This Straw Man Has a Heart

Kristen Powers and Jonathan Merritt have erected a straw man and lit a match.

In follow up to their arguments (here and here) of last week that Christians, in defense of a very real threat to religious liberty, were ginning up a rainbow version of Jim Crow laws, they have, today, doubled down in their efforts at constructive criticism.

Effectively, their argument goes like this: because Christian, bakers, photographers, or candlestick makers are willing to look the other way when it comes to providing a service to the weddings of fornicators, divorcees, and the like, their refusal to serve homosexual couples constitutes hypocrisy, bigotry, and is akin to racism.  What is more, they drop the mic with the argument-ending assertion: Jesus would not approve.

Here's where this straw man falls apart.  What Merritt and Powers have either willingly or carelessly ignored is the high likelihood - indeed, the near certainty - that Christian bakers, photogs, and the like have, on grounds of religious conscience, declined to endorse the weddings, lifestyles, etc. of fornicators, divorcees, and the other lifestyles articulated in their most recent diatribe.

That these bakers, etc., now deny to lend their endorsement to the wedding of two individuals of the same gender does not make them hypocrites; rather, it demonstrates the consistent  application of their worldview.

So, why do we now notice their refusal of service?  Because, the fornicators, adulterers, and the like invented by Powers and Merritt have neither sued, nor launched a worldwide effort to redefine civilization's central human relationship.  When denied service by businesses of conscience, they did not run to a local reporter, nor dash to the nearest courthouse, they respected that assertion of religious liberty and found another, sometimes better, vendor.

Oddly enough, the end result is the same.  In every reported case of same-sex denial of service, the couple managed to find another provider.  Every time.  That's a stark contrast to the Jim Crow era in which society as a whole bargained to keep them from receiving any service anywhere and to which both Powers and Merritt suggest we are about to return vis-a-vis homosexuality.

For me, this is not an exercise in abstraction.  No, I'm not a fornicator (or an adulterer), but for a time I ran a statewide policy organization that was motivated by the Christian faith.  In planning for a gubernatorial debate of which we were the hosts, I called a local videographer and asked to contract his services.  Rightly, this videographer did some preliminary investigation and concluded, "I'm sorry, I cannot lend my art to support your organization's political and philisophical positions."  

You know what we did?  We respected the exercise of his corporate conscience and found another videographer.  

The point is this: Merritt and Powers have asserted, and continue to advance, a false premise: that all of a sudden, Christian business owners are selectively applying their consciences against things they find icky, but the rest of the civilized world celebrates.  That’s historical myopia.  Photographers, bakers, and the like have, for centuries, been engaging in expressive corporate behavior, declining service on grounds of conscience where such corporate behavior and expression clearly leads to the moral affirmation of that which they find morally repugnant.  Only in very, very recent history has this been determined to be a violation of civil - and even human - rights, rather than a clear, within-their-rights outworking of their religious conviction.

What we have now on display is the affirmation by Merritt and Powers of sexual license over religious liberty.  That is an argument whose day has been long foretold.  What few of us would have guessed is that it would first come from those claiming to be family.

And, what is worse, their arguments teeter on making me a prophet.

Religious Liberty is Not the Dark Side and Cecile Richards is No Obi Wan Kenobi

This article was first published at CBMW.org.

When I see the head of the nation's largest provider of abortion write in reference to the contraceptive mandate of Obamacare, "No one's freedom to practice religion is compromised," I tend to think she is attempting her best Obi Wan Kenobi, Jedi mind trick on the nation.

But, this is not Tatooine and the guarantee of religious liberty is not science fiction.  Cecile Richards is attempting to make the case that a religious order of nuns - though not a church, nor an extension of one - should be coerced by power of law to provide abortifacients to their employees.

For Richards, it's no big deal.  "The only thing Little Sisters must do is fill out a one-page form stating that it objects to providing contraceptive coverage, and send the form to its insurer."

Did anyone see that proviso in the First Amendment?  Yeah, I didn't either.

When the Founding Fathers affirmed our religious liberty - a liberty that was self-evidently imbued to us as humans by our Creator, according to the Declaration of Independence - they did so without qualification.  "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . ."  At best, what Richards is attempting to get you to bite on is a compromise: fill out the form and you can have the, "freedom to practice religion."  Don't take the bait!

Religious liberty is an unqualified guarantee by our constitution.  It means that as a citizen of this country - indeed, as a human creation - you have the freedom to live, learn, and do business according to the dictates of your faith.  Your government may not demand that you first provide verification and proof of the bona fides of your religion.  Rather, you must demand that any compromise to the free exercise of your religion by your government is considered only after your government provides the most compelling of compelling interests.

There are fine-sounding arguments being made by proponents of Obamacare and Richards is deft in selling her life-ending wares.  To compromise religious liberty in order to gain ubiquitous access to life-ending drugs is to undermine the foundation of our First Amendment and grant to government authority they have not been given.

If your government can compel you to, "just fill out this form," in order to provide you with what the First Amendment says you already possess, what is next?

"Pastor, please submit the prayer you want to pray at that grave side funeral of a veteran."

"Please provide your greeting cards to a board of chaplains.  We will determine whether or not your card that says, 'God bless you' is safe for distribution."

"You cannot provide a service to the public and hold a religious conviction against popular sexual mores.  'That's the price of citizenship.'"

"If you try to engage in the exercise of your faith by feeding the homeless on public property without permission, you may be subject to arrest."

Oh, wait.  Each of those has happened already - and they continue to happen every day   Can we afford to erode religious liberty any further?

Richards is motivated by one thing only: funneling more taxpayer money into her billion dollar  company.  She - and others - will gladly push your God-given, government-affirmed religious liberty out of the way in order to get it.

Do not let them.

Judges Remove the Crown While the King Laughs in Derision

Transient

This article first appeared on The Edge at CBMW.org.

At the first meeting of the City Council for the newly formed Zion, Illinois in 1902, the Reverend John Alexander Dowie presented the city with a proposed corporate seal.  Rev. Dowie had created a shield draped by a ribbon reading, "God Reigns" within a circle of the words, "Corporate Seal" and "City of Zion."  Under the ribbon were four images, one of a cross, the others were of a dove, a sword, and a crown.  

As he presented the seal to the newly formed City Council of Zion, he did so with this explanation:

I ask you to accept (this seal) and use it reverently.  Let no hand ever hold this lever and put this seal to anything that God does not approve.  Let the officer who uses this seal feel, as he pulls this lever and makes this impression, "God reigns," that the document must be such a one as God approves.

