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WHITER THE COMPASSION BUBBLE?
Pasadena Sub Rosa ^ | March 27, 2009 | Wayne Lusvardi

Posted on 03/27/2009 7:46:44 AM PDT by WayneLusvardi

Our economy is broke due to inflationary compassion as much as it is from inflationary greed

What shall we make of the following?

Homeless Sensitivity Sleep-overs

Overhead at the Fuller Seminary Bookstore in Pasadena recently:

Guy talking on cell phone: "Hello. Yes, we're organizing churches to have a homeless persons sleep-over at their church to sensitize congregations to the homeless problem.

If I heard the following cell phone conversation correctly, someone at Fuller Seminary was organizing a revolving homeless persons sleepover at different churches. Which jogs my memory as to what year it was that mainline liberal Pasadena All Saints Episcopal Church had one of their buildings burned down by homeless people when the church made it into a shelter? I believe it was in the 1980's?

In Pasadena it seems there is no collective memory or outright denial of this long ago event. Cognitive dissonance is paradoxically to have one's beliefs get stronger despite contradictory evidence. "I refuse to have my idealism mugged by reality."

Compassion for a Beheader

Or consider another example related to me by a prosecutor friend of mine. A man driving recklessly in his car caused a horrendous accident which decapitated his aunt who was his passenger. Alcohol was found in his system but barely below the legal limit to be charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol. He was charged with felony manslaughter.

The prosecutor assigned to his case felt sorry for him as she felt the defendant suffered enough by losing his aunt. And what would the public think if his case was vigorously prosecuted? She felt that the courts should be an institution that considers public perception and metes out compassion, not justice. Surely, sympathy that this man lost his aunt should be considered in the court system, but at sentencing not at adjudication.

However, as my prosecutor friend remarked "compassion often masks laziness" in our courts. It is just easier in an already overloaded court system to just use compassion as a justification for lenient justice. "Misplaced compassion is ignoring that you or someone else were mugged but refuses to press charges."

Faith-Based Housing Sub-Prime Loans

Or let's consider yet a third form of compassion. During the real estate bubble it became popular in some Evangelical Christian church circles to promote a whole new form of compassionate ministry: an affordable housing ministry. Jill Shook was the so-called leader of this social gospel movement with her book Make Housing Happen: Faith-Based Affordable Housing Models.

Not surprisingly, Shook's book is based on the neo-Marxist advocacy model of Saul Alinsky, the Industrial Areas Foundation, and ACORN which she termed the Biblical "Nehemiah Strategy" (Chap.15). Compassion is not a means but an end in itself in this form of social gospel religion. There is not space to critique her book or the inflated bubble theology of her religious movement, but my review of her book can be found online at Amazon.com.

To state the obvious, our entire economy has now experienced massive asset deflation in part due to the overzealous compassion touted by activists from the Evangelical-Left for affordable housing and sub-prime loans. Since the Housing Bubble burst in late 2008 leaving our economy in shambles, we curiously haven't heard a word of public remorse or contrition from those in the Evangelical-Left affordable housing movement. "A 'Faith-Based Affordable Housing Advocate" is someone mugged by the reality of white collar housing fraud but who refuses to acknowledge their complicity in religiously sanctioning the crime."

The sociological naivete of upper middle class Christian church people eager to sensitize other churches to their social gospel of compassion to the homeless, the misplaced and maudlin sympathy of a court prosecutor, and the puffed-up** affordable housing ministry of the revived social gospel of the Evangelical-Left, all seem to reflect a society drunk with unrealistic compassion.*** Call it the compassion bubble.

The term "bubble" presumes a temporary mass belief that is later proven false; a speculative scheme that depends on unstable factors that a person cannot control ("his proposal was nothing but a house of cards"; "a real estate bubble;" "living in a bubble"). And like a real bubble formed from a thin soapy film, social bubbles are flimsy and fragile however real and durable they seem when they are expanding.

Our society has been influenced by inflationary compassion during the past series of financial bubbles in our economy (e.g., telecom, dotcom, housing bubbles, etc.). Our economy is broke due to inflationary compassion as much as it is from inflationary greed. Will the Obama "stimulus package" promote even more unrealistic levels of inflationary compassion? Or will we experience a reflated compassion that forces us to develop a form of compassion not connected with a bubble economy or government "stimulus?"

It appears that many of the politically unconnected may experience a deflationary form of compassion that will have to be based in mediating social institutions such as family, networks of friends, neighbors, and churches. Neither government or business may be concerned with the politically unconnected or those former renters who have had their homes foreclosed and their Workfare jobs vanish.

