Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Believe Not Thine Own Press Release

By Rick Pearcey

A OneNewsNow report on divorcing televangelists makes clear that bad things happen when certain Christian leaders begin believing their own press releases.

Of course, many people secular or otherwise achieve great heights (thinking of "greatness" superficially) by methods less than honest. So practiced are these personalities, so successful, so rewarded in this life, that it comes as a great shock to them and their enablers when reality hits, the fruit is examined, and they are exposed as frauds.

One can almost imagine some of these movers-and-shakers first in line on Judgment Day, telling the Lord, "Did we not cast out demons in your name, hug AIDS victims, and author awarding-winning best-sellers setting the Christian world on fire?" (see Matt. 7:22,23)

Jesus answers: "That may work on the ga-ga crowd. But No. The exorcisms were faked, the hugs were for PR, and the books where ghosted. I don't know you."

"But Lord, we took you at your word when you said, 'I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, except of course in matters regarding PR, book sales, image creation, legacy enhancement, damage control, and marketing.'" (quote from The Celebrity-Driven Bible)

"Depart from me, you worker of lawlessness." (see Matt. 7:23)

The report in OneNewsNow is titled "TV Ministry Watchdog Calls Televangelists' Divorce Terrible Testimony." It's here.

Rick Pearcey is editor and publisher of The Pearcey Report (archives).

Monday, August 27, 2007

If Diversity Is King

By Rick Pearcey

"Diversity" is one of secularized America's favorite pretended absolutes. God has been declared dead to public life, including learning, so something has to take His place. Human beings and human societies, atheist or otherwise, cannot operate without a center of gravity.

"Diversity" is making a go of it. A host of freethinking worshippers have bowed the knee, in the name of education, the group, "my truth," tolerance, and humility. Some apparently do not realize that diversity without unity leads to chaos. It is anything but a strength.

For one thing, it ontologizes evil in all its multiplicity. Moral categories disappear in the diversity of bare existence with its impersonal particles, compounds, heat, cold, solar systems, and galaxies. As such, it is impossible, on the basis of sheer diversity, to make morally humane discriminations that protect civilization from barbarism and destruction.

The PR for this approach offers comforting words about "tolerance." Enlightened people, it is said, can relax in "safe" places where differences can be explored. We can live at peace knowing that what's true for "my morality" may not be true for yours. There is no judgment in the bliss of ethical humility.

Except that if diversity is king, there is no way to discern morally sporting activity from terror activity; football or soccer from abortion and dogfighting; Vince Lombardi from Saddam Hussein. The moral element of crime also disappears. Every loophole in court is technical only.

In such a setting, who are we to impose our diversity of feelings on the private inter-species canine entertainment activities of Michael Vick and company? Diversity is a weak god. It protects neither Man nor Man's Best Friend.

This brings us to "Multiculturalism's War on Education," an article that appears in today's Frontpage magazine.

The article begins: "Back to school nowadays means back to classrooms, lessons and textbooks permeated by multiculturalism and its championing of 'diversity.' Many parents and teachers regard multiculturalism as an indispensable educational supplement, a salutary influence that 'enriches' the curriculum. But is it?"

Education should be about questioning, including questions regarding the pedestal upon which multiculturalism now rests in the public schools and elsewhere. The article makes several good points, and I am happy to recommend it.

But it stumbles, it seems to me, when it asserts: "The American republic, with an elected government limited by individual rights, was born not of stone-age peoples, but primarily of the European Enlightenment."

It is true that the American republic was not born of stone-age peoples. But it was born of peoples rooted in the concept of the Judeo-Christian Creator, not in the secular Enlightenment per se, which rejected the Creator for a naturalism that founded human rights in, among other things, the secular state. (Put differently, there is a continuity from Reformation freedoms and the English Revolution of 1688 to the American colonies of 1776, but a real difference in worldview between the French and American Revolutions.)

I touch on this here: "On one side of the culture war are people who understand that this nation is founded upon the governing principle of independence under God. This position is clearly set forth in the Declaration of Independence, which is based on a framework in which there is a Creator from whom all human beings, by virtue of creation, are endowed with inalienable rights. This particular worldview orientation is what dramatically sets the American experiment apart from ancient Greece, classical Rome, the French Revolution, National Socialism, Marxism, and the anti-Christian secularism that rose up in America in the 1960s.

