Wednesday, July 29, 2009
The organizer, Dr. Michael Brown, had cautioned those taking part in the counter-rally to be civil and behave in a respectful manner. Even though these so-called "protestors" were peaceful, there were critics, and some of them were rather harsh. You can find the story from Dr. Brown's perspective here.
There are some big ideas that result from this story:
Differences are not hate. Isn't it peculiar that merely by espousing a viewpoint consistent with Scripture, people are branded as full of "hate"? It is true, there have been excesses coming from our side, as homosexuals have been responded to in a confrontational manner on occasion. But, Christians have been on the receiving end of rude behavior when they decide to get involved with this important lifestyle issue.
Disagreements can be civil. We as Christians must strive to share our message in a way that is firm, full of conviction, and factual, without being strident and uncivil. Just because we might disagree with people, that doesn't mean we have to be disagreeable.
Discussing our stories can lead to dialogue. A key element in sharing our faith is to share what God has done for us, to communicate our story, and the enduring truth that "God Has a Better Way"! If we're convinced of that truth and seeking to win with love, His Holy Spirit will be activated through our lives, and I believe we'll see amazing things.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
3 - Change of Plans
The nation's largest abortion provider continues to come under fire. This week, Rep. Mike Pence's amendment to strip Planned Parenthood of its funding under Health and Human Services' Title X was voted down, after unexpectedly passing the Rules Committee. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council had some strong comments about the chamber's refusal to restrict government funding of abortion through its support of this organization. Meanwhile, Live Action's continued efforts to expose the operations of Planned Parenthood move forward, despite the removal of its latest undercover video project from Birmingham, AL, by video site YouTube. (read here) Lila Rose's latest video, in which she poses as a 14-year-old who had relations with a 31-year-old man, catches a PP counselor encouraging her to cover up the incident, which is statutory rape, as well as attempt to circumvent Alabama's strong parental consent law. This has caught the attention of the Alabama Attorney General's office, as well as the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, who have both expressed concern over the series of events caught on the video. Nevertheless, the tactics and philosophy of Planned Parenthood are continuing to be exposed, and brave lawmakers are taking steps to try to cut off the pipeline of government funding. The Birmingham video can still be viewed at www.liveaction.org.
2 - Rockin' the River
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is one example of a ministry with an aging patriarch that is being successful at reinventing itself without abandoning its historical principles. This is seen in a recent series of events that began last weekend called "Rock the River", which will hold concert/crusades in 4 locales along the Mississippi River - Baton Rouge, St. Louis, Quad Cities, and Minneaspois. The Baton Rouge event featured youth-oriented Christian music by groups such as Flyleaf and Mary Mary, along with gospel-centered messages by Franklin Graham between the music sets. Over 11,000 people came out for the historic first "Rock the River" event, and the series swims upstream to St. Louis on August 2, when St. Louis Cardinals' great Albert Pujols and his wife will serve as the honorary chairpersons. BGEA's website has this report.
1 - Health and Life
This week, a number of pro-family organizations took aim at one of the many faults in the health care proposals at various stages in Congress, and that is the provision for abortion. By not outlawing abortion benefits, it is thought that the legislation will allow for abortion coverage, which would place many employers in a difficult moral position, and would lead to an expansion of abortion in America. A number of pro-life leaders were featured on Thursday night's "Stop the Abortion Mandate" webcast, including Dr. James Dobson, Fr. Frank Pavone, Dr. Richard Land, Charmaine Yoest, Wendy Wright, Marjorie Dannenfelser, and many others. Here is the associated website. The Christian Post had this report.
Focus on the Family Action has some excellent analysis in its "Focus Action Update" and other information posted here. In addition to the increasing of the nation's deficit, the greater tax burden on small businesses, the nationalization of the health care system, and the potential denial of medical care to the nation's elderly, just to name a few, the abortion area is one of paramount concern when it comes to health care.
