the shoreline
And the sun will respect
Every face on the deck
The hour that the ship comes in

Then the sands will roll
Out a carpet of gold
For your weary toes to be a-touchin’
And the ship’s wise men
Will remind you once again
That the whole wide world is watchin’

Oh the foes will rise
With the sleep still in their eyes
And they’ll jerk from their beds and think they’re dreamin’
But they’ll pinch themselves and squeal
And know that it’s for real
The hour when the ship comes in

Then they’ll raise their hands
Sayin’ we’ll meet all your demands
But we’ll shout from the bow your days are numbered
And like Pharoah’s tribe
They’ll be drownded in the tide
And like Goliath, they’ll be conquered

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