Saturday, September 19, 2015

Federalism and illegal immigration

From what I can tell, many Trump supporters are single-issue voters. Their primary issue is illegal immigration.

That is, indeed, a massive problem, including welfare, identity theft, voter fraud, street gangs, public education, prison population, ER closings, &c. 

This is a bipartisan failure. Traditionally, Democrat officials pander to this constituency for votes while Republican officials pander to this constituency for cheap labor. 

However, judicial meddling is what gave illegal immigrants a foothold. In 1982, the Supreme Court (in Plyler v. Doe) concocted a new Constitutional right requiring American wage-earners to educate the children of illegal immigrants. Likewise, Federal judges struck down California Proposition 187.

Not surprisingly, many voters are incensed by how the power elite has circumvented the democratic process. In addition, there's the sense of injustice: if you cheat, and you hold out for long enough, the political establishment will eventually reward cheaters. 

However, solutions are harder to come by. How can a national (i.e. presidential) candidate win by taking a hardline on illegal immigration? Problem is, he needs enough electoral college votes to win. To do that, he must pick up some key states in the SE and SW. Yet those regions are illegal immigrant strongholds. Between the political map and electoral college math, he's caught in a vice.

At this stage, the best strategy might be to run on a Federalist plank with respect to immigration. Leave it up to the states to formulate their own policies. States that pander to illegal immigrants will become death spiral states while states taking a harder line will prosper. Businesses will flee death spiral states, accelerating the death spiral. Sometimes a social experiment must be allowed to fail to demonstrate how that policy was, indeed, a dismal failure. 

To make this work, Congress would have to pass a law limiting the subject-matter jurisdiction of the courts with respect to immigration. Congress has that general prerogative. It should be possible for a presidential candidate to run and win on Federalism–among other issues. And depending on the particular state, it's possible for politicians for local or statewide office to win while taking a hardline on illegal immigration. From what I can see, that's the best bet. 

Friday, September 18, 2015


Last month, John Piper gave a controversial answer to a question about whether a woman should be a police officer: 

Mind you, his answer is utterly predictable given his general position. In that respect, there should be nothing controversial about the fact that Piper said it. 

I find Piper's reasoning in this particular case rather obscure, even mystical. So I'm not defending his argument. 

Among others, Carl Trueman responded:

The whole piece also indicates the problems that occur when the issue of male-female complementarity is detached from the specific issues of marriage and church.  Once you try to extrapolate to the world at large, three things follow...Second, you become increasingly dependent upon subjective and vague criteria for making decisions, criteria which are as malleable as those in positions of (sub)cultural authority – formal or informal -- wish to make them.

Problem with that response is that it artificially compartmentalizes the issue by confining it to "the specific issues of marriage and the church." 

But if there are important natural differences (both physical and psychological) between men and women, if Scripture underscores gender essentialism (or gender realism), then that ought to have implications for public policy in general. 

Take women in the Marine Corps, or firefighters, or the whole transgender debate. Trueman's response is superficial and evasive. 

If we are gender realists, if we deny that gender is just a social construct, then we can't avoid questions about whether some occupations are suitable for men rather than women or vice versa. 

I think Trueman's response suffers from his knee-jerk aversion to the culture wars. We live in a time where it's increasingly considered outrageous, even within evangelicalism, to merely pose a question like that ("Should a woman be a police officer?"). 

Before attempting to address the question directly, I'll venture some brief observations about gender. Gender is a combination of nature and culture. 

If, say, your ideal of femininity is Lady Marjorie (Upstairs, Downstairs), then there are many things a woman shouldn't do. But that's a culturally-conditioned view of femininity. 

A woman on a farm will do many unladylike things, such as wringing the head off a chicken, plucking it bare, then gutting it. By the same token, you have women who work on ranches or girls who are crazy about horses. Is that ladylike? Probably not. But that's cultural.

I wouldn't be surprised if girls who grow up in the Alaskan outback, or girls who grow up in a family of five brothers and one sister, are more Tomboyish. Likewise, I don't think there's anything wrong with teaching a girl self-defense (martial arts). 

That's different than girls who play soccer "to make a statement." To prove they can do whatever boys can do. 

Regarding the propriety (or not) of women as police officers, that depends, in part, one what we have in mind. I don't think complementarianism conflicts with a woman as a homicide detective. Likewise, it's more appropriate for a policewoman to interview a rape victim or battered wife. 

There is, however, the dominant image of uniformed police. They ride around in squad cars or walk the beat. They confront suspects face to face.

I don't know enough about police work to offer an informed opinion. I just have a question. 

Uniformed police have to interact with the public at close quarters. How close is a judgment call. 

If they accost someone who fits the description of an armed bank robber, they will take extra precautions. Maintain greater distance, call for backup. 

But in many cases they don't know in advance how a member of the public will react. They can't treat everyone they stop or question like a suspected bank robber.

I wonder if that doesn't make the dynamic more dangerous, both for the police officer, and the private citizen, when the officer is a woman. If the private citizen is a man, then her only real protection is her gun. By that I mean, the average man can overpower the average woman. Reaching for her sidearm becomes her first resort rather than her last resort. 

With a policeman, there's more of a buffer. He has a man's natural strength. He may work out at a gym. And he has some martial arts training. That combination gives him another line of self-defense. 

With a policewoman, it's easy for me to see how it could escalate more quickly into a physical altercation or shooting.

Likewise, man-on-man psychology is different from man-on-woman psychology (or woman on woman psychology). I doubt a gang-banger takes a policewoman as seriously as a policeman. A feminist might complain that's sexist, but who says gang-bangers can't be sexist?

Although I can't speak from personal experience, I expect an encounter between police and gangs (or perceived gang members) is a game of poker, where each side is sizing up the other side. Staring each other down. 

Judicial authority

I'm going to comment on this post:

I don't know with whom TFan is shadowboxing. Perhaps it is, in part, Facebook friends. I'd just say that my own position is more qualified than what he's attacking in his post. 

Some dear friends have been going around claiming that Obergefell(fn1) isn't the law of the land. These dear friends are wrong. 
But the Constitution vests all legislative authority in the Congress! 
Yes all federal legislative authority is Congressional, but legislation isn't the only kind of law. There are also laws that come from the executive branch (e.g. regulations) and laws that come from the judicial branch (e.g. judicial precedent). There are even treaties, which the President enters into with the consent of the Senate.

