Aug 27 2010

Slip Slidin’ Away

In an episode of Seinfeld, the title character befriends Keith Hernandez, the famous major league first baseman. Hernandez promptly invites Seinfeld to help him move. Kramer and George are stunned at the man’s audacity. “The next thing you know,” they warn their old friend, “he’ll have you driving him to the airport.”

This is a classic application of the slippery slope argument: It is wrong for Seinfeld to take this (seemingly) innocent first step because it will slide uncontrollably into a morally undesirable situation.

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Nov 13 2008

Cracking the Code

Nicholas Kristof is ready to “step away from the anti-intellectualism that has long been a strain in American life.”[1] With a profound sense of relief, Kristof welcomes Obama as the first “open, out-of-the-closet, practicing intellectual” to occupy the Whitehouse since John F. Kennedy.
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Sep 6 2008

Could’ve, Should’ve, Would’ve

[tab:Doing Justly]

Doing Justly

Entrapment is a nasty business. As much as we might want to put bad people away, law enforcement officials are not allowed to force someone’s hands through subterfuge or enticement. As we read in sixth chapter of Daniel, this is what the officials of Darius’ court were trying to do. They conspired to craft a law Daniel could not keep. Daniel knew exactly what was going on. He saw the trap, and walked straight in. The king was tricked into signing a law aimed squarely at his favorite minister.

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Nov 1 2006

Gambling, Smoking, and Stem Cells

Last Sunday night I was overly cautious in saying that a church could not recommend voting one way or another on ballot issues. Actually, according to a Fact Sheet published by the IRS, “501(c)(3) organizations may take positions on public policy issues, including issues that divide candidates in an election for public office.”{1} If a congregation wants to hang on to its non-profit status, it must stay away from opposing or promoting any particular candidate. The church, however, can still talk about important issues. So I would like to be more specific about the items I mentioned on Sunday, and add a third issue that seems to crop up every voting season.

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Dec 20 2000

Challenges of IVF

In a sermon a few of weeks ago I listed in vitro fertilization (IVF) among a handful of special ethical concerns for our time. My comments at that time were not directed toward anyone who may have used this procedure already. In this article I wish to summarize the issue so that we, as a church, may be better informed. [By the way, this article uses frank medical terminology and is intended for mature readers only.]

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