On Second Thought


Kim Davis--Saint or Sinner?

At first glance, the case of Kim Davis is clear-cut:  A conscientious Christian who obeys the teaching of Scripture and refuses to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  One more piece of anti-Christianity in the courts, and Kim Davis is being thrown to the lions, or, at least, in jail.

On second thought, perhaps Ms Davis's critics are right when they point out a  major irony in her case.  While she says repeatedly things like "I feel the institution of marriage was ordained by God in the Bible," her own practice has been decidedly post-Christian.  She is currently working on her fourth marriage and apparently had two children out of wedlock.

Like so many Christians today, Kim Davis can "feel" just about anything she wants to about the Bible but then go ahead and act as if the words mean nothing to her.  It is a sad fact but Southern Evangelicals like Davis have no better record on divorce--or, I suspect,  adultery than their pagan neighbors.  Our Lord said nothing about two men getting married (He obviously did not have to!) but he did explicitly forbid divorce and remarriage.  As he told the Samaritan woman at the well--who had outdone Davis in "marrying" five times:  "Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly."  If Kentucky were a Christian state, someone like Ms Davis would not be permitted to hold public office.

In her defense, it should be said that she is a Democrat, which means she is duty-bound to accept all the welfare state boondoggling that Obama and the Clintons can come up with so long as she can live off the sweat of other people's brows.  She wants to assert the rights of conscience but only so long as it costs her nothing.

Friday September 4, 2015

Where to Put Syrian Refugees?

If you were able to ask EU officials why they are letting in migrants from Syria, they would couch their answer, inevitably, in humanitarian terms:

These people, fleeing from a violent civil war, are suffering hunger, thirst, exposure to the elements.  They are leaving a country that has abandoned the rule of law and peaceful political processes in order to take refuge in a civilized society that can provide assistance and protection.

Yes, we have all heard this a thousand times.  We know they are leaving and what they are seeking, but why the EU?  I know that is the logical destination, but on second thought....

London, one of their favorite destinations, is 2227 air miles away, and Budapest is  1327.   Even Athens is 772 miles and, goodness knows, the Greeks have little to offer these days.

There is a closer destination of course: Israel.  Tel Aviv is only 132 air miles away from Damascus, and at some points the two states more or less border each other.  Of course there are border problems and difficulties with the route, but one would think that Israel, that gallant bastion of democracy, humanitarian socialism,  and human rights would be leaping forward with offers of resources, shelter, and even airlifts.

If the problem is that one could not trust Muslim migrants not to cause trouble in Israel, then why would they be expected to behave any differently in Hungary or France.  And if the problem is with Israeli reluctance, shouldn’t we quite braying quite so loudly about democracy and freedom in America’s only ally in the Middle East?

I am not at all saying that the Israelis are wrong not to make arrangements for hostile strangers, only that Europe should follow their example.

Thursday, September 3 2015


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Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is president of the Fleming Foundation. He is the author of six books, including The Morality of Everyday Life and The Politics of Human Nature, as well as many articles and columns for newspapers, magazines,and learned journals. He holds a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Greek from the College of Charleston. He served as editor of Chronicles: a Magazine of American Culture from 1984 to 2015 and president of The Rockford Institute from 1997-2014. In a previous life he taught classics at several colleges and served as a school headmaster in South Carolina

4 Responses

  1. Mark Atkins says:

    And war and freedom loving America should never be allowed to forget that it was our direct or indirect involvement in the overthrow or near overthrow of ruthless but effective secular dictatorships in Libya, Egypt, Syria, and Iraq that is the cause of this migration. Another prime example of unintended consequences.

  2. MD says:

    Don’t be so sure that those consequences were unintended….

  3. Harry Heller says:

    I’m not “teaching” Dr. Fleming (or anyone else) when I point out the obvious reasons why Muslims are pouring into the West: because life among whites is better than life among other peoples (including their own). Let us be honest (as, for example, the website moderator at the online Catholic Crisis Magazine is not – thereby violating the strictures against mendacity taught by the great Doctor of the Church, St. Thomas Aquinas) and acknowledge that most Muslim migrants are probably not consciously part of some great Wahhabist stealth jihad to conquer the West via demographic warfare (though their mere presence furthers it), but rather, are persons simply wanting better (material and personal) lives for themselves. What are the most enjoyable nations, the ones where an immigrant will be least unwelcome? The nations of Europe, or those of their overseas kinsmen.

    The real question for the thinking Christian is, are we enjoined to facilitate this “Camp of the Saints” racio-cultural imperialism (conquest-by-migration)? To me, the answer is plainly no, but (for what it’s worth) I intend to devote a substantial portion of the remainder of my earthly existence to discovering or working out an ethically sophisticated and theologically correct response to this issue, and related ones pertaining to what might called “racial ethics”.

    For there is, in my opinion, no constellation of issues today in which there is a greater disjunction between public “morality” in the West, and what I consider to be the truly ethical position(s). And yet, the matter is difficult, isn’t it? For example, it is easy for me to reject Obama because of his comprehensively awful policies. Those policies range from plainly evil (support of Planned Parenthood, the assault on marriage) to hypocritical (never-ending affirmative action) to economically harmful (the $800bil “stimulus” giveaway to state and municipal public unions, the “war on energy producers”, Obamacare) to deliberately treasonous (executive orders requiring the non-enforcement of immigration laws). Any authentic conservative must oppose the Obama Admin.