That's a legitimate distinction. However:

i) As he admits, treaties only have the force of law if they are ratified by the legislative branch. So that's not a real counterexample.

ii) Whether executive agency regulations should have the force of law is hardly indisputable. To my knowledge, that's not something the Founding Fathers envisioned. You've had a profusion of executive agencies during the 20C. Some were created by Congress, some were created directly by Presidential fiat. We should oppose the autocratic nature of these executive agencies. It subverts the Constitutional system of checks and balances. 

iii) Words have connotations as well as denotations. There's a reason proponents of homosexual marriage call Obergefell "the law of the land" rather than "a judicial opinion." The former sounds far more impressive than the latter. Even if these are synonymous, they have very different connotations. 

iv) Likewise, it's not just the meaning of the noun, but the meaning of the adjective, which modifies the noun, that's significant. You can speak of Constitutional law, statutory law, and common law. They may all be "law," but the adjective qualifies the nature of the "law" in question.

But the Founders never intended for judicial precedent to be law! 
Actually, the founders accepted the idea of judicial precedent as law. They all had as their framework the English "common law" system, in which judicial precedent was treated as law. The Constitution doesn't oppose this framework. In the historical context in which the Constitution was written, it was assumed that judicial precedent would be treated as law.

But that camouflages the real issue. What is the basis of judicial precedent? What's the standard of comparison? It's supposed to be judicial interpretations of Constitutional law or statutory law (or treaties). So it's not an independent lawmaking body. Rather, the judicial interpretation is dependent on preexisting laws, supplied by the legislative branch of the Constitution itself. 

There is, moreover, a fundamental difference between a good faith interpretation of a legal text, and using a legal text as a pretext to invent a new Constitutional right that has no basis in the wording, logic, or intent of the text. 

But this is Legislating from the Bench! 
What you really mean is, you don't agree with the justices' decision. You think they were wrong to conclude as they did. That doesn't make this legislation from the bench. It's just judicial precedent.

That's just a cheap shot. 

But Kentucky's law is different 
When Federal law and Kentucky state law come into conflict, Federal law wins (US Constitution, Article VI).

i) That's true up to a point. However, that depends on overlapping jurisdiction. Under our system of Federalism, the jurisdiction of the Federal gov't is not unlimited.

ii) Moreover, state marriage bans did not conflict with any Federal law. There was no Federal statute mandating the right of homosexuals to marry. 

iii) I also notice that TFan skirts the issue of whether judicial review includes the right of the Federal judiciary to strike down acts of Congress. 

But Article VI doesn't mention judicial precedent! 
Even if that mattered, it mentions the US Constitution and - according to Obergefell - the US Constitution conflicts with some state laws.

But that begs the very question at issue. This isn't about the Constitution, but about judicial supremacy. So that's a bait-n-switch. How much authority does the judiciary have under our Constitutional system of gov't? 

A consistent motif of the book is the recurrent myth of “judicial supremacy” in constitutional interpretation — a view that most textbook accounts (and law school casebook accounts) wrongly ascribe to the framing generation and to Marbury v. Madison. The power of constitutional interpretation, we observe at various points in the book, is not exclusively vested in the courts, with all other branches and officers of government bound to accept, unthinkingly and reflexively, whatever the courts decide. Rather, the power of constitutional interpretation is a divided, shared power incident to the functions of each of the branches of the national government — and to instruments of state governments, and of juries, as well — with none of these actors literally bound by the views of any of the others. 
This is not an especially shocking position. “Departmentalism” in constitutional interpretation is familiar to legal scholars. (We never use that term in the book; we insist on avoiding legal and academic jargon wherever possible.) We go further than most, however, in explaining its implications across a range of situations. 
For example, we offer a brief theoretical and practical defense of the propriety of executive and congressional non-acquiescence in judicial precedent that, in the independent judgment of these other actors, conflicts with the Constitution.  We explain and defend Congress’s prohibition of slavery in national territories notwithstanding the contrary decision in Dred Scott and Lincoln’s non-enforcement of Chief Justice Taney’s constitutional judgment and order in Ex parte Merryman. Further, we take seriously (at least as an original matter) the idea that Congress might legitimately use the impeachment power to remove executive and judicial officers for their perceived flagrant departures from the Constitution.  We also discuss seriously the theoretical arguments of Madison, Jefferson, and Calhoun for the propriety of state “interposition” and “nullification” of federal actions on constitutional grounds — and also discuss the limitations of and errors in their approaches.  And we also embrace the propriety of independent jury interpretation of the Constitution. 
In setting forth the Constitution’s familiar separation and division of powers among independent branches, we note “the checking power of the courts — and the checks on the courts’ exercise of that power.” We emphasize the independence of the judiciary but pair it with the independence of the other branches:
The independence of the judiciary operates as a formidable check on the actions of the other two branches.  But Congress and the President have checks on this check, too.  Congress largely controls the courts’ jurisdiction — their authority to hear and decide cases.  And if the courts’ decisions conflict with the Constitution itself, Congress and the President possess the power to disregard them (and have done so on certain occasions, as we will see in later chapters).  After all, Congress and the President are bound by oath to support and defend the Constitution, and must resist unconstitutional actions by the courts, and by each other, just as the courts are bound to resist violations of the Constitution by Congress and the President. 
The courts have power to decide cases — and thus check Congress and the President — but little practical power to enforce their decisions, and none to command the other two branches.  As Alexander Hamilton wrote in The Federalist No. 78, the judicial branch “may truly be said to have neither Force nor Will, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgments.”  Indeed, if the courts could command the other two branches, that would violate Madison’s (and Montesquieu’s) rule that the accumulation of all power in one set of hands is “the very definition of tyranny.”  Traditionally, however, Congress and the President have deferred to the constitutional judgments of the Supreme Court — with only a few notable exceptions — even in cases of extraordinary errors risking great harm to the nation.  The courts’ very weakness thus has become a source of their strength. 
Chapter Three (“Powers”) describes the respective powers of the three branches of the national government, including the nature of “the judicial Power” of the courts. With respect to the courts, we maintain (conventionally) that the independence of the judiciary, combined with the status of the Constitution as supreme law, entirely justifies the idea of constitutional judicial review of legislative and executive acts.  However, we suggest (less conventionally, but historically correctly) that the power of judicial review cannot be taken to imply supremacy of the judiciary over the other branches in constitutional interpretation, but only independence of those branches in the performance of its judicial duties:
The power of independent judgment as to the meaning and application of the law is especially significant under the US constitutional regime precisely because the Constitution itself is designated as the supreme law of the land.  Courts interpret and apply the law as part of their regular function of deciding cases, and the Constitution is part of “the law” — indeed, the supreme law — that courts are to apply.  Thus, the courts — with the Supreme Court at the top of the hierarchy — possess an independent power to interpret and apply the Constitution, as a consequence of their customary power to interpret and apply the law in cases before them. 
This does not make the Supreme Court supreme over the other branches — recall Madison’s statement in The Federalist No. 49 concerning the Constitution’s separation of powers:  “The several departments being perfectly co-ordinate by the terms of their common commission, neither of them, it is evident, can pretend to an exclusive or superior right of settling the boundaries between their respective powers.”  But it does mean that the framers envisioned the judicial power of constitutional interpretation as a meaningful check on the other branches.
Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrate! 
Suffice to say that this doctrine is one that relates to rebellion by the lesser magistrate against the greater magistrate. When or whether such rebellion may be Scripturally warranted is a different topic, but the point is that we are no longer talking about whether Obergefell is law, but whether the lesser magistrate is going to obey that law or rebel against that law. In principle, there are times when lesser magistrates ought to rebel against the law, but it is still rebellion against the law. Those who rebel against the de facto authorities, including an unjust greater magistrate, should fully expect to reap the consequences of death, imprisonment, loss of property, and so on. 

