“It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.”
“Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”
A strong woman works out every day to keep her body in shape …
but a woman of strength kneels in prayer to keep her soul in shape…
A strong woman isn’t afraid of anything …
but a woman of strength shows courage in the midst of her fear…
A strong woman won’t let anyone get the best of her …
but a woman of strength gives the best of her to everyone…
A strong woman makes mistakes and avoids the same in the future…
a woman of strength realizes life’s mistakes can also be God’s blessings and capitalizes on them…
A strong woman walks sure footedly…
but a woman of strength knows God will catch her when she falls…
A strong woman wears the look of confidence on her face…
but a woman of strength wears grace…
A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey…
but a woman of strength has faith that it is in the journey that she will become strong…
– Marta S. Hardy
A new year…a new diet and exercise program. But I will try to avoid the following exercises:
~ Jumping on the bandwagon
~ Wading through paperwork
~ Running around in circles
~ Pushing your luck
~ Spinning your wheels
~ Adding fuel to the fire
~ Beating your head against the wall
~ Climbing the walls
~ Beating your own drum
~ Dragging your heels
~ Jumping to conclusions
~ Grasping at straws
~ Fishing for compliments
~ Throwing your weight around
~ Passing the buck
As a legal immigrant from Egypt and a Christian, this story was particularly poignant. Will the president heed this particular plea? I would guess not, but I hold out hope.
A 15-year-old Egyptian girl, Dina el-Gohary, has written an emotional appeal to President Obama asking him to use his influence to save her father, Maher el-Gohary, who is being persecuted for his beliefs. "Mr. President Obama, we are a minority in Egypt," Dina writes, according to a report from the Assyrian International News Agency. "We are treated very badly. … We are imprisoned in our own home because Muslim clerics called for the murder of my father, and now the Government has set for us a new prison, we are imprisoned in our own country."
Dina and her father are Christian converts in a part of the world where conversion can mean death. The Muslim-majority countries of the Middle East are among the world’s greatest offenders against freedom of conscience. Religious liberty does not exist or is severely curtailed based on Shariah supremacy. Egypt is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which commits signatories to respect a variety of liberties, including religious freedom, but a court considering whether Mr. el-Gohary could legally change his religious affiliation ruled that Egypt was only bound to honor those provisions that did not contradict Islamic law, and "in the event of a contradiction, Shariah takes precedence."
Egypt’s Constitution guarantees freedom of belief but not freedom of religious practice. The same court stated that faith is "an internal, personal matter," but the right to actually practice a religion other than Islam "is subject to restrictions that may be imposed through regulations that emphasize certain higher interests, especially those related to safeguarding public order and moral values and to protecting the rights and freedoms of others." Because Muslims would take offense at Mr. el-Gohary becoming a Christian, their indignation outweighs his right to choose his faith. The state thinks that changing the religious affiliation on his identity card from Muslim to Christian is "a threat to societal order." The court further insulted Mr. el-Gohary by claiming he could not even prove he was a Christian. Documentation supplied by the Coptic Christian Church was tossed because the court said the church had no legal authority to recognize conversions and that Mr. el-Gohary was "toying with religion."
Mr. el-Gohary has had several death-sentence fatwahs issued against him, has been forced to live in hiding and has been banned from leaving the country. His case actually is one of the more benign. Former Afghan citizen Abdul Rahman converted to Christianity and was arrested and threatened with death but managed to flee to asylum in Italy. In August, during an anti-Christian riot in Pakistan, eight people were burned to death and two others were fatally shot. "You said that the Muslim minority in America are treated very well," Dina el-Gohary wrote to Mr. Obama, "so why are we not treated here likewise?" The U.S. government is well aware of Mr. el-Gohary’s plight. The State Department’s 2009 International Religious Freedom Report covers his case in detail. We urge Mr. Obama to review this report. He has gone out of his way to curry favor with Muslims at home and abroad, but the president seems unwilling to address this difficult issue. We have heard him apologize extensively for American actions abroad, but when it comes to religious liberties, the United States is not the country with the problem.
For his part, Mr. el-Gohary is adamant that he will remain a Christian regardless of the oppression he faces. He said he and his daughter would not revert to being Muslims "even if we have to live on the streets. We love our Lord Jesus, and we have left Islam for good."
Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.
Alexis de Tocqueville
Let me see if I understand the more “moderate” view of abortion, setting aside for the time being the extremely rare case where the mother’s life truly hangs in the balance. I would like to consider the shibboleth of abortion should be illegal “except in cases of rape and incest.” I would like to analyze this from both the perspective of the moderate/centrist liberal and from the moderate/centrist leaning conservative and see if it makes sense from either direction.
Let me first see if I understand this from the more liberal position.
