Current Events Write-Up: Gorsuch and Garland, Mere Rhetoric, KFC, Medicaid Work Requirements, Syria, Hillary, Christian Seders, Hank Hanegraaff

Time for this week’s Current Events Write-Up, in which I link to articles and comment on them.

Reason: On Criminal Justice and Executive Branch Power, Neil Gorsuch May Be More “Liberal” Than Merrick Garland, by Damon Root.

Of course, Neil Gorsuch has been confirmed, via the nuclear option.  And I am not entirely happy about this, since his decision on that truck driver who was caught in the cold was, well, very cold.  But I found this article to be ironic.  It’s good to look for a silver lining!

Vridar: Reality Behind Arab Threats to Destroy Israel.

Neil Godfrey discusses Zeev Maoz’s Defending the Holy Land: A Critical Analysis of Israel’s Security and Foreign Policy.  The book addresses a question: If the Arab world truly wants to destroy Israel, wouldn’t it have done so already?  It is certainly powerful enough!  How does one account, then, for its rhetoric against Israel?  Godfrey quotes a passage: “The extremely hostile rhetoric was strictly for domestic and inter-Arab consumption; it was a weapon in the struggle for leadership in the Arab world. It was also an instrument for diverting domestic attention from the economic, social, and political problems of the regimes. Right from the start, the Arab leaders knew that destroying Israel was an unrealistic dream. At the same time, they could not afford to change the anti-Israel rhetoric from an extremely hostile one to a peaceful one; many of those who tried paid with their lives.”

Los Angeles Times: KFC Goes Antibiotic-Free, by Geoffrey Mohan.

Good for KFC!

Vox: Trump Wants to Make Medicaid Recipients Work to Get Benefits. That’s a Very Bad Idea, by Dylan Matthews.

The title gives you the idea.  The article explains why.  Here is a sample: “The majority of people benefiting from Medicaid are children, disabled, or elderly, and would be exempt from work requirements. If you exclude pregnant women and parents with young children, the number of affected people shrinks even more. The majority of the remaining non-disabled adults are working. And some of them can only work because they get Medicaid — such as people who have mental illnesses or struggle with substance abuse but who, with reliable health care, are healthy and stable enough to work. Making work a prerequisite for Medicaid could, perversely, wind up preventing such people from working.”

The Atlantic: A Practical Guide for Avoiding Fallacies on Syria: Seven Ways to Pressure-test the Most Common Arguments from the Anti-interventionist Camp, by Shadi Hamid.

A silver-lining that I saw in Trump’s election was that he wouldn’t get the U.S. involved in Syria.  Then he bombed it.  Will this be another Iraq War?  This article makes a case that the U.S. bombing Syria does not have to entail pursuing regime change.  It could serve as a warning to Assad, to bring Assad to the negotiating table.  Regime change would be a bad idea.  As Trump has said in the past, getting rid of Assad could leave a void that radical jihadists would be too happy to fill.  On that note, see the transcript for last Sunday’s “ABC This Week.”  Secretary of State Rex Tillerson argues on the program against forcible regime change.  Sean Spicer and Nikki Haley, by contrast, seem to be singing a different tune.  Something else to note in this program: Thomas Friedman suggests ways that Trump can use his Twitter account to exert pressure on Russia!

Hillary Blames Self-Hating Women for Her Loss, by L. Brent Bozell III and Tim Graham.

Confession time: I wish I voted for Hillary.  (I voted for Jill.)  Yet, guess what?  This article reminds me of why I do not like Hillary!  I learned a lesson from the 2016 election, and I need to repeat it as a mantra, especially after seeing articles like this: “I do not have to like candidates and their supporters in order to vote for them.  I do not have to like candidates and their supporters in order to vote for them.”

The Passover Hustle, by Dr. Michael Rydelnik.

There is criticism of Christians having Passover seders.  Jewish Christian Michael Rydelnik defends the practice.  See my past reflections on this issue here and here.

Triablogue: Hank Hanegraaff’s Promotion of Eastern Orthodoxy, by Jason Engwer.

Hank Hanegraaff’s conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy is now all over the net.  I first learned of it from this article.  Engwer links to past episodes of the “Bible Answer Man” in which Hank was moving in that direction.  It has been a decade since I listened to the “Bible Answer Man,” so this was a surprise to me.  Yet, I receive articles from the Christian Research Journal in my inbox, and I occasionally read them.  I am wondering if there was anything in those articles that stood out to me as unusual.  Maybe there was, but I cannot cite anything specific.  On that note, see Hank’s response to the controversy here.



About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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