Please stop spreading panic about sex trafficking

A news story hit my social media feed a couple weeks ago, stirring fear about sex trafficking. However, it is highly unlikely that the story was real. Are there any actual, documented cases of adults being kidnapped in public places and sold into sex slavery?

This is similar to other news stories of parents fearing that their children would be kidnapped, but Lenore Skenazy points out that the head of the Crimes Against Children Research Center told her that he has not seen a single case “of children being snatched from their parents in public places and trafficked.”

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Based on Works

As I read Christian’s encounter with the Worldly Wiseman in Pilgrim’s Progress, it again became clear that every false religion and cult is built on works.

There is no grace, and there is no forgiveness. You must follow a set of rigid rules or you are damned. But the only true path to salvation is through the sacrifice of someone else – the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross.

But man always wants to design a system where we can be righteous. We are not and never will be.

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. — Romans 3:10-12

Eminent domain, incompetence and corruption

As the City of Bloomington battles Juan Sells over taking his property for a parking garage, the thing I found most stunning is the sheer incompetence of Mayor John Hamilton and his administration. These people actually demolished a parking garage and eliminated over 300 badly needed parking spaces with no plan on how to proceed if they were not allowed to take the Juan Sells property. Why was there not more than one design approved as a contingency?

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No, we do not need Free Speech Reform

A Washington Post editorial demanding “Campaign Finance Reform” (more accurately called Free Speech Reform) dishonestly claims the wealthy are now empowered in “campaign financing” because so-called “Super PACs” are “permitted to collect multimillion-dollar checks.”

Of course, donations to federal campaigns are limited by federal law, as you can see on the FEC website. The reason Super PACs are allowed to collect more is they are only engaged in independent spending. PACs are not legally allowed to coordinate independent expenditures with campaigns.

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Elizabeth Warren and the politics of resentment

The father who went viral after confronting Elizabeth Warren is right that her student loan “forgiveness” plan penalizes those who sacrificed to not go into debt, but the reason why Warren’s plan is wrong is because it explicitly breaks the Tenth Commandment. Christians should be very wary of such things.

Warren’s plan is built on resentment for the “rich.” The idea is that a “wealth tax” on the richest Americans would allow people to escape student loan debt that they willingly accrued as consenting adults in a transaction with other consenting adults. If the “rich” have so much, why shouldn’t people with student loan debt be given some of that money to be free from oppressive debt?

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Why I will not vote for Trump in 2020

I opposed Donald Trump in the 2016 primaries and I refused to vote for him in the 2016 general election. In the years since, I have been pleased with his policies, and I plan on voting for him in the 2020 general election. The 2020 election is a binary choice and the good Trump has done is enough to outweigh the bad and earn him my vote. I will not, however, vote for Trump in the 2020 primary on May 5. Here are some reasons why:

First, he is immature, childish, unpresidential and unprofessional. His rantings on Twitter have diminished the stature of the office, and he has coarsened the culture. I understand that Trump is as much a symptom a terrible political culture as the cause of it, but his antics have only made the situation worse. He promised to be presidential during the 2016 campaign. When he is scripted, he can be that. But it is clear that he never had any intention of toning down his caustic personality.

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Of course the President’s war powers should be restricted

I was very pleased with U.S. Senator Todd Young’s announcement that he would support legislation restricting the President’s war-making authority regarding military action against Iran. This is a courageous move, especially in a state that Donald Trump won by a large margin and where Young will face re-election in the middle of what will likely be Trump’s second term.

It is true that the President is the Commander-In-Chief, and as such he should and does have the authority to deploy the military to protect American interests. It is also true that Congress has the sole authority to declare war. But here is the problem: The founders never envisioned when they wrote the Constitution that this nation would be the sole global superpower, with economic and military reach at every point of the world. Our superpower status also makes American personnel, property and security interests vulnerable to attack far beyond the borders of our nation.

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The Herald-Times violates its own standards again

A letter to the editor on January 6 took issue with IU Health, claiming that an IU Health employee said some things that the author finds offensive and hurtful. (I am intentionally not linking to the letter. It is not difficult to find on the website.) Now, there are things within the letter that I could take issue with, but there is a more basic issue here than the content of the letter – one outlined by a previous editor of the Herald-Times:

“I’ve rejected many letters similar to this one about an individual’s dispute with a teacher, a specific business, a coach or even a personal interaction with a government official. If I were to run your letter, it would set a precedent for running others in which one person’s grievance against another person were to be aired in the Letters to the Editor column. That’s not an appropriate use of that column. Further, it would not be fair to the person on the receiving end of the criticism.”

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When “lying” is a meaningless accusation

I have always defended the use of the word “liar,” because it is necessary to hold people accountable when they distort facts or actively fabricate things to smear others. Pointing out that a liar actually is a liar is not only not uncivil, it protects civility in the public sphere because lies are destructive. However, far too often the accusation of “lying” is merely a way to say “I disagree with this person.”

One of the comments on my most recent letter to the editor was that “equating embryos with babies” is an “outright lie.” So if this man speaks to a pregnant woman who says something about her “baby,” does he calls her a liar? What about the woman’s husband? Does he call the father a liar? Of course, unless you are a total fanatic, you would not do that. I presume that if this person sees a woman being comforted after a miscarriage, he would not break out the word “liar” if someone expresses sadness (or if the woman herself expresses sadness) over her “losing her baby” – unless he is a total monster.

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