Saturday, May 14, 2005

On This Day In Scottish History - May 14th (The Appin Murder)

I've decided I'm going to try and post from time to time on Scottish history. Each day I want to write a little on a significant event in Scotland's past, whether a battle, a poltical event, a birth or death, or anything at all really, as a tribute to the land of my birth. So here's the inaugural 'On This Day' post.

On May 14th, 1752, Colin Campbell was murdered near the town of Ballachulish in Scotland. Campbell, also known as the "Red Fox", was a Scottish landownerand ersecutor of the Jacobites, and he collected taxes for the English government. The murderer was unknown, but James Stewart (James of the Glen), was tried by three judges and a jury of fifteen, being found gulity and hanged.

Through the many years since the event, speculation has been rife as to whether Stewart killed Campbell, but the general consensus now is that he did not, and the trial was biased, firstly because the Campbells hated the Stewarts, but secondly because of the political necessities of the time and the requirement to find a perpetrator. The standard work now is by an American academic, Lee Holcombe, who argues that it was actually Donald Stewart, relying largely on the testimony of his descendants in 2001, a secret which had only been passed on by word of mouth.

The Appin Murder was brought to the public attention mainly because of Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped, which embellishes the story somewhat! For those interested in reading more, see:

The Appin Murder

The Appin Murder II

Bloody Scot's Whodunnit is Solved by American Academic

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Moderation and Balance?

A couple of things this morning I've noticed. First was a comment from Justic Scalia, given to a group at Texas A&M. In arguing that the Constitution is a legal document, and thus unchanging, he aimed his fire at those who claim to view the constitution moderately, taking a balnced view, stating:

"What in the world is a moderate judge? What is a moderate interpretation of the Constitution? Halfway between what it really says and what you'd like it to say?"

I think that is very well put, and sums it up perfectly. Justice Kennedy, please pay attention.

On another issue, this time intelligent design, Albert Mohler writes (in his new blog) on the issue of Intelligent Design being proposed for the curriculum in Kansas. He notes the fact that some professing Christians say they take a moderate position on the issue of God as Creator:

Take this statement from a mother of two Kansas teenagers: "I believe in God, but I'm not sure He created everything. I'm right in the middle." Right in the middle of what? Just what does she think God did create?

As Christians we cannot afford to be accomodated to the culture, and afraid to take true moral stands, indeed, Biblical stands, on truth. Balance and moderation is imporrtant in many ways, but not on issues of truth, and certainly not on issues where the Bible is clear.

On this, see also the article in the most recent WORLD, Mental Filibusters, for how we sometimes nuance ourselves out of following Christ.