Moon landing coverage leads to the circulation of a story of Buzz Aldrin's communion on the moon
Hate crimes update: Senate passes Defense bill with hate crimes amendment
Friday, July 17, 2009
3 - You be the judge
Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama's nominee to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, appears likely to be confirmed, with a Judiciary Committee vote next week and a Senate vote probable before the August recess. While the nominee tried to dance around questions about her statements, such as the "wise Latina" comment, that she said was a poorly expressed choice of words, her judicial philosophy is thought to be consistent with the left wing of the Supreme Court. Her vagueness was apparent on issues such as abortion and even gay marriage, but her comments on consideration of the "health of the mother" with respect to so-called reproductive choice is consistent with the type of language that you might hear from pro-abortion advocates, who could seemingly always find a health exception when a woman's right to choose is at stake.
More on Sotomayor and abortion on LifeNews.com. Plus, this story...
2 - Healthy debate or haughty disdain?
The rush to reform America's health care system kicked into overdrive this week, while the eyes of the nation were watching the political theater known as the Sotomayor hearings. A House and a Senate committee voted on their versions of health care reform legislation, and the President was urging a quick passage of this major linchpin in his agenda.
Pro-life groups and lawmakers were concerned about the mandated funding for abortion in drafts of the health care legislation, as reported by CitizenLink. Government involvement will eventually lead to government control, and with limited resources, rationing is a strong possibility. This could take its toll on the elderly, and result in some moral and ethical situations concerning end-of-life issues. Eagle Forum of Alabama had these observations in a recent e-mail about proposed health care legislation:
Will Ration Health Care according to Obama drafter: Zeke Emanuel, Rahm Emanuel's brother, and key architect of the Obama health plan, argues for the "just allocation of health resources" in a way that ensures future generations are of the best mental and physical health. He has developed the "complete lives system" (CLS), which discriminates against the elderly. Emanuel says, "the complete lives system discriminates against older people...Unlike allocation by sex or race, allocation by age is not invidious discrimination; every person lives through different life stages rather than being a single age. Even if 25-year-olds receive priority over 65-year-olds, everyone who is 65 years now was previously 25 years. Treating 65-year-olds differently because of stereotypes or falsehoods would be ageist; treating them differently because they have already had more life-years is not."
Will Raise Taxes: Democrats have proposed to pay for their trillion-dollar health plan by imposing a 5.4% surtax on everyone earning more than $280,000 a year - a particularly harsh blow to small business owners. Next year 39 states would have a top individual tax rate of over 50%. Alabama's top tax rate would be a mere 49.76%!
Will Destroy Quality: Look at Canada, the U.K. or any other country with nationalized health care to see that their quality of care is inferior to what we enjoy in the U.S. This bill will result in longer wait times to see a doctor, more limits on service, and fewer choices for patients. People from all over the world come to our country to take advantage of our quality health care; why would we want to lower our standards to the level of care they could get at home?
Marches Toward Socialism: This plan will result in government takeover of the health care system. Health spending represents a whopping 17% of total GDP. Private plans could not be sold or changed (p.1018) . Neither could they could compete with government-subsidized premiums 30 - 40% cheaper. Employers will pay the 8% government penalty rather than provide insurance.
There is still time to oppose this legislation, that poses a threat to the stability of families and the preservation of life. With increased taxation, even on the so-called rich, comes a greater burden to consumers in general, who will bear the brunt of increased prices in order to cover the costs of operation as a result of small business owners having to pay higher prices and having to provide health insurance to their employees or risk paying a fine.
1 - A matter of hate?