Dowie did not leave the chosen symbols to suspect meaning.  Before the City Council unanimously accepted his proposal, he explained the meaning of each:

Look at the Dove which is the emblem of the Holy Spirit, bearing the Message of Peace and Love over the seas.  The Cross represents everything to us in Redemption, Salvation, Healing, Cleaning and Keeping Power.  The Sword is the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  The Crown is the Crown of Glory, the Crown of Joy, the Crown of Righteousness, the Crown of Rejoicing.

Stop and Think

What is the thought in your head right now?  My suspicion is that 9 of 10 of you have a concerned thought, concerned that this is a gross violation of the "Separation of Church and State" or that this was a dominionist in an era of civil religion that, at best, was a production of moralism, not sincere religion or faith.  

Why is that your first thought?  Why the uneasy feeling in your gut as you read of a city council unanimously approving a corporate seal that acknowledged their ministerial and subserviant role before the God who reigns even over them?  

Well, if you did have that thought, you are not alone.  In 1991, judges on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in a case styled, Harris v. Zion, declared Dowie's seal in violation of the Constitution of the United States, holding that, "the logo inevitably create[s] an unmistakable impression that the local government tacitly endorses Christianity."

Ignoring the legalities for the sake of reflection, what I want you to realize is that your likely reaction to the story of the City of Zion is today the assumed norm.  Yet 111 years ago, the assumed, normative reaction was the unanimous approval by the government of a seal bearing Christian symbols with admittedly Christian meaning that had been designed by a Reverend.  

What happened?

In 111 years, we have gone from assuming the reality of Romans 1, as expressed by Dowie, that government is itself subject to God, ministers appointed to provide order to His creation to the assumption that faithful Christians must, at all times, subject themselves to government - as if it was a god.  

Some tend to interpret the word, "submit" in Romans 13 and I Peter 2 to mean "subject without question" and yet pride their complementarian selves by ascribing a non-passive meaning to that same word in Ephesians 5.  Why?  

It is the height of historic arrogance for us to conclude we are smarter, wiser, or know better than our forbears 111 years ago, yet we - faithful followers of Christ - go into fits of apologetic piety every time a ballot question appears or an election day looms or an olive branch is clutched in the mouth of a dove on the wall of a public building.  

Thankfully Paul is not a 21st Century American Christian.  He was a Roman citizen possessed of the full rights of Roman citizenship.  He was also an unashamed proponent of the historic Faith to which I hope we both belong, you and I.  What were Paul's rights as a Roman citizen?  Not much, but among them were due process (the right to confront one's accusations before punishment) and an appeal to Caesar.  

In Acts 16, Paul and Silas are unceremoniously condemned, beaten, and thrown in jail.  No accusation, no trial, no due process.  Skip to the end of the story and the city leaders realize their error of condemning two Roman citizens without a trial.  But, Paul will have no part of their attempt to unjustly swept this error under the rug.  Rather, he invokes his right to due process, and the city leaders are hauled down to the jail and made to apologize and walk them out of the city.  

In Acts 25, Paul stands before Festus (and a page later, Agrippa), accused of "many and serious charges" of which we know he was innocent.  In his defense, in addition to proclaiming the Gospel repeatedly to the rulers of his world, what does Paul do?  He invokes his second right as a Roman citizen; he appeals to Caesar.  

Paul was neither a dominionistic moralist, nor a separationist.  He submitted - actively - to the government placed over him because he was subject to the King of Kings.  He utilized the rights God had given to Roman citizens like Paul and administered by Caesar to their fullest and without equivocation.  

It's 'a Solemn Thing'

Maybe Dowie was wrong to insert the ribbon bearing the words, "God Reigns" on the Zion city emblem.  Maybe it does violate the First Amendment to the Constitution.  Nonetheless, Dowie's words revealed that he understood that he was subject to King Jesus, but called to actively submit to the City Council of Zion.  And so were the city councilmen.  

That is why Dowie concluded his presentation to the City Council of Zion with this blessing:

May every commission of every officer which bears the seal of this City be looked upon as a solemn thing; that it is a commission to bear such authority, however small or great, as God's minister -- God's minister in law -- God's minister in the Eternal Covenant in a measure.

Now, rather than wince at the sight of a church steeple in the background of your city seal, why not thank God that somewhere, at sometime, someone in your hometown understood that, in asking you to actively submit to government, government itself is subject to the King who looks at the nations of this earth that defy his reign and laughs in derision.

 

Keep Laughing at Him in the Face

As reported by that crazy, wide-eyed, right-wing newspaper The Washington Times:

Pro-choice protesters shouted, “Hail Satan!” as an attempt to drown out pro-lifers’ rendition of “Amazing Grace.”

A Texas blogger, Adam Cahm, captured the scene on video: “It’s been a very interesting day at the Texas State Capitol. … LetTexasSpeak has been doing a live broadcast from the rotunda where women have been sharing their abortion related testimonies. The pro-abortion crowd has responded with repeated chants of ‘hail Satan.’ It’s taken us all day to get a video recording,” The Blaze reported.

It calls to mind that which was said by the reformer and author of another hymn, Martin Luther, some centuries ago:

“I often laugh at Satan, and there is nothing that makes him so angry as when I attack him to his face, and tell him that through God I am more than a match for him.”

In the face of such evil as abortion on demand, at any time, for any reason, and without apology . . . keep laughing.

- Posted originally at: engagefamilyminute.com

 

Good 'Served' Two Ways

Last week, I had an article published at CBMW.org on it's "Public Square" Channel.  I encourage you to go read the entire thing, but here's a teaser: 

. . .
To use Marcotte’s undefined analysis, Gosnell was very good. He provided a service to women that no one else would.  He was efficient, minimizing his time with patients and maximizing his profits. He was good at being willing to break the abortion laws of Pennsylvania to give women the very immediate and inexpensive abortion that Marcotte suggests would benefit our country. Women that went to Gosnell were not slowed down by insurance companies or waiting periods. Gosnell was so good at what he did, that, according to Marcotte, his practice actually drove down the overall prices of the supposedly more reputable clinics.
Indeed, under Marcotte’s own standard, Gosnell was not good, he was great because he could be accessed for abortion immediately and at a reasonable price. That leaves me wondering why Marcotte thinks everyone – including her – is thinking, “How can we prevent future tragedies like this?”  Future tragedies?  Why is it a tragedy for Gosnell to provide immediate access to abortion, at any time, for any reason, all on a reduced cash-basis?
. . .

