Category Archives: world news

North Korea, Nukes, and President Trump The Prudential and Moral Considerations of a Just War

BreakPoint: North Korea, Nukes, and President Trump
The Prudential and Moral Considerations of a Just War

by: John Stonestreet & G. Shane Morris

The war rhetoric between North Korea and the U.S. turned nuclear this week, literally. Thankfully, Christians have thought about these things before.

U.S. intelligence now believes that North Korea—currently under the rule of a despicable, evil, irrational dictatorship—has capability to mount a nuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Kim Jong Un has said he’ll never give up his pursuit of nuclear weapons, and just this week, he threatened attacks on the U.S. mainland and the
U. S. territory of Guam.

In response, President Trump warned that if these threats continue, North Korea will face “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

Rhetoric aside, the President does face a very grave dilemma: how to prevent North Korea from following through on its threats. The prudential and moral considerations here are colossal. He and our entire national security team need our prayers.

What he doesn’t need is bad advice. One evangelical advisor made headlines saying that the president had been anointed by God to “take out” Kim Jong Un by “by any means possible.”

“By any means possible” is a Machiavellian response, not a Christian one. And I know Chuck Colson would have said so too.

Chuck, a former Marine Captain and advisor to President Nixon, was no pacifist. But he was a disciplined Christian thinker who talked frequently about “just war theory.” He knew the rich wisdom about war from those who had gone before was an antidote to hyper-emotional reactionism.

To give you a taste, here’s Chuck, from 2009:

Chuck Colson: For nearly two millennia, Christian thinkers starting with Augustine… have developed what is known as the just war theory. For a war to be seen as just, it must meet several conditions. It must be waged by legitimate authority. The cause itself must be just, as well as the intention behind going to war. War must be a last resort, waged by means proportional to the threat. We must not target non-combatants, and we must have a reasonable chance of success.

John: Let’s unpack this criteria. First, the intent of the war has to be just. Is preventing an irrational dictatorship from using nuclear weapons a just cause? Yes, but it raises other questions. Is a preemptive strike morally just? Chuck felt so in certain cases and he cited Christian precedent. But in the years after the preemptive invasion of Iraq, he admitted that hindsight showed the intelligence leading to the attack was faulty. So U. S. intelligence must be correct about the status of North Korea’s capabilities.

Second, for a war to be just, there must be a reasonable chance of success. That means success must be achievable, and it must be defined. In this case, is it the toppling of Kim Jong Un, or just removing his capability of producing and delivering nuclear weapons?

Third, is war a last resort? Are all other avenues closed? This is almost always the final hinge on which a just decision swings.

Fourth, we must not target non-combatants. A U. S. attack on North Korea should focus on their leadership and nuclear facilities. But we must also consider civilian cost to our allies. If North Korea has time to retaliate against an attack, experts warn of hundreds of thousands if not millions of South Korean, perhaps even Japanese, civilian casualties.

Fifth, is our response proportional to the threat? “Fire and fury like the world has never seen” is a vague answer to that question. Are we talking cruise missiles here, or tactical nuclear weapons?

As Chuck said back in 2009, these are tough questions for any leader. And he knew, having served in the White House at the side of a president.

So Christian, we must pray to the God of history and nations for wisdom for our leaders and for a just end to the evil regime in North Korea. And, in our words, whether we’re advising the President or own children about this situation, we must be thoughtful and morally considerate, not emotionally reactive.

Charlie Gard must never be forgotten

Listen to a spot-on commentary by Cal Thomas. Or read part of it below.

CHARLIE GARD, THE 11-MONTH-OLD BRITISH BABY WITH A RARE GENETIC DISEASE, MUST NEVER BE FORGOTTEN. THAT’S BECAUSE CHARLIE SERVES AS A LESSON FOR WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE STATE ASSUMES THE POWER TO DECIDE WHO IS FIT TO LIVE AND WHO MUST DIE.

DESPITE A HEROIC BATTLE BY HIS PARENTS, THE NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE WOULD NOT LET CHARLIE COME TO AMERICA FOR SPECIALIZED TREATMENT. THE STATE DETERMINED HE WASN’T WORTH IT. THE STATE ALSO REFUSED HIS PARENTS’ REQUEST TO TAKE HIM HOME AND LET HIM DIE THERE. ITS “COMPROMISE” WAS TO LET HIM DIE IN HOSPICE.

