4.23.2008

Psalm 127 in practice

Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. ~Psalm 127

Less than a century ago, and for the entire history of the world previous to that, a man could depend upon the church teaching his children and all their potential spouses that children are a blessing, and that one should feel blessed to have as many as the good Lord desires (i.e. that contraception is a sin).

As a father of seven children, the oldest being 16, I am facing the stark reality that the choice of spouses for my children in this postmodern culture of death is almost non-existent. That is, if I they don't want to marry someone who will despise the blessing of children by contracepting most of my grandchildren from ever existing.

What's a man to do? How am I going to help my children find spouses who not only truly believe in the pure Gospel of forgiveness as confessed in Lutheranism, but also truly believe the words of Psalm 127?
A. Start a new e-harmony.com group that confesses both these truths.

B. Sit back and trust God to bring them together somehow.

C. Convert the heathen masses.
These potential answers are worded in humorous terms, but there's a thread of true sentiment in each of them. I have ideas in my head as to how to search out potential spouses. At the same time I tell my maturing children not to worry - God will take care of them. But then I realize that my children may have to convert their spouses to Lutheranism, fecundity, or both, if they're ever going to get married.

This question brings everything we've talked about on this blog home to roost. The issue of "Lutherans and Procreation" is not just a question for each individual to wrestle with. It is a question that has implications for us all, including our posterity.

4.15.2008

Paper on Pastoral Care for Those Grieving the Death of a Stillborn

Liturgy as Instrument of Pastoral Care: Burial for a Stillborn Child or Unbaptized Child


Undoubtedly, the death of a child in the womb must be one of life’s most gut-wrenching tragedies. When this happens, a pastor must be diligent in his use of God’s Word and the Lord’s Supper in caring for his grieving people. The rite of “Burial for a Stillborn Child or Unbaptized Child” in Lutheran Service Book: Agenda is foundational to the cure of mourning souls even outside the funeral service itself. Its prayers, Scripture readings, and resurrection proclamations guide a pastor in his care for people at all stages of their bereavement.

Martin Luther wrote a short work that sheds light on the issue of pastoral care to those who mourn the death of a stillborn child.[1] Although Luther lauded baptism as the great treasure that it is, he acknowledged that it is possible for an unbaptized child to be saved by the same undeserved grace of God given in baptism. The death of the unborn is not a sign of God’s anger or judgment against the parents. The Holy Spirit sanctifies stillborn children on the basis of the unspoken prayers of the mother[2], the prayers of the Christian congregation, and His eternal election of that child unto salvation. Thus, only a Christian mother can be assured that the soul of her deceased child is in heaven. Luther adds that the Christian mother of a stillborn should be confident that her desire to bring her child to be baptized will be accepted by God and made effective by Him. He points to Christ’s resurrecting the son of the widow of Nain and His exorcising a demon from the daughter of the Canaanite woman as examples of miracles performed on the basis of the faith of the mothers apart from the faith of their children. Luther’s main point is that one should not let go of God’s promises in spite of how difficult the circumstance might be.[3] These considerations are crucial to pastoral cure of souls in this heartbreaking situation.

The Rite of Burial for a Stillborn Child or Unbaptized Child

Every Christian funeral or burial service is based only upon what those gathered hear. This applies no less in the case of a stillborn. God’s promises to all of His children, but especially to the deceased, are the focus of the service. The stillborn is not to be refused a Christian funeral service, for, as is the case with all funerals, the deceased might have been an unbeliever. Only God knows the individual’s heart. However, the deceased Christian is always assumed to have been a believer on the basis of God’s grace given to him in baptism and his outward confession in this life. Obviously, this is not as apparent in the case of a stillborn. The first element of the rite is the invocation of the name of the Triune God, the same name that would have been placed upon the stillborn in baptism. Thus, the rite begins like any other Christian service. Those gathered will be blessed with the Gospel message of Christ’s death and resurrection.

The pastor speaks an extended consolation to those grieving the baby’s death. His words testify to the reality that God’s will sometimes “allows our anticipation and joy to be changed into disappointment and grief.” What at first might seem insulting, if not altogether untrue, is in reality a message of comfort. God is in control of the situation. His unsearchable will was done. There is no room for Deism here. God is active in both blessing and testing His people. By the Gospel, God calls those gathered to a faith that will withstand such times of testing. As impossible as it might seem, the excruciating loss felt especially by the parents is somehow for their good. They will not be given more to endure than they can handle.