Read the rest at CBMW.org

 

Writing on "The Edge"

Transient

The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) has been a wonderful resource to me for years.  From days in college needing source material for research papers through law school and now into my profession where CBMW has richly assisted in helping me think through the importance of gender, the complimentarity of the genders, and all from a Biblical worldview.

Recently, they announced a new Executive Director, Dr. Owen Strachan, who I had the privilege of interviewing earlier this year on Engaging the Issues.  One thing he has brought to the organization is a dedicated interest in discussing the intersection of gender and the public square.  There is much to say in such a space.  To begin to speak into that space, they have created a new channel on their blog called, "The Edge."  

I am honored to have been asked to contribute to the discussion on that channel and, from time-to-time, will be a featured author.  Today my first article was published, which you can read here.

Don't stop there, look around CBMW's new website and take advantage of the rich resources there for your use and information.  

Are There Any "Good Abortion Providers?" That Depends on What You Mean by "Good."

Writing in the USA Today one day after notorious abortionist Kermit Gosnell was convicted of 4 counts of murder and over 200 violations of Pennsylvania's abortion laws, Amanda Marcotte argues that the way to prevent more Gosnell-like situations is to have fewer regulations of the abortion industry.  She argues that when the pro-life community argues for more - to use her words, "unnecessary regulations" - it is actually driving women to predatory creeps like Gosnell who give no meaning to back alley abortions and keep severed baby parts as his trophies.  

Instead, she says, "if we want to prevent future Gosnells, the solution is simple: Support good abortion providers."  

Marcotte forces us to consider the very important question: are there good abortion providers?

Read More

Remarks on the National Day of Prayer

This morning, nearly 250 West Virginians gathered at the West Virginia Capitol to kick of the 2013 National Day of Prayer.  Though an, "unavoidable conflict" kept Governor Tomblin from joining us, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, Coach Don Nehlen, and Jeff Jenkins were on hand to lead the celebration.  At the end of the event, I had the opportunity to share some parting thoughts.  Below are my remarks, along with some pictures from the day's event.

My thanks to those in attendance, as well as to our sponsors for making this event possible.

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Five and a half years ago, my wife and I moved from Morgantown to Charleston.  Our oldest son was 2 and our second son was making my wife very uncomfortable in her latter stages of pregnancy.  We knew no one in Charleston.  I had just started a job with a group known as the West Virginia Values Coalition, what would later become the Family Policy Council of West Virginia. 

At our first board meeting, we realized that there were hundreds of issues that we needed or wanted to address, but insufficient funds to pay me through the end of the year. 

Our board looked at a lot of models for how to conduct business.  We consulted with fundraising consultants who told us their best ideas for how to raise money.  There were plenty of charts and graphs by which we – the leaders – were trying to chart a functional course by which we could operate a viable and influential business.

We must have spent hours thinking through various approaches we could take to make this organization move forward. Nothing seemed to come together easily. We were simultaneously frustrated and motivated.  But, we felt stymied.  Almost at the same time, I recall the members of the board looking at one another, looking at me, and realizing that we needed to start again, this time beginning our meeting in prayer.

Our Founding Fathers came to a very similar conclusion, albeit on a much more grand scale.  At the constitutional convention of 1787, after weeks of wrangling over how to phrase the founding documents of our country and how to chart it's future course, it was Ben Franklin who took to the floor of a convention hall that was filled with equal parts frustration and motivation, but entirely at a stalemate. 

Franklin did not live a holy lifestyle.  At best he was deistic in his belief, but he understood the importance of the principle that government acts best when it acknowledges its limitations, including doing so through prayer.

Franklin took to the floor of the hall and observed the frustration that had led to their stalemate. James Madison recorded his words for us.  Franklin said to the constitutional conventioneers:

We indeed seem to feel our own want of political wisdom, since we have been running about in search of it.  We have gone back to ancient history for models of government, and examined the different forms of those Republics which, having been formed with the seeds of their own dissolution, now no longer exists.  And we have viewed Modern States all round Europe, but find none of their constitutions suitable to our circumstances.

He went on:

In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understanding?

One wonders of the hush that must have fallen across the room as the elder statesman’s question hung in the air.  Wasn’t the wisdom of Locke and Rutherford enough?  Would not the leadership of Washington and Adams suffice?  Surely, the country that had long fought for its liberty could, through its leaders, grab their bootstraps and muster on.

Not for Franklin.  For Franklin, our government – by its founders – must mark itself differently.  No revolutionary, no president, no senator, representative, governor, delegate, or mayor could long sustain this great experiment in democracy apart from the most controlling of understandings.  Not even freedom would be secure that did not recognize the source of its provision.

To that, Franklin spoke:

I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth that God governs the affairs of men.  And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?

He went on to explain that, unless the founders of this government sought the kind guidance of Providence, he said, they would, succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel . . . And what is worse, he said, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.

Then he concluded by asking that that constitutional convention of our founding era stand in repose and pray. 

They did so, sparking the clergy of the city in which they met to undertake to pray for them.  The clergy encouraged their parishioners to pray and soon was born a nation that was dedicated to invoking God’s kind direction in the affairs of our government and it was this humbling of our founding fathers at our nation's founding that is the basis for why – to this day – most of the meetings held in the bodies surrounding us are begun with prayer.

It is also why our board recognized our need to stop and pray.  Long could we have labored on our own with moderate success, but it was in stopping to pray that we found our conviction to lead.

Soon after that meeting of our board, one of our ministry partners came forward with a sizeable investment in the Family Policy Council of West Virginia.  After that, others matched that investment.  Soon, we had gained full association with Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, and groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom.

From there, we began meeting pastors across this state with a similar burden to see life protected, marriages strengthened, and religious freedom guarded.  A group of pastors came together to lend their advice and counsel to a group focused on policy and politics.  They knew that, as pastors, their primary role is to proclaim the Gospel, but also understand that the role of a limited government is to preserve the space for that good news to go forward.  And unless someone with principle and professionalism stood guard, the family could unravel at the hands of policy and politics.

In short, the Divine Hand of Providence governed our affairs to create what is today, the Family Policy Council of West Virginia.

Last year, many of you witnessed Governor Tomblin sign in to law the Premarital Education Act.  Today, that law is incentivizing couples across this state to start their marriage on strong footing.  Many of the pastors in this room today are, because of this law, counseling more couples to seek premarital education and, through it, strengthening marriage.

