Christianity: Doctrine and Ethics

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I am a 1967 graduate of The Citadel (Distinguished Military Student, member of the Economic Honor Society, Dean's List), a 1975 graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div., magna cum laude, member of the Phi Alpha Chi academic honor society); I attended the Free University of Amsterdam and completed my History of Dogma there and then received a full scholarship from the Dutch government to transfer to the sister school in Kampen, Holland. In 1979 I graduated from the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Churches of Holland (Drs. with honors in Ethics). My New Testament minor was completed with Herman Ridderbos. I am also a 2001 Ph.D. graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary (Systematic Theology) in Philly with a dissertation on the "unio mystica" in the theology of Dr. Herman Bavinck (1854-1921). I am a former tank commander, and instructor in the US Army Armor School at Ft. Knox, KY. I have been happily married to my childhood sweetheart and best friend, Sally, for 43 years. We have 6 children, one of whom is with the Lord, and 14 wonderful grandchildren.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Just What Does the National Association of Evangelicals Believe?

Last issue, we began an investigation as a kind of follow up to Dr. Roy Taylor’s assertions that many have misunderstood the October 8, 2009 National Association of Evangelicals resolution on immigration. Dr. Taylor believes that some who read that resolution read it through jaundiced eyes and have told others that “(1) the NAE advocates open borders, (2) the NAE advocates blanket amnesty, and (3) every denomination that is a member of the NAE endorses open borders and blanket amnesty.” Dr. Taylor asserts that this simply is not the case and that he is convinced of the following: “The NAE Immigration Resolution of 2009, in my view, is a biblically-based, theologically reflective, carefully balanced, concise document.”

Since I hold Dr. Taylor in such high esteem, we wish to investigate whether the accusations are bona fide or not. Dr. Taylor points us to the NAE web site ( and so I went to the sight, downloaded the document, and read it. What struck me was the nebulous language in that resolution, but more important are the sources listed in the footnotes. I am not certain that Dr. Taylor combed through the articles and authors listed in the footnotes, but if he didn’t, he should have. If he did and still holds that the NAE resolution is acceptable, then we have deeper differences than I first thought.

In this issue, I want to allow us to listen to one of those NAE churches (the Evangelical Free Church) that is cited in the “Sources” section of the NAE 2009 resolution. In subsequent issues, we’ll hear what the Vineyard churches teach and what the World Relief web site states, since WR is also cited in the “Sources” section. Finally, we’ll walk through an article by Mark Galli, managing editor of Christianity Today, posted on 4.7.2006 entitled “Blessed is the Law—Up to a Point.” What all these sources have in common is that they follow the politically correct notion of referring to illegal aliens as “undocumented workers.” The PCA is falling into lockstep with this PC practice more and more, which is not a good sign as far as I’m concerned. If we’re going to deal with an ethical issue, let’s not cloud the discussion with euphemisms.

A Stranger at Our Gates

The General Conference of the Evangelical Free Church of America adopted the position paper, “A Stranger at Our Gates,” in 1996. The paper contained five “themes,” among which was the proposition that all Christians are aliens on this earth. True. Second, “our material possessions do not really belong to us.” Third, the alien is to be protected. Fourth, “for Christians, no one is ever to really be considered an outsider.” Finally, “in serving the outsiders of society, we encounter Jesus.”

From there, the paper launches into a diatribe against the immigration policies of the U.S. “Historically, immigration policies of the United States appear to be directed more by racism and economic self-interest than compassion.” (Emphasis added.) I question the validity of such a claim, and I am not aware of the PCA ever taking such a stance vis-à-vis our immigration policies, especially the limitation on immigrants from Asia and Africa, like the EFC paper. One can only wonder why those two ethnicities were chosen. It is also declared that our current policies favor “those who bring technical expertise or financial resources with them.” Yes, that’s true, because any sovereign nation would opt for bringing in those who, humanly speaking, would help drive the economic engine of the country rather than those who are poorly educated and would be a drain on the country’s economy.