"On the other side of the culture war are people who reject this founding framework in favor of a concept of independence apart from God. This view emerged on the Western political landscape during the French Revolution. Instead of a Creator God as the basis for human rights, people on this side of the struggle have come to see humanity as the product of an impersonal nature that has produced autonomous human beings who look to themselves (their choice, power, genes) or their groups (race, class, gender, party) or the impersonal natural order itself as the final reference point for human rights and identity."

The entire Frontpage article by Elan Journo is here.

Rick Pearcey is editor and publisher of The Pearcey Report (archives).

Monday, August 13, 2007

Dock the Pay of Obese Politicians

By Rick Pearcey

"Companies seeking to cut rising health care costs are starting to dock the pay of overweight and unhealthy workers," reports the Washington Times.

Among these companies is "Clarian Health, an Indiana hospital chain, [which] will require workers who smoke to pay $5 out of each paycheck starting in 2009. For workers deemed obese, as much as $30 will be taken out each paycheck until they meet certain weight, cholesterol and blood pressure standards."

Should companies impose their business policies on the private lives of workers? I have my doubts. Americans suffer already from too much corporatism.

However, there may be a lesson here for the federal government, which is immensely overweight and unhealthy, due largely to acts of unconstitutional gluttony performed on the pocketbooks and freedoms of American citizens.

What to do? Try docking the pay of politicians and cutting the budgets of programs -- and even programs themselves -- until political health is achieved, as measured by the scales of constitutional standards.

Some on Capitol Hill may scoff, you say.

We can fix that, too. Fatcat scoffers of constitutional government should be sentenced to unending appearances and gnashing of teeth on NBC's "The Biggest Loser."

Finally, a program they disapprove of.

"Firms Dock Pay of Obese, Smokers," by reporter Gregory Lopes, appears here.

Rick Pearcey is editor and publisher of The Pearcey Report (archives).

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Congratulations! University Position for Nancy Pearcey

By Rick Pearcey

Congratulations to Nancy on accepting a new position in higher education. A few administrative details have yet to be worked out, so we'll hold off on a fuller announcement until then (stay tuned).

Meanwhile, we thought you'd like a kind of minimalist sneak preview of recent developments. The new position allows Nancy to teach and write in a university context. There are smiles all around.

Nancy has enjoyed her tenure as the Francis A. Schaeffer Scholar at World Journalism Institute and now looks forward with thankfulness to this new challenge.

Rick Pearcey is editor and publisher of The Pearcey Report (archives).

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Rupert Murdoch: Satan or Savior?

By Rick Pearcey

"Before Fox News Channel was born," writes Cal Thomas in his latest column ("Rupert Murdoch: Satan or Savior?"), "I met with several network news presidents, telling them that someone was going to go after a demographic that felt shutout by the mainstream media.

"These people, I said, go to church, fly the flag, respect the nation's traditions and institutions and hate the liberal media. They feel censored, or stereotyped, by the media elites. I told them the person who recognizes that demographic and gives them a voice would reap a huge reward.

"That person is Rupert Murdoch. He is not the media Satan, as the left likes to portray him. Some of the offensive (to me) tabloid stuff notwithstanding, he just may be the media's savior. The elites hate him, but growing numbers of people are buying his products."

Murdoch may not be the "media Satan," but who today would place him on the side of the angels, given his deep involvement in broadcasting pornography (See "Murdoch Pastor Gets Heat for Mogul's Porn Channels," WorldNetDaily)?

The point here is not a simplistic moralism. One can appreciate the competition in news and opinion that Murdoch brings to the table. This is very hard work and should be respected. Not to mention the creativity and risk-taking that reflects so much of what it means to be a human being. This is for the good, even though the product can stand improvement.

How unfortunate, however, that Murdoch also trafficks in unloving entertainment offerings so barren in thought, humiliating to the human person, and harmful to the family. It reflects a profound alienation from a nation whose ethos is rooted in verifiable information given by the Creator as a map to humane living in a broken world in all spheres of life.

Let me suggest two marks that will attend a structural reformation of journalism and entertainment: 1) respect for the objectivity of truth, 2) respect for the dignity of the individual.

This kind of reformation won't yield a perfect society, people, or media, but the core principles won't be corrupt and it will be a hedge against fascism and nihilism. That would be a good beginning.

Neither Man, news, or entertainment lives by market share alone.

The entire Cal Thomas column is here.

Rick Pearcey is editor and publisher of The Pearcey Report (archives).