The Press-Dispatch

June 12, 2019

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C-8 Wednesday, June 12, 2019 The Press-Dispatch OPINION Submit Letters to the Editor: Letters must be signed and received by noon on Mondays. Email: or bring in a hard copy: 820 E. Poplar Street, Petersburg The search for God is a quest for "truth." As ancient and mod- ern philosophers have concluded, the question of God's existence is [and remains] the single most im- portant of all human questions. How each of us, and our culture, answers the question affects every aspect of life. Modern man has found god within himself, which the ancients would find preposterous, as they would with atheism. The ancients were in a constant search for God and to know Him and His attributes. This is attested to by the proliferation of religions and Greek philosophy. Plato is considered among west- ern philosophers as the foremost writer on searching for God, and defining His existence, and how He is to be known. In brief, Plato asserts that the gods exist, they care for the world, and that they are incapable of be- ing corrupted by men. Further- more, within the realm of the heav- en, there exists absolute truth and an unchanging reality. In short, Plato saw heaven as a perfect world and mankind's phys- ical world as an imperfect imita- tion. Much of what was just written is held by many today, even among Christians. Modernism has cast aside the One who proclaimed the essence of God and continue to search for His presence. The rational for a person not able to know God is that He [God] is so perfect and beyond human percep- tion that He cannot be known. In addition, our own experiences and vocabularies cannot begin to de- scribe God; therefore, how can we know Him? Paul answered that question in his Letter to the Church at Rome: "Ev- er since the creation of the world, God's invis- ible qualities—God's eternal power and di- vine nature—have been clearly seen, because they are un- derstood through the things God has made. So humans are with- out excuse. Although they knew God, they didn't honor God as God or thank him. Instead, their reasoning became pointless, and their foolish hearts were dark- ened. While they were claim- ing to be wise, they made fools of themselves. They exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images that look like mortal hu- mans: birds, animals, and rep- tiles. So God abandoned them to their hearts' desires, which led to the moral corruption of degrading their own bodies with each other. They traded God's truth for a lie, and they worshipped and served the creation instead of the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen." Residing at the core of Christi- anity is Jesus, who has an exclu- sive claim of being raised from the dead, and, therefore, has an indi- visible relationship with God. It is Jesus who declares who God is, His attributes, and His desire to be known! Jesus is setting in concrete that through Him a person can know God, and He is the one true God! Christ taught there is ONE God – "Hear O' Israel, there is but One Lord-One God! " This is the foun- dation of Christian monotheism. This statement has profound im- plications; for without Him, nothing exists! Christianity de- clares the God that Plato suggested exist- ed in the heavens has been made manifest in Jesus Christ; there- fore, we know Him as He is! When Jesus states "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me," He is implying that He knows the nature of God, and God is revealed in Him. For the confused Christian who feels God is the highest being, Je- sus is making several assertions. Jesus is not affirming a reality of a "higher being." There is no inferior ways of understanding God, nor are there lesser or infe- rior gods. In addition, God is not the high- est being because this would amount to there are other forms or lesser gods. And finally, with the assertion that Jesus points the way to God, God is not as Plato and modern de- ists claim as being above the world and set apart from the universe. He is among His creation. Therefore, the Christian can rejoice not in the fact that he or she has an exclusive relationship with God, but God's attributes are knowable through Christ; the world in which we live has mean- ing, and God is actively working among all people throughout the world. Wherever men and women Points to Ponder by Rev. Ford Bond The search for God Continued on page 9 Continued on page 9 Minority View by Walter E. Williams Colleges committed to ideological diversity Continued on page 9 When you send your youngster off to college, you might not mind that they will have to walk on egg- shells, respect taboos, snitch on fellow students for politically in- correct jokes and learn to use ad hominem arguments as a means to attack ideas they find "disagree- able." If that's your preference, you can choose from a wide variety of America's top-ranked colleges. If you want to send your youngster to colleges that are seriously com- mitted to civil and diverse debate, pick up a copy of the June 2019 edi- tion of Reason magazine for some guidance. Professors Debra Mashek and Jonathan Haidt authored "10 Col- leges Where You Won't Have to Walk on Eggshells." Mashek and Haidt are, respectively, faculty members of Harvey Mudd College and New York University. Haidt is the co-founder of the Heterodox