Understand well: this is an economic and political consideration made by each sovereign nation, and is not necessarily an ecclesiastical plea for evangelism. What is more disconcerting from the Evangelical Free Church 1996 resolution is the assertion that “Immigrants do not displace American workers.” The resolution continues and adds, “They usually fill a shortage of skilled labor or do the menial task that citizens refuse to do.” The first part of the statement is patently false and the second is the result of members of the EFC drinking some ideological Kool-Aid. Immigrants, legal or illegal, displace American workers in a free market setting. Illegal immigrants have, de facto, taken jobs in America performed by those who were either poorly educated, or young high school or college students looking for summer work.

What are the menial tasks that Americans refuse to do? Pick fruit? Make beds? Work as a day laborer? If your answer is Yes to all of those questions, let me ask you this: then who did all those jobs before the illegal aliens glutted this country? How did we survive? Moreover, to take such a stance is essentially to support illegality at a number of levels. Let me “esplain.” Illegal aliens come to this country illegally, which is why those who are sentient and reasonable insist on calling them illegal aliens. Then, American farmers, hotel owners, and contractors hire these illegal aliens, which is also against the law. Now the situation becomes more complex, involved. The illegal aliens are here illegally and now they are being hired illegally by Americans.

Since they are illegal aliens hired illegally, many, most of the employers pay them under the table, which is also illegal. They pay no taxes, except the sales tax they pay if they make purchases. The illegal aliens do not, for example, file federal income tax forms. In addition, if the unscrupulous employer wants to “shaft” them and pay them less than the agreed upon wage, the illegal alien has no recourse because he or she is, well, illegal. Are they going to go to the cops and report their employer for hiring them illegally since they are in the country illegally? It really gets very messy very quickly as antinomianism often does.

Yet, against all reason and fact, the EFC resolution insists that illegal immigrants “receive less general assistance than the general population, and they work longer hours.” What? Virtually every illegal immigrant uses our hospitals for “free” medical care. Try going into “emerg” in California, where I live, and you will quickly discover that the ERs are filled to overflowing with Hispanics. That is not a slur, but rather a realistic observation. Several hospitals in Southern California have closed their doors because they were bankrupted by illegal aliens receiving “free” medical care. Of course, just as there is no free lunch, there is also no free health care. Someone pays for it. If you guessed the American taxpayer gets hosed in this process, go to the head of the class. In addition, statistics show that a disproportionately high number of illegal aliens in the U.S. apply for and receive WIC assistance as well as a host of other welfare benefits, also paid for by someone else, namely the beleaguered American taxpayer. This is why the EFC statement that “Immigrants pay more in taxes than the social services they receive,” is simply untrue to a fault and it is deceptive to write such an untruth.

Some Key Questions

The 1996 resolution then proceeds to raise five issues by means of a question and a brief answer.

First, “To what extent are our attitudes towards immigration shaped by racism?” This question is a bit of a cheap shot. It’s like someone saying to you, “You don’t like President Obama because he’s black.” No, I don’t like President Obama because of his policies. His skin color is totally irrelevant to me. Is it the case that every citizen—of any country—is a racist simply because he or she wants to abide by the laws of the land? If that’s your definition, then every law-abiding citizen is a racist and that is sheer nonsense. Our attitudes towards immigration are shaped by law. America has immigration laws on its books, and, I might add, they have one of the most lenient attitudes towards immigration of any country on the planet.

In the last issue, I gave you, in bullet points, the immigration policy of Mexico. If you want to sling the racial epithet at someone, try starting with our neighbor to the South. But the EFC is not finished yet. They also ask under the umbrella of their first question, “To what extent do we assume that American culture is identified with northern and western culture; and are we attempting to protect those cultural roots of American from corruption by ‘foreign’ cultures?” For anyone who has a modicum of historical sense, America was founded as an Anglo culture. Sam Huntington’s book Who Are We? makes that abundantly clear. It is an irrefutable fact. I cannot fathom why we are trying to be historical revisionists. Do we want to have, say, an Islamic jihadist culture glut our country so we can benefit from their lifestyle?

Then the resolution asks, “Are we denying that other cultures bring gifts that add to rather than detract from our society’s culture?” That really is not the question. The question has to do with immigrants being assimilated into American culture. Illegal immigrant from South of the border that live in California, send their money back to Mexico and Latin America. In fact—it’s a fact—American money earned by illegal aliens and sent back to Mexico, is the second largest import of that country. There is more I could say, but as a final remark under the first question regarding racism, I want to conclude with the last question asked in this section: “Does our cultural identity take precedence over our Christian identity so that we fail to recognize that we are fellow aliens with these immigrants?” That is a loaded, self-serving, and self-fulfilling question.

