America, guns, and Campbell Live

According to Campbell Live, Americans are panic-buying guns in the wake of Obama’s election. Business is up over 400% in some stores. Obama campaigned in part on tightening America’s gun laws, so this is completely understandable. I’d probably be doing exactly the same if our laws were about to be tightened (still further) here.

But how does Campbell Live illustrate what this is about? Using a survivor of the Virginia Tech shooting, calling for more restrictions to stop such events because guns are bad. Well pardon me, I thought that shooting occurred because guns were restricted on campus so no-one was able to stop the shooter. Virginia Tech is the perfect illustration of why America should NOT be tightening the gun laws. There are so many guns in circulation there that the criminals have no trouble obtaining them, so restricting guns just leaves their law-abiding victims defenceless. In New Zealand, with far more restrictive laws than the USA, criminals have no problem obtaining high-powered weapons. Think how much easier it would be in America.

Look out world, arguably the most powerful man in the world is now a socialist. We can expect a lot to change in the next four years.

Maori cannibalism

Contra Celsum’s next post on pre-European Maori culture and cannibalism has been published, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. Check it out here.

Capital punishment

Following the shocking Nia Glassie case, and a similar case in the UK, there has been some discussion on the blogs about whether we should bring back capital punishment. Few people have dared suggest this controversial idea in their posts (except for MK at Crusader Rabbit), but plenty of commenters have suggested it.

Back in the early ’90s, the Christian Heritage party (whose policy was to bring back capital punishment for murder) put out an excellent brochure on it, analysing the issue from a Christian perspective, which I will reproduce in part here (skipping only those bits that directly relate to CHP policy). The issue was analysed in detail in this brochure and I think it would be a good contribution to the debate today.

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CAPITAL PUNISHMENT – IS IT BIBLICAL?

There is no doubt that Capital Punishment is an emotive, controversial subject. Many Christians are confused on this issue. Love, grace and mercy are often emphasised without due recognition of justice and the task of the State to uphold all that is good. …

Is Capital Punishment Biblical?

In Genesis 9:6 the Bible says:

“Whoever sheds man’s blood By man his blood shall be shed For in the image of God He made man.”

It is not without significance that this verse should come after the flood. According to Genesis 6:13 the main cause of God deciding to judge the world by sending the flood was because “the earth was filled with violence”. This verse, then, is God’s remedy for violence.

Essentially it is teaching that capital punishment is the just and right punishment for murder. The verse gives a reason why such a heavy sentence should be given, namely, that murder is an attack on the image of God in which we are made. For this reason it is set apart from all other crimes in its seriousness.

We should also note that this verse is not restricted to Israel; it falls outside the Mosaic law and its supporting rationale is of abiding significance: each new life continues to be made in the image of God.

In the New Testament, Jesus says in Matthew 5:17,18:

“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfil. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law…”

Jesus essentially reaffirms the law. He does not pit the law against the grace He was ushering in. Rather He shows the full significance and extent of the law. Thus we should not be surprised to find in Romans 13 a reference to capital punishment where Paul explains the task and function of the State.

He essentially argues that the State is to act on God’s behalf in promoting good and suppressing evil. He says of the State:

“But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil.”
(Romans 13:4)

In this context the Bible everywhere uses ‘the sword’ as a symbol of death and judgement. Thus, it is teaching that the State is to avenge all evil, on God’s behalf, even to the point of using the sword.

The Evidence Required

It is important to also observe scripture’s teaching on the standards of evidence required before conviction. Both in the Old and New Testaments, such a sentence could not be carried out unless it be on the testimony of two or more eye witnesses. This is to ensure that no innocent person is executed. …

In practical terms this means that Arthur Allan Thomas and Lindy Chamberlain could not have received death sentences as they were convicted on circumstantial and forensic evidence. However David Gray, in Aramoana, who killed many of his victims in front of many witnesses, would have been liable to the death penalty. Most people see the justice in that.

Important Distinctions:

Many Christians get confused on two issues.

  1. Grace versus Law
    Some people pit the wrathful God of the Old Testament against the love and grace of Jesus in the New Testament.

    This is, in fact, an ancient heresy. The Bible is clear that God is the same “yesterday, today and forever”. Thus when God judged nations in the Old Testament for shedding innocent blood (e.g. abortion), sexual promiscuity and violence, He is just as likely to do so in our times! The fact that He has not, only proves He is merciful.