THIS SHOULD BE A LESSON TO AMERICANS WHO THINK THE STATE SHOULD RUN HEALTH CARE HERE. WOULD YOU LIKE A GOVERNMENT PANEL DETERMINING YOUR WORTH, BASED ON WHETHER YOU ARE COSTING MORE THAN THE TAXES YOU PAY? WOULD YOU BE OK WITH A BOARD – OK, A DEATH PANEL – DETERMINING YOUR FITNESS TO BE TREATED AND LIVE BY PEOPLE WHO HAVE NEVER EXAMINED YOU?
( Read the rest of this commentary right here. )

Charles was wrong on little Charlie

The more I read, and watch Charles Krauthammer the more I struggle if he is truly on the right.
In a recent column Charles kind of stood behind the system in the UK which kept the parents of that little boy Charlie Gard from bringing him to America. Little Charlie died yesterday, and from what I heard the British hospital he was in would not even let his mommy, and daddy take him home to die at their home. Talk about evil, and mean.
The issue in Gard case was not that the tax payers of England having to pay for treatment here in America. The parents had raised money to pay for the treatment themselves.
Krauthammer in his column seem to accept the idea that the courts, and doctors of the U.K. knew what was best.
That is not even the issue. The issue is should they decide if little Charlie was brought to America. Don’t parents have the right to decide about healthcare for their children. Unless there is abuse involved.
Krauthammer writes in his column sometimes parents are wrong. I agree, but what about judges, and doctors. They are not perfect either. But this again should not be about who was right, or who knows what is best for the child. This should have been about who has the right to decide.
When you give a government control of healthcare as has happened in England this kind of issue may happen. Are you listening parents of America. This is another reason us in America needs to get Obamacare off the books. Too bad the Democrats in the Senate along with three GOP senators has made this kind of thing a possibility here in America.

A church started by teens

Have you ever heard of a congregation planting a new church through teenagers?
( Read more )

Proposed spanking ban lights a fire under Welsh

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UK government is not little Charlie’s mommy, or daddy ( sure you want this kind of healthcare system here in America )

Little Charlie

Anyone looking for another reason not to leave life-and-death issues to the state need look no further than the conflict between the British government and the parents of 11-month-old Charlie Gard.

Governments, including the British courts and the European court of human rights have refused to allow Charlie’s parents to take him to the U.S. for what they believe is life-saving treatment. In what many will regard as a cynical decision, UK judge Nicholas Francis gave Charlie’s parents just two days to present new evidence as to why their son should receive experimental treatment. A final decision will be handed down in a hearing on Thursday.

Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital where Charlie is on a ventilator, his brain reportedly damaged from a rare genetic condition, argue that he should be removed from life support and allowed to die. President Trump has offered help. Pope Francis also supports the parent’s right to determine what is best for their child.

Charlie’s parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, believe an experimental treatment known as nucleoside therapy might work on their son. British doctors say it won’t improve the child’s “quality of life.” They want him to die. Apparently that’s OK with the state-run National Health Service (NHS), which is always looking for ways to cut costs.

The parents have raised enough money to take Charlie to America for treatment. Wouldn’t most parents do all they could for their child, especially one so young who is helpless and at the mercy of adults? I know I would for my grandson, who is also named Charlie.

( Read the rest of this spot on column by Cal Thomas. )

Nobel laureate and Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo dies at 61

Read the story.

God decides not the parents, or the child

There are many stories these days of government trampling parental rights, but what happens when parents are the ones doing the trampling?

Recently on BreakPoint we talked about the tough case of Charlie Gard—the terminally ill baby whom British courts decided should die in the hospital rather than travel to America with his parents to seek experimental treatment for his rare condition. In that commentary, I said that the government had overstepped its authority, taking away the right of Charlie’s parents to make decisions for their son.

But another story shows that there’s another side to this coin. The parent of a Canadian newborn not only wants to make a crucial life decision for him or her, but also force the government to recognize that decision. Now I say “him or her” because it has been hidden whether little Searyl Doty of British Columbia is a boy or a girl. Only the child’s mother, who identifies as a “non-binary trans person” and is taking male hormones, knows the truth.

Searyl made international news when this baby received what his or her mother is calling the first ever “genderless” document issued by any government. The Gender Free I.D. Coalition, an activist group Searyl’s mother participates in, seeks to “remove all gender/sex designations from identity documents,” and in this case, they appear to have gotten their wish. The card issued by British Columbia lists Searyl’s sex as “U,” presumably for “unknown” or “unclassified.”

Searyl’s mother (who, again, would prefer I call her a “parent,”) said in a statement that “It is up to Searyl to decide how they identify, when they are old enough to develop their own gender identity.”

Doty believes so deeply in liberating children from biological sex that she’s a complainant in a case currently before the province’s Human Rights Tribunal, arguing for genderless government I.D. She’s also applied for judicial review of her child’s birth certificate, which British Columbia still says must list either male or female.