Those of the true faith are, first and foremost, Christians. Therefore, national identity does not take precedence over Christian identity. Nevertheless, the question, as put, is open ended and poorly formulated. The ethical question is: in what sense are we fellow aliens with these (i.e., illegal) immigrants? This is unclear to me. Truly, surely since all mankind will have an eternal destiny (either heaven or hell) we are all aliens upon the earth awaiting our eternal home. We may share being made in the image of God, but that does not excuse us from acting in a biblically unethical fashion. There are murderers, rapists, extortionists, child predators, adulterers, thieves, and sexual perverts in this country. Am I, are you a fellow alien with them? I’m just askin’. You know what I’m sayin’?

I’m going to rush ahead though. The second question asks to what extent our attitudes towards immigrants are shaped by materialism. The vagary is the word “immigrants.” Are we talking about legal or illegal immigrants? But what the EFC resolution is really getting at here is this: “As aliens and strangers in this world, what is the theological basis for acting as though America were our property and we can hence deny access to it?” This is essential because what Dr. Taylor, this resolution, and the NAE are aiming at is not “open borders” in the sense that we normally think of open borders. No, what the NAE is actually aiming at is blanket amnesty so that there are no more “undocumented workers.” That will become increasing clear as we move forward and cite more of the “Sources” cited in the NAE 2009 resolution. Everyone becomes “kosher” because there are no more illegal aliens, period. The follow-up question by the EFC is “Are we being overly possessive of our lifestyle or standard of living?” I don’t think so, but one thing is for certain, America simply cannot supply a certain standard of living for the entire global population. We can teach innovation, sanitation, how to raise crops, and a host of other things, but we cannot provide unlimited resources to the global community. To ask such a question is short-sighted and absurd.

Third, “Is the fear of running out of limited resources justifiable?” You’re kidding, right? No, I suppose not. Should we be concerned about running out of limited resources? Well, duh! Limited resources will eventually run out.

Fourth, “Does denying or reducing ‘safety net’ and other public benefits to illegal immigrants and their American-born children imply that in our society some groups of people are not regarded as being equally human as others even though they participate in the economic functioning of our society?” I just thought we established that illegal immigrants didn’t make use of the “safety net.” Which is it? The “anchor baby” debacle is unique to America. That’s why illegal aliens flock here. No other nation has such a ludicrous law. The EFC seems to forget that illegal aliens function in the economics of this country illegally.

Fifth, “What about immigration policy?” Here is the crux of the matter. The questions here make the U.S. the culprit in making it so hard for people to enter this country legally. As mentioned earlier, we are not only more generous than most, but our laws are fair and equitable—not to mention reasonable.

As we shall see in the NAE 2009 resolution as well as in other member churches, the aim is total amnesty and I firmly believe that it was and remains incumbent upon Dr. Taylor to let the PCA members know this. After all, by his own admission, he has been serving as the chair of the board and of the executive committee. It may very well be the case that no one has overtly mentioned total amnesty to Dr. Taylor. I think that’s both plausible and possible, but since he fulfills such an important position, I would think that he has closely read and scrutinized the resolutions of the member churches.