The Trinitarian confession continues in that although the grieving recognize that they do not have answers to all of life’s questions, they know that God is their “loving Father,” their “Brother in suffering and death,” and the “Comforter who even now brings peace” to their grief-stricken hearts. They know this only on account of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Here is the objective source of all legitimate comfort. Pastors work with what gives certainty. They do not throw the hidden God at their people. Only the revealed God, the Lord Jesus Christ, calms the troubled breast.

Along the lines of Luther’s address to women who have had miscarriages, the opening consolation recognizes that the child was prayed for and commended to Christ while alive in the womb. This should encourage prayer for all unborn children in all Christian congregations throughout the world. “We should not doubt that these prayers have been heard, for we have God’s own kind and comforting promises that such prayers in the name of Jesus Christ are heard by Him.” Once again, there is an objective basis for comfort rooted in God’s promises. Although the child was not baptized, the power of baptism is recognized, and the grieving are exhorted to trust that God has received the stillborn child in His mercy and for the sake of Christ’s death and resurrection. The extended consolation ends with the confident confession that the stillborn will be raised to life with Christ on the Last Day. Those gathered are admonished to remain steadfast in the Word and faith until they too come to the joys of everlasting life.[4] The interrelated themes of comfort in Christ’s work and the hope of heaven have been set forth as the purpose of the rite.

God’s comforting promises in His Word are the foundation of the rite. The pastor has eleven pericopes to choose from, and there are certainly other appropriate readings that could be added to these. Psalm 139 acknowledges that the stillborn is God’s creation, one whom He knit together in his mother’s womb. Like any funeral, the gift of life that the deceased once enjoyed is celebrated. It may have been short-lived, but the deceased infant did have life as a gift from his Creator. After all, whose life is not short-lived when compared to the vastness of eternity? Related to the efficacy of the prayers for the child is the idea that God looked upon the child in loving care even while he was still being formed in his mother’s womb. Each day of life, written in God’s book,[5] is a gift that He has planned out from eternity. The Gloria Patri that concludes the three psalms once again reminds those gathered of their baptism and the Triune name that would have been placed upon the stillborn in his baptism.

The Gospel is proclaimed anew in Psalm 23. The Lord’s sheep have no need that He cannot provide for. God’s people can take comfort in His presence even in the midst of death. Although the stillborn never ate and drank the Good Shepherd’s body and blood in the Lord’s Supper, he will partake of the marriage feast of the Lamb and His bride which has no end. His Lord will prepare a table before him, and he will dwell in the Lord’s house forever.

Psalm 130 is the cry of the grieving parents and other relatives and friends. They plead for the Lord to hear their cries for mercy. They recognize that forgiveness is found only in Him. They place their hope in the Lord’s “steadfast love” and “plentiful redemption,” trusting that the stillborn child is in heaven. God has redeemed all people through Christ. For now, the souls of those gathered in mourning and hope must wait for the Lord.

In Jeremiah 31:15-17 the Lord proclaims that weeping should cease because the captives (or deceased) will come back from the land of the enemy. Here is the glorious promise of the resurrection of the body in which the stillborn will “come back to their own country,” the New Jerusalem. In Job 1:21 the Lord is acknowledged as the Giver of life who alone can take it away. He controls the destinies of all people. Job is not afraid to confess the harsh reality that he is dust (naked from his mother’s womb) and to dust he will return (naked in the grave).

Paul posits a rhetorical question: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). Not even sin, death, and the devil combined can take God’s children away from Him. Paul writes that God gave His Son to die for all. No one can bring a charge of condemnation against God’s elect. Not even a death in the womb can prevent the elect stillborn from eternal life with his God. In Romans 14:7-9 Paul writes that humans are not autonomous creatures. They are the Lord’s whether they live or die. Christ died and was raised from the dead in order that He might be Lord of both the living and the dead. He is Lord of the stillborn and all those who grieve his death. Revelation 21:1-7 presents the eternal glory that all Christians hope for. There will be no tears, death, mourning, crying, or pain in heaven. This is quite the opposite of the vale of tears in which the grieving now live out their days.

