Sunday, March 11, 2012

The 3 - March 11, 2012

This week on "The 3", spotlighting 3 stories of relevance to the Christian community on a weekly basis, I want to look at the new law signed by Governor McDonnell in Virginia requiring a woman who goes in for an abortion to have an ultrasound, a controversy over comments by a high-profile, Christian actor who basically shared the Biblical view of homosexuality and gay marriage on national television, and an extremely viral video produced by an evangelical Christian has served to call attention to a complex and confusing situation surrounding a man who is enlisting children and others into a life of brutality.

3 - VA Governor signs ultrasound bill, 7 states now require ultrasound

This week, Virginia became the seventh state that has some sort of law on the books requiring a woman to have an ultrasound before having an abortion and taking the life of their pre-born child. The original bill had been amended to give the woman a choice between an external or internal ultrasound after so-called women's rights groups attempted to brand supporters of the bill as insensitive toward women. VA Governor Bob McDonnell is quoted as saying:
"As difficult as an abortion decision is, the information provided by ultrasounds, along with other information given by the doctor pursuant to current law and prevailing medical practice, can help the mother make a fully informed decision. I consider it important to embrace a culture of life in our Commonwealth, and to protect the life and liberty of all of our citizens."
Other states, including Alabama, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, are anticipated to be considering ultrasound legislation this year. I believe ultrasound technology is being used by the Lord to demonstrate to abortion-minded or undecided women that there is actually a living child developing within them. Pregnancy centers who utilize this technology are quite effective in providing this vital information, saving the lives of unborn children; in states where this type of legislation is being implement, abortion centers will be required to provide this great source of knowledge.

2 - Cameron's comments on homosexuality, gay marriage, stir controversy

On my radio show and in this blog, I have repeatedly identified criticism of homosexuality and the gay lifestyle as some sort of "holy grail", regarding the expression of opinion. It seems that gay activists and their allies are free to criticize people of faith, and that is perfectly permissible, but if someone dares express his or her opinion about a Biblical view of homosexuality, that person, especially a high-profile one, is subject to all sorts of vile criticism. The latest example is former "Growing Pains" star Kirk Cameron, who has been featured in Christian-oriented films such as "Left Behind", "Fireproof", and the documentary movie that he will be releasing on March 27th, "Monumental: In Search of America's National Treasure", tracing the Biblical roots upon which our nation was founded.

Kirk went on Piers Morgan's show on CNN over a week ago and described homosexuality as "unnatural", going on to say that "I think that it's detrimental and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization." When asked about gay marriage, he said that he believed marriage between a man and a woman was "ordained by God", and that no one should attempt to redefine it.

Well, as you've perhaps heard, Kirk was subjected to a verbal firestorm from those who disagreed with him, including the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), and a few Hollywood-types, including former "Growing Pains" co-stars Alan Thicke and Tracey Gold.

One could say that Kirk "fought" back this past week, but I think it would be more accurate to say that he spoke the truth in love, pointing his right to express his opinion, which was consistent with Scripture, and calling for greater civility in the public debate of this and other issues. In a statement, he said:

“I believe that freedom of speech and freedom of religion go hand-in-hand in America...I spoke as honestly as I could, but some people believe my responses were not loving toward those in the gay community. That is not true. I can assuredly say that it's my life's mission to love all people.

“I should be able to express moral views on social issues — especially those that have been the underpinning of Western civilization for 2,000 years — without being slandered, accused of hate speech, and told from those who preach ‘tolerance’ that I need to either bend my beliefs to their moral standards or be silent when I'm in the public square."

This verbal confrontation came against the backdrop of the controversy over Rush Limbaugh's choice of words as he commented on the Administration's mandatory free birth control; he has since apologized for those comments. There has also been great attention to the lack of apology by many on the American left who have called high-profile female conservative women offensive names. We as a culture, no matter where we might fall on the political or the faith spectrum, would do well to weigh our words, and as Kirk requested, to "debate these things with greater love and respect".

1 - Invisible Children video brings visibility of Ugandan warlord

It hit the Internet early Wednesday and drew a torrent of curiosity. As I write this on Sunday afternoon, the KONY2012 video is at 71-1/2 million hits on YouTube. It was produced by a California-based organization called, Invisible Children, which is devoted to calling attention to the atrocities committed by the Lord's Resistance Army, based in Uganda, and its founder, one Joseph Kony, who is sought out as an international criminal. According to USA Today:
The United Nations and the International Criminal Court say that Kony, backed by child soldiers, comforted by girl sex slaves and fed by a campaign of terror against Ugandan villagers, has abducted, mutilated and killed tens of thousands of children and adults.
Children have been reportedly taken captive by the scores, and Invisible Children is attempting to bring awareness of the atrocities that have been committed, to hopefully bring Kony to justice, and to undertake the enormous mission of freeing the children who have been held in bondage and abused.

You can expect with an instant following this large, there would be plenty of scrutiny about this organization and its purposes. Some critics say that the attempts of Invisible Children will only serve to worsen the situation, while others are concern that the organization supports the Ugandan army, which is known for its alleged brutality. Apparently, there has been a small group of U.S. troops sent into the region to try to apprehend Kony. Christianity Today has some good analysis of some of the concerns.

And, then there are those that object to the evangelical faith of founder Jason Russell, as they attempt to portray Invisible Children as some stealth, sinister organization that really just wants to proselytize in Uganda. Citing Russell's appearance at Liberty University, where he discussed some of the approaches and strategy of evangelism, secular critics are trying to discredit this organization that has become suddenly popular. But, can't an organization, doing good, while motivated by the love of Christ, function in this type of environment - isn't that what we, as the church, should be doing, and should have been doing, for ages?

Yes, I think it's prudent to examine the methods and motives of Invisible Children, or any organization. They are not a religious organization, but apparently Jason's faith informs the work that he does - and I think that's a great lesson for us: we may not all be working in ministries, but we can be doing ministry, displaying the Lord's love in whatever setting to which we are called. And, bravo to Jason Russell, who is attempting to shine light into a very dark and confusing situation.

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