That's confused. TFan is repeating the same mistake made by Brad Littlejohn. Their objection fails to distinguish between a general principle and a particular application thereof. Revolution is a limiting case of the principle. Protestant theologians (e.g. Calvin, Knox, Rutherford) developed a theology of revolution. This was codified and secularized by John Locke. 

Magisterial resistance, up to and including revolution, is just a special and (logically) extreme application of a larger principle, which is civil resistance to tyranny in general. So we have an a fortiori argument (a maiore ad minus). If the greater exercise (revolution) is justifiable, then lesser forms of civil resistance are justifiable.   

Shades of faith

Scripture contains many encouraging promises. To no small extent, Christians live on the promises of Scripture. The nice thing about a divine promise is that it connotes certainty. Something you can count on. 

Then there's hope. That's more than a wish, but less than a promise. Sometimes a Christian must settle for hope. He'd prefer a promise, but the walk of faith has its share of uncertainties as well as certainties. You know the final destination, but you can't see around every bend in the road. 

Some believers are so beaten down that all they can do is wish for the best. A wish is more than despair, but less than hope. They are too beleaguered, too disappointed, to feel hopeful. 

At the opposite end of the spectrum is despair. That's a different kind of certainty: hopelessness. That's where faith sometimes bottoms out. Ultimately though, the desired outcome depends, not on the strength of our faith, but the strength of a faithful God. 

Some unbelievers have false hope. And some unbelievers despair. 

That's a different kind of despair. It never bottoms out, for there's no one to catch them. They just keep falling. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Duty to Interpose

Hypothetical obfuscation

1. Selective Moralism?
In the year 2006, Captain Joseph Rodriguez of Aurora, CO, a Christian, was dishonorably discharged from the Army after refusing to follow orders to deploy his company to Iraq, on the grounds that it was a Biblically unjust war.
In 2007, Amy White of Evansville, IN, a Christian, was fired from her job as a grocery sales clerk for refusing to process any purchases of pornographic magazines.
In 2008, Judge William Clark of Macon, GA, a Christian, was forced into early retirement for refusing to hear the majority of divorce cases in his court, on the grounds that none of them met biblical grounds for divorce.
In 2009, Molly Thompson of Billings, MT, a Christian, was fired from her job as a hotel clerk for refusing to allow gay couples, or obviously unwed couples, to check into the same hotel room.
In 2010, John Barlow of Rochester, MN, a Christian, lost his job as a loan officer at a payday loan company for actively advising his customers not to take out loans from the company, and to go elsewhere where they would not be usuriously exploited,
In 2011, Michael Jones, a policeman of St. Petersburg, FL, and a Christian, was jailed and suspended from the force after conspiring to shelter an undocumented immigrant mother and her son, rather than arresting them to get them deported, as he was ordered.  
- See more at:

i) Notice how Littlejohn skews the answer by classifying the question in terms of "moralism." But why think that's the best way to frame the issue?

ii) We need to distinguish between public and private sector. In principle, I'm pretty libertarian with respect of the right of private businessmen to hire or fire whomever they please. That, however, is an academic issue, for the state of the law is not libertarian in that regard. Nondiscrimination laws often classify private businesses as "public accommodations." 

So long as those are the rules of the game, the rules need to be applied consistently. It's not hypocritical for me to disagree with the rules of the game, but given that I don't make the rules, insist that the rules be applied consistently. I don't agree with the current legal standard, but so long as that represents the status quo, I oppose a double standard. If the law treats a private business as a public accommodation, then nondiscrimination laws should be applied equitably.

To take a comparison, I don't believe in judicial supremacy. If, however, that's how are current system operates, then I'm not going to say it's wrong for judges to strike down liberal laws. If liberal judges are accorded the prerogative to strike down conservative laws, then conservative judges should be according the prerogative to strike down liberal laws. It can't be unilateral disarmament, where one side must play by the rules while the other side is free to break the rules. 

If one team cheats, and the referee lets them cheat (because he's on the take), then they other team is entitled to cheat to rectify the imbalance. There's a sense in which that's not even cheating. 

iii) The liberal establishment deliberately creates a false dilemma, which suckers like Littlejohn fall into. It becomes a game of chicken. The Liberal establishment makes arbitrary rules, then dares you to be consistent, given their arbitrary rules. Yet that takes the status quo for granted. But what if the status quo is a source of the problem? What if that needs to be challenged and changed?

iv) In a republican democracy, public policy is made by elected lawmakers (or popular referenda). The voters elect them to represent them. They are answerable to the electorate. Gov't officials don't have the legal authority to single-handedly make or change social policy. 

v) That said, there's an elementary distinction which Littlejohn fails to grasp: we should treat like situations alike and unlike situations unalike. The distinction between right and wrong, truth and falsehood does make a difference.

