How the Community Reinvestment Act promoted today’s financial troubles

The Clinton administration has turned the Community Reinvestment Act, a once-obscure and lightly enforced banking regulation law, into one of the most powerful mandates shaping American cities—and, as Senate Banking Committee chairman Phil Gramm memorably put it, a vast extortion scheme against the nation’s banks. Under its provisions, U.S. banks have committed nearly $1 trillion for inner-city and low-income mortgages and real estate development projects, most of it funneled through a nationwide network of left-wing community groups, intent, in some cases, on teaching their low-income clients that the financial system is their enemy and, implicitly, that government, rather than their own striving, is the key to their well-being.

It doesn’t specifically address today’s financial troubles, but that’s because this article was published when Bill Clinton was still President. Note that $1 trillion figure listed above is much larger than the $700 billion requested by the Bush Administration, even without factoring in inflation.

If you think Christians are unscientific and gullible, check out atheists

Read the whole article

While 31% of people who never worship expressed strong belief in these things, only 8% of people who attend a house of worship more than once a week did.

Even among Christians, there were disparities. While 36% of those belonging to the United Church of Christ, Sen. Barack Obama’s former denomination, expressed strong beliefs in the paranormal, only 14% of those belonging to the Assemblies of God, Sarah Palin’s former denomination, did. In fact, the more traditional and evangelical the respondent, the less likely he was to believe in, for instance, the possibility of communicating with people who are dead.

This is not a new finding. In his 1983 book “The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener,” skeptic and science writer Martin Gardner cited the decline of traditional religious belief among the better educated as one of the causes for an increase in pseudoscience, cults and superstition. He referenced a 1980 study published in the magazine Skeptical Inquirer that showed irreligious college students to be by far the most likely to embrace paranormal beliefs, while born-again Christian college students were the least likely.

Surprisingly, while increased church attendance and membership in a conservative denomination has a powerful negative effect on paranormal beliefs, higher education doesn’t. Two years ago two professors published another study in Skeptical Inquirer showing that, while less than one-quarter of college freshmen surveyed expressed a general belief in such superstitions as ghosts, psychic healing, haunted houses, demonic possession, clairvoyance and witches, the figure jumped to 31% of college seniors and 34% of graduate students.

Of course, for full disclosure, I believe in demonic possession. But the “rationalist” point of view that colleges are theoretically teaching should be undermining, rather than promoting beliefs such as those listed in the last paragraph above.

Self-described atheists don’t even seem to have the courage of their own convictions:

We can’t even count on self-described atheists to be strict rationalists. According to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life’s monumental “U.S. Religious Landscape Survey” that was issued in June, 21% of self-proclaimed atheists believe in either a personal God or an impersonal force. Ten percent of atheists pray at least weekly and 12% believe in heaven.

Make sure to read the whole thing, as there’s a good focus on Bill Maher who likes to claim that religious believers are irrational and unthinking even as he denies germ theory, believes aspirin is lethal and denies that the Salk vaccine prevents polio.

Hat Tip: First Things

Why Cafeteria Catholicism (or any type of choose your own Christianity) was unthinkable in the early Church

At the time of the apostles a Christian was bound to take without doubting all that the Apostles declared to be revealed; if the Apostles spoke, he had to yield to an internal assent of his mind…immediate, implicit submission of the mind was the only necessary token of faith. No one could say, “I will choose my religion for myself, I will believe this, I will not believe that; I will pledge myself to nothing. I will believe just as long as I please and no longer; what I believe today I will reject tomorrow if I choose, I will believe what the Apostles have as yet said, but I will not believe what they say in the time to come.” No, either the apostles were from God or they were not, if they were, everything they preached was to believed..if they were not, there was nothing for their hearers to believe. To believe a little, or to believe more or less was impossible. It contradicted the very notion of believing.”

By convert from Anglicanism Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman

Hat Tip: Standing on My Head (written by a former Anglican minister who converted to the Catholic Church)

Quote of the Day

“The belief in a God All Powerful wise and good, is so essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man, that arguments which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources nor adapted with too much solicitude to the different characters and capacities impressed with it.”

— James Madison (letter to Frederick Beasley, 20 November 1825)

Reference: Writings of Madison, Hunt, ed., vol. 9 (230)

Quote of the Day

“The belief in a God All Powerful wise and good, is so essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man, that arguments which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources nor adapted with too much solicitude to the different characters and capacities impressed with it.”

— James Madison (letter to Frederick Beasley, 20 November 1825)

Reference: Writings of Madison, Hunt, ed., vol. 9 (230)