1. Liberals tend to want to protect the rights of the living even in cases of murderers (anti-death penalty).
2. Yet, they want to protect the so-called libertarian (pro-choice) right of a woman to choose to have an abortion.
3. So more moderates will give in on elective abortions, but still staunchly defend the woman’s right to choose in cases of rape and incest, believing that it is the “compassionate” way of minimizing those horrendous acts.
4. So the net effect is that the rapist and/or incest perpetrator gets a shortened more lenient sentence, while the innocent product of that rape/incest receives the death penalty.
From the perspective of the left this is absolute nonsense. Do they not want to “care” for the “least of these” in these cases? Yet, ultimately they are causing damage to both the unborn…who receives the ultimate penalty (DEATH), though they are the most innocent, and the mother…who suffers with emotional and physical trauma compounded by the death of her unborn child.
If they refuse to see the unborn child as a human being (which is often the justification from the Left) then there is still the issue that the mother continues to bear the marks of both the violent act of the incest and/or rape and the subsequent act of the abortion.
From the perspective of the Conservative leaning moderate:
1. Conservatives want to protect the life of the unborn child (sometimes without caring about the situation of the mother).
2. The “moderates” view this as a satisfactory compromise, thinking they will reduce the numbers of abortions.
3. Yet they effectively have affirmed the view that the unborn child conceived in a violent and/or immoral act is of “no value” and therefore does not need protecting, by agreeing to such legislation. They are therefore sacrificing and compromising on the truth that all human life is of immeasurable value and allowing this most innocent victim to receive the death penalty.
4. They also view this as “compassionate” to the plight of the woman victim, “easing her pain” in the short-term but causing greater distress in the long-term.
Conclusion: The compromise makes no sense from the more conservative perspective, for to minimize the value of the life of a human being in the case of rape/incest completely undermines the rationale for the pro-life position in the first place and opens wide the door complete unrestricted abortion on demand.
Here is a sobering story that truly addresses where this logic leads:
“She told me that she would have aborted me if it was legal”
Dennis Sewell has written an interesting and incisive article that presents the argument that Darwin’s ideas have lead to great atrocities and violence. Here is the article on Times online in the UK.
Here is an important section:
In America, where Darwin’s writings on morality and race have come under particularly intense critical scrutiny because of the enduring creationist debate, he has been accused of fostering moral nihilism and scientific racism, and even of promoting an ethic that found its ultimate expression in the Holocaust. Most startling of all, a connection has now been drawn between Darwin’s theories and a rash of school shootings. In April, 1,000 people gathered at sunset in Littleton, Colorado, to commemorate the victims of the Columbine high school massacre, 10 years on. Darrell Scott, whose daughter Rachel was the first of the 13 children to be murdered, and whose son Craig narrowly escaped being shot, cannot understand why so little attention has been paid to the motivation of the killers, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, and their interest in Charles Darwin’s ideas. “Harris wore a ‘Natural Selection’ T-shirt on the day of the killings. They made remarks on video about helping out the process of natural selection by eliminating the weak. They also professed that they had evolved to a higher level than their classmates. I was amazed at the frequent references to evolution, and that the press completely ignored that aspect of the tapes.”
Much of the evidence remains sealed under a court order issued to minimise the risk of copycat killings, but from those documents that are in the public domain, it is clear that Eric Harris fantasised about putting everyone into a violent computer game that only the fittest could survive. And, like Darwin himself, he noted how vaccination might be interfering with nature’s weeding process. In his rantings Harris said he wished there were no vaccines, or even warning labels on dangerous goods, “and let natural selection take its course. All the fat, ugly, retarded, crippled dumbass, stupid f***heads in the world would die… Maybe then the human race can actually be proud of itself”.
As the attorney for the families of six of the students killed at Columbine, the Denver lawyer Barry Arrington has come across more in a similar vein. “I read through every single page of Eric Harris’s journals; I listened to all of the audio tapes and watched the videotapes… It became evident to me that Harris consciously saw his actions as logically arising from what he had learnt about evolution. Darwinism served as his personal intellectual rationale for what he did. There cannot be the slightest doubt that Harris was a worshipper of Darwin and saw himself as acting on Darwinian principles.”
In 2007, detectives following up a tip-off about a planned school shooting in Pennsylvania discovered that their suspect often logged on to a social networking site called Natural Selection’s Army and a number of related chatrooms that were later tagged by the media as the “cyber school for killers”. These sites were quickly shut down by their service providers, but today “Natural Selection” is the name of a popular computer game in which competing teams attempt to annihilate one another — a sign that Darwin’s term is still associated by many teenagers with sudden and extreme violence.
“Natural Selection” T-shirts have proved a popular line through web-based outlets, and it seems that the Columbine killers have spawned a gruesome personality cult — there is even a computer game in which players adopt the roles of Harris and Klebold, which features original CCTV footage of the killings.