Even as we continue to work to encourage strong marriage, we are ever mindful of the many threats to religious liberty – and the threats are myriad.  We worked to prevent the passage of a law this last legislative session that, on its surface, promoted the noble concept of nondiscrimination, but underneath eroded what you and I have come to understand as religious liberty - a religious liberty that extends beyond the pulpit and intro the pews, the people in them, and their place of business.

In the future, safeguarding religious liberty may mean challenging a government that says a business has no First Amendment freedoms and must violate the conscience and convictions of its owner.  In whatever form, we will continue to advance, defend, and equip West Virginia’s families and the religious liberty given to them by their Creator.

Even as we do, we are mindful of the nearly 2,200 lives eliminated in this state at the hands of abortion every single year.

Perhaps you have followed the gruesome story that is Kermit Gosnell.  Gosnell is touted as an abortionist, but is better described as a monstrous serial killer.  Even this morning, a jury is deliberating in a case that alleges he killed a woman seeking an abortion by giving her too much Demerol. 

The jury has also been asked to convict Gosnell of crimes to gruesome to have an adequate name.  Babies – some of whom were more than 30 weeks in gestational age – were ripped from their mother’s womb and then – still breathing – at the hands of Gosnell had their spinal cords severed by a pair of scissors.  Others were flung into toilets, some of which were even reported to have attempted to swim out of the putrid water, only to be flushed into a fleshy clog in the pipes of this house of horrors.

But, did you know of the connections Gosnell has to our great state? 

First, one young lady from the eastern panhandle was referred to his clinic.  In a decision she now regrets, she arrived and received an abortion.  She was scheduled to be a rebuttal witness in the case against Gosnell because he had kept – like some form of sick trophy – the feet of her aborted baby.

If there is justice in this world, Gosnell goes to jail for a long, long time. Our fellow West Virginian turns home scarred for life at the hands of "reproductive justice."

But, that’s not the only connection.  After overdosing a young lady on Demerol, Gosnell asked for certification from the National Abortion Federation, the self-regulating arm of the abortion industry.  After inspecting his clinic, they determined they could not certify it because, among other violations, his furniture was bloodied, his medical instruments unsterile, and there were an abundance of fetal parts housed in the freezer.

They were right to refuse certification.  They were wrong to fail to report such gross violations of human dignity to law enforcement.

Ladies and gentlemen, just a few short weeks ago, we partnered with lawmakers in the room behind me at the close of this legislative session to pass HCR 167, a resolution that asks this legislature to study the health and safety standards of the abortion industry of this state. 

Why?  Because the largest abortion provider in the State of West Virginia, the clinic that performs more than 6 abortions per day, over 1800 per year, and which receives one-third of their budget from taxpayer dollars – the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia is part of a national network of abortion mills that are proudly certified by who? . . . the National Abortion Federation.

A self-regulating abortion industry does not work.  It is my great preference that not a single abortion would be conducted in this country, but so long as it is legal, we at the Family Policy Council of West Virginia will hold that industry accountable for the health and safety of our sisters and daughters.

Will you join us in this partnership?  Foremost, join us with your prayers.  Pray for your leaders – pray for them, not against them.  Pray that they will pass laws that permit you to live at peace.

But realize also that excellence in advancing, defending, and equipping West Virginia’s families is sustained by benevolence.  Your benevolent partnership feeds our ability to advocate for policies that embrace the sanctity of human life, that enrich marriage, and that safeguard religious freedom. 

On your tables is a card that you can use to indicate how you might further invest in the Family Policy Council of West Virginia.  We welcome your partnership.

For our part, we are working for the day in which every life is treated in West Virginia as preciously as the creator of that life, a day in which a husband and wife are living at the center of a strong and growing family, and when West Virginians are free – fully free – to live, learn, and do business according to the convictions of their faith.

As it did for Franklin, as it did for our board, that begins with prayer.  That begins today. 

Thank you for joining us this morning. May God bless this state, the leaders elected to serve us, and each one of you.

Making a Yawn Newsworthy: the Curious Case of 'Courageous' Collins

Wow, were the talking points well distributed this week following a carefully choreographed "coming out" party for Jason Collins.

If you hadn't heard, Jason Collins announced this week that not only is he a multi-millionaire who is paid to put a ball into a hoop that is about 2 feet from the tips of his fingers as he stands under it, but also living a homosexual lifestyle.  In this case, his has been trumpeted - by the President of the United States, no less - as an act of, "courage" in, "coming out" in a world supposedly dominated by womanizing jocks.  

Now, here is where the talking points kick in.  As the media runs with open mic and focusing camera to the sports elite, they are supposed to repeat, evidently, one of two lines.  Let's look at them closely.

Historic History.jpg

"I look forward to a day when this is no longer newsworthy."

That's the first one.  I've heard it here locally, I've heard it on SportsCenter, from politicians and aging sports stars.  Each one first begins by using some form of praise for the boldness, courage, or other type hero language that really ought to be reserved for men like those who stormed Normandy, not a guy who is paid $1.5 million to average 1 point per game.  Then, they turn their commentary to the shocking nature of the revelation.  Feigning surprise (but not really being surprised) they remark how amazing that this is news and finish off by wistfully pining for the day when such a thing won't be news.

Here's the thing: it's only "newsworthy" to them.  That is, if they pine for the day when this won't be news anymore, then why have they created the story?  Why did Collins become the feature story in Sports Illustrated to announce this news that we're supposed to be unsurprisingly shocked about?  Why did the press immediately run to commentary to the nearest athlete and the President if this was so, "ho-hum," old hat to them?  

The reality is that I agree with them, to some extent.  My first reaction when I found out that this Center is inclined to have sex outside of marriage with other men was, "So what?"  I think, in fact, I yawned between the "so" and the "what" too.  It is not newsworthy.  Gentleman should never discuss their sex life publicly.  I suppose its only shocking in the way that Wilt Chamberlain's supposed 5-figured peccadilloes were surprising: we tend to have a cultural fascination with sex.  Call it the pornification of the news for that's what it has become.  

The sad reality is not the "outing" here, but that most of us have grown up around a sex-dripping culture for so long that we have to feign surprise when someone admits to having sex outside of marriage.  We've been so desensitized to what is immoral that we yawn rather than recoil.

"Our culture needs to become more tolerant."

