A constellation of unrelated thoughts on recent, unrelated events:
George Zimmerman is now in jail and facing second-degree murder charges for killing Trayvon Martin. This case has stoked racial bitterness, fear and antagonism that easily matches the Rodney King and O.J. Simpson trials. Any chance it will be peacefully resolved? A recent Newsweek poll found that 35 percent of white Americans believe Martin’s death was racially motivated—while 80 percent of black Americans do. The people who are using the case for political purposes are playing with open flame inside a gas plant.
The more facts that surface about Fast and Furious, the worse it gets. A new book by investigative journalist Katy Pavlich vigorously argues that the Obama administration okayed this evil operation—which resulted in the murder or wounding of some 200 Mexicans and the slaying of an American border patrol agent—simply to try to strengthen their case for tightening gun control. Officials followed that disaster with a scandalous cover-up, shamelessly protecting their own tails rather than holding the guilty accountable. Such brazen criminality among the nation’s leaders is a vile illustration of the hard numbers Rob Morley cited yesterday showing the tattered condition of America’s rule of law. It makes me hot with shame.
Two stories have emerged of official misconduct of a more carnal sort. In one, the General Services Administration—an agency established in part to develop cost-saving policies for the federal government—is being probed for hosting a lavish conference in a Las Vegas resort, complete with bribes and kickbacks. The cost was an outrageous $823,000—all billed to American taxpayers. In another, 20 Secret Service and military personnel who accompanied the president on his trip to Colombia last week are implicated in a scandal involving a strip club and prostitutes. Many people say character doesn’t matter—a leader’s private life is his business. Embarrassments like these prove that thinking flawed. Scripture shows godly character is prerequisite to effective leadership (e.g. Deuteronomy 17:14-20; Matthew 20:25-28; 1 Timothy 3:1-7).
If you’re curious what happens when the family is destroyed, just watch: Americans are conducting a vast experiment to find out. Washington reported some time ago that 4 in 10 births in the United States are to unwed mothers. Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention refined that statistic, revealing that births to unmarried cohabiters are at a record high and rising fast. In 2002 the cdc found that 14 percent of reported births were to unwed couples simply living together. A mere 10 years later, that figure has jumped by two thirds. Now, nearly one baby in four is born to a couple that tacitly believes, “Till inconvenience do us part.”
Writing of social problems borne of the sexual revolution, Theodore Dalrymple wrote in Life at the Bottom, “Every liberal prescription worsened the problem that it was ostensibly designed to solve. But every liberal intellectual had to deny that obvious consequence or lose his Weltanschauung [world view]: for what shall it profit an intellectual if he acknowledge a simple truth and lose his Weltanschauung? Let millions suffer so long as he can retain his sense of his own righteousness and moral superiority. Indeed, if millions suffer they are additional compassion fodder for him, and the more of their pain will he so generously feel. And so the prescription is: more of the same.”
Charles Murray’s newest book, Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010, measures our breakneck moral decline in a rather precise way. Using thorough research, he focuses on the condition of four pillars of American life: work ethic, marriage, religion and respect for law. He shows how, though these pillars have undergone some drop-off among the educated and prosperous over the past half-century, they have been trashed within the lower and working class. Among 30-to-49-year-old whites with no more than a high school diploma and a blue-collar job, the marriage rate plummeted from 84 percent in 1960—to 48 percent in 2010. This is a historically unprecedented collapse in the central institution stabilizing a society. Similar decay is compromising those other three pillars. You don’t need to believe Bible prophecy to know the fate of a structure whose pillars crumble.
After a dry winter, a stunning 61 percent of land in the 48 lower states in the continental U.S. is “abnormally dry” or in drought. That’s especially tough after last year’s dry spell wrought at least $10 billion in agricultural losses. And this past weekend, what would ordinarily be a month’s worth of tornadoes hit in a single day. Six people died. These kind of aberrant events are increasingly becoming the norm. A lot of people want to link this to man-made climate change. I believe there is a far more relevant link with man-made disasters like those discussed in the preceding paragraphs. Scripture shows that God controls the natural elements and uses them to bless for obedience or curse for rebellion. We’re getting a nasty face-full of the latter. It’s not carbon emissions we need to cut—it’s commissions of sin.
ted recently posted a lecture by primatologist Frans de Waal. He showed various scientific studies of animals displaying rudimentary “moral” behavior like helping another animal get food, or pitching a fit when another animal unfairly received tastier food. This, de Waal explained, offered proof that the complexities of human morality simply evolved. “We work on these particular issues to see if we can create a morality from the bottom up, so to speak,” he said candidly, “without necessarily God and religion involved.” How much of today’s scientific inquiry is wasted this way? This was an egregious example of a scientist extorting a predetermined conclusion out of a neutral set of data. No matter what scientists scrutinize, they manage to interpret it as proof of what they already “know”: Everything happened without God.
Another ted lecture beautifully undermined that notion by showing the monumental superiority of the human mind over any animal. Regina Dugan, who directs an innovation factory called darpa, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, shared some of the extraordinary projects currently in development. Among them: a glider that travels at 20 times the speed of sound (it would cross the U.S. from coast to coast in 11 minutes); a robot that mimics a hummingbird’s ability to fly in any direction; metal lighter than Styrofoam; and a prosthetic arm controlled by thought. The astonishing human capacity for creation and innovation isn’t just the natural outgrowth of chimps using sticks to catch bugs. It was given by God—and for an awesome reason. Read What Science Can’t Discover About the Human Mind if you’re curious why. Far more of those scientists should be.