Jesus’ attitude toward children is very comforting. He said in Matthew 18 that one cannot enter the kingdom of heaven unless he has faith like a little child. God’s people are not to despise any of the little ones entrusted to their care, for whoever receives a child in Jesus’ name also receives Him. Once again, prayers for the unborn and reading Scripture to them are important in utero activities. In addition, little children have angels in heaven who watch over them. In Mark 10 Jesus said that God’s kingdom belongs to little children, and He took children in His arms and blessed them. He does the same to the stillborn commended to His care. Jesus said in Matthew 11 that God has revealed the things of salvation to little children, those who stand totally passive before Him in terms of their redemption. Jesus offers Himself as rest to all who are heavy laden. He shoulders all of His people’s sorrows, much like He took the sins of the whole world upon Himself on the cross.

After the pastor provides further words of consolation, the rite ends in prayer. The prayer recognizes once again that Jesus bore our griefs and carried all our sorrows. The pastor prays that the faith of the grieving parents might be strengthened and that they might rely on God’s mercy in trusting that their little one who has been gathered[6] into His loving arms will rise on the Last Day. The pastor then invokes the name of the Triune God, asking that He would keep the remains of the stillborn until the day of the resurrection of all flesh. The Lord’s Prayer follows. The Third, Fourth, and Seventh Petitions are especially pertinent to the situation. By faith, the mourners pray that God’s will be done, even in the midst of such tragedy. They pray for daily bread, which includes the blessing of children. They pray for deliverance from the evil one who would take away every one of God’s blessings if he was able. The benediction follows, and the service ends with the pronouncement of God’s peace upon those gathered.

The Rite of Committal for a Stillborn Child or Unbaptized Child

This rite follows the funeral or burial service, and it provides further pastoral care at the time of the actual interment. The rite begins with a fourteenth century hymn that is reminiscent of David’s penitential prayer in Psalm 51. It is a cry of both desperation and hope. Those gathered confess that they are dead in their sins in the very midst of life. Even though the Lord is justly angered by their sins, from Him alone can they seek help. They ask that the Lord would not deliver them into the bitterness of eternal death. They pray that God would not shut His ears to their prayers even though He knows the evil secrets of their hearts. The hymn is very appropriate for the mournful reality of the stillborn’s death in that it reminds those gathered of their own impending deaths and of the certain hope that they, like the stillborn, will be saved from eternal death.

The prayer that follows acknowledges that Jesus made the graves of all His children holy by His own three-day rest in the tomb, promising resurrection to their mortal bodies. The grave is blessed, and the pastor asks that God would grant the stillborn’s body to sleep in peace until he is awakened to glory with the rest of God’s people. This prayer is perhaps the most comforting non-Scriptural portion of either rite. St. Paul offers words of comfort concerning the resurrection of the dead in 1 Corinthians 15. A stillborn child is the epitome of things perishable, dishonorable, and weak. However, in the resurrection he will be raised imperishable, glorified, and powerful. Then death will be swallowed up in the victory of Christ’s resurrection.

The pastor makes a bold statement: “It pleased our heavenly Father in His wise providence to call this child to Himself.” What is foolish to the world is really the wisdom of God. Although this child died, God still cared for him from his first to his last breath. Now the child’s soul is with its Maker. The fleeting nature of life is presented: “earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” The comforting words of the “sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life” are proclaimed. Even the body of this stillborn child will have a body like Christ’s glorious body in eternity.

Christ’s death destroyed death and redeemed God’s “little ones.” Christ’s bodily resurrection brings peace and hope to all who die in Him. Christ is the Resurrection and the Life. The everlasting communion of saints who await the bodily resurrection is mentioned in the closing prayer. Thus, the mourners are united with the stillborn. This will be proclaimed week after week in the Proper Preface, Sanctus, and at the Lord’s Supper itself. The proclamation of the Easter season follows the singing of an appropriate hymn. The congregation confesses, “Alleluia! Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!” Once again, the resurrection of the body is proclaimed. The mourners go forth in peace in the Lord’s name, having been blessed by the pastor.

[1] See “For Women Who Have Had a Miscarriage” (AE 43:247-250).
[2] David also entrusted his unborn son to the Lord after he found out that he would not live for very long after birth. David prayed to the Lord on his son’s behalf (2 Samuel 12:16) and confessed that he would one day go to the place where his newborn son would go before him (2 Samuel 12:23).
[3] Luther’s focus was more on the words of promise that God will deliver those who call upon Him in the day of trouble than on the fact that the unborn (such as John the Baptist) can believe.
[4] These words are reminiscent of Luther’s explanation of the Third Petition of the Lord’s Prayer in the Small Catechism.
[5] One cannot help but think of the “Book of Life” which Paul and John write about in Philippians and Revelation.
[6] Note the certainty with which the pastor speaks about the stillborn’s eternal salvation.