Since the Senate couldn't seem to muster an up- or down- vote on hate crimes, Majority Leader Harry Reid attached it to a defense spending bill as an amendment, a common tactic for passing legislation that could be unpopular with the public. So, lawmakers concerned about this bill's protection for homosexuality and a host of other deviant sexual behaviors and lack of protection for pastors and others who could be prosecuted simply for speaking out consistent with the Biblical perspective on homosexuality, now face a challenge of voting against funding our troops in order to kill this threatening legislation. Liberty Counsel has some excellent analysis of the legislative process. Those who commit crimes based on hate already face punishment through our legal and penal system, so creating another class of criminal act based on thought or motive is unnecessary. This bill has been characterized as just another opportunity to provide protection and Federal endorsement of the gay lifestyle.
New Survey: 1 in 3 scientists believe in God
Bill to stop reinstatement of Fairness Doctrine turned back
Saturday, July 11, 2009
3 - A Celebration of Calvin
This week in Geneva, Switzerland, Christians from around the world met to celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the birth of faith pioneer John Calvin - July 10, 1509. Special meetings included sermons, lectures, and the pondering of the effect that Calvin had on Christianity.
A couple of sources highlight the celebration of Calvin's birth - The Calvin 500 blog has a play-by-play of the week's activities in Geneva, plus another celebration, the Reformation 500, took place in Boston. Here's a link to Vision Forum's Founder Doug Phillips' blog.
2 - Keeping up the Pace
I've been following the history of the case involving religious expression in Santa Rosa County, Florida for a couple of months now. It was near the end of May when I found out about the rally that took place there on behalf of the attempt by the ACLU to stifle religious expression in that county, including the city of Pace, where two students had been removed from the graduation program at the local high school because there presumably was a fear they might mention God. At graduation at Pace High School, some 400 seniors stood up in the ceremony and spontaneously recited the Lord's Prayer. Here's an account from Liberty Counsel.
All the protest in Pace is the result of this consent decree, agreed upon by the ACLU and the school district, which has had a chilling effect on the rights of especially teachers and administrators to express their faith in a constitutional manner. In fact, the principal of Pace High and a teacher in the district could be found guilty of contempt of court because of seemingly innocuous actions. The Christian Educators Association International and Liberty Counsel have become involved in the case, and here is some information from CEAI's perspective, and Liberty's website.
This has the potential to be a groundbreaking case with respect to religious expression. It has been contented that school faculty do not leave their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse door, and this case is a major threat to the conduct of Christian teachers and administrators, as the result of an overreaching consent decree that has not even been heard in a court. Finn Laursen, Executive Director of CEAI, visited The Meeting House this week, and you can download the conversation from www.meetinghouseonline.info/download.
1 - The President and the Pope
Finally, when you have a major national leader and a major religious leader meet together, the mix means a significant relevant event for people of faith. Factor in the differing perspectives on the sanctity of life of the two individuals and you have quite an intriguing meeting.
So, as President Barack Obama concluded his European tour, he met with Pope Benedict XVI for less than an hour...they discussed some of the usual fare, such as Middle East peace, but what I found interesting were the post-meeting statements. Reportedly, the President pledged to the Pope to reduce the number of abortions in our country, which is interesting, considering Mr. Obama's has been highly criticized by members of the pro-life movement for his policies that do anything but contribute to the reduction of abortions. Furthermore, Mr. Obama's support for the expansion of embryonic stem cell research contrasts with the Pope's opposition to such research, which takes the life of a human being - an embryo - in order to perform research on it. Interestingly enough, in the exchange of gifts after the meeting, the Pope gave the President a document on bioethics, which reportedly give the basis for his opposition to embryonic stem cell research.
Here is an account from the New York Daily News.
Coming up this week, it's the confirmation hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court. This week, a number of female, pro-family leaders weighed in on the debate.
You might want to see what the Institute on Religion and Democracy had to say about Rick Warren's address before an Islamic group this past weekend. There are a couple of posts in July dealing with that topic.
Developing: Plus the latest undercover video from Lila Rose and Live Action has been posted, which has attracted the attention of law enforcement officials in Alabama, including Attorney General Troy King. Lila returns to the Meeting House on Tuesday.