    The coming of Christ does not mean that law is totally done away with. Neither does the existence of grace and mercy mean that a Government is wrong to insist upon certain standards in society. In fact the very opposite is true. The Government must restrain evil, if the gospel is to spread and be heard (1 Timothy 2:1-7)! If God cannot ignore evil, neither must we. He even sacrificed His own Son in order to satisfy His own holy and just requirements and allow us to live.

    When the thief, who was under the sentence of death with Christ, repented and believed, Jesus said that he would be in paradise with Him that very day. But the thief, while eternally forgiven, still had to pay for his crime. It would make mockery of the civil law if belief in Christ allowed one to be pardoned. The same is true for convicted murderers. They may be sentenced to death, but be eternally saved. They certainly have more opportunity to repent and be saved than they gave their victim.

  2. Personal responsibility versus State responsibility
    Some Christians are against the death penalty as violating the spirit of Christianity and the example of Christ.

    However, this is often based on a misunderstanding between personal responsibility and the God-given task of the State. As Christians we must not murder, but ‘love our enemies’ and ‘turn the other cheek’. But the State is given the task of suppressing evil and promoting good; to act as a minister of wrath on God’s behalf (Romans 13:1-4). God has ordained it to do what we as individuals cannot do. This is the only way to understand the Bible which sometimes commands us not to kill, but in other passages gives mankind the right to execute evil doers. Such state executions lift them out of the sphere of personal revenge and hatred, and places them in the realm of justice and the preservation of the lives of others. When Jesus dealt with the woman caught in adultery in John 8, He did not let the woman go free. He told them to stone her, if they were without sin! Clearly, Jesus was dealing with their hypocrisy. But He never said that the law was now null and void. He upheld it! When finally his prosecutors withdrew, He dealt with her on a personal level and forgave her sin, something that only Christ as Saviour could do. This is not to suggest that capital punishment should apply to adultery. We reserve this punishment for murder as the only crime sanctional outside the Mosaic law.

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What do you think of this? Is capital punishment biblical? Is it applicable today? Would it help reduce our violent crime rate? I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts.

Break from blogging

I won’t be posting much this week for work reasons, very busy week. I may pop on now and then, but if not have fun without me!

The State arrogantly claiming our children

The following letter was published in the Malvern News on Friday 21 November:

Open letter to the Malvern District school community.
I wish to take this opportunity to remind parents/caregivers/guardians of students currently enrolled at schools in the Malvern District of their legal requirements in relation to their children’s education.
The Education Act 1989 (the Act) states that: Every person who is not a foreign student is required to be enrolled at a registered school at all times beginning on the person’s 6th birthday and ending on the person’s 16th birthday. (Section 20)
Students required to enrol must attend: Every student of a registered school who is required by Section 20 of this Act to be enrolled at a registered school shall attend the school whenever it is open. (Section 25)
Parents/guardians/caregivers are responsible for their child’s regular attendance at school: every parent/caregiver/guardian of a person who while enrolled at a registered school, does not attend…..commits an offence, and is liable on summary conviction to a fine. (Section 29)
A child should only be absent from school for the following reasons – sickness, family bereavement, or family emergency. If you are planning on, or have recently allowed your child to be absent from their school, you need to consider the following:
An absence explained by a parent is not necessarily a justified absence.
Parents do not have the right to excuse their child from school, without just cause.
What message are you sending your child in relation to education?
How will this impact on your child’s education?
What impact will your decision have on the school?
Calendared school holidays along with statutory holidays, throughout the year give ample time in advance to plan or organise family trips, holidays etc. If a parent/caregiver/guardian wants their child to be away from school for any other reasons than those specified above, this MUST be discussed with the school.

How arrogant is that! Who do they think my son belongs to, me or the State? Fortunately he isn’t old enough yet for me to have to deal with this rubbish, but that time will come soon.

The purpose of this law is to stop children bunking school and getting into trouble. But the effect of it is that it forces all children to attend daily state indoctrination sessions, where biased views can be fed into trusting young minds.

Much of the time children spend at school is spent doing nothing because most of the class is ahead of them and they don’t understand what to do, or bored because most of the class is behind them and they are waiting for them to catch up. Very little of the school day is really spent in true productive learning for an individual child, because every child is different. Education is very important, but there are many opportunities for more useful education outside of school.