Darwin.jpg

That is usually in the mix.  Usually, its coupled with the concept of evolution, suggesting that our society "is evolving" or "needs to evolve" to support open homosexuality.  President Obama started it, sort of, when he came out in favor of same-sex marriage last year, saying that his views had finally evolved from he prior primordial conviction that marriage was the loving and lifelong union reserved for one man and one woman.  

Most recently, I saw Kelly Dwyer's version of this line when, writing for Yahoo Sports, he said: "Gay young men and women have an impossibly tough time growing up and attempting to fit in, even as our culture shifts to become more tolerant." 

Unpacking the first part of that sentence requires a lengthy theological conversation.  But, I challenge the premise.  How hard can it be to, "fit in" to a society that encourages you to celebrate any and every conceivable form of sexual orientation - even ones not reduced to an acronym yet?  Perhaps they're not, "fitting in" for a reason - a reason having nothing to do with the latter part of the sentence, but everything to do with the heart.

But, let's look at the second part of the sentence and ask this question: how much more tolerant can our society "shift" (or evolve)?  Think of all that we do tolerate.  

We tolerate open displays of homosexuality, men dressed like women parading through the streets, and every form of pornography imaginable (some of which we even tolerate being broadcast in prime time).  We tolerate political dialog that is, at times, demeaning.  We tolerate a President who says we should pass gun laws if only to save one child's life, but then turns around and give full-throated endorsement to Planned Parenthood's taking of hundreds of thousands of children's lives.  We tolerate churches that deny orthodoxy and celebrate heresy.  We tolerate Flavor Flav and Larry Platt.  We tolerate full-contact juggling and Bob Ross.  How much more tolerant can our society become?  More importantly, why should we become more tolerant?  

Dwyer cannot possibly mean we need to become more tolerant as a society of homosexuality.  We had a national yawn when a basketball player said he likes to have sex outside of marriage with other men.  What he must mean is that our society has to become more morally tolerant of what has been deemed immoral for most of human history.

That is, what Dwyer is saying on behalf of the rest of the "our society is evolving" folks is that those whose moral scruples still prevent them from a full-throated endorsement of homosexuality, and the moral virtues thereof, are - by definition - intolerant.  Those who are truly tolerant will not . . . um . . . tolerate any other perspective, belief, or conviction.  Rather, no longer are we able to agree to disagree and so tolerate one another, because you do not believe like I do, say the neo-tolerant, not only are you wrong, but you're morally wrong, bigoted, and homophobic.

Note also the arrogance here.  Think about it.  Implicit in this argument is that we are - today - the most evolved people that have ever existed.  We are evolved physically, emotionally, mentally, and morally.  What this means is that there has never been a people as wise, or at least as tolerant, as we are today.  All previous iterations of cultural morality were primeval.  Today's shifting morality is to be preferred, not only because its new, but because it's better.  We are the capstone of civilization.  Da Vinci?  Not as tolerant.  Einstein? Nope.  Moses?  Don't even get me started!  Those were intolerant dunderheads that just didn't get it.  In all likelihood, their failure to embrace homosexuality was bigotry.  They are whom we have left behind in the primordial evolutionary soup of morality and culture for the more highly evolved people like Obama, Elton John, Lady GaGa, and Madonna.

If becoming a more tolerant society requires that religious people - and Christians in particular - lay aside the convictions of their faith for the feelings of an overpaid athlete, then this is an evolution we ought to avoid, not embrace.

For the rest of us, don't be bullied into the embracing of immoral behavior.  Jason Collins is welcome to make whatever moral decisions he wishes to make with regard to his sexuality.  He needs not to answer to me, nor seek my approval.  For my part, I would happily chat with him about the discontinuity of the faith he supposedly professes or join him in a pick-up game of basketball.  I'm neither intolerant of him, nor afraid of him.  

But, I am also unwilling to encourage his behavior that his conscience will (if it hasn't already) instruct him is unhealthy, unwise, and immoral.  

Leave me out of the coming societal shift.

Keep Government in Marriage, It's the Libertarian Thing to Do

Transient

There is a rising libertarian argument that goes like this: “We need to stop being distracted by these debates about marriage.  Government has no business telling us who can or cannot marry.  Marriage ought to be a private contract.  If government got out of the marriage business and allowed it to be a private contract, people would have more liberty and the size of government would decrease.”

If you have or are making that argument, please stop.

First, let me explain that there is a logical fallacy that you’re promoting with this argument.  Namely, that government defines marriage.  No.  Marriage is a pre-political institution much like murder is a pre-political crime.  Government defined neither marriage, nor murder; it merely affirmed in civil law what was already law in the moral and natural law sense.  In fact, by implicitly granting government the right to define marriage (and thus regulate it), this modern libertarian argument ascribes more power to government then they should.  As Kevin DeYoung rightly observes:

What an irony: the many young people (and a growing number of young Christians) who support gay marriage on libertarian grounds are actually ceding to the state a vast amount of heretofore unknown power. No longer is marriage recognized as a pre-political entity which exists independent of the state. Now the state defines marriage and authorizes its existence.

Government did not create marriage.  Therefore, government cannot destroy marriage.  When we grant government the right to create marriage (rather than affirm what marriage is), we grant to it the power to destroy it.

But, let’s also look at the central point here – and I’m going to do this in summary form of a much longer argument because I have a really full desk to empty today.  The central point is whether or not getting government out of the “marriage business” reduces the size of government and, ergo, increases liberty.

I submit that it does not and, if anything, the reverse is categorically true and empirically verifiable.

For one thing, it is downright impossible.  Government regulates this human institution above all others for a variety of reasons.  The 1,000+ incidents of marriage in Federal law govern the effects that flow to and from this central institution of society.  Everything from the transfer of estates to adoption to spousal support to bank accounts to the presumption of paternity of children conceived in a marriage.  There must be a mechanism for government to regulate the flow of these rights and privileges and that is the marriage license.  It is simply impossible for government to extricate itself from ‘the marriage business’ without causing untold damage and raising havoc across our society.

But more than that, consider removing the marriage license, what would happen?  Would the size of government shrink?  Absolutely not!  Consider – as just one example – the presumption of paternity.

Most of you have probably not thought of this legal doctrine much, but most of us have benefited from it.  Legally speaking, a husband is presumed to be the father of any children born while married to the mother.  There is no court, no legislation, no DNA testing needed.  If a husband and wife have a child, legally speaking, the husband is presumed to be the father and the child receives the blessings (and burdens) of that relationship.  That presumption is made effective via the marriage license.