For instance, Islam and Christianity are both religions. However, Islam is a false religion while Christianity is true. Therefore, there are many situations in which they should not be treated the same way. 

Of course, that gets into debates over "who decides?" but there will never be a single, abstract answer to that question. In a republic democracy, the default position is that elected lawmakers decide. You also have direct democracy (referenda). 

There are, however, situations which call for civil resistance. There's no one person who makes the decision for everyone else without regard to the concrete circumstances or ethical considerations. We can't stipulate a referee in a moral or factual vacuum. We can't delegate our ethical duties to a second party. Facts matter. Morality matters. Decision-making is messy in a fallen world. 

A certain amount of injustice is unavoidable. We have to pick our battles. It depends on the gravity of the issue, and what's feasible. Individual duties may vary.  


According to apostate Dale Tuggy, the Trinity is false because it violates the "law of identity" or Leibniz's law. That's what his objection to the Trinity always comes back to.

He defines numerical identity by reference to Leibniz's law (which he reformulates). And he considers numerical identity to be a precondition of personal identity. 

Is personal identity consonant with organ transplantation? Suppose I have a heart transplant. Am I still the same individual? It's no longer my heart. Someone else's heart is keeping me alive. 

Is personal identity consonant with prosthetics? Suppose I have knee-replacement surgery. I now have an artificial joint. Am I still the same individual? 

Suppose you kept replacing my organs and body parts with donated organs or prosthetics. Would I still be the same individual? Is there a threshold beyond which I'd cease to be the same individual? 

Suppose you transplanted my brain into the body of an android. Would still I be the same individual? 

Suppose you transplanted my (male) brain into a female body. Would I still be the same individual?

Suppose you transplanted my brain into the body of a dolphin. Would I still be the same individual? 

Is my body incidental to my core identity? What's the core of my core identity? That's especially dicey if you're a physicalist. 

One way to finesse the conundrum is to distinguish between intrinsic and extrinsic properties. There are, however, some problems with that distinction:

i) It's not a distinction that derives from Leibniz's law. Rather, it modifies Leibniz's law. 

ii) But if we grant that distinction, why can't we apply it to the Trinity? 

Why is having a human brain inside an android body or dolphin body consonant with numerical identity, but having three "persons" or "modes of consciousness" disconsonant with numerical identity? 

What makes a body an extrinsic property that's compatible with the same individual, but distinct personhood an intrinsic property that's incompatible with the same individual (i.e. one and only God)? 

iii) This also goes to ambiguities regarding the nature of intrinsically or extrinsically. If, according to David Lewis, duplicates never differ with respect to their intrinsic properties, then the distinction between Father, Son, and Spirit is an extrinsic property. 

Suppose we modeled the Trinity on enantiomerism (or enantiomorphism). Suppose we regard the members of the Trinity as enantiomers. They mirror each other in every respect, yet they are nonsuperimposable. 

Is that in tension with numerical identity? But why not consider superimposability an extrinsic property? What's the criterion? 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

"You have a right to be believed"

Hillary Clinton recently tweeted: "To every survivor of sexual assault...You have the right to be heard. You have the right to be believed. We're with you."

Conservative pundits pounced on the glaring duplicity, given how she covered for her husband, whom several women accused of sexual assault.

But let's address the substance of the comment. I suppose this is feminist dogma, but is it true?

On the one hand, sexual assault can be hard to prove. In that respect, it can make it easier for a sexual assailant to get away with it. 

But that also makes it easier to level a false allegation of sexual assault, since the accuser can get way with it. 

The accused are motivated to plead innocent, whether they are innocent or guilty. 

But accusers are sometimes motivated to make false accusations. For instance, back when women had few legal rights, the rape accusation could be a powerful weapon. 

It isn't hard to consider examples in which some women might falsely accuse a man of rape. Take the days of slavery and segregation. Suppose a white woman had consensual sex with a black man. If she became pregnant, people could tell the father was black. Which carried a social stigma at that time and place, if the mother was white. A way of deflecting the stigma would be to accuse the father, or any conveniently available black man, of rape. That would suddenly make her an object of sympathy, and shift blame to the alleged rapist. 

Does Hillary think that never happened? Does she side with the lynch mob? Does she think black men during the Jim Crow era were never falsely accused of rape?  

Women have a right to be heard. But they have no more or less right to be believed than a man. It should be judged on a case-by-case basis. 

Thinking thrice before supporting Brad Littlejohn

I'm going to comment on this post:

It was clearly an oblique broadside against this post:

He begins with hypotheticals. Nothing wrong with that in principle. However, the function of a hypothetical ought to be to clarify ethical reasoning. Instead, he uses hypotheticals to obfuscate the issue, like a squid inking the water. He raises hypothetical scenarios which he doesn't attempt to untangle. Instead of giving the reader any direction, he points the reader in all directions. That's worse than useless. 

Littlejohn says:

Here is my question: if Christians are going to hold up Kim Davis as a paragon of Christ-like refusal to compromise with injustice, then how soon are we going to hold up the hypothetical John Barlow or Joseph Rodriguez or William Black as well? Are we all prepared to examine our own vocations with the same rigor, and leave all to follow Christ? And if not, then is our admiration of Kim Davis simply proof of what progressives accuse us of--namely, a highly selective Pharisaism that takes sexual sins with profound seriousness, and everything else as relatively negotiable?

i) A better question is why we should accept how Littlejohn frames the issue? I, for one, am not holding up Kim Davis as a Christ-like paragon. Why does Littlejohn resort to an obvious caricature of the issue? In fact, the way he cast the question reflects his own intellectual confusion. 

Davis's personal character or personal motivation is irrelevant. This issue isn’t primarily or ultimately about Davis. It was going on long before she came on the scene, and it will continue long after her particular situation is settled one way or the other.