Conflicting Absolutes

Devona asked me to post again on this ethical principle and how I believe it relates to the issue of contraception. First, let's look at the broader picture of the ethical principles Christians have to choose from:

An excellent exposition of these principles is found in Norman L. Geisler’s Christian Ethics: Options and Issues, (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1989), pages 97-100:

What about moral conflicts? What should one do when two or more of his absolute obligations come into unavoidable conflict?

Basically, there are three answers to this question. First, unqualified absolutism [Roman Catholicism favors this one] affirms that all such conflicts are only apparent; they not real. In short, no two absolute obligations ever come into unavoidable conflict. Second, conflicting absolutism [the more Lutheran position in my opinion]
admits to real moral conflicts but claims that one is guilty no matter which way he goes. Third, graded absolutism (or the greater-good position) [favored by Calvinists] agrees with the view that real moral conflicts do sometimes occur, but maintains that one is personally guiltless if he does the greatest good...

The central assumption of the ethical position of conflicting absolutism is that we live in a fallen world, and in such a world real moral conflicts do occur. The accompanying premise, however, is that when two duties conflict, man is morally responsible to both duties. God’s law can never be broken without guilt. In such cases, therefore, one must simply do the lesser evil, confess his sin, and ask for God's forgiveness.

Conflicting absolutism has roots in the Greek world, was incorporated into Reformation thinking, and finds expression in both modern existential and popular thought. The colloquial "I did the lesser of two evils" is an expression of it. In fact, it can be called the lesser-evil view.

Although there are Christian roots for conflicting absolutism, they grow in Greek soil. The ancient Greek tragedies often portrayed lesser evil situations. In the fifth century B.C., Sophocles and Euripides wrote dramas about heroes who contended against forces of fate they could not avoid. These dramatized dilemmas reflected the nature of the real world of moral conflicts with which conflicting absolutism struggles.

The concept of lesser evils was given a new dimension with the Reformation doctrine of depravity, particularly as that was developed by Martin Luther. There are two things imbedded in Lutheran thought which give rise to a form of conflicting absolutism, the first being Luther's theory of two kingdoms. He believed that Christians live simultaneously in two kingdoms, the kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world. Since they are opposed and since Christians have responsibility in both, it is inevitable that there will be conflicts.


...Perhaps the most comprehensive contemporary exposition of the conflicting absolutist viw is found in Thielicke’s works. There are several elements in Thielicke's form of conflicting absolutism. Fundamental to his view is the belief in real, unavoidable moral conflicts, for "to deny the conflict situation is to deny decision." In conflict situations, says Thielicke, "I may have to face the possibility that what is involved here is a borderline situation which does not allow of any easy solution." And "I can reach such a decision only by going through the conflict and enduring it, not by evading it in the name of some kind of perfectionism. In the conflict situation sin is unavoidable, for we "constantly fall into sin in the borderline situation." In view of human depravity, these kinds of conflicts should be expected, since "the form of this world is no more able to produce absolute righteousness than our human heart." The consequence is that in this fallen world "conduct is de facto a compromise between the divine requirement and what is permitted by the form of this world.... by the manifold conflicts of duty. Even the so-called just war unavoidably involves injustices. For "there is no such thing as a wholly just war, and my decision to endorse a given war and participate in it can be made only from the standpoint that I see, or think I see, greater wrong on the one side than the other..."