Now, take away that legal presumption.  More or less government?  More - exponentially more!  More or less individual liberty?  Less, invasively less!

Now, rather than being presumed to be the father of children to his marriage, the husband must affirmatively assert his claim and defend his claim against any challengers.  Not only will this, in the end, require a legal determination, likely by a black-robed agent of the state (i.e., a judge), but he will also be required to furnish biological proof that he is the father of the child.

In one fell swoop, we have increased the size of government.  Where the presumption of paternity assumes the husband is the father and no further bureaucracy is needed, without that presumption – at a minimum – a judge (and with him comes his staff of clerks, bailiffs, court reporters, etc.) to legally determine his rights and responsibilities.

With that increase in government comes also a decrease in individual liberty.  Why?  Consider how you scientifically determine biological paternity: DNA testing.  Now, rather than the husband being presumed to be his baby’s father, he must submit to having his bodily fluids collected by a government agent (another increase in the size of government) and having that DNA processed (more government) and stored on file (yet more government).  That is not libertarianism.  That is statism at its finest.

I could go on, but I’ll close by pointing you to a classic failure that helps prove this point: no-fault divorce.  When pitched almost 40 years ago, no-fault divorce (divorce for any reason or no reason at all, as opposed to the prior system that required a showing of fault (adultery, abuse, etc.) of one of the parties to the marriage) was billed as a streamlining of the divorce system, a way to make divorce easier and reduce the caseload of family courts across the country.  Not only that, proponents of no-fault divorce then (and now) make the bizarre case that it will strengthen marriage by functioning as something of a steam release valve by letting those "trapped" in a marriage to extricate themselves without significant damage. 

Is that true?  Has that happened?  Is there more individual liberty and less government as a result of government getting out of the divorce business?

Nope.  Family court dockets today are exploding.  Claims of nepotism and cronyism have necessitated additional layers of bureaucracy so that one party to the divorce is not disadvantaged by the social or political connections of the other.  Court appointed attorneys have expanded their role in seeking the “best interests” of the children to the no-fault divorce.  Court programs have exploded to monitor spousal and child support, creating a cadre of police to enforce state-mandated payment.

What of individual liberty?  Parties to a no-fault divorce now face the prospect of surrendering their paycheck, first, to the state to ensure spousal and child support.  In some cases, the state determines when or if an individual may visit (and for how long) with the divorcee’s biological children.  Again, the list continues.

DeYoung, writing specifically with some warnings against same-sex “marriage,” again explains why government ought to remain involved in marriage in general:

We must consider why the state has, for all these years, bothered to recognize marriage in the first place. What’s the big deal? Why not let people have whatever relationships they choose and call it whatever they want? Why go to the trouble of sanctioning a specific relationship and giving it a unique legal standing? The reason is because the state has an interest in promoting the familial arrangement which has a mother and a father raising the children that came from their union. The state has been in the marriage business for the common good and for the well-being of the society it is supposed to protect. Kids do better with a mom and a dad. Communities do better when husbands and wives stay together. Hundreds of studies confirm both of these statements (though we all can think of individual exceptions I’m sure).

In other words, government regulates this relationship (unlike your friendship with your best friend from high school) because it has a societal interest in promoting individual liberty (I can take care of my wife and children without being told how by the government) and reducing the size of government (marriages take care of their own relieving the need for more government).

So, my libertarian friend or my fellow citizen who wishes for the day where the government will stop telling people who they can or cannot marry: stop asking for government to get out of the marriage business.  It is bad public and social policy, bad for my marriage and yours, and detrimental to individual liberty on the whole.

A Study in Contrast and Conviction

Peter Barker of the New York Times wrote recently of President Obama's awkward task when speaking at the dedication of President Bush's presidential library after having so criticized President Bush for 4+ years.  He turned to Michael Waldman, one of President Clinton's speech writers.  Waldman's advice was:

“When a president dedicates the library of someone he opposed politically, it’s interesting and a bit of a challenge. . . .The best thing to do is focus on something that you can really embrace and mean it.”

By all accounts, the President did a decent job of that at the library's opening.  Now, apply that to the President's speech at Planned Parenthood's national conference Friday.  What does he embrace?  Does he mean it?

Now, study a different contrast in conviction.  Consider John Piper's words from soon after President Obama was inaugurated.

Watch both videos below and consider what their speechwriters have chosen for them to focus on, knowing what the speaker wants to really embrace . . . and mean.

Dr. Russell Moore Did the Right Thing

Well, it was more than just him, but he should get at least some credit.

You may have heard the news that the Pentagon's intraweb was, for a period of time, blocking access to Southern Baptist Convention websites.  Now, for the life of me, I can't figure out exactly how that became knowledge, nor why someone at the Pentagon would have been trying to access such a website.  But, it doesn't matter.  Whether for reasons nefarious, routine, or just plain curious, someone discovered that the Pentagon's web filter was blocking the Baptists and the press ran with it.

Some immediately denounced the Pentagon and suggested that there was an agenda afoot to silence a Christian denomination that has been, at times, critical of this administration whether that was the denomination speaking as a whole or some of its more prominent members.

Well, one of its more prominent members is Dr. Russell Moore.  In fact, he's been the academic dean at the denomination's largest seminary and is beginning the transition, now, to a new role as president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the denomination's public policy wing.  As an aside, he's a great man for that job.  You can listen to my interview with Dr. Moore last December 18th as he discusses, "How Do We Honor the Emperor" to get a sense of this man's mind and contending humility.  He'll do well.

He'll do well, in part, because he's different.  That is to say, I think Dr. Moore is going to force the pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-religious freedom, pro-family (whatever our name is) movement to adjust how we act and react.  Default mode for many of us in situations like what happened at the Pentagon has been to immediately assume the worst and go public with what are ultimately vain, self-righteous accusations.  That's not what he did.  Note, however, what he did do.  

First, he let the right people make the right statement.  His first comment was not to comment, but to allow the SBC spokesman guy to make the comment without further elaboration:

Of course, don't miss the fact that this also means that Dr. Moore was both following the situation and thinking through it critically.  We have seen the military recently categorize denominations like him as, "religious extremists" on the level of the KKK.  There is some fact to the potential fiction that the Pentagon was working to censor the Baptists.

But, he didn't stop there.  When it became clear that this was not an issue of censorship, Dr. Moore did the right thing and broadcast what actually happened.  It was a computer glitch!