The cause is bigger than any particular individual who happens to represent that cause at any given moment. The rightness of the cause doesn’t derive from a particular spokesman.

ii) Another basic problem is that he indulges in a fact-free analysis, without even bothering to consider the specific laws or legal history. For instance:

Federal anti-discrimination law requires a reasonable accommodation of religious belief where it does not place undue hardships on the employer. And Kentucky, like many other states, provides additional protection against unnecessary government burdens on religion.

Anderson is alluding to Kentucky’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, as well as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which:

Prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals because of their religion (or lack of religious belief) in hiring, firing, or any other terms and conditions of employment. The law also prohibits job segregation based on religion, such as assigning an employee to a non-customer contact position because of actual or feared customer preference. 
In addition, the Act  requires employers to reasonably accommodate the religious beliefs and practices of applicants and  employees,  unless  doing so would  cause more than a minimal burden on the operation of the employer's business.A reasonable religious accommodation is any adjustment to the work environment that will allow the employee to practice his religion. Flexible scheduling, voluntary shift substitutions or swaps, job reassignments  lateral transfers, and exceptions to dress or grooming rules are examples of accommodating an employee's religious beliefs.

iii) Littlejohn completely ignores the issue of judicial supremacy. For instance:

iv) Littlejohn completely ignores the Kentucky marriage amendment:

Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.

v) Then there's the First Amendment issue. Consider the historic Virginia religious liberty statute, which underlies the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment of the US Constitution:

That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

That clearly rules out a Muslim public employee imposing Sharia on on American citizens. 

vi) Many gov’t employees are in a position where they might be ordered to do something illegal. Take a supervisor who orders them to destroy incriminating evidence of official misconduct. Or take the IRA targeting conservative groups. It’s incumbent on gov’t employees in general to make their own preliminary judgment regarding the legality of orders from higher-ups. If they don’t, they put themselves in legal jeopardy.

Indeed, subordinates are more likely to play the fall guy than the higher-ups. So it’s in their self-interest, as well as public interest, to ask if the order is lawful or unlawful. They are legally liable if they carry out an illegal order.

vii) An individual gov't employee doesn't that the right to formulate social policy and impose that on the public. That's reserved for elected lawmakers, acting collectively. 

However, the First Amendment contains specific civil liberties. A gov't employee has a duty to respect that. Likewise, there's statutory law.

viii) There are, of course, situations in which a Christian is obligated to break the law. But Kim Davis isn't doing that. 

ix) Moreover, there are situations in which "just do your job or quit" is a false dichotomy. For there are situations where you duty is to practice civil resistance within the system. Let's take an example I recently ran across:

Then the war comes and my father is asked by the French prime minister to go with a mission to negotiate with the Germans for the purchase of Grumman fighter planes. A totally amazing story happened. Everybody has forgotten that New York was a  neutral city in 1940. It was full of Nazi purchasing missions, bank missions, engineers. My father was at lunch in honor of the Trade Purchasing Commission at the Wall Street Club. At his table were representatives of the American treasury, the banks and the French delegation. The waiter brings my father a folded sheet of paper saying that a gentleman at another table has asked that I bring this to you. My father whirls around and sees a Nazi purchasing mission, with the swastikas in their lapels. Perfectly legitimate: they too were buying equipment and arranging oil loans with the Chase Bank and many others. Father recognizes a man who had been one of his closest friends in business, and with whom he has had no contact whatever since 1933 when Hitler took over. So my father ostentatiously tears up the note, the piece of paper, and drops it on the floor. He goes to the john; the man is waiting there, grabs my father and says, “You better listen to me whether you like it or not. I can give you no details, I don't know any. We're coming into France very soon.” (This is in 1940.) “Get your family out at any price.” 
Now, this was one of the heads of the most important electrical concerns in Europe, Siemens. The “final solution” meeting had not yet taken place. But in Poland the massacres were already on, and the heads of Siemens knew something. They didn't know the details, because you were shot immediately if you were on leave and talked about it; but it was filtering through the high command, through diplomats, and this man, thank God, believed it, and my father believed him. 
My father got in touch with the prime minister and asked him if his family could join him for a while since the negotiations were going to be longer than he had thought. The prime minister said, “Yes, of course, let them join you.” That's what saved us. We came out with the last American boats. 
This story will be of considerable interest to historians, because it means that early in 1940 — the Germans came through in May, whereas this was in January — an informed senior German knew something.

Now the Nazi official could either quit or do his job. Instead, he did something better: he took advantage of his job to tip off an old friend. Due to his position, he had inside information, which he shared with an old friend, to save his life. That's not something he'd be privy to if he resigned. And to "just do his job" would mean facilitating the Final Solution. Instead, he chose a third option. 

Does Littlejohn have answers to the questions he poses? If so, why not present them? If not, what's the point of raising questions himself can't answer? 

He may say he left it to the reader, but that's a cop-out. He would not have done the post in the first place unless he thought Christians who support Davis's action are shortsighted. Since he clearly doesn't trust their judgment, he needs to answer the questions he poses to them. If he can't answer his own questions, why is he attacking them? 

Even if he says he was up against a word-limit, he has other venues in which to expound his views at greater length. People like Littlejohn don't exercise genuine leadership. Not only do they fail to say or do the right thing, they get in the way of those who do. If they have nothing constructive to offer, they should butt out. 

Abortion, election, and apostasy

Abortionists sometimes cite popular belief in universal infant salvation as a wedge tactic to taunt Christians: If you believe all babies are heavenbound, why do you oppose abortion? This is meant to generate a dilemma: logically, you should either support both or oppose both. 

John Piper recently posted on this subject:

Given the cards he dealt himself, I think he played his hand fairly well. That said:

i) Speaking for myself, I'm dubious about universal infant salvation. All the world's worst people used to be cute little kids. I can't help mentally rewinding the clock. Go back in time from what they are to what they were. 

Seems arbitrary to say that if you die at seven you fly to heaven, but if you die at nine you fry. 

We see children as they are, not as they will be. At least initially. Sometimes we live long enough to see how they turn out–for better or worse. 