To find a more genuine basis of compassion uncorrupted by government or our speculative economy, our religious institutions are going to have to find a deeper and more realistic basis of compassion than that reflected by homeless sleepover sensitivity sessions; or faith-based affordable housing which pushes renters into housing ownership they can not afford. As Catholic priest Richard John Neuhaus once aptly wrote:

"The poor are neither the salvific agents of human liberation that some portray them to be, nor, as others would have it, are they the bothersome refuse that the rest of us must grudgingly tolerate and minimally support."

Unfortunately with the new Stimulus Package, our secular courts, schools and social agencies will likely continue to inflate a compassion bubble that ignores the consequences in human terms. However, if our religious institutions would stop promoting a gospel or ethic of inflationary compassion perhaps that would eventually pervade into our secular institutions as well.

**1 Corinthians 13:4 - "Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity brags not itself, is not puffed up." - Apostle Paul

***Saying 13, Gospel of Thomas: "I am not your Master, for you have become drunk from the bubbling spring which I have dug." - Jesus


TOPICS: Government; Religion; Society
KEYWORDS: bubble; compassion; whither

1 posted on 03/27/2009 7:46:44 AM PDT by WayneLusvardi
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To: WayneLusvardi

>Cognitive dissonance is paradoxically to have one’s beliefs get stronger despite contradictory evidence. “I refuse to have my idealism mugged by reality.”

Like a friend of mine who thinks that the USSC/courts will rule that the retroactive, punitive onerous taxation is unjust/unconstitutional? {On eight points, according to my count: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dv698tm_22dr6x3nfb }

Do I trust ANY of the three branches to do what is right. No. I do not.


2 posted on 03/27/2009 8:01:29 AM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: OneWingedShark

Courts infused with compassion instead of justice, won’t be just.


3 posted on 03/27/2009 8:07:07 AM PDT by WayneLusvardi (It's more complex than it might seem)
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To: WayneLusvardi

Leviticus 19:5 — do not be partial in justice to the poor or the rich. Be fair. I find it interesting that ministries sprang up to encourage debt (a mortgage) when the Bible says that debt is slavery. Proverbs 22:7

I disagree with you that it was a miscarriage of justice not to charge someone that was in an auto accident with a fatality, who was BELOW the legal limit for alcohol, with murder. I think that people that are ABOVE the legal limit should not be charged with manslaughter when the passneger assumed the risk (knew that the driver had been drinking). I knew a young construction worker that went out bar hopping with a friend, got drunk, got in an accident driving home, his friend died, he ended up in the hospital for months and then convicted for his friends death. He was negligent . . . but so was the ‘victim’ (his drinking buddy). Seems a waste to jail him for 6 years.


4 posted on 03/27/2009 8:11:35 AM PDT by Woebama (Paying for my neighbor's mortgage and Wall Street's bonuses sure is hard.)
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To: WayneLusvardi

>Courts infused with compassion instead of justice, won’t be just.

Indeed. And “social justice” without Justice, is just ‘social’.


5 posted on 03/27/2009 8:13:42 AM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: Woebama
He was negligent . . . but so was the ‘victim’

So? A woman walking alone down a dark ally might be doing something really dumb but we don't let the rapist off because of that.
6 posted on 03/27/2009 8:19:20 AM PDT by TalonDJ
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To: TalonDJ

Rapist is intentional crime. Auto accident is an accident. One is a criminal, deciding to do harm. One is guy out for beers with a coworker.


7 posted on 03/27/2009 8:23:14 AM PDT by Woebama (Paying for my neighbor's mortgage and Wall Street's bonuses sure is hard.)
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To: WayneLusvardi

Also, your idea that prosecutors should have no discretion in prosecution is something you should reconsider. You say that the mitigating circumstances should be considered at sentencing but not in deciding to prosecute. If prosecutors didn’t have discretion they would prosecute every case brought to them by anyone. It would be a waste of time, further overburden the courts, and end up in unjust outcomes. Lawn not mowed and neighbors complain? Convict him of creating a hazardous fire environment within city limits (or whatever bogus laws would apply to such a thing). Under the legal limit for alcohol but you missed a stop sign? Murder conviction. Etc.

This hang-em-high stuff can go too far. Prosecutors have to use their common sense . . . and compassion.


8 posted on 03/27/2009 8:35:28 AM PDT by Woebama (Paying for my neighbor's mortgage and Wall Street's bonuses sure is hard.)
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To: Woebama

That is precisely why I picked the “gray” case of someone who would evoke our sympathy rather than a clear cut case of premeditated murder to write about.

There was a Navy jet crash in San Diego recently. The plane malfunctioned but the air controllers botched the handling of the pilot. Should we feel compassion for them?

Justice is blind. And without blind justice there is no opportunity for true compassion.