Friday, July 03, 2009
3 - An affair to remember
The highly publicized marital unfaithfulness of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford is creating quite a bit of discussion as fellow politicians and fellow Christians are commenting on his tragic indiscretion involving an Argentine woman. Not only has he been speaking out, quoting Scripture in his press conference to describe the depths of his sin, without apparently statement of repentance, and stating that he and the woman had seen a "spiritual advisor" to try to end the affair. (Who is this spiritual advisor? Click here.) His wife, Jenny, has been speaking out, too, expressing a willingness to forgive even though she has been devastated. (Her latest statement)
Sanford's sin can be a cautionary tale, according to Chuck Colson in a recent "Breakpoint" radio commentary, documented in The Christian Post. Sanford was a rising star in the political realm and a member of an evangelical community in Washington, DC. This piece from The Daily Beast gives some insight into Sanford's public religious persona quotes a well-known Christian journalist who has been following Sanford for some time.
Even if someone declares himself or herself to be a person of integrity and morality, that person is not exempt from temptation and immune from a public, embarrassing incident - that's why we need the grace of God, recognizing our vulnerability to sin and the power of God that enables us to overcome it.
2 - The King of Pop and the King of Glory
The death of Michael Jackson has rocked the world, as artists and other celebrities have spoken out and talked about his profound influence on pop music. I think that Steve Fee said it well in his Twitter post:
There was great hope when a piece circulated on Facebook that Andrae and Sandra Crouch had related they had prayed with Michael to receive Christ just a few weeks before his death. Indeed, Andrae had posted a video link on his Facebook page and urged people to pray for Michael, which is a bit surreal, but he and his sister, Sandra, have had to release a statement that indeed Michael did not receive Christ, to their knowledge, even though they enjoyed a rich time of musical collaboration and friendship recently (read The Christian Post's take here). In this situation, we were too quick to believe this life-changing event occurred, something that we certainly wanted to believe, and perhaps the seeds that were planted resulted in a harvest of salvation. Who but God, the ultimate judge, knows?
Crazy thought ... The "king of pop" stands before the "King of Glory" today ... Fame redefined.
Joanne Brokaw wrote a thought-provoking piece on BeliefNet regarding Jackson's and Farrah Fawcett's deaths, that reminds us that thousands died that same day - it's just that these 2 people had such a strong effect.
No matter how much fame we may achieve in this life, nevertheless only what is done for Christ will last and we all will stand before the throne of God. We all have influence and a writing a legacy to leave behind, and we can be challenged to make our lives count for Christ. Michael left a legacy as the "King of Pop", as well as a trail of some erratic behavior, and when he is remembered, I suspect it will be fondly, overall. But, again, as Christians, our mission is to follow Christ and allow Him to direct our steps - if that gains notoriety, fine, but faithfulness is the key!1 - "Pride" and prejudice
It is no secret that President Obama has been friendly to the suggestions, er, demands of the homosexual community. He has been on record as saying that he would like to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military, has stated his support for civil unions, and supports so-called "non-discrimination" legislation that would prevent employers from refusing to hire someone because of his or her sexual orientation. Furthermore, he proclaimed June as LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) Pride Month.
To honor that occasion, he held a reception, attended by those who support the gay agenda. Having taken some heat for not moving fast enough on their issues, he pledged to fight for them, and said that essentially to watch his actions - they would be pleased with the finished product of the Obama administration. Focus on the Family Action's Citizenlink website provides some coverage of the reception and the issues at hand, and you can find the Focus Action Update at here. Also, Stuart Shepard, who produces those "Stoplight" videos at Citizenlink.com, came on my radio show, and we had a lively discussion about the topic - you can download it from www.meetinghouseonline.info/download - just scroll down and look for Stuart's name.
When it comes to our President, it's important that we pray for him and pay attention - to his actions, as well as his words.Honorable Mention:
Pastor Jack Graham has cancer
Rick Warren addresses Muslims