Now, imagine what the SBC's witness, through Dr. Moore, would have been if, the moment he had heard about the situation, he had taken the bait and launched a social media missive (and his Twitter, Facebook, and blog following is substantial), leveling a charge of censorship.  With no inquiry, no room for grace, Dr. Moore would have slammed shut many doors that are open to him and his very important message and further alienated any feelings of ill-will the opponents of the SBC may have had for him.

And, here's the thing: I don't think he even thought about it.

That is, from my brief interaction with him and watching him from a distance, I would venture to guess this even-keeled, grace-filled, don't-fire-before-you-see-the-whites-of-their-eyes approach is probably second-nature to Dr. Moore.  In fact, I'd wager he would be the first to say that it's certainly not his first nature.  Rather, it is evidence of the work of Grace in his heart. 

Those of us who mark ourselves according to the same Grace ought to pause and reflect.  This is a dangerous world and one that is violently opposed to the Truth of Christ that we stand for, but that does not mean there is a conspiracy behind every rock.  Cowards - not future kings and queens of the universe - walk with fear past pitfalls and shadowy alleys.  The upright walk with confidence in One far-greater than any conspiracy.

When Girls Don't Blush and Boys Aren't Gentlemen

For the last few weeks, there has been a raging debate in the thriving metropolis that is Charleston, West Virginia, surrounding a speech given by a women at a local public high school in which she was promoting abstinence.  In her own colorful way, she urged freshman through senior high school student toward abstinence by explaining the wide array of potential risks associated with serial, premarital non-monogamy.  All of the risks, warts - literally - and all.

It should be observed that wherever abstinence is taught to teens, there's is going to be a lot of both controversy and snickering.  This should be both unsurprising and a reminder that sex is designed to be intimate, private, and ought to make us speak in demurred tones with rosy cheeks when we talk about it publicly and in mixed company.  

We expect a certain level of immaturity from teens when adults talk to them about sex.  What we don't expect is for that immaturity to turn up among their parents.

In this case, it has been parents that have been quite worked up.  On one side, it is parents who are bolstering the principal (who has received death threats for his invitation) for bucking the abortion industry-authored sex-ed curricula, generally, and focusing the attention of his students on abstinence, specifically.  They're not really the immature ones, though they've been bullied and vilified as prudes who want to deny their children both a good time and the reality of the way of the world.  

On the other side are parents who are apoplectic that students were given a message about abstinence.  They haven't really addressed the validity of the speaker's facts; they simply rant about the fact that there was no "other side" represented in the discussion and, though the speech was purely secular, they lambast the woman for being a person of faith in public.  They slander the speaker and drag the principal's good name through the mud evidently because they believe that boys and girls from 15 years old upward ought to have no restriction on their sexual appetite, be taught - by the state - methods of sex that the state (and abortion industry) deem are "safe," and then be given unfettered (read = free, at taxpayer's expense) access to every conceivable form of birth control or contraceptive - including abortion (which is not a contraceptive, but an anticonceptive, but I digress).  

This is what we get when girls don't blush and boys aren't gentlemen.  

More bluntly, this is what we produce in a society that demands there is no distinction between the genders and certainly there can be no control over one's base passions.  Rather, humans are animals, incapable of restraint that must bend to the sexual impulse that drives them and those who restrain them are the so morally repressed and repugnant that they must be bullied into secular submission lest we perish as a species.

No.  Sex and gender are lovely creations, given to God's creation for our good and for His good glory.  Sex does not control us; rather, we are given the gift of sex, certainly, for procreation, but also for an enjoyment that is unsurpassed.  It's an enjoyment that is less physical and more metaphysical, however.  Long after the physical euphoria, sex sustains marital pleasure in emotion, spirit, and relationship.  Sex reflects the complimentarity of our genders and reveals that each gender is distinct from the other and a contributor to the sex act in a way that compliments the other.  It unites the actors to one another in a real and lasting way.

Yet, in the sex-at-any-time-and-without-consequences society in which we live today, sex and gender have been flattened into cave man like urges in which any warm body will do, rather than the ultimate unifying connection of complimentary genders, united for a purpose far greater than an emotional or physical moment of pleasure.  It is promoted popularly as the one thing from which there are no constraints or consequences, save that both parties agree.  No longer is sex meant to unite and connect; rather, it is used to "hook up" and then quickly unhook.  

Sex in this culture has entirely divorced the meaningful unification of the genders from the concomitant physical pleasure.  The former speaks of self-giving intimacy in fulfillment of what the other gender lacks.  The latter speaks only in terms of individual, self-gratification in another person's body.  Such an individualized view of sex leads to disastrous consequences that reach beyond the dying idea of marital monogamy and into the brave new world of gender-bending pleasure. 

Rather than become indignant to such a message of abstinence over appetite, parents ought to encourage their daughters to blush and their boys to be gentlemen.  

In the case of the furor over this abstinence speaker, the girls opposed to this speaker have been using words that are shameful at worst and impolite at best.  Why do we not value young ladies who treasure the uniqueness of their gender and protect the innocence of their sex?  Where are the fathers shielding their daughters from exposing themselves by their rhetoric?  

As to the boys, that this speaker had to talk about not having sex with a woman who is not your wife clearly teaches us that chivalry - while not necessarily dead - has been severely wounded in the sexual revolution.  But, do we not want boys to be gentlemen?  Is that not good for them as well as good for the flourishing of women and our society as a whole?  Why have we abandoned teaching our young men that God gave them big muscles to protect women and children, not to take advantage of them?

Abstinence - refraining from having sex with a person not your spouse - ought to be a given expectation.  Instead, a high school principal had to wear a bullet proof vest for a period of days because he encouraged kids to do what they are perfectly capable of doing: being a kid without fear of dying due to lack of sex.

That is what happens when girls don't blush and boys aren't gentlemen.      

When sex is as common as the wind that blows, it is devalued.  Along with it, the unique value of the genders are abandoned.  Selflessness gives way to selfishness.  Sex abandons its role in the permanent, metaphysical unification of the genders for a temporal bringing together of the genitals.  And, so long as the practice is, "safe," any genitals will do.

And, if you can read that last sentence without feeling a tad blushed yourself, consider how far our culture's demystifying of sex and gender has actually reached.

This is What "Tolerance" Sometimes Looks Like

There are many in this country who simply want to debate the issues and are very willing to disagree without being disagreeable.  There is another category that tends to be "all bark and no bite," thankfully, that dog you for your convictions, but won't allow themselves to escalate the tension.  For them, it's enough to engage in a public shaming ritual of sorts, but they restrain themselves from more.