Among those reported to have frequented the original Natural Selection’s Army website was an 18-year-old Finnish student, Pekka-Eric Auvinen. On November 7, 2007, in Tuusula, Finland, Auvinen forced his head teacher to kneel down in front of him before he shot her with his pistol. He slaughtered a further seven victims before turning the gun on himself. Some of the Jokela high school students afterwards described the way Auvinen prowled through the building pointing his gun at people’s heads. Sometimes he would squeeze the trigger and kill them; sometimes, after looking long and hard through the sights, he would suddenly turn away and let his terrified target go free. One witness said he seemed to be choosing his victims at random, but in fact he was making a very deliberate selection. He was trying to weed out the “unfit”.
Before he embarked on his shooting spree, Auvinen posted a lengthy apologia on the internet. Styling himself a “social Darwinist”, he said that natural selection appeared not to be working any more — had maybe even gone into reverse. He had noticed that “stupid, weak-minded people reproduce faster than intelligent, strong-minded ones”. The gene pool was sure to deteriorate if society continued to guarantee the survival of the second-rate. He had pondered what to do about this problem. He understood that life was just a meaningless coincidence, the outcome of a long series of random mutations, so there might not be much point in doing anything at all. But eventually he had decided he would do his bit by becoming a natural selector, aping the pitiless indifference of nature.
Auvinen left a special plea for his motivation to be taken seriously and for the world not merely to write him off as a psychopath, or to blame cult movies, computer games, television or heavy metal music, before concluding: “No mercy for the scum of the Earth! Humanity is overrated. It’s time to put natural selection and survival of the fittest back on track.”
Darwin is often held up as a hero of the modern age, who releases us from many aspects of ethics and morality and in a postmodern way firmly establishes individual/community/cultural relativism. The freedom from authoritative ethics given by a divine creator also inevitably leads to a nihilistic lack of purpose and reason. Eugenics and Nazi Germany are the direct descendants of Darwin, yet little of the ethical implications of Darwinian evolution (one’s that Darwin himself reached) are taught to our students, but they are simply allowed to reach those conclusions on their own. Yet many churches in mainline denominations celebrate Darwin on an annual basis during evolution weekend. They think themselves enlightened, educated and progressive, yet the reality is that they are teaching a philosophy whose implications are eugenics, violence, and death. Thinking themselves wise, they have become foolish and exchanged the life-giving objectively true message of the gospel for a morally bankrupt, ethically depraved false philosophy leading their disciples down the wide road of destruction.
Presbyweb linked to this story about a particular Presbyterian Church that is engaged in a fascinating new ministry. They are doing a service for dogs and their owners. It is certainly an interesting gimmick, and I as a dog lover and owner of three dogs myself was intrigued.
What was most revealing about this particular church and pastor was this section of the article:
Before the first Canines at Covenant service last Sunday, Eggebeen said many Christians love their pets as much as human family members and grieve just as deeply when they suffer – but churches have been slow to recognize that love as the work of God.
"The Bible says of God only two things in terms of an ‘is’: That God is light and God is love. And wherever there’s love, there’s God in some fashion," said Eggebeen, himself a dog lover. "And when we love a dog and a dog loves us, that’s a part of God and God is a part of that. So we honor that."
First I would correct him about the “is”…does it not repeatedly say that God is holy and that God is righteous? But setting that aside, his statement about God is love, completely misses the point. Somehow he has interpreted this in some kind of nonsensical pan/en/theistic way to mean the reciprocal of the statement, namely that “love is God”, thereby making a logical fallacy. Clearly when the apostle John speaks of God being love, he is speaking of an attribute of a personal God. Yet this particular pastor has reinterpreted this to mean that when someone experiences some kind of warm (possibly fleeting) feeling of love, then God must somehow be present. Maybe this pastor will soon be holding a blessing for cash and currency, because we have all probably known people who dearly love money? His logic would then have us all experiencing God whenever we have some warm feeling that we attribute as love. My wife loves ice cream (as many do), so I wonder if he’ll be starting a Ben and Jerry’s service soon?
This case will probably morph into an assault case…but it should make us all ask certain legal and moral questions.
Authorities say a 37-year-old Los Angeles man has been arrested on suspicion of murder for the death of an unborn child believed to be his….Police say the arrest came after an investigation on Monday revealed "suspicious circumstances of a miscarriage." Investigators estimate the fetus was in its 13th week.
Why should this suspect be arrested for suspicion of murder, when the mother could have legally aborted the child with the praise and adoration of many? Why is the “fetus” considered a child and therefore “able to be murdered” only in certain cases? Why would the method of the killing make an abortion legal, while in an assault situation it becomes murder?
We are clearly a very confused culture and society. We want to make excuses for our leniency and even in some cases taking pleasure in abortion/murder, while at the same time we want to be able to call the act murder when there is an assault involved the the mother wanted the baby. There is something twisted and perverse about all this.