In the NAE’s “Call to Action,” we read, “We believe that national immigration policy should be considerate of immigrants who are already here and who may arrive in the future and that its measures should promote national security and the general welfare in appropriate ways.” Appropriate ways? Yes, this includes moving “undocumented immigrants” towards citizenship. Break in line; go to the front of the line; ignore the laws of the land; and then be embraced by Bible-believing churches. According to the NAE, illegal aliens “are revitalizing churches” and “Their presence is a blessing of God.” Really? Then the resolution adds that we must ignore “economics” and “national security issues.” Did you know this, Dr. Taylor? It’s there on the NAE web site for all to download and read. What the NAE is calling for is reform of national immigration policy that Americans definitively said they did not want when then-President Bush tried to push it through Congress. What makes anyone think that Americans want that now? Undaunted, the NAE wishes to have immigration reform that would teach the illegal aliens to embrace “the responsibilities and privileges that accompany citizenship.” Why should they? Beginning illegally, they now have the NAE and its member churches on their side. Beginning illegally, we are now going to speak to them about embracing responsibilities. What the NAE is aiming at is “That the government legislate fair labor and civil laws for all residing within the United States that reflect the best of this country’s heritage.” (Emphasis added.) You mean our laws are not fair and civil now? Where are they wrong? But note the emphasized words. Dr. Taylor knows about these words and yet there is nothing in his elaboration about them and informing PCA folks what we’re up against. I can hardly wait to hear what he might say about the NAE’s position on global warming.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Please Note Well: I contacted the office of Dr. Roy Taylor in Atlanta and attempted to speak with Dr. Taylor by phone. I was told that he was in a meeting and unable to speak to me. I left a detailed message with the woman who took my phone call about what I was doing and asked if she would pass the message along to Dr. Taylor and please to have him get back in touch with me. To date, more than a week later, there has been no return call. Therefore, I am moving ahead with the publication of this Ethos on my blog and electronically.

We Need Much Better Communication

Recently, I was made aware of a short article written by Dr. Roy Taylor, Stated Clerk of the PCA dealing with an immigration resolution from the National Association of Evangelicals. Let me state unequivocally that I have the utmost respect for Dr. Taylor and that he is an esteemed colleague and brother in the Lord. Therefore, what I will write is a sort of intramural debate, but it is a debate. A member of the OPC made me aware of the article, which appears on byFaithonline, which explains why I didn’t see it. One can go to that web site, however, and locate Dr. Taylor’s article entitled “Roy Taylor Elaborates on NAE Immigration Resolution.”

Dr. Taylor informs us that on October 8, 2009—thus, quite recently—the board of directors of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) adopted a resolution on immigration. It is Dr. Taylor’s intention to clear up misunderstandings about that resolution and he pinpoints three particular areas where he fears there might be misunderstandings. He writes, “Shortly after the release of the document, reports from several sources circulated via the Internet (which, like Al Gore, is suffering from global warming—RG) asserted that: (1) the NAE advocates open borders, (2) the NAE advocates blanket amnesty, and (3) every denomination that is a member of the NAE endorses open borders and blanket amnesty.” Dr. Taylor opines that these assertions are incorrect. Moreover, Dr. Taylor is convinced that “The NAE Immigration Resolution of 2009, in my view, is a biblically-based, theologically reflective, carefully balanced, concise document.” I agree that it is concise, but I need to explain why Dr. Taylor and I differ on the remainder of his statement.

Immigration 2009

I rejoice that the first section of this resolution begins with “Biblical Foundations.” Right off the bat, the paper begins with a truth we all can agree on: “Discussion of immigration and government immigration policy must begin with the truth that every human being is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-28).”[1] They also maintain—correctly—that “Jesus exemplifies respect toward others who are different in his treatment of the Samaritans (Luke 10:30-37; John 4:1-42).”[2] Sandwiched between these two assertions, however, is an “agenda item”: “Immigrants are made in the image of God and have supreme value with the potential to contribute to society.”[3]

I’m not sure exactly what to make of that statement and why it is positioned where it is in the NAE resolution. What, for example, does it mean to have supreme value? I’m not asking this question with a view to immigrants, legal or illegal, or non-immigrants, but with a view to the definition of the word “supreme.” Personally, I am comfortable with saying that all mankind is created in the image of God and has great inherent value, but if we mean by “supreme” an inviolable or absolute right of existence, I disagree. Clearly, our Lord mandated crimes that require the death penalty or lex talionis thereby dismissing any notion of an absolute respect for human life. For the time being, I’ll simply leave this as something that is unclear to me from the NAE Immigration Resolution of 2009.

The NAE position paper then launches into a discourse on Old Testament migration. They state that the Word of God contains accounts of God’s people migrating because of hunger, war, or personal circumstances. They could have said, “hunger, war, or famine,” but personal circumstances is another more or less surreptitious agenda item. You see, illegal aliens come to the U.S. for personal reasons or because of personal circumstances, such as wanting to live the American Dream, which, by the way, under the current administration is turning rapidly into the American Nightmare. Names such as Joseph, Daniel and his friends, Ezekiel, Ezra, and Nehemiah are also presented as those who “lived in foreign lands.”[4] It is patently true that they lived in foreign lands, but for what reason? They were, of course, exiles; a point that is rather conveniently left out. We are simply told they moved and lived elsewhere than their native homeland. Do you see where this is heading? Can you begin to understanding why I disagree with Dr. Taylor in that the IR of 2009 is not biblically-based, theologically reflective, and carefully balanced?

