Hindu nationalists, led by Narendra Modi, crack down on religious liberty

Map of India
Map of India

This was reported by the Daily Signal.

Excerpt:

In a sad development, the government of India is clamping down on religious liberty, and impoverished children stand to lose the most.

Compassion International, a Christian organization that partners with local churches around the world to improve the lives of children in poverty, began shutting down its operations in India due to financial restrictions imposed on them by the Indian government. This will leave an estimated 145,000 children worse off.

The shutdown comes after months of attempts to convince the Indian government to reverse its decision, and the clampdown on Compassion International comes amid other government actions against nearly 11,000 faith-based and secular organizations operating in India.

Compassion International is a faith-based aid organization that provides humanitarian assistance for underprivileged children around the world, and has operated in India since 1968. The group is the largest single foreign provider of assistance in India, contributing around $45 million in humanitarian aid annually.

Stephen Oakley, general counsel for Compassion International, testified that the organization hosts programs that run five to six days a week, and provides meals, medical treatment, and tutoring, as well as financial assistance for school tuition.

While these programs are run out of the local Christian churches, Compassion International denies that any forced conversions take place and does not use adherence to Christianity as a condition for providing assistance. The aid is purely based on need.

[…]Nooruddin estimates that about half of the foreign aid organizations in India have been pushed out since 2012 due to an inability to renew their licenses—something the government has made more difficult in an attempt to reduce the influence of outside organizations in India.

The concept of charity is foreign to Hinduism in particular (but not Islam), simply because if a person is poor, this is seen as a result of bad karma that they have collected because of misdeeds in past lives. It’s nothing for anyone to fix, in short, and it’s seen as best to concentrate on one’s one’s grades and one’s own wealth-building. Although most Hindus don’t want to be bothered taking care of the poor themselves, they also don’t want Christians getting the credit for doing it. So, the easiest way to stop Christians getting credit with the poor for helping the poor is to stop Christians from helping the poor – leveling the playing field between the two religions.

Evangelism and Hindu tolerance

I come from a partially Hindu background, and I have to work with a lot of Indian people in my current job as a software engineer. And I have indeed noticed an aversion to Christianity from them. it’s actually very strange. When I ask them about religion, they can talk passionately about religious diversity and how tolerant their Hinduism is. But if you dig a little more under the surface, not only do they disagree with everything I believe, but they also don’t think I should allowed to express my views in public to anyone who doesn’t already agree with me.

So why is that? Well, although many East Indian people that I speak to know a great deal about computer science and making money, they actually know almost nothing about religions other than their own. For them, religion isn’t an area for investigation about what’s true or false. For them, religion is like their nationality or race or family or community. It’s beyond logic and evidence, it’s just design for social cohesion. So, if, for example, you tell a Hindu that their oscillating eternal cosmology is factually false, they get angry because that’s not religion is for them. They don’t care whether what they believe is true or false, so long as it helps them get along with their families and communities. And since Christianity would cause a break up in their families and communities (should anyone convert), they want to stop all logical and evidential discussions of it. For a Hindu, not eating meat is more important than how the universe began, because not eating meat is social, and how the universe began is factual. Bring up facts to people who are looking for social cohesion and unity gets you the kind of response that you see from Modi and the Hindu nationalists.

Border security union blames rape of teen by illegals on Obama policies

Is Barack Obama focused on protecting the American people?
Is Barack Obama focused on protecting the American people?

The Washington Examiner reports:

Open door immigration policies put in place by the Obama administration were cited a cause for the alleged rape of a 14-year-old student inside Maryland high school by two illegals, according to the head of the Border Patrol union.

Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, cited the former administration’s “catch and release” program for letting the two illegals charged in the rape into the United States.

In Senate testimony, he said, “Had we done our job that 14-year-old girl would never have been raped. Period. That’s all there is to it.”

Two illegal immigrants have been charged in the rape that occurred a week ago in the Rockville, Md., high school. A lawyer for the oldest, 18-year-old Henry Sanchez-Milian, of Guatemala, claimed that the sex was consensual, but police claim they have a “strong case” for rape. Jose Montano, 17 of El Salvador, was also charged. Because he is a minor, no other details of his case have been released.