Academy and Mashek is its execu- tive director. Heterodox Academy is nonpartisan and boasts a mem- bership of more than 2,500 facul- ty and college administrators who advocate for open inquiry and civil disagreement on college campus- es and in academic disciplines. The Mashek and Haidt article discusses 10 colleges in alphabet- ical order. Among them is Chap- man University, whose president, Daniele Struppa, is "an outspoken advocate of academic freedom and freedom of speech." Struppa has little tolerance for the political correctness so prevalent at most of the nation's colleges. The University of Chicago has set the gold standard on free speech and open inquiry. In 2014, it created its "Statement on Princi- ples of Free Expression" (aka the Chicago Principles). Those prin- ciples provide the framework for thinking about the im- portance of dissent as well as the role of the university for estab- lishing the platform for debate. University of Chicago president Robert Zimmer says, "We have an obligation to see that the greatest variety of perspectives is brought to bear on issues before us as scholars and citizens." The Chicago Principles, or substantially similar ones, have been adopted by 55 schools across the nation. In June 2018, the Uni- versity of Chicago received Het- erodox Academy's Institutional Excellence Award in recognition of its stellar culture and support for open inquiry. Other colleges listed in the Mashek and Haidt article, where students won't have to walk on eggshells include Arizona State University, Claremont McKenna College, Kansas State Universi- ty, Kenyon College, Linn-Benton Community College, St. John's College, University of Richmond and Purdue University. It's worth noting that Mitch Daniels is presi- dent of Purdue University and for- mer two-term governor of the state of Indiana. Daniels and his inter- im provost Jay Akridge wrote this message to the Purdue communi- ty: "At Purdue, we protect and pro- mote the right to free and open in- quiry in all matters and guarantee all members of the University com- munity the broadest possible lati- tude to speak, write, listen chal- lenge and learn." In my opinion, it is truly a trag- ic state of affairs when free speech and free inquiry require protection at most institutions of higher learning. In- deed, it has been freedom in the mar- ketplace of ideas that has made the United States, as well as oth- er western nations, leaders in virtually every area of human endeavor. A monopo- ly of ideas is just as dangerous as a monopoly in other areas of our lives such as monopoly in political power and the production of goods and services. At the end of Professors Mashek's and Haidt's article, they come up with a few sugges- tions for parents. Visit the Foun- dation for Individual Rights in Ed- ucation website to find out about a particular college's agenda to sup- press free speech. By all means, check out the Heterodox Academy website. Search the college's web- site for terms such as "open inqui- ry," "freedom of expression" and "free speech." Examine the col- lege's calendar of events to see whether speakers with diverse opinions are invited. Visit the campus. Talk with actual students about their experiences. In this ar- ticle, Mashek and Haidt give spe- cific questions to ask. I'd add to their list of things to do on a cam- pus visit: Talk to the local police and hospital people about the col- lege. They might give you insights that an admissions officer would choose to keep hidden. Walter E. Williams is a profes- sor of economics at George Mason University. Pursuit of the Cure by Star Parker In praise of Clarence Thomas Heritage Viewpoint By Edwin J. Feulner Tiananmen Square massacre 30 years later Supreme Court Associate Jus- tice Clarence Thomas is, once again, under attack. And, once again, the attacks are from liberals who cannot tolerate Thomas' consistent, unyielding and faithful commitment to Amer- ica's founding principles. The latest concerns Thomas' 20 -page opinion offered up in Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, recently considered by the Supreme Court. Planned Parenthood challenged Indiana law prohibiting abortion for reasons of sex, race or non-life threatening deformity. The challenge was upheld in district court and the law over- turned. However, the Supreme Court chose not to rule on the mat- ter for procedural reasons, turning it back to be heard on appeal at the district level. But Justice Thomas used the oc- casion to write an extended opin- ion on this important abortion case because the principles involved are too important to ignore for Ameri- ca's present and for our future. According to the Indiana law as enacted, doctors must inform women that "Indiana does not al- low a fetus to be aborted solely because the fetus's race, color, na- tional origin, ancestry, sex, or di- agnosis or potential diagnosis of the fetus having Down syndrome or any other disability." What liberal would ever tolerate American law protecting this type of discrimination? Yet these same liberals are ada- mant that abortion for these same reasons is just fine. Thomas seized on what is obvi- ous, writing, "Enshrining a consti- tutional right to an abortion based solely on the race, sex, or disabil- ity of an unborn child, as Planned Parenthood advocates, would con- stitutionalize the views of the 20th- century eugenics