Moral depravity is the cause of moral dilemmas. A moral conflict is “not due to the character imparted to the world by creation, as though 'from the beginning' (Matt. 19:8). . . ." No, "it is due rather to the complex of wrong decisions which lie behind us, which have their ultimate root in that primal decision recorded in the story of the fall." In brief, moral conflicts arise out of the fact that this is a fallen world. In such a world, there will be times when we cannot avoid evil. When decisions are made in conflict situations, we must choose the lesser evil, for "there are heavier sins and lighter sins." They are both sins, but "they do not have the same weight." Thielicke makes it clear that there is no justification of doing the lesser evil. Neither is there any pragmatic justification. For “the slogan’ to prevent something worse’ is always ethically destructive because it subjugates our action to a non-Christian pragmatism. In fact, “readiness to do wrong in order to ‘prevent something worse’ is a very dubious principle, because it implies that the end justifies the means...” We must simply recognize that in conflict situations both commands are our moral duty and that sin is inevitable. Nonetheless, since there are lesser and greater sins, the Christian should do the lesser sin, knowing forgiveness is available. “He knows that her in this world there is no perfect righteousness, but he does not therefore draw the conclusion that everything is under the same condemnation and that everything is equally permissible....” On the contrary, he realizes that there is a “quantitative distinction between reprehensible and less reprehensible, between good and less good possibilities.”

According to Thielicke, “we can undergo and endure borderline situations and...inescapable conflicts only under forgiveness.” The Christian knows “that even in a war which– given things as they are– is ‘just,’ [he] must always stand in need of forgiveness.” Thus our “certainty that acts done under the guidance of the Spirit are, despite their ‘crooked’ form, done in God’s name as his affair, and that at the same time they nonetheless stand in need of forgiveness...” Thus in the conflict situation the Christian “acts in the knowledge that even those actions which conform to the ultimate norms perceptible in this aeon must stand under forgiveness...” In short, even our best effort in obeying God’s commands is an evil that needs to be forgiven.

With that in mind, is the goal of preventing conception always sinful? I say yes. But I also believe there are potential situations when contraception might be the lesser evil. But no one has an entirely sinless reason for contraception. This makes the license Roman Catholicism gives for NFP fall on its head. Can abstinence ever be sinless within marriage if it is for the purpose of preventing a life from being created by a man and wife? 1 Corinthians 7:5 tells us that couples may abstain for a time, but only for the purpose of more devote fasting and prayer, not for the purpose of family planning.

My contention is that any acceptable use of family planning will always be an example of trying to chose the lesser evil. These are rare but difficult decisions that cry out for the aid of one's pastor. But how many pastors understand God's law in the area of procreation? Sadly almost none.

So, let me take this a step further and confess my own sin. Even my best effort at obeying God's command to be fruitful is in need of forgiveness. I do not use any form of contraception [pat self on back - sinful pride], yet I am still guilty of being contraceptive in my heart. We're expecting #7 in another couple months, and it's already hard raising six children. My sinful hope is (and I'm sure will be) that my wife's on-demand nursing will prevent conception for a time. Don't get me wrong, I do LOVE our large family and believe I am very blessed, just as it says in Psalm 127. But I am at the same time saint and sinner, just as Paul confesses in Romans 7. I know I should be open to God's will at all times, even when it seems inconvenient to me.

My knowledge of God's law regarding procreation curbs me from utilizing overt methods of family planing through the first use of the law. And it instructs me in loving God and His immutable good will for us via the third use of the law. But it also on this earth will
always convict me via the second use of the law. Even my best good works stand in need of forgiveness. I sometimes wonder if I should even get out of bed in the morning, because I know it will lead to more sin. But it is a greater evil to stay in bed and not fulfill my vocations as much as humanly possible, so I get up and accept the sad reality that I will keep sinning.

"What a wretched man I am. Who will save me from this body of death? Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!" [Romans 7:24-25]

4.14.2008

If Children are a Blessing

I've been wanting to write a post here for a while, and Erich's last post was a good spring board for me to jump off.

About a year or so ago I was very hesitant to agree with Erich that any contracepting (even NFP) is a deviation from God's intentions for marriage. There are many logical reasons to avoid having a child. Some of them are very very logical, like health issues, multiple miscarriage, or extreme poverty. Some of them are very very superficial, like the reason that I am hoping not to get pregnant this year... I'm training for a marathon.


But if what Scripture says is true, and that children are a blessing and are only given by God then I have to conclude that actively avoiding that blessing is Sin. And when facing a logical reason to avoid pregnancy one must not consider it their right, but a deviation from God's plan as the result of Sin in the world. I have had to quit charting my fertility because knowing with any certainty when I am fertile will tempt me to avoid pregnancy in order to train for my race. And training for a marathon is not a good reason to turn down a blessing from God.

I'd like it if Erich would explain again his "lesser evil" description of contraception. I am interested in having that conversation again.

Contracepting Questions

When considering the issue of contraception we must ask questions and look at the issue scripturally:

- What is God’s purposes for marriage, and can these be separated at different times?