Homeland Security officials said that Sanchez-Milian crossed the Texas border, was caught, and released. They have released little other information, including if the two were allowed in under the Obama unaccompanied minor program or why Sanchez-Milian was released.

Now, no one has been convicted yet in this case, so it’s premature to draw any conclusions. If this case does pan out, though, it will b e interesting for me to ask my evangelical friends what they think of the results of the open borders policies that they favor. Two of my open borders evangelical friends are university professors, and both of them are paid because of government grants and other redistributions of taxpayer money. It’s natural for them to think that taking money from taxpayers is fine and good. But they often haven’t thought far enough ahead about things like this rape. What would well meaning evangelical pastors and professors say about the victims of crime by illegal immigrants? After all, if those illegal immigrants had been deported after serving their convictions, then there would be fewer victims of crime here. I don’t think that pious pastors and erudite professors have much understanding about what taxpayer money is supposed to be for – it’s for the government to protect the taxpayers by enforcing the law. One can certainly be in favor of skilled immigration, while still being opposed to illegal immigration – especially the ones who commit crimes and then are released to commit more crimes.

That rape case is still up in the air, but there is another case where the facts are more settled.

Consider this story from the Washington Free Beacon.

Excerpt:

The Obama administration began the process last year of granting legal status to an adult illegal immigrant from Mexico with a criminal background who federal agents tried deporting twice and is now accused of killing his 15-year-old girlfriend.

Armando Garcia-Ramirez, 36, has been charged with murdering his teenage girlfriend from Texas, who local reporters identified as Jennifer Delgado, theWashington Times reported Tuesday.

The ex-couple had a one-year-old child and Delgado was nine months pregnant with another when she was killed. Garcia-Ramirez was reportedly Delgado’s stepfather at one time and may have been when he impregnated her.

Federal authorities apparently missed this relationship last year when Garcia-Ramirez was arrested for smuggling five other illegal immigrants into the United States. Prosecutors did not pursue the case, according to the Times, and Garcia-Ramirez went free after making bond. He was approved for a worker permit months later, which made him eligible for taxpayer benefits.

I’m very much in favor of legal immigration, especially skilled legal immigration. my great concern is that people come into the country who cannot make their own way, and want to survive by depending on the government – by taking from taxpaying businesses and workers. What’s amazing to me is the people who are actively trying to prevent the deportation of convicted criminals who should not even be in the country. Unfortunately, everyone who voted for Obama voted for criminals to remain in the United States.

The case of Kate Steinle was another example of compassionate liberals killing another innocent victim. It happens more than you think.

Free Speech bus vandalized by LGBT activists

Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign
Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign

Is the tolerance and diversity crowd really as tolerant and diverse as they claim?

Consider this story from the Washington Free Beacon about the Free Speech bus created by the National Organization for Marriage.

Excerpt:

A bus with social conservative slogans denouncing transgenderism was vandalized Thursday in New York City by trans activists.

[…][T]he bus never left New York. The National Organization for Marriage announced Thursday that the bus had been defaced by angry activists wielding hammers.

Oh, such hate speech! Much offended. Only hammers could fix this problem of other people having different opinions than the secular left extremists.

They even attacked the driver:

National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown told USA Today that the driver of the bus tried to stop the vandals, but was tackled by one of the activists.

Newsbusters also reported on the mainstream media’s coverage of the attack:

If you’re not convinced the media is on board with the LGBT agenda, think again.

On the evening of March 23, NYC vandals damaged a bus displaying a conservative message about gender, and even tackled the vehicle’s driver. Although liberal media outlets condemned the bus’s message prior to the incident, few reported on the vandalism and its ironic assault on free speech. And if they did, biased headlines labelled the vehicle “transphobic” or “anti-transgender.”

However, the #FreeSpeechBus doesn’t promote hate; it promotes science. A joint effort between the National Organization for Marriage, the International Organization for the Family and conservative activist group Citizen Go, the bus and its activists are holding rallies and press conferences in key East Coast cities. Their message — and the words emblazoned on the bright orange vehicle — are simple: “It’s biology: Boys are boys … and always will be. Girls are girls … and always will be. You can’t change sex. Respect all.”