In the New Testament, Peter is cited as one who in his first letter referred to his recipients as “aliens” and “strangers,” “perhaps suggesting that they were exiles within the Roman Empire.”[5] Once again, I must take exception to Dr. Taylor’s allegation that the NAE’s IR of 2009 is biblically-based, theologically reflective, and carefully balanced. Here’s why: In 1 Peter 1, Peter addresses his audience in the following fashion, “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia…” The NAE resolution groups all humanity together because their agenda item is to address immigration and want to paint us all with the “aliens” and “strangers” brush.

Peter is addressing elect exiles. Who are they? J.N.D. Kelly comments that “On a hasty reading one might be tempted to infer that they (the elect exiles—RG) are Jewish Christians: so did most of the Greek fathers, but not Jerome or Augustine. The Greek noun translated “scattered people” is diaspora (i.e. ‘Dispersion’), a technical term among Greek-speaking Jews…for members of their race dwelling outside Palestine in heathen countries.”[6] The word “elect,” according to Kelly “was the epithet regularly used by the Jews to express their conviction that God had singled them out from all nations to be His special people.”[7]

Wayne Grudem believes that “strangers” “wrongly suggests that they were not known well by their neighbours, something which was untrue of Abraham, for example, or other Old Testament saints. Better is the phrase ‘those who reside as aliens.’”[8] In this particular context, Grudem is convinced that “the term here has a new spiritual sense, referring to Christians ‘dispersed’ throughout the world and living away from their heavenly homeland (yet hope some day to reach it). The word thus reinforces the meaning of ‘sojourners’ and adds the idea that they are part of a ‘world-wide’ scattering of Christians.”[9]

I could continue to multiply examples like these, but you get the point. I wrote a lengthy article on August 19, 2006 that dealt with the Old Testament concept of the “sojourner” (gēr), which I will recount more in detail in our next installment. For the present, I simply want to point out that the NAE has taken quite a bit of liberty and license in their attempt to correlate Old and New Testament “aliens” and “strangers” with our current situation with illegal aliens. Unfortunately, Dr. Taylor appears to side with the NAE.

My Solution

At this stage, the solution I’m offering is somewhat tenuous, but Dr. Herman Bavinck (1854-1921), taught me that it is not enough simply to criticize. One should offer an alternative. Therefore, I want to spell out my alternative to the current immigration impasse and difficulty by offering my own thoughts on what a good immigration policy might look like. You are free to disagree, but here it is:

· Foreign visitors and immigrants must be in the country legally.

· They must have the means to sustain themselves economically before they arrive.

· They must not be a burden on society (i.e., they must not get on welfare. They must have their own health insurance that is up to date before they arrive so that they will not use health services as a freebie).

· They must have no criminal record and be of good character.

· They must be contributors to the general commonwealth of the nation.

· Immigration authorities must have a complete and accurate record of each foreign visitor.

· Foreign visitors may not violate their visa status, upon penalty of immediate deportation.

· Foreign visitors are banned from interfering in the country’s internal politics (i.e., no marches, protests, organizations attempting to coerce or lobby politicians).

· Foreign visitors who enter under false pretenses are imprisoned or deported.

· Foreign visitors violating the terms of their entry are imprisoned or deported.

· Those who aid in illegal immigration in any way will be sent to prison.

As I look over this list, it is by no means complete, but I believe that it is a very good start. I wish I had had more time to work on it, but Ethos has to be done by Thursday afternoon, so I took the easy way out and simply listed Mexico’s policy. That’s right. What you just read in the bullet points is the immigration policy of Mexico.

John Lillpop, writing in the Canada Free Press (is there such a thing in Canada?) reminds us that Mexico deports more illegal aliens annually than the U.S. does. In addition, “it is a felony to be an illegal alien in Mexico.”[10] He continues, “At a time when the Supreme Court and many politicians seek to bring American law in line with foreign legal norms, it’s noteworthy that nobody has argued that the U.S. look at how Mexico deals with immigration and what it might teach us about how best to solve our illegal immigration problem.”[11] Yep.