But, two recent stories deserve your attention.  Each reflects a third category, namely, when those who disagree with you take to physical action, intimidation, and violence.  This is not reflective of the entire world of those who oppose what we do and how we do it.  But, they are out there and, because of that, we covet your prayers for safety.

The first story is out of Belgium and involves an Archbishop who is known for his convicted stance against the morality of homosexuality.  During an appearance, the Archbishop was rushed by several women - all of whom were topless - who proceeded to chide him while dousing him with water.  His response was perfect: he sat and prayed.  Read about that here.

Secondly, you've heard about the shooter at the Family Research Council who, last year, barged into FRC and plotted to shoot the place up . . . and then wipe the faces of those he shot with Chick-fil-A sandwiches. (Seriously)  FRC has today released the security footage of that shooting following the FBI's earlier release of the shooter's interregation in which he admits to targeting the FRC by visiting the Souther Poverty Law Center's website on which FRC was listed as a, "hate-group."  You can see the video below.

Incidentally, at one time - and maybe we still are (we don't like to visit their website) - the Family Policy Council of WV was on that same list.

Again, we think these cases are outliers, but they are concerning.  "Tolerance" need not look like this.  We can disagree without being disagreeable - or violent.  My thanks to those I do debate who maintain a civil tongue and urge those who agree with them to do likewise.  Let us pray violence never befalls anyone in this debate - and be quick to condemn them when it does.

Same-Sex Marriage is Wildly, Amazingly, Incredibly Popular . . . Except Where It's Not

According to new polling, when you take out the grand minority of states that have already legalized same-sex marriage, this is a country that is still solidly against redefining a pre-political institution.

According to Harper Polling, 57% of residents of states still holding to the pre-political definition of marriage still favor leaving the institution alone.  Only 34% are inclined to redefine it.  But, there's more.

Not only is marriage still quite in vogue, politically speaking, it's dangerous to come out in favor of redefining it in these states.  In fact, 47% of folks surveyed believed that when a candidate changes his or her position to be newly in favor of same-sex marriage, it makes them want to vote them out of office.  And that's not just Republicans.  52% of Independent voters - the fastest growing segment of voters in the country - and a full 1/3 of Democrats would flip their votes against a candidate changing his or her stance on marriage.

The take-aways are clear.  First, marriage is still wildly popular and the effort to redefine it is hardly inevitable as published.  Take the discussion to the heartland, away from ivory towers and crowded streets of urban America, and most of this country still favors marriage between one man and one woman.  

Not only that, but the data is clear: the voters still favor representatives that reflect their views on this topic.  It may seem popular - even for some blue republicans in a blue state like West Virginia - to hedge their political bets by coming out in favor of same-sex marriage (or some variety thereof), but that is simply not the case.  Rather, voters want their politicians to accurately reflect them.  That means politicians ought to stay true to the pre-political institution of marriage between one man and one woman and now cow to the winds of "inevitability" that bluster, but blow few men down.

How Did We Get From Roe to Gosnell?

The Wall Street Journal has penned a long, at times conflicted, but ultimately revealing portrait of how we have gone from Roe v. Wade to the human rights travesty that is Kermit Gosnell.  You need to carve out the time to read it in its entirety.  Here's the payoff paragraphs from the end of the article:

What do we mean when we call for the abolition of the Roe regime? Simply this: a reversal of Supreme Court precedent, an acknowledgment by the court that it erred when it decided Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. That would turn the question of abortion back to the states and the people, where the 10th Amendment makes clear it belongs.
The abortion debate needs more politics, not less. As we noted above, drawing the line between acceptable abortion and homicide is necessarily an arbitrary exercise. For judges to issue arbitrary rulings is a corruption of the judicial function. But the production of arbitrary results--imperfect but workable arrangements that can be revised if necessary to adapt to new circumstances or knowledge--is the essence of politics.

I want to give the authors credit: amidst their odd reluctance to denounce the moral banality of abortion, their conscience betrays them.  There can be no doubt in their minds but that Roe was wrongly decided and ought to be undone.  How that is to be undone is another matter.

They also deserve credit for highlighting a couple important points, namely:

  • The abortion industry operates outside the world of logic and despicably uses dehumanizing terms to make a dehumanizing abuse more palatable to the public.
  • If pro-life advocates cannot be allowed to draw a line as to when life begins, then proponents of abortion must be equally restrained in their advocacy of a decision as to when life should end. 
  • Regardless of your position on abortion, it is clear that the abortion at all costs for any reason, at any time mentality that the abortion industry has publicly insisted upon has clearly bullied lawmakers into backing away from regulating this industry - to disastrous consequences that are not necessarily unique to Gosnell's clinic.
  • The National Abortion Federation - which certifies 1 of 2 abortion clinics here in West Virginia - was asked to certify Gosnell's clinic.  They didn't because of the unsanitary conditions.  But, they likewise did not report his abuses to the authorities.  Conclusion: this is an industry that cannot be trusted to self-regulate.
  • Can the abortion-industry oppose after-birth abortion?  Not logically says the authors.  What is more . . . they haven't.
  • Media outlets have not simply ignored Gosnell, they have helped shape the rhetoric of the abortion industry for years, further dehumanizing the terms to prop up the industry.
  • Abortion is a legal religion and Justice Blackmun is its chief prophet.
  • Men have been surreptitiously disinvited from the abortion debate, but should be welcomed back to the table.  
  • Kermit Gosnell has been an abuser of women for nearly 40 years, dating back to the infamous Mother's Day Massacre in 1972. I hadn't heard that either, read the story if you can stomach it.

Read the whole article.  Share it over social media.  Think about it.  

On Dying Well . . .

It was once asked of John Wesley why his methodist movement received such welcome success in this world.  Wesley, who with his brother Charles, did much to spread the Gospel across this globe, did not answer with new church programs, nor initiatives, nor even favorite books - though undoubtedly some of those helped.

Wesley simply remarked, "Because our people die well."

Tonight, I go to a widow's viewing of whom it can be said, "She died well."  Not only did she live well - raising a lovely family, living life exuberantly, encouraging others, and supporting her church - she died well.  That is, she faced death not as one without hope, but one whose hope was set upon Christ and in whose presence she confidently slipped the bonds of this earth and into his eternal, comfortable realm.

May it be said also of us that our focus on this temporal, though important, critical, and urgent, is not lost for the eternal, imperishable, and unending life that awaits.  Forego how well we have lived.  Let us be known for how well we have died.