Companionship, procreation, help, completion, intimacy, to curb sin, and as an expression of the relationship between Christ and the church are founded within Scripture.

Genesis 1:28: “And God blessed them.
And God said to them,
“Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it”

Genesis 2:18-24: “Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

1 Corinthians 7 and Ephesians 5 also shed light on marriage.
There church rightly declares it to be sin for separating some of these from marriage and sex without companionship and intimacy you have rape, without help and completion there is a lack of love and an inaccurate picture of what marriage is to be, without the curbing of sin there is fornication, and without Christ and the church there is unbelief. And no one would encourage a couple to be married without these elements present in their marriage.
So why this approval for separating procreation?

- The next question is, how ought Christians to view children?

Psalm 127, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.”
God has blessed us to be fruitful and multiply. He has not said how much nor given any indication of this being fulfilled. To think that we have fulfilled this by having 2, 3, 4, or however many children is to bring a sense of legalism within this blessing. The mindset that one has been fruitful and multiplied or that one intends to be fruitful and multiply is to seek and look to the self for fulfillment. But as with all of God’s promises, there is nothing that we can do to fulfill anything. Only God fulfills his promises, God gives blessings.

Trying to control God’s blessings is beyond our Christian freedom, with any of God’s blessings we are only recipients. To attempt to control God’s blessings, to control the blessing of life itself, is to put yourself in the place of God!

God alone is the giver of life. He created us to join together in one flesh, and gave us the blessing of being fruitful before the fall. This is God’s created order.. He has created us to be his creatures, and even though we have fallen in sin he gives us forgiveness, life, and salvation. And He continues to give us other blessings. As children of God, we continue to do what it is we do with all of God’s gifts – receive them by faith.

4.03.2008

Spain needs 2 millions foreigners until 2020

More on the Demographic Winter that is approaching and the increased percentage of Islamic populations which are temporarily filling the gap:

Jihad Watch covered this story from ANSAmed.

MADRID, APRIL 3 - Spain needs over two million new foreign workers, 157,000 a year, until 2020, according to a study by the Group for Reflection and Proposal on Business and Immigration quoted by ABC daily today. According to the report, the main cause for this need is the ageing of the Spanish population, with a proportion of young people that has decreased twice in the past 25 years and the local universities loosing over 300,000 students until 2015. The percentage of foreign workers, who generate nearly half of the Spanish GDP growth, will grow from the current 20-25% to 35% of the Spanish workforce in 2010. The authors of the report said they would meet the various political parties to try and convince them that the arrival of foreign workers is "an opportunity for the economy" and will call upon the government to adopt a new law on immigration "to facilitate the legal entry, take advantage of the new arrivals and encourage integration".

Jihad Watch comments: "From the days of Pelayo, it has been a long descent. The senescent population now needs massive immigration just to keep the country going -- and after 2020, what then? I suppose the question will be moot as the new Islamic Republic takes power in Madrid. ... I hope at least that Spanish authorities will take careful note of the fact that the immigrants in question are generally being taught to resist assimilation in Europe."

Hat tip to Dan at Necessary Roughness

National Review: Tax Cut of the Century

What the GOP can learn from the 1948 Revenue Act.
By Robert W. Patterson (of the Howard Center)

Excerpt:

The 1948 act was not the largest tax cut of the century. But unlike the tax cuts of the Kennedy, Reagan, and Bush eras, the measure nursed near-record levels of industrial growth and economic expansion without sacrificing family size, moving nearly half of all married mothers into the full-time labor market, or reducing the relative earnings of married men. Nor did the good times coincide with the unraveling of the family, another plus that puts the economic performance of the past generation in perspective.

In fact, the 1948 Revenue Act contributed to a turnaround — between 1945 and 1963 — of social indicators that some sociologists claim today are irreversible. Not only did marriage rates rise, but the proportion of adults reaping the joys of marital bliss hit a record: 95 percent of Americans coming of age then would tie the knot. Marital fertility rates doubled between 1944 and 1957, raising average family size from two to nearly four children, securing baby boomers a wealth of siblings and cousins and their progeny a wealth of aunts and uncles. Also good for the younger set, the divorce rate declined for the first time in history, reaching a low of about 9 divorces per 1,000 married women in 1958.

Hat tip to Greg Laughlin