A parent needs the freedom to raise their own child how they believe is best.

But responsible parents are criminalised if they allow their child to do something that is more educational then school for a couple of days (such as helping on the farm and learning work skills, seeing NZ and learning geography). And the misbehaving students continue to bunk because they don’t care about the law.

Maori history in school far from reality

Contra Celsum has an excellent post on Maori history, cannibalism and the like that I would encourage you to read. It should be the start of a series which may be interesting to follow.

Through school, the Maori culture is portrayed as being in harmony with nature. You are taught about (nice) Maori customs, the Maori pantheistic religion (which is state-funded religious teaching by the way), various Maori legends, Kupe and his voyage to New Zealand, Maori songs and language, and happy-clappy stuff like that. You are then taught about how the horrible Europeans came with muskets, stole the land, started the musket wars, and how Maori were oppressed. You generally only hear good things about Maori and bad things about the Europeans (as I recall from school, some years ago now).

But this is extremely biased, and that should be obvious to anyone. Every culture has good things and bad things in their history, if any culture is portrayed as wholly good or wholly bad you should know immediately that something is being hidden.

What you won’t learn in school is that the Maori burnt down more forest area than the Europeans ever did – the tussock grasslands of the South Island were forest before the Maori came along. You won’t learn how many species the Maori drove to extinction. You won’t learn about the widespread cannibalism among Maori.

You certainly won’t hear about how many Maori embraced Christianity as freeing them from their former culture of death. You certainly won’t hear how Maori tribes were commonly at war with one another (I understand the Maori had no concept of NZ as one country, it was ruled by many warring chiefs), and you won’t hear how despite the initial musket wars NZ has had internal peace since the coming of the British. But in order to have a balanced view of history you need to hear both sides.

If anyone speaks up and tries to tell the other side of NZ history, such as Maori cannibalism, they are hounded as being racist. This is a crazy situation, where it is not PC to tell the truth about history.

I’ll just finish with some insightful words from The Lads

If you are starving on an air-plane
‘cos you’re in economy
And if you have crashed down in the ocean
and you’re allergic to sea food
By eating me you could stay strong
And I could learn to hop along
Apart from this
Cannibalism’s wrong

Cannibalism’s wrong
Even if they deserve it, you can’t eat them ‘cos it’s wrong

Sex education in the UK

The problems with sex education are reaching the mainstream newspapers in the UK. It would be great to see an article like this one (from the Times) published here:

Those who can, do, according to the old saying, and those who can’t, teach. That has always seemed to me unfair. However, I have come to think that those who can’t teach, teach sex education.

Judged by its results – not a bad way of judging – sex education has been an utter failure. The increase in sex education here in recent years has coincided with an explosion of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted disease (STD) far worse than anywhere else in Europe. Since the government’s teenage pregnancy strategy was introduced in 1999, the number of girls having abortions has soared. You might well be tempted to argue that sex education causes sexual delinquency.

This is exactly what we have seen in New Zealand. It is great to see a frank article on the issue. Sex education isn’t working. The solution is not more of the same to younger and younger children, but actually changing tack.

Hat tip: Semper Vita

Blog rankings

The Tumeke! blog rankings are out for October, which takes in most of the pre-election activity except for the final week. I have moved up one spot to #79. No Minister has done well, jumping up six places to #4 – and this is well deserved, it is an excellent blog.

The MandM rankings of Christian blogs, based on the Tumeke rankings, are out too. I am sitting on #5. MandM are still #4, but have jumped 27 places in the Tumeke list to #50 – a great achievement. Kiwipolemicist is listed for the first time, and is #6.

If you want to find out a few good Christian blogs to follow, the MandM rankings are a great place to start. Thanks heaps Tim Selwyn, and also Madeleine, for the work you’ve put in.

ACT Party advertising complaint upheld by ASA

act_ets_flier3Before the election the Act party sent a letter and flyer about the emissions trading scheme to rural households. This letter and flyer contained some excellent information on the ETS, and I was glad to see Act educating people about this flawed scheme.

However Act claimed to be the only party opposed to the ETS, and the only party that would withdraw from Kyoto (note Kyoto was only mentioned in the letter, not in the flyer reproduced here). This was completely false, as the Family Party also opposes the ETS, and supports withdrawing from Kyoto.