movement." The eugenics movement advo- cated public policies to manipulate the population to produce what is deemed to be a public that is ge- netically superior. In other words, bureaucrats de- cide the value of human beings — who's worthwhile to have around and who's not. You would think that such ideas would produce outcries from lib- erals. But what is producing outcries from them is that Clarence Thom- as suggests that abortion based on these criteria makes abortion a tool for eugenics. Thomas documents the sym- pathies of Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, for the eugenics movement. And although Thomas notes that Sanger's sympathies for abortion were less clear, he points out that the sympathies of later Planned Parenthood President Alan Gutt- macher for abortion as a eugenics policy tool were clear. And he gets to the heart of the matter at the conclusion of his opinion: "Although the court de- clines to wade into these issues today, we cannot avoid them for- ever. Having created the constitu- tional right to abortion, this Court is dutybound to address its scope. ... The constitution itself is silent on abortion." The nation's founders explained in the preamble to the Constitution that we "do ordain and establish this Constitution" to "secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity." Our Constitution was conceived to protect our liberty, not invent it. In his dissenting opinion in the Obergefell v. Hodges case in which the Supreme Court legal- ized same sex marriage, Thomas wrote: "Since well before 1787, lib- erty has been understood as free- dom from government action, not entitlement to government bene- fits. ... the majority ... rejects the idea — captured in the Declara- tion of Independence — that hu- man dignity is innate and suggests instead that it comes from the Gov- ernment." Liberals cried "foul" when Thomas rightly observed that abortion based on race, sex or Even if you know nothing about the Tiananmen Square massacre, you've almost surely seen the fa- mous photo of a man facing down a line of tanks, defiantly blocking their path. Doing so took even more cour- age than you may imagine. When that brave man, who has never been identified, made his stand 30 years ago this month, the Commu- nist government in Beijing had al- ready slaughtered hundreds of his countrymen. It began almost two months ear- lier when former Communist Par- ty General Secretary Hu Yaobang died of a heart attack. He had sup- ported reforms that helped bring economic opportunity and some political reforms to China, but hardline party members forced him out. Tens of thousands of students, workers and civilians filled the streets of Beijing in the wake of Yaobang's death. On May 13, they began a hunger strike. "A fter the hunger strike, the stu- dent movement transformed into a country of political protest with a lot of other groups like work- ers and especially intellectuals," student leader Wang Dan said 20 years later. "That made our gov- ernment very scared." It all came to a head in those early June days, when soldiers and tanks put down the rebellion. Did the Chinese government learn its lesson? Yes. Too bad it was the wrong lesson. What they learned is that dis- sent must be snuffed out long be- fore it flowers into a protest move- ment. Two things enable them to do that. One is a technique as old as communism itself: Erase the past. "Memory hole" everything. How successful have they been? Consider the fact that, all these years later, a Chinese newspa- per accidentally ran a photo from the massacre, not realizing what it was. "Think about how many people a newspaper page goes through," journalist Louisa Lim recently said. "You've got the photo editor, the page editor, even the censor. Nobody recognized what this was. So they didn't realize they should censor it." So there will be no ceremonies in mainland China to mark the dark days of June 1989 when Bei- jing brutally crushed the rebellion. No one will lament the loss of life — not unless he wants to put his own in danger. The names of the dead won't be spoken, at least not publicly. And to a large extent, not even privately. That's because of the second thing Chinese leaders are using to prevent new protests: Technology. A recent Agence France-Presse article detailed just how thorough- ly monitored the Chinese people are in 2019. Cameras are every- where. Police booths have sprout- ed block by block nationwide. Web- sites that aren't government-ap- proved are blocked. Officials use artificial intelligences and facial recognition to keep tabs on sus- pected troublemakers. "Enhanced surveillance tech- nology makes it much more diffi- cult to see any mass demonstra- tions like the Tiananmen protests in 1989 to happen nowadays," Pat- rick Poon, China researcher at Amnesty International, told AFP. But Chinese officials aren't sim- ply watching everyone like a hawk. They're engaging in some of the worst human-rights abuses in the world. Things are especially bad in the Xinjiang province in western Chi- na — home to the Uighurs, one of the country's largest Muslim popu- lations. They've long suffered per- secution at the hands of the Chi- nese communists, but according to religious-persecution expert Ol- ivia Enos, the reports of mass de- tention and other abuses are esca-

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