    But why does his race bother me as well? Can emotions be judged immoral? I confess that I strongly admire Justice Thomas, and that I will vote for Dr. Ben Carson should he win the GOP nomination next year (though I prefer both Cruz – the closest candidate to real conservatism, in my opinion – as well as Trump for the symbolic rejection of the RINO establishment that a vote for The Donald represents). But … Obama’s race, in conjunction with his rancid policies, bothers me – and a great deal more than a Hillary Clinton pursuing those same policies would bother me. Is this a moral failing on my part?

    I don’t think so, but figuring out why, especially from a Christian, but non-fundamentalist, perspective, is not easy (I once had a fundamentalist insist to me that blacks were the “cursed children of Ham”, and that therefore they were not entitled to the same treatment as unaccursed races, but I am too anti-literalist to be able to accept that “reasoning”). Obviously, the race of Thomas and Carson is immaterial to me because they are, more or less, defending the same principles and policies I myself advocate.

    Obama, on the other hand, is advancing policies I regard both as wrong and/or deleterious in themselves, and, more fundamentally, which are harmful to the totality of what can be called “my people” or “my civilization” or “my (cherished, ancestral) way of life” – and he is doing so as someone who, merely by virtue of his genetic dissimilarity, is NOT a “member of my tribe/people/nation”. At the risk of repetitiveness, when I look at Thomas or Carson, I see a fellow American, albeit not one of “my blood”. Looking at Hillary, I see a family “black sheep”, a renegade of my tribe. But looking at Obama, all I see is an alien, a racial enemy tyrant plundering (economically, but also culturally and politically) my people for the benefit of his own (and Obama’s repeated lawlessness does indeed qualify him for the epithet “tyrant”).

    Back to Europe. Obviously, these migrants flooding the continent are functionally if not intentionally agents of Islamic imperialism or demographic warfare. What is the correct Christian response? My gut response to someone who says “open borders” is to counter with “open fire”. But is that morally justified? Even the thoroughly liberal-infected Catholic Church would agree that European armies could be deployed to repulse enemy tanks and gunboats bearing down upon them. But how should we respond to persons who are not attempting to conquer or enslave the European peoples, most of whom do not personally wish to aggress against the persons or property of others – but whose mere legitimated, physical presence within Europe will further Europe’s de-Europeanization and eventual extinction? In other words, those whose very beings, apart from the moral quality of their actions, constitutes a threat to the survival of European civilization? Is this not the essence of the Camp of the Saints problem? Should the Church have authorized the shooting of some number of migrant boats, just to send a clear message that Europe wishes to live AS EUROPE; that it can only do so if it remains majority white/European; and that any further nonwhite invaders will be shot? And what if the invaders, like suicide bombers, keep coming? What if they seek to call the West’s bluff? Should we be slaughtering them like infected cattle? What if these shameless but also hopeless refugees start filling their boats up exclusively with women and children? Are we justified in exterminating them, too?

    At what point does Christian commitment trump patriotism – the survival of worldly structures and arrangements? Whites build successful societies. That, eg, blacks do not and, as modern experience has made perfectly clear, seemingly cannot, is not our fault. Still, what do we do about Africa and its exploding population (set to reach 4 BILLION by 2100), itself largely the result of Western (both liberal and Christian) “do-goodism”, on a continent which is simultaneously experiencing rapid soil erosion, desertification, and general environmental or “carrying capacity” deterioration?

    Fundamentalist Catholics, along with an otherwise extremely leftist Vatican hierarchy, condemn contraception. So what do we do in light of our knowledge of the massive suffering that is coming to Africa in this century from its overpopulation (Catholic neocons – and unintellectual Catholics generally – love to blather about how wonderful population growth is for the economy and seemingly for life itself, but surely what matters is the TYPE and CHARACTER of the population growth, no?)? What is our obligation to preserve ourselves and our people(s)? What is our obligation to preserve the planet for future generations (I’m no leftist environmentalist, but I’ve never understood why combining scientific insights with concern for people in the future should be thought a leftist project only)? If we know now that the African population explosion will result in terrible [first nutritional, then genocidal] suffering for future Africans, as well as unheard of migration pressures on (immigration invasions of) Europe (and perhaps everywhere else that is governed by racially-abnegating liberals or Christians), can a Catholic not advocate large-scale contraception and family-planning programs for Africa? Ecclesiastes cannot be taken literally: the global population bomb, and concomitant “peaceful” immigration invasions, really are “something new under the sun”.

    To appropriate and somewhat amend the late, sometime Chronicles contributor Garrett Hardin, what we desperately need is a new Christian ethics of racial and civilizational survival. My still mostly unlearned suspicion is that developing this ethics may entail questioning and revising fundamental and long conventional Church doctrines (though I hope not).

  4. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    These are important questions, it is true, but the last thing we need is a “new Christian ethics” of any kind. Until the churches sold out to the revolution, Christians had no trouble in fighting the enemies of their religion and their people. In the book which I am serializing, I take up some part of this question in the first chapter.