We need to tread very carefully on this issue if, for no other reason, than New York Senator (D), Chuck Shumer enthusiastically embraced it.[12] It was also reported by Mark Tooley of “The Institute on Religion & Democracy” that NAE testimony before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security “advocated loosening immigration policies.”[13] Tooley warns that this was not the first time the NAE has supported liberal causes, citing environmentalism and global warming as current issues where the NAE is also left of center. And, Tooley adds, the NAE “plans to adopt a petition regarding nuclear disarmament.”[14] All of these are up for discussion and debate, of course, but evangelicals and I would hope especially the PCA would not want to align themselves with organizations that lean left. One member of the NAE—the Salvation Army—“has publicly disavowed the NAE immigration statement, say it could not endorse such a political agenda.”[15]

Thus far, we have observed shoddy, self-serving exegesis and a willingness to push for comprehensive immigration reform. “Wait!” you object. “We haven’t heard anything in the NAE report about comprehensive immigration reform!” You’re right, but you will next time, because there are NAE affiliates who are cited in the IR for 2009 resolution who speak out of both sides of their mouths. You don’t have to dig far before you discover that Dr. Taylor is not doing us a positive service by endorsing this resolution, but I still respect him very much.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid. Emphases added.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] J.N.D. Kelly, The Epistles of Peter and of Jude, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1988), p. 40.

[7] Ibid. Comp. Deut 4:37; 7:6; 14:2; Ps. 105:6; Isa. 45:4.

[8] Wayne Grudem, 1 Peter, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1988), p. 48.

[9] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid., 1-2.

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Friday, October 02, 2009

The New Evangelical Left (XIII)

Politicizing Science and Lying in the Process

People, generally, do not like being lied to, especially when that lying is coming from someone in authority over them, and most especially when that person or persons are elected officials. There is an element of trust placed in those in positions of power and authority and one of the best ways to destroy trust and confidence is to lie to those who put you there. And yet, now with regularity and impunity our politicians lie to Americans as a matter of course and think little or nothing of it.

Now don’t get me wrong: I am not trying to paint everyone with the same brush, but with the approval rating of the U.S. Congress barely in double digits, they and we ought to be aware that something is dreadfully wrong—and it is. Jim Wallis’ and Brian McLaren’s solutions are to be apolitical, at least that’s what they’d have you think. Both Wallis and McLaren are far to the left politically and theologically. I still have not quite figured out why they just don’t come out and say it, but I suppose it would mean the loss of some lucrative speaking engagements to college and seminary students across the country, not to mention flying all over the globe to speak on the ills of air pollution. The alarmists, the fanatics, the nay-sayers, and the doomsday prophets all tell us that we’ve only got a little time left before the end. Al Gore is leading the parade; but some of us find it a little odd, if not downright hypocritical, that while these “greenies” are leading the charge against abuses to the spotted owl and smelt fish, he unrepentantly continues to use air conditioning, a microwave, several TVs, DVDs, and flies all over the place—often in private jets—to rid the world of the use of fossil fuels.

Gore and his minions have politicized biotech foods to the poor in developing countries. These suffering nations have plenty of food sitting in storehouses, but it’s genetically engineered food and unfit for consumption for all except Americans who have been eating it for years. Gore is not alone in this undertaking, the Europeans generally follow suit. Therefore the leaders keep the food while the people starve. In addition, Mr. Gore has gored capitalism in favor of socialism, although Gore, Clinton (both of them), Obama, Pelosi, and a host of other Democrats (including Christians) repeatedly deny the claim that what they’re doing is textbook socialism. If it walks like a duck…

In his virulent ideological stance, Gore, the New Evangelical Left, and Democrats in general believe that capitalism is the culprit in all our misery. For most Democrats to point to greed is a case of ultimate hypocrisy. How do you think Boxer, Feinstein, Pelosi, and Loretta Sanchez live in multi-million dollar homes? Oh, I know. They got a deal from Freddie Mac.