So I doubt a key premise of the argument. But even if I didn't, I don't think the argument goes through. 

ii) If this poses a dilemma at all, it only poses a dilemma for freewill theists rather than Calvinists. The unstated premise of the argument is that people can lose their salvation. Hence, if somebody is now saved, killing him now is the way to seal his salvation. If salvation can be lost, it is risky to live another day. To play it safe, die when you are saved. The longer you wait, the greater the risk that you will died unsaved. 

Incidentally, the logic of that argument is hardly confined to infants. It would apply just as well to born-again adults. 

iii) But, of course, Calvinism rejects the operating premise. What ensures your salvation is not when you die, but election–which is unalterable. Not, in the first instance, what happened in time, but what happened in eternity. The elect can't lose their salvation. You either have it or you don't.

From a Reformed standpoint, nothing you do can change the number of the elect. In the classic formulation of the Westminster Confession: "These angels and men, thus predestinated, and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished" (WCF 3:4).

iv) But it might be argued that this misses the point. The claim is not that we retroactively cause God to elect more people if more babies die in the womb. The claim, rather, is that if more (elect) babies die in the womb, then that's how God predestined the end-result all along. Our alternate course of action (i.e. aborting elect babies) is the consequence of God's foreordination, rather than God's foreordination as the consequence of our alternate course of action. 

v) There is, however, a basic problem with that argument. It's a counterfactual scenario. As such, it doesn't refer to the world in which you and I actually live, but to an alternate timeline.

But even if you believe in universal infant salvation vis-a-vis the actual world, you can't just switch to an alternate timeline, yet assume everything else remains the same. Even if your thought-experiment only changes on variable, that's just a thought-experiment. You can conjecture that God might do it that way, but it's not as if you have given God a blueprint which he must follow. 

Suppose there's a possible world in which some people kill their children in the superstitious belief that doing so will ensure their salvation. It doesn't follow that in fact raises the number of the elect. For in that alternate timeline, God may not elect all dying infants, even if he does so in this world. 

vi) Furthermore, even if you subscribe to predestinarian universal infant salvation, that doesn't imply that more people are ultimately elect. It may simply mean a greater percentage of the elect die in infancy, and fewer in adulthood–even though the overall number is exactly the same. The sum is the same. All that's different is how the elect are distributed by time of death. Whether more die younger or older. 

Could Jesus sin?

Orthodox Christians believe Jesus was sinless. They believe that in part simply because the Bible says so. In addition, the Bible doesn't merely say Jesus was sinless. Rather, there's an underlying principle: a sinner can't atone for the sins of another sinner. Therefore, the Redeemer had to be sinless. 

But over and above that issue is the related question of whether Jesus could sin. Was he impeccable? 

The question is somewhat ambiguous. Are we asking whether Jesus qua human could sin or whether Jesus qua divine could sin? Some might take the position that although Jesus qua human was peccable, the divine nature acted as a check on that possibility, rendering Jesus impeccable. 

Some might dismiss the whole question as one of those effete conjectures that theologians haggle over when they aren't numbering angels on pinheads. There are, however, freewill theists who take the position that unless Jesus was able to sin, he couldn't truly experience temptation. There was nothing to resist.

This typically has the adult Jesus in view. Say, Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. 

But suppose we consider the question from the standpoint of Jesus as a young child. And let's grant for the sake of argument that Jesus could sin.

It's hard to think of anything more dangerous than an almighty child. Imagine a temper tantrum magnified by omnipotence. 

Children can fly into a sociopathic rage. Yet no harm usually comes of it because they are ineffectual and the murderous mood is short-lived. But if the child was omnipotent…all hell would break loose.

Now, it might be objected that, unlike the average child, Jesus was sinless. Again, though, on the hypothesis I'm exploring, Jesus could sin. Assuming that's the case, what would prevent the realization of that potential? 

In the case of Jesus as an adult, or even a teenager, we can appeal to his self-restraint. That, however, assumes a level of cognitive development which young kids lack. Young kids don't have much impulse control. Little or no cognizance regarding the long-term consequences of their actions. They are in a state of diminished responsibility. 

So, if Jesus was peccable, it's hard to see what would prevent a two-year-old Jesus from sinning. 

I suppose we could redefine our terms by classifying sin in age-appropriate categories. What is sinful in an adult isn't necessarily sinful in a child.

But even if we grant that distinction, it doesn't rule out certain, like killing his mother or stepbrother in a childish fit of rage. We've just said that wouldn't be sinful at his tender age. 

Yet I doubt Christians who espouse the peccability of Christ wish to take it even that far. Moreover, this isn't just a question of what he could do, but what he would do given what he could do.

The question at issue is whether it's consistent to say both that he was sinless and capable of sinning. For even if adulthood supplies a firewall to maintain that distinction, that assumes a process of psychological maturation which can't be retrojected back into first few years of life. 

In addition, the more special you make him as a child, the less like normal children you make him, doesn't that undermine the rationale for denying that he was impeccable? The more sui generis he is, the more disanalogous temptation is for him than it is for us. So this seems to generate a dilemma for the freewill theist. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Sanders at Liberty

When the cat's away, the mice will play

43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 47 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 48 But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ 49 and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know 51 and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Mt 24:43-51).

i) Unanswered prayer is one reason some professing Christians lose their faith. On the face of it, some NT statements about prayer overpromise and underperform. How do we address the prima facie discrepancy?

ii) Keep in mind that the NT writers who wrote or recorded the promises surely experienced unanswered prayer. I doubt they got everything they prayed for, any more than we do. So even if the language is unqualified, they themselves would have understood there to be implicit qualifications.

iii) Unbelievers claim that examples of answered prayer are the artifact of sample selection bias. We forget all the unanswered prayers and only remember the answered prayers. Given how often we pray, it's statistically inevitable that sometimes we will experience an outcome that dovetails with our prayer. But that's random. What's left over after we discount all the misses. 

iv) Now there's sometimes a grain of truth to that. Some Christians are guilty of wishful thinking. 

However, the primary function of prayer is not to prove God's existence. Rather, its primary purpose is either to ask for something that only God can provide, or to make the outcome contingent on something more than natural probabilities or our own abilities.

That is to say, although there are situations where the desired outcome might be naturally obtainable, that depends on factors over which we have limited control. We pray, in part, to raise the odds (as it were) that it will turn out the way we hope. Not to mention cases where only God can make the difference. 