Nevertheless, USA Today writer Melanie Eversley headlined her piece: “Bus with anti-transgender message is vandalized in NYC.” Fusion reporter Rafi Schwartz took the same track, writing: “A transphobic ‘free speech’ bus hit the streets of New York — and was immediately vandalized.”

Huffington Post Trends Reporter Elyse Wanshel reported on the bus before it was defaced, condemning its “transphobic message of hate.” So far, Huff Post has not published any stories about the vandalism.

Now might be a good time to remind everyone about the attack on the Family Research Council building.

The attacker in that case, a gay rights activist, was later convicted of domestic terrorism.

Peer-reviewed paper: Michael Behe’s “First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”

Christianity and the progress of science
Christianity and the progress of science

Let’s take a look at Mike Behe’s first rule of adaptive evolution, which states that most examples of adaptation in evolutionary experiments involve a loss of function, or a modification of an existing function. Not new functionality.

The paper was published in the Quarterly Review of Biology. I found it on PubMed.

Abstract:

Adaptive evolution can cause a species to gain, lose, or modify a function; therefore, it is of basic interest to determine whether any of these modes dominates the evolutionary process under particular circumstances. Because mutation occurs at the molecular level, it is necessary to examine the molecular changes produced by the underlying mutation in order to assess whether a given adaptation is best considered as a gain, loss, or modification of function. Although that was once impossible, the advance of molecular biology in the past half century has made it feasible. In this paper, I review molecular changes underlying some adaptations, with a particular emphasis on evolutionary experiments with microbes conducted over the past four decades. I show that by far the most common adaptive changes seen in those examples are due to the loss or modification of a pre-existing molecular function, and I discuss the possible reasons for the prominence of such mutations.

By far the most common adaptive changes in the examples we have are due to loss of function or modification of pre-existing function?

Evolution News has a post up about the paper.

Excerpt:

After reviewing the effects of mutations upon Functional Coding ElemenTs (FCTs), Michael Behe’s recent review article in Quarterly Review of Biology, “Experimental Evolution, Loss-of-Function Mutations and ‘The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution’,” offers some conclusions. In particular, as the title suggests, Behe introduces a rule of thumb he calls the “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: “Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain.” In essence, what Behe means is that mutations that cause loss-of-FCT are going to be far more likely and thus far more common than those which gain a functional coding element. In fact, he writes: “the rate of appearance of an adaptive mutation that would arise from the diminishment or elimination of the activity of a protein is expected to be 100-1000 times the rate of appearance of an adaptive mutation that requires specific changes to a gene.” Since organisms will tend to evolve along the most likely pathway, they will tend to break or lose an FCT before gaining a new one. He explains:

It is called the “first” rule because the rate of mutations that diminish the function of a feature is expected to be much higher than the rate of appearance of a new feature, so adaptive loss-of-FCT or modification-of-function mutations that decrease activity are expected to appear first, by far, in a population under selective pressure.(Michael J. Behe, “Experimental Evolution, Loss-of-Function Mutations and ‘The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution’,” Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 85(4) (December, 2010).)

Behe argues that this point is empirically supported by the research reviews in the paper. He writes:

As seen in Tables 2 through 4, the large majority of experimental adaptive mutations are loss-of-FCT or modification-of-function mutations. In fact, leaving out those experiments with viruses in which specific genetic elements were intentionally deleted and then restored by subsequent evolution, only two gain-of-FCT events have been reported

After asking “Why is this the case?” Behe states, “One important factor is undoubtedly that the rate of appearance of loss-of-FCT mutations is much greater than the rate of construction of new functional coded elements.” He draws sound and defensible conclusions from the observed data:

Leaving aside gain-of-FCT for the moment, the work reviewed here shows that organisms do indeed adapt quickly in the laboratory–by loss-of-FCT and modification-of-function mutations. If such adaptive mutations also arrive first in the wild, as they of course would be expected to, then those will also be the kinds of mutations that are first available to selection in nature. … In general, if a sequence of genomic DNA is initially only one nucleotide removed from coding for an adaptive functional element, then a single simple point mutation could yield a gain-of-FCT. As seen in Table 5, several laboratory studies have achieved thousand to million-fold saturations of their test organisms with point mutations, and most of the studies reviewed here have at least single-fold saturation. Thus, one would expect to have observed simple gain-of-FCT adaptive mutations that had sufficient selective value to outcompete more numerous loss-of- FCT or modification-of-function mutations in most experimental evolutionary studies, if they had indeed been available.