9 posted on 03/27/2009 9:46:55 AM PDT by WayneLusvardi (It's more complex than it might seem)
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To: WayneLusvardi

Are you going to jail the air traffic controllers for murder in your just world?


10 posted on 03/27/2009 10:17:41 AM PDT by Woebama (Paying for my neighbor's mortgage and Wall Street's bonuses sure is hard.)
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To: Woebama
They are charging him with ‘manslaughter’ which is the appropriate crime for unintentionally killing someone else through negligence or gross stupidity.
11 posted on 03/27/2009 10:40:23 AM PDT by TalonDJ
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To: Woebama

It is not murder, it is manslaughter. Look it up.


12 posted on 03/27/2009 10:41:26 AM PDT by TalonDJ
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To: TalonDJ

Charging who with manslaughter? An air traffic controller that made a mistake? That sounds goofy — should we start charging surgeons with manslaughter if they are negligent? Are you so sure that you, or your children, or your grandchildren will never make a mistake? Your friends and family — error free!


13 posted on 03/27/2009 11:11:31 AM PDT by Woebama (Paying for my neighbor's mortgage and Wall Street's bonuses sure is hard.)
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To: Woebama
should we start charging

You think this is a new concept? How old are you? Go look up the law.
14 posted on 03/27/2009 11:22:12 AM PDT by TalonDJ
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To: TalonDJ

Yes I think where you want to go is a new and worse place than where we are. You want all negligence that ends in death to lead to criminal charges. Prosecutors have the discretion not to charge and should exercise it. I don’t think that you are a lawyer from the level of your comments and understanding.


15 posted on 03/27/2009 11:29:26 AM PDT by Woebama (Paying for my neighbor's mortgage and Wall Street's bonuses sure is hard.)
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To: Woebama

The title should be WHITHER the Compassion Bubble.

The U.S. Navy sanctioned the air controllers for their negligent actions. Let me reverse this: you would do nothing? No accountability at all?


16 posted on 03/27/2009 12:15:50 PM PDT by WayneLusvardi (It's more complex than it might seem)
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To: Woebama
You want all negligence that ends in death to lead to criminal charges.

'want?' I am simply pointing at that it is current reality that certain kinds of negligence result in getting charged. Ever heard of 'criminal negligence?' And this does not even cover 'wrongful death.' If someones actions directly lead to someone else's death then they are likely to indited. This is not a statement of my own 'wants' or wishful thinking. This is also not a judgment of whether that fact is morally right or wrong. I am only stating REALITY. Never once have I stated how and to what degree I think charges should be applied. I simply have been pointing out, over and over, that this is how the law is currently applied. If you think this is a new trend you are mistake. If you disagree that you are mistaken feel free to find some statistics to back you up. Either way you are not debating my 'wants' because I have not stated them.
17 posted on 03/27/2009 12:17:51 PM PDT by TalonDJ
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To: TalonDJ
. Surely, sympathy that this man lost his aunt should be considered in the court system, but at sentencing not at adjudication.

I don't think you have educated yourself enough regarding prosecutorial discretion, its history and purpose, use and abuse, to waste your own time, or mine, discussing it.

18 posted on 03/27/2009 12:39:16 PM PDT by Woebama (Paying for my neighbor's mortgage and Wall Street's bonuses sure is hard.)
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To: WayneLusvardi
The U.S. Navy sanctioned the air controllers for their negligent actions. Let me reverse this: you would do nothing? No accountability at all?

Now, grasshopper, you are making progress. Do all "sanctions" stem from criminal prosecution? When should a prosecutor move forward and when shouldn't they? What basis for their decision is appropriate? If the prosecutors did not make the decision to prosecute, who would you have make the decision? The police? The community in a vote? A judge? Etc.

Remember that there are civil lawsuits as well as criminal and civil law handles most negligence, not criminal. I don't think you have much understanding to be spouting off in a column about it. My advice, take it or leave it, is to write about stuff that you know about.

19 posted on 03/27/2009 12:44:27 PM PDT by Woebama (Paying for my neighbor's mortgage and Wall Street's bonuses sure is hard.)
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To: Woebama

First you tossed out a argument based on emotion. When you were called on it you tossed up some straw men to try and reverse and deflect accusations. Finally when cornered you are trying to play the ‘I know more than you’ card while throwing out random question while not actually countering any of the opposing comments or even defending your original statments. You know what? I am done here. Have a nice day.


20 posted on 03/27/2009 1:41:34 PM PDT by TalonDJ
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To: TalonDJ

Have a good one.


21 posted on 03/27/2009 2:10:06 PM PDT by Woebama (Paying for my neighbor's mortgage and Wall Street's bonuses sure is hard.)
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