I complained to the Advertising Standards Authority over this, and my complaint has been upheld. Act’s response to the ASA over this issue was very arrogant, and stated (in full):

“The statement needs to be taken in the context of current political discourse in New Zealand.

This is an election campaign where most parties contesting the election will not obtain parliamentary seats. The Family Party is likely to be one of those parties.

Accordingly, the meaning of the statement is that the ACT Party is the only party that voted against the passing of the bill in parliament and will be the only party elected to parliament after the election that will oppose it.

If the Family Party oppose the statement on the flyer then that party is welcome to produce and distribute its own flyer/pamphlet putting their position. That’s how elections work.”

As it turned out we did not get into parliament, and I can understand their position on this. But the fact remains that they said they were “the only party”, which is completely untrue. If they had said “the only parliamentary party” or something to that effect, it would have been fine. But they didn’t.

I did not like complaining about these advertisements as the message was one that needed to be heard. But I could not roll over and allow a blatant lie. If someone has a good message they can portray it honestly.

I am glad this complaint was upheld.

I am also glad that Act was able to gain enough votes to get 5 MPs and get some concessions out of National on this important issue. I am however disappointed that a lie was used to in part achieve this result.

How can we improve NZ abortion law?

Following on from my previous posts on the morality of abortion, a refutation of pro-choice arguments, and current NZ abortion law, I would now like to discuss ways we can improve the situation and reduce the number of abortions. Some of these ideas are my own, some are Family Party policy, some have been previously suggested by Chuck, and I would be very interested in hearing any other suggestions you may have.

  • Abortion should not be state funded.
    • The state has no money itself, rather it just spends taxpayers money. Regardless of the actual morality of abortion, many taxpayers believe it is immoral. They should not be forced to pay for something they strongly disagree with.
    • If people had to pay for abortions they might think twice about it, and the abortion rate would drop.
  • Life should be defined as starting from conception.
    • This is completely logical, and would simplify the issue enormously. But it would be difficult to get through democratically. This is a goal to aim for, but we must pursue more workable measures at the same time.
  • Marriage should be promoted.
    • Marriage provides the ideal environment to raise children in. If someone gets pregnant while married they are far more likely to keep the baby than if they were pregnant out of wedlock.
  • Parental consent (or at least notification) should be required for teenage abortions.
    • This may directly reduce abortion rates a little.
    • At present, a girl can have sex knowing if she gets pregnant she can have an abortion on the sly and her parents need never know. If she requires parental consent, or even just parental notification, she knows from the start her parents will find out. This may encourage her to make better choices and not get pregnant in the first place.
    • Some object to this because some parents may not treat the girl well about it. But through all of history parents found out when their daughter got pregnant. The current situation where they may not is artificial and invented by the State. Requiring parental consent / notification is just returning to the natural state of society.
  • Sex education needs to be truthful.
    • In my experience of Family Planning, I have found them blatantly lying on a number of occasions (lying about how contraceptives work for example, and the effectiveness of contraceptives against STDs). They promote contraception in a way that encourages sex, then promote abortion as the solution if you get pregnant.
    • Teenagers (and anyone seeking information) need to be told:
      • Sex is to make babies (duh! But currently it is mainly talked about as something fun).
      • If you have sex you may, and probably will eventually, get pregnant.
      • Boys, if you get a girl pregnant, YOU MUST PAY CHILD SUPPORT AND THIS IS HOW MUCH IT COSTS!
      • It is best not to have sex until marriage.
      • If you choose to anyway, these are your options for contraception and this is how they actually work (so teens can avoid those that allow conception but then kill the embryo).
      • This is what abortion is actually like, this is what a baby is like at that age.
      • These are the risks of abortion and the medical issues it can cause for you (e.g. increasing the risk of breast cancer).
      • There are X number of couples currently waiting to adopt a child, and they’d love to have yours if you get pregnant and don’t want to keep it.
      • Here are a list of agencies who offer counselling, adoption services, support for keeping the baby etc.
    • We need to either completely overhaul the Family Planning Association, or just get rid of it.
  • If a woman seeks an abortion, she needs to be given honest information about the procedure, her baby, the medical risks and complications it can cause, and be shown a scan of the baby in the womb to ensure she really knows what she is doing.

If you have any other ideas, stick them in the comments.

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