But this stark lack of examples of gain-of-functional coding elements can have important implications:

A tentative conclusion suggested by these results is that the complex genetic systems that are cells will often be able to adapt to selective pressure by effectively removing or diminishing one or more of their many functional coded elements.

Behe doesn’t claim that gain-of-function mutations will never occur, but the clear implication is that neo-Darwinists cannot forever rely on examples of loss or modification-of-FCT mutations to explain molecular evolution. At some point, there must be gain of function.

Now, there was a response to this paper from Jerry Coyne on his blog, and then a rebuttal from Mike Behe in a separate article on Evolution News.

How chastity orders your relationships and liberates you for love

Time for examples of real, self-sacrificial love
Time for examples of real, self-sacrificial love

I really recommend chastity to men especially. As long as they are chaste, they free themselves to love others unselfishly. That’s not for every woman, but it’s very useful to do with the right women.

In Salvo magazine, Terrell Clemmons has a good summary of what chastity allows you to do in this post, where she looks at the ideas of Dawn Eden.

She writes:

Contrary to the pervasive bad press it’s gotten from libertines, chastity isn’t about “not having sex.” In fact, it’s about a lot more than just sex. Dawn defines it beautifully: “Chastity is the virtue that enables us to love fully and completely in every relationship, in the manner that is appropriate to the relationship.” Of course, this raises the question of what determines appropriateness, but from both a scriptural and natural law standpoint, this is an easy question to answer. Sexual expression is appropriate to the marriage relationship and inappropriate to all others. Whether or not it’s easy to follow is certainly another matter, and Dawn gives excellent counsel on that and other related matters, but the point here is that the categories are discrete and clearly discernible.

More important, chaste living is grounded in something larger and more permanent than the individual. Whereas in modern singlehood, love is based on feelings, which are apt to change with the wind or even last night’s dinner, chaste love is defined by and grounded in God himself. Love of God—love for God and love from God—becomes the love that orders all other loves. “For each of those whom divine providence places in your life,” Dawn writes, “friends, family, the stranger on the street—you ask yourself, how can I love God through loving this person?”

Whereas the modern single is driven by an inner void that is desperately trying to get filled, the chaste singular looks to God himself to fill the void. Rather than trying to get love through the right match, the chaste singular receives love from God, the ultimate source, and then turns outward with love to give from an inner fullness.

Chaste love is respectful. It behaves with appropriate decorum, which requires forethought. What is the nature of this relationship? Why am I in it? Where is it headed? What are my intentions?

[…]To be sure, chastity will require something of you. First, it requires acknowledging the black hole within that will never be filled by sex and then inviting God himself to fill it. After that, it requires discipline, responsibility, and an ongoing trust in God himself as guarantor of the outcome. It’s the outward lifestyle that proceeds from a sound inward theology of sex and love.

“I learned, through discovering chastity,” Dawn writes, “that the greatest tragedy is not that of being unloved. The greatest tragedy is not loving.” Chaste living is holistic and comprehensive, engaging mind, body, and spirit. It’s about learning to order love as love was meant to be ordered.

Chaste love is basically intelligent, self-sacrificial love. It loves as a way of doing work for your Boss. Instead of trying to make this other person meet your needs, you try to think of how you can make them be a productive person for your Boss. You don’t see them as a commodity, you see them as a fellow soldier. And since you don’t know how far any person can go in serving God, every person you meet has value.

Personally, I think it is a lot more rewarding to chastely love women who have had bad experiences. Not all are safe, but you can tell whether to invest in them by whether they do the things that will build them up. Study something hard. Get good grades. Get a job. Strengthen your faith by reading apologetics. Stop wasting money on alcohol and drugs and cigarettes. Save money instead of spending it. Choose men who are husband material, not boy-toy material.

It’s incredibly fulfilling to see a woman actually listen to you and take your advice, and then to see her experience the rewards of good decision-making. Men sometimes think that sexual submission is a good way to feed the need for respect. But it’s a temporary fix. The permanent fix is to have a place of honor in someone’s life because you helped turn their life around. That’s real respect, and it’s not the kind that the woman takes back later after she sobers up.

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

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