Indur Goklany has written a very provocative and common sense book entitled The Improving State of the World. It bears the sub-title: “Why We’re Living Longer, Healthier, More Comfortable Live on a Cleaner Planet.” I’m sure you’ve heard about everything Goklany writes about in the New York Times or the Los Angeles Times, haven’t you? No? How odd. Well, apparently this is not all the news that’s fit to print, especially since it cuts across their—and other liberal propaganda rags that pass themselves off as newspapers—environmental beliefs.

In spite of all the doom and gloom, did you know that the average human on planet earth has never been richer, better fed, healthier, or lived longer? It’s true, but to listen to the environmental activists, you’d think we are all on the brink of utter ruin. Now this is not to say that we cannot do better, but it is to say that we cannot and never will do better following the ideas and ideals of Al Gore, Jim Wallis, Brian McLaren, Dan Kimball, the other signatories of the “Evangelical Climate Initiative” documents, and the left in the Democratic Party.

Those on the Left (both in the Democratic Party and now in evangelicalism) are aware of the Club of Rome’s The Limits to Growth, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, Neo-Malthusian biologist at Stanford, Paul Ehrlich (The Population Bomb), and Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, but have never heard of Herman Kahn, Julian Simon, or Bjørn Lomborg. We are what and who we read. The left does not mind peppering us with stats that point out that over the last two centuries, global population increased more than seven times from about 900 million to approximately 6.5 billion. This sounds like the eve of destruction until you calculate in that manufacturing industry increased more than seventy-five fold, and global economic product increased more than sixty times.

In fact, in terms of hunger, infant mortality, life expectancy, economic development, education, political rights and economic freedoms, it has been the wealthier, free market societies that have led and paved the way for these benefits to mankind. Even in countries like China and India, significant—but not perfect—increases have been measured. I know what I’m about to say will not be popular with some, but I’m going to say it anyway. First, available food supplies per capita per day increase as countries become wealthier, not poorer. According to Goklany, “These upward trends with respect to wealth for both 1975 and 2002 are statistically significant at the 99.9 percent confidence level.”[1]

Second, by reinforcing the increase in food supply, wealthier populations could also afford more food for their citizens, irrespective of whether that food was grown domestically or imported.

Third, wealthier countries—all other things being equal—generally have greater access to clean, safe water and sanitation.[2] How does this evolve? The ability is typically advanced with time and the application of advanced technologies.

Fourth, wealthier countries have increased the life expectancy of their people. “For much of human history, average life expectancy used to be 20-30 years. By 1900, it had climbed to about 31 years. By 2003 it had increased to 66.8 worldwide.”[3] That did not come about by wealthier nations reverting to wearing loin cloths and making goat cheese by candlelight.

Fifth, wealthier nations have been more successful in controlling the spread of infectious and parasitic diseases, such as cholera, smallpox, malaria, tuberculosis, and typhoid. Far too many who criticize wealthier nations like the U.S. fail to remember that we were forerunners in all but eradicating those dread diseases. It was the free market that provided the incentives and expertise for these things and not communism or socialism. The next time you want to criticize your country keep in mind that it was America that led the way in clean water supplies, public health measures, water filtration, chlorination, sanitation, pasteurization, and vaccination. In addition, the free market enabled people to direct part of their wealth and human capital to dealing with the “diseases of affluence,” such as heart diseases, obesity, and HIV/AIDS. While the political left and now some in the evangelical left created crises surrounding the supposed ill effect of genetically modified crops, the carcinogenic impact of using cell phones, and the saving of the smelt fish at the expense of California farmers.

In our next installment, we will delve more deeply into Al Gore’s corruption with environmentalism when he was Bill Clinton’s science and technology czar. Apart from that being an incredibly scary thought in itself, we’re going to see how Gore ran with that position and how many high-level appointees to regulatory agencies he put into place. You might not recognize all the names, but what they did was corrupt and unscientific. It was this patent and manifest dishonesty that was the fodder for Earth in the Balance. We will see that Gore’s ideology was not only a money grab, but he intentionally discredited renowned scientists who disagreed with him and threatened, through his henchmen, to ruin their reputations. Why, he could just as well be a politician from Chicago.

[1] Indur M. Goklany, The Improving State of the World, (Washington, D.C.: The Cato Institute, 2007), p. 24. Emphasis added.

[2] Ibid. 30.

[3] Ibid., 31.