This is Toby Sumpter with your CrossPolitic News Brief for Tuesday, February 4th, 2020.
Halftime National Geographic Show
For anyone who was not on social media over the last 24 hours, let me be the first to fill you in on the fact that Jennifer Lopez and Shakira apparently did their best National Geographic “Missing Link” impressions during the Super Bowl Halftime Show. I didn’t see the dancing-poodle Circus event personally, but Jeb Bush said it was the very best Halftime Show he’s ever seen – so there’s that. But there’s been a healthy uproar from sane, civil, and relatively Christian quarters. And I will just add that this is how you know that the hashtag #metoo movement has been nothing but lies all along. The Cosbys and Weinsteins of the world deserve whatever justice demands, but they are scapegoats not emblems of repentance. Do not be deceived: a culture that celebrates this kind of public shaming and degrading of women made in the image of God does not give a damn about women.
Of course millions of Christians watched and giggled and made excuses about how they are not bothered by all the skin, but for some reason don’t feel comfortable taking their family to the strip club next Sunday. Or just do a quick thought experiment: what if your neighbors invited you over next weekend and after lunch offered to let you watch them have sex. And when you objected, they offered to play some loud dance music and take off most of their clothes while gyrating on the table. And when you object once again, they look at you confused: but why is it OK for you to watch that kind of thing on television or youtube or Netflix or at the theater? The answer is that we are a very special kind of hypocrite.
When the objection comes, well what about violence in movies or bad language? Well, I would have the same objection if people were really being stabbed and shot in the filming of war movies, but everyone knows it’s fake. But when a woman is undressed on screen, she is really being shamed and degraded. The Bible also contains examples of profanity and obscenity and swearing. It is not gratuitous as it often is in our modern films, and the Bible also contains many warnings about the power of words and the tongue and letting unclean things come out of our mouths – which is why no Christian should be known for having a foul mouth, but there is at least a biblical category for representing evil in story telling accurately. There is no such biblical category for being entertained by the public shaming of women – which is what it is, whether they are being paid millions or not.
Jonah Goldberg on Dershowitz
I have a lot of respect of Jonah Goldberg. His book Liberal Fascism is phenomenal and I highly recommend it, as it connects so many important historical dots over the last century. I also respect the ground he has sought to stake out somewhere between “Never-Trumper” and “Mostly-Never Trumper,” a lonely place for sure, but one where he is willing to admit that Trump has done some good things for our republic, while generally urging conservative America to do better. In other words, he’s trying to retain a rational, conservative opposition to Trump, but not an emotional-reactionism or Derangement Syndrome. And I completely sympathize with his point that many of Trump’s fans are just as bad as his foes. There truly is a lot of derangement going around on all sides. But I want to offer here a brief pushback, but one that I trust it is nevertheless friendly, appreciative, and hopefully not all deranged.
This last Friday Jonah issued a short plea to the Republican Senate, that if they are going to exonerate Trump to at least do so with some kind of accompanying resolution insisting that the acquittal has nothing at all to do with the case that Alan Dershowitz made in defense of Trump. We covered that defense in detail last Friday, January 31st.
Now, I happen to think that Jonah has a point: he raises the question of whether a president who gets drunk every day can be impeached. His behavior doesn’t rise to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” but it is still reprehensible. Jonah is rightly worried about precedent: what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Jonah is concerned that we are setting ourselves up for a Liberal President that cannot be canned by conservatives.
And conservatives, whatever our massive blind spots, are at least on paper concerned with principles, which, not to put too fine a point on it, are those things that don’t change over time or between administrations. Principles are standards that can measure the same thing on Monday or Friday, this year or next year, Republican or Democrat. I am also concerned with this, and every Christian should be. The foundational principle here is equal weights and measures. Those Christians that supported President Clinton’s impeachment and removal from office but who do not now support Trump’s impeachment and removal, ought to be able to articulate a principled argument for that stance. I’m not saying that case can’t be made, but Christians should care to make it. Otherwise, you cannot go on calling that windsock your principles, every time the winds blow a different direction. Ok, I take that back, you can call it your principles but then you’re just a liberal.
But back to my point. It seems to me that the case Dershowitz laid out is pretty strong historically, even if it hasn’t been upheld consistently. The debate of the founding fathers seems clear, and their concern was that impeachment be based on actual, concrete crimes. The repeated phrase was that making the justification for removal any less concrete would essentially make the president a “creature of the legislature,” rather than having its own independent existence. The category that Jonah seems to be gesturing towards is that of “sin” – category that was assigned to the Church and families and other non-governmental, mediating institutions. The founding fathers understood that in the long run, it’s better to leave sins to the church and families and insist that that State only adjudicate crimes.
Finally, for Today, the Clarkston, Washington School Board Recently Adopted the Washington State’s ‘gender-inclusive’ policy
According to Justyna Tomtas of the Lewiston Tribune, “The “gender-inclusive schools policy” was approved unanimously last week with no discussion. School districts in Washington are required to adopt the policy by the end of the month to be in compliance with state law.
The policy allows students to use restrooms and locker rooms associated with their gender identity instead of the gender they were assigned at birth. It also allows students to choose their preferred name and pronoun and allows the student to decide if that information can be shared with their parents or guardians.
“For families who are supportive, using the student’s name and pronoun could be affirming for the student,” states the model policy from the Washington State School Directors’ Association.
“For parents who are not supportive, or who are not aware of the student’s transition at school, referring to their name and pronoun could be very dangerous. The district will not condone the intentional or persistent refusal to respect a student’s gender identity or gender expression, or inappropriate release of information regarding a student’s transgender or gender-expansive status.”
The policy states transgender and gender-expansive students can participate in physical education or athletic programs based on the gender they identify with, and allows students to dress in a way that suits their gender identity as long as it’s within the district’s dress code guidelines. It also requires the district to designate and train one person as the primary contact for those students. Superintendent Thaynan Knowlton said the policy will not result in changes within the district. “We’re already doing this,” he said.
Perhaps the most appalling aspect of this is the fact that the State is openly stating that they may or may not inform parents. We live in insanity land where parents must be notified of thousands of other things, including medical concerns, but when it comes to a student’s sexuality, that information may be withheld by the State. But understand, Christians, that this is the logical conclusion of government schools. You cannot send your kids to government schools and entrust the government with the discipleship of your kids and then object when the government claims to have certain rights over your children that God did not give them. But this has been in the DNA of government schools from the get-go. The Godfather of Modern American education was John Dewey who wrote explicitly about his intention to imitate the schools of the communists in the Soviet Union. He wrote about the need to separate children from their families and churches in order to make them good citizens of the state. If there’s anything that Christians can do right now to push back against governmental overreach it’s this: get your kids out of the public schools and do everything you can to encourage other Christians to do the same. Your children do not belong to Caesar; they belong to God.
This is Toby Sumpter with Crosspolitic News. You can find this show and all the others on the
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