But prayer isn't designed to furnish direct evidence for God's existence. Rather, that's a side-effect.

v) In addition, the question of whether answered prayer is just luck isn't different in kind from how we generally distinguish coincidental events from intentional events. For instance, although it's astronomically improbable that I will see any particular license plate, it's inevitable that I will see some license plates. If, however, I see the same license plate several times a day when I glance in my rearview mirror, I have good reason to suspect I'm being shadowed. 

Even though some examples which we take to be answered prayer may be ambiguous, that doesn't mean every case is ambiguous. Some examples of answered prayer may resist a coincidental interpretation for the same reason that some other events resist a coincidental interpretation. Indeed, there are obviously situations in which a coincidental interpretation would be willfully irrational. If I keep seeing the same license plate in my rearview mirror, I ought to be suspicious. If it happens once, that's random. If it happens twice (in the same day), that's coincidental. But if it repeatedly shows up, then something funny is going on.

And, of course, some one-time events are clearly by design. You don't necessarily have to multiple instances to up the odds that it's not a random event. A one-of-a-kind event can still be orchestrated. If I return to my home to find the furniture rearranged, I know that didn't happen by accident, even if that's a unique experience for me. 

vi) One reason NT writers don't use qualified language in reference to prayer promises is because the reader is expected to make reasonable allowance for obvious exceptions. 

Some answers to prayer are precluded in advance by God's standing policy. For instance, I can pray that I will stop aging at 25, but God won't answer that prayer because the aging process is part of the curse. That will continue until the Parousia.

Likewise, I can pray that I will never be a victim of crime, but if God has determined that crime will exist in a fallen world, then I can't count on God answering that prayer. Maybe he will protect me, but if he doesn't, that's not surprising. Prayers like that reflect an overrealized eschatology. They conflict with God's plan at this stage of world history. 

In the nature of the case, God will not answer prayers which conflict with what he has determined to be the case. And there are certain kinds of situations where that's predictable. 

vii) On a related note, two or more answered prayers have the potential, in principle, to generate conflicting consequences. Many prayers may go unanswered for the simple reason that the answers must be coordinated to avoid a train wreck down the line. 

To take a humorous example, Alec Guinness made a comedy (The Captain's Paradise) in which he played a bigamist. Because his job required him to ferry back and forth between Morocco and Gibraltar, he took advantage of the situation by having two different wives at respective ends on his round trip. That only worked so long as he could keep that separate, keep each secret from the other. But eventually they began to bleed into each other. 

In many cases, answered prayer can't be compartmentalized. Hence, only prayers are answerable that are mutually consistent with God's plan for the future. 

viii) Finally, there's the studied absence of God. Take the Bible text I quoted at the top of the post. Passages like that are classified as "the delay of the Parousia." But there's another way of viewing them. 

To some extent, God acts like an absentee landlord. Why? It's a test of faith. How will you behave when you think there's no God who's monitoring your actions? It's easy to be faithful when you think God is watching you. A truer test of fidelity is how you act when the supervisor is out of sight. 

How do people act when they begin to doubt God's existence? When they doubt the supervisor will return? 

If, however, God routinely answered prayer, then there'd be no real correlation between faith and fidelity. If you have continuous evidence that the security camera is rolling, you will behave yourself. But how you behave during a power outage, when the security camera is dead, is what truly reveals your character and commitment. 

Faith Alone: The Doctrine of Justification

Tom Schreiner has just published an exegetical defense of the Pauline/Protestant doctrine of sola fide. A useful corrective in an age of willful ecumenical confusion.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Confessions of a teenage demarcationist

Losing hope in the world

Yet I must confess that I felt, and still feel, great admiration for both my religiously and politically committed comrades. They may have been "intellectual" in the sense we have adopted here, or they may not have been, that was not important. One way or the other, in the decisive moments their political or religious belief was an inestimable help to them, while we sceptical and humanistic intellectuals took recourse, in vain, to our literary, philosophical, and artistic household gods. 

…whether they were highly educated national economists and theologians or less versed workers and peasants, their belief or their ideology gave them that firm foothold in the world from which they spiritually unhinged the SS state. Under conditions that defy the imagination they conducted Mass, and as Orthodox Jews they fasted on the Day of Atonement although they actually lived the entire year in a condition of raging hunger…They survived better or died with more dignity than their irreligious or unpolitical intellectual comrades; who often were infinitely better educated and more practiced in exact thinking. I still see before me the young Polish priest who had no living language in common with me and who therefore spoke to me in Latin of his faith. "Voluntas hominis it ad malum," he said and glanced sorrowfully at a Kapo who was just passing by and who was feared for his brutality. "But God's goodness is immeasurable and thus it will triumph." Our religiously or politically committed comrades were not at all, or only a little, astonished that in the camp the unimaginable became reality. Whoever turned away from God, said the pious Christians and Jews, had to reach the point where he perpetrated or suffered the atrocities of Auschwitz…Here nothing unheard-of occurred, but only what the…God-believing men, had always expected or at least considered possible…Their kingdom, in any event, was not the Here and Now, but the Tomorrow and Someplace, the very distant Tomorrow of the Christian, glowing in chiliastic light…The grip of the horror reality was weaker where from the start reality had been placed in the framework of an unalterable idea. 

I was not in the least bit curious about a religious grace that for me did not exist, or about an ideology whose errors and false conclusions I felt I had seen through. I did not want to be one with my believing comrades, but I would have wished to be like them: unshakable, calm, strong. What I felt to comprehend at that time still appears to me as a certainty: whoever is, in the broadest sense, a believing person, whether his belief be metaphysical or bound to  concrete reality, transcends himself. He is not the captive of his individuality; rather he is part of a spiritual continuity that is interrupted nowhere, not even in Auschwitz. He is both more estranged from reality and closer to it than his unbelieving comrade. Further from reality because in is Finalistic attitude he ignores the given contents of material phenomena and fixes his sight on a nearer or more distant future; but he is also closer to reality because for just this reason he does not allow himself to be overwhelmed by the conditions around him and thus he can strongly influence them. For the unbelieving person reality, under adverse circumstances, is a force to which he submits…For the believer reality is clay that he molds. Jean Améry, At the Mind's Limits (Indiana U, 1980), 13-14.