Why would anyone accept the Margaret Sanger Award?
I found it quite humorous to hear that President Obama won the Nobel peace prize yesterday. For me it raises the question of what peace means? How has the President brought about greater peace? Has he healed divisions? Has he ended worldly conflict somewhere?
Maybe he should have been awarded with the Nobel Prize for Literature for inventing the unique and remarkable slogan "Yes, we can" and “hope and change”?
Or maybe he should have been awarded the Prize for Medicine for inventing a miraculous Healthcare Reform plan that claims to save money while around the world, the same system is losing money and going under–with completely inferior care?
Or how about the Prize for Physics working to stop this world destroying itself due to global warming, when all the current scientific evidence is pointing in the opposite direction? Just how short-sighted are we?
And why should he be overlooked for the Prize for Economics for spending almost $800 billion dollars to create a negative number of jobs in America, throwing away much of that money in government waste and graft?
You would be hard-pressed to find any person on Earth or in history, who has achieved so much in such a short time.
A helpful clarification to modern heresies closely associated to ancient heresies by Dr. Tom Wright.
We live in an unusual age today. As objective truth collapses and the authority of a triune God who objectively reveals himself inerrantly in scripture disappears, it is little wonder that an unanchored world goes insane. What is truly sad is when once faithful and orthodox denominations abandon the authority of scripture for a worldly ethic. Many ordained leaders in my own denomination (PCUSA) as well as most other mainline denominations have signed onto a statement that abandons nearly all traditional Christian sexual ethics in favor of an ethic that mimics the liberal sexual ethos of our postmodern times. While on the one hand they favor, plead, and politically maneuver for the freedom of nearly all sexual expression absolutely prohibited by God’s Word, the other hand works with the liberal left of the political world to bring about tyranny and control in nearly all other aspects of our lives. Mark Steyn has written very cogently about this here. Here is an ironic section of his article:
A few years ago, Kenneth Minogue of the London School of Economics wrote that ours is the age of “the new Epicureans” in which the “freedom to choose” trumps all. A childless couple can choose to conceive. A female couple can choose to conceive. A male couple—Barrie and Tony from Chelmsford, England—can choose to conceive and both be registered as the biological fathers of their children not so much on the technical grounds that they had “co-mingled” their sperm before shipping it out to their Fallopian time-share in California but out of a more basic sympathy that this is how Barrie and Tony “self-identify” and it would be cruel to deny them. A woman in Bend, Ore., can choose to become a man, and then a “pregnant man.” A man can choose to become a woman. A man can choose to get halfway to becoming a woman, and then decide it’s more fun to “live in the grey area.” Biologically, Barrie or Tony, but not both, is the sole father of their child; the “pregnant man” is pregnant but not a man; the he/she living in “the grey area” is in reality black or white—at least according to what we used to call “the facts of life.” But issuers of passports, drivers’ licences, even birth certificates and no doubt one day U.S. Department of Homeland Security visas now defer to the principle of “self-identification.”
In terms of sexual identity, we’re freer than almost any society in human history, at least in terms of official validation of our choice to “redefine” ourselves in defiance of biological and physiological reality. And yet, if you accept that infertile couples and gay couples should be free to “have” babies by means of technology, why should you not be free to sell them the semen that enables them to do it? If you suggest that, say, “partial-birth abortion” (which is actually partial-birth infanticide) ought to be illegal, feminists will be out in the street chanting, “Keep your laws off my body!” and “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries!” But, when the government tells you you can’t sell your own bodily fluid, which is, after all, about as basic a personal property as anything, there are no outraged progressives to chant “Keep your legislation off my ejaculation!”
At some point we will come to see that the developed world’s massive expansion of personal sexual liberty has provided a useful cover for the shrivelling of almost every other kind. Free speech, property rights, economic liberty and the right to self-defence are under continuous assault by Big Government. But who cares when Big Government lets you shag anything that moves and every city in North America hosts a grand parade to celebrate your right to do so? It’s an oddly reductive notion of individual liberty. The noisier grow the novelties of our ever more banal individualism, the more the overall societal aesthetic seems drearily homogenized—like closing time in a karaoke bar with the last sad drunks bellowing off the prompter “I did it My Way!”
And in the end even the sex doesn’t do it. In the Netherlands, the most progressive nation in Europe, the land where whatever’s your bag is cool, where naked women beckon from storefront windows, a certain ennui is palpable. Last week, the ANP news agency released a poll showing that the Dutch now derive more pleasure from going to the bathroom than from sex. It wasn’t a close-run thing: eighty per cent identified a trip to the toilet as the activity “they enjoy the most”—or, as the South African newspaper the Witness put it, “The Bog’s Better Than Bonking.” To modify Eliot, this is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a flush.