Web Notables (January 29, 2015)

Obamacare's coming bad year, the origins of the Holocaust, etc.

By The Editors Published on January 29, 2015

“Web Notables” is a daily feature that highlights articles readers may want to see but might have missed. It is compiled by senior editor David Mills.

2015: The ObamaCare Crucible, from Commentary. “The elections proved, yet again, that the politics of health care do not favor the Democrats,” writes Tevi Troy, noting that even Democrats ran anti-Obamacare ads. He reviews the political and legal challenges Obamacare faces in the coming year and concludes “It is likely that ObamaCare’s low point hasn’t been reached. The year 2015 is shaping up to be the ACA’s worst yet.”

On Holocaust Remembrance Day, from the Mirror of Justice website. (Two days late. Sorry.) Robert P. George, one of the leading Christians in American universities, notes that the Holocaust

did not begin with the mass killing of Jews or other ethnic or religious minorities, or even Hitler’s political opponents. It began with the killing of the handicapped and infirm. They were, according to Nazi ideology, “useless eaters,” “parasites,” lebensunwertes leben (“lives unworthy of life”).

It is important to remember that this eugenic doctrine did not originate with the Nazis. It began with polite, urbane, well-educated, sophisticated people who saw “social hygiene” via, among other methods, euthanasia, as representing progress and modernity. They wanted to ditch the old Judaeo-Christian belief in the sanctity of all human life and replace it with what they regarded as a more advanced and rational philosophy.

He notes the book Permitting the Destruction of Life Unworthy of Life, by a leading legal scholar and psychiatrist, appeared before the Nazi party began.

Christianity Cannot Survive the Decline in Worship, from the website onfaith. “The refrain I constantly hear is: ‘The Church of the future is the Church of service,’” writes Congregationalist pastor Kazimierz Bem.

I deeply believe that when we say, “The future of the Church is service,” we are allowing our culture, once again, to get the best of us. We so desperately want to be popular that we are sacrificing our distinctiveness as church. . . . John Calvin wrote, ‘To know God is to be changed by God; true knowledge of God leads to worship.’ The future of the Church is worship.

A Factory for Death, from Aish.com. Conservative columist Jeff Jacoby writes about Auschwitz, which his father survived, but his father’s parents, his two brothers, and two of his three sisters didn’t. The camp “was not only a place of murder. It was also a place of theft.”

Jews were robbed of everything they owned — the luggage they came with, the clothes on their backs, the hair on their heads, even the gold in their teeth. The stolen goods were stored in 35 warehouses, where they were sorted and packed for shipment to Germany. Before fleeing in January 1945, the Nazis burned 29 of the warehouses, but in just the six that remained, the Soviets found 348,820 men’s suits, 836,255 dresses, and 43,525 pairs of shoes. There were seven trainloads of bedding, waiting to be shipped. And 7.7 tons of human hair. And that was merely what remained at the very end.

But the murder, the theft, and the torture were not the worst things about the camp, he says.

Top Official of Synod on the Family Counters Conservatives’ Arguments, from the website Aleteia.  In remarks already being widely discussed and dissected, the head of next October’s Synod on the Family said “We want to discuss things, but not in order to call things into doubt, but rather to view it in a new context, and with a new awareness. Otherwise, what’s theology doing but repeating what was said in the last century, or 20 centuries ago?”

Some have interpreted Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri as calling for a change in the Catholic Church’s teaching on the place of divorced and remarried Catholics in the Church, others that he’s asking for the Church to think carefully about ways to apply the teaching more pastorally. People who have been divorced and then remarried without an annulment may not receive communion.

Exploring the Doorways of 1970s New York, from The Atlantic CityLab. Photos of doorways offering a kind of history for nerds.

And from the archives:

From Clapham to Bloomsbury, from Commentary. The great historian Gertrude Himmelfarb traces the history of several families from the generation that in the late 1700s and early 1800s led the movement in England to free the slaves to their artistic descendants in the early 1900s.  The families declined in both religious belief and a real concern for others as well as personal morality.

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