There is hope, but not for us

There are stock arguments for the traditional authorship and dating of NT books like the Gospels, James, and Revelation. I think these are good arguments. But I'd like to explore a neglected line of evidence.

Moderate to liberal scholars typically date the Synoptic Gospels (esp. Matthew and Luke) to after the Jewish War (c. 67-73). I think that's easier to say if you're not a Jew who lived through the Jewish War. 

Admittedly, there's a sense in which that disqualifies me as well. But this is less about being Jewish or having a particular experience, then cultivating an awareness of the relevant sensibilities. 

Let's take a comparison. George Steiner and Edmund Wilson are both great literary critics. Steiner regards Kafka as a major writer, whereas Wilson regards him as overrated and ephemeral. Why the difference?

Simply put: Steiner is Jewish and Wilson is Gentile. Steiner is reading a Jewish author through Jewish eyes. He sees Kafka as a prescient allegory of the Shoah.

That's magnified by the fact that Steiner is, himself, haunted by the Shoah. His father had the wisdom to get his immediate family out of Dodge, but he couldn't save his extended family. He wrote them pleading letters. They ignored the threat and perished in the death camps. Steiner has the psychology of a Holocaust survivor (whether or not he meets the technical definition, which is disputed). 

By contrast, Wilson just doesn't get Kafka. He can't. Kafka doesn't speak to him at that level. It's too alien to his own experience. He has a waspish, patrician background. Hobnobbed with F. Scott Fitzgerald. He has no ear for Kafka. I don't necessarily say that as a criticism. It's not as if I can directly relate to Kafka's experience either. 

Let's draw another distinction. When people look back on their youth and childhood, there's often a sense of loss–assuming they had a happy childhood. But that can take either one two very different forms:

i) They may wax nostalgic about the past. Take writers like Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huck Finn & Tom Sawyer) and Ray Bradbury (Dandelion Wine). Although that's tinged with a sense of regret, because it's irrecoverable, the loss was natural and gradual.

ii) But then you have writers whose happy youth or childhood was torn from their arms. Prematurely ripped away. Take Giorgio Bassani. His novels are set in pre-war Ferrera. And they reflect that place and period. They reflect his actual experience, making allowance for artistic license. 

Yet they are told with a view to the Shoah. Although the historical setting is prospective, the narrative viewpoint is retrospective, as a chain of events leads inexorably to the abyss. 

This is Holocaust literature. And it has Biblical precedent in exilic literature (e.g. Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Lamentations). In Jeremiah you have escalating despair as he foresees his people doomed by their own obduracy. What makes it so maddening is the self-fulling nature of their fate. They bring it upon themselves by their defiance. Ezekiel oscillates between elation and bitter rage.  And Lamentations gives voice to the unspeakable. 

Now, the Jewish War was an event similar in significance to the Holocaust and the Babylonian Exile. Even for Jews outside Palestine, Jerusalem was the epicenter of Judaism. It's hard to overstate the psychological impact that would have on survivors. There's medical evidence that children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors suffer from transgenerational trauma. And you'd have the same dynamic for analogous events. 

And that's a basic problem with the post-70 date for Matthew. If it was written after that cataclysm, why does it not read like Lamentations, Jeremiah, or Ezekiel? Although ostensively set in the time of Jesus, we'd expect the calamity of the Jewish War to cast a long backward shadow, just as we find in exilic literature and Holocaust literature. That's assuming it was, in fact, written after 70 AD. 

But Matthew doesn't begin to have the emotional register of someone who wrote from that harrowing vantagepoint. Yes, there are storm clouds on the horizon in the Olivet Discourse. But that lacks the direct transparency and intensity of searing personal experience. It's abstract. Future. Not the past as future.

Instead, the reader is treated to academic debates about Halakha and competing theories of the afterlife–from forty years before. And that's perfectly consistent with Matthew being precisely what it purports to be–rather than a retrojection. 

Compare that to Paul Celan, who lost both parents in the death camps. Who was repeatedly hospitalized for clinical depression. Who eventually committed suicide–unable to overcome the grief and guilt. Likewise, Primo Levi was another Jewish chronicler of the Shoah who survived the death camps, but succumbed to suicide. Ditto: Jean Améry. The memory was just unbearable. 

Conversely, the tone of Revelation calibrates very well with exilic literature and Holocaust literature. It's easy to imagine John writing that after the Jewish War. The emotional register parallels Ezekiel. 

But what about the Gospel of John? I think it might well have been written in the 60s. 

But suppose it was written in the 90s. Is that consonant with what I've been discussing? Possibly. People have different coping strategies. One way is to become more withdrawn. And, indeed, John's Gospel is detached and otherworldly. If the life you knew has been obliterated, that's one way to adapt. 

If Matthew was composed before 70 AD, and is literarily dependent on Mark, then Mark is however much earlier. 

The letter of James is written in a serene style that bears no trace of trauma to the collective psyche of 1C Jewry which you'd anticipate if it was penned sometime after the Jewish War. 

Luke is less susceptible to this style of analysis. Likely a Gentile convert to Judaism, and then to Christianity via Judaism. Although he's profoundly invested in Messianic Judaism, that's not a part of his formative experience, so even if his Gospel was written after 70 AD, I wouldn't necessarily expect it to reflect the same traumatization. There are, however, other arguments for dating its composition prior to 70 AD.

I've been using Jewish comparisons, but we could cast a wider net. Dabney was so demoralized after his side lost the Civil War that he moved to Texas. He just couldn't stand to live in Virginia any more. The life he'd known and loved was literally shot to pieces. Or consider the enduring psychological impact on dispossessed American Indians, driven from their ancestral lands.  

Finally, this may touch on the question of what happened to most of the apostles. After being listed in the Gospels, why did many melt away? You have traditions and legends, but that has an apocryphal flavor. A way of validating a national sect. 

One explanation may be that some of them perished in the siege of Jerusalem. Not because they were too devoted to the city, or nostalgic memories, but because they had relatives there, or because they had house-churches there where they ministered. Like missionaries who stayed behind in China during the Japanese invasion. Rather than abandon their flock, they suffered with them and died with them.