Doty’s lawyer says requiring such a designation violates the baby’s rights “as a Canadian citizen to life, liberty and security of the person.” And by the way—folks, I promise I’m not making this up—this lawyer refuses to use capital letters in her name because it’s oppressive.

Now why am I telling you all of this? Because in contrast to the Charlie Gard case in which the government overstepped its sphere of sovereignty, this is a case of a parent overstepping her sphere of sovereignty as well as crossing the line into abuse.

And no, I don’t think “abuse” is too strong a word for a mother who refuses to acknowledge the biological reality of her child’s sex, and to raise him or her in denial of such reality. The potential for harm here is great, and not only should government officials refuse to accommodate it, they should stop such practices, even if necessary, removing the child from that home.

Of course, I don’t expect for a moment the Canadian authorities will actually do this. But they should. And Christians shouldn’t be afraid to say so.

And just as there are limits to the state’s authority over the family, there are limits of the family’s authority over the state. A parent doesn’t have the right to force the government to violate its responsibility to recognize reality either.

God designed the family before all other institutions to produce, nurture, and protect children. The state isn’t competent to do this, and neither is the market, the academy, or even the church. But when the family fails to fulfill its God-ordained role—when parents try to deny a fundamental and biological truth about who their children are, they’ve failed.

It’s awful to watch governments steamroll one family to end Charlie Gard’s life, while failing to intervene in Searyl Doty’s life. Because children are helpless against our social experimentations, Christians can’t simply retreat from the public square or concede the clash of worldviews. The bad ideas of adults in any sphere of authority often have small victims.

Holding church in a bar

Read the story.

Who should be in charge of your kid’s care ? You, or the government ? In the UK, it is the government who is heartless by wanting little Charlie to die !

Can the government tell you when and where your child will die? For one couple in the U.K., the answer is “yes.” This is a chilling precedent.

 

An incredibly complicated and heartbreaking life-and-death medical case has sparked an international debate: It’s the case of little Charlie Gard.

Charlie suffers from an extremely rare and deadly genetic disorder called Mitochondrial DNA Depletion Syndrome. Mitochondria “are structures within cells that convert the energy from food into a form that cells can use.” Because of his depletion of mitochondrial DNA, Charlie’s muscles and organs are failing. He’s unconscious and cannot breathe on his own. From all reports, he’s in the terminal stages of a disease for which there is no known cure.

Charlie’s parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, have raised a million and a half dollars in private donations to take him to America for an experimental treatment. They appear under no illusion that the treatment will work, but they do want to exhaust every possibility.

But doctors at Britain’s Great Ormond Street Hospital have decided that Charlie’s condition is hopeless, and that he should be left to die. Britain’s High Court agreed, and the European Court of Human rights refused to intervene after Charlie’s parents appealed. The doctors now have the legal go-ahead to take Charlie off life support.

Now world reaction has been decidedly on the side of Charlie’s parents. After some initial confusion within the Vatican, the Vatican’s pediatric hospital offered to take care of Charlie, as has at least one American hospital. Even President Trump tweeted over the weekend, “If we can help little #CharlieGard, … we would be delighted to do so.”

As I record this broadcast, these offers have all fallen on deaf ears. The hospital refuses to let Charlie travel or even die at home with his parents. They’ve kept him on life support to give Charlie and his parents just a little more time together.

Those are the facts as I understand them. But now here’s why this case is so important, both for the sake of Charlie and his family, and for our civilization.

First, the government should have no role in dictating when and where a baby should die, and whether his parents can seek additional treatment options. The decision by the British High Court is an appalling overreach, and it sets a very dangerous precedent. In worldview terms, the government is well beyond its sphere of sovereignty, gobbling up authority that rightfully belongs to the family and to the church.

Second Peter clarifies that the civil authorities are ordained by God to reward good and punish evil. Great Ormond Street Hospital and the British and international courts have determined it’s time for little Charlie to die, regardless of how many people around the world want to help him by paying for transportation and additional treatment. They won’t even allow him to die at home. They’ve effectively asserted ownership over this little boy and his life. This is unambiguously wrong.

And the facts don’t support the European Court of Human Rights’ claim that undergoing experimental treatment would expose Charlie to “continued pain, suffering and distress.” As one official at the hospital where he’s being cared for admitted, doctors “don’t know whether he suffers pain.”

And, we should note, the British government is in this position of superseded authority largely because of the breakdown of the family. Courts and officials there are accustomed to playing mom, dad, even sometimes God. And we’re not that far behind here in the United States.

But that doesn’t mean the government has the right to make the kinds of life-and-death decisions that Charlie’s parents and others are called to make, nor is it best equipped to navigate the unique challenges of such a difficult case. When it comes to this little life, by overstepping, hospital officials and judges have handed down a death sentence that isn’t theirs to render.