How many thought that the current U.S. Supreme Court would question the constitutionality of ObamaCare? It did...and we're all waiting to see the final outcome on this hotly debated issue.
But, how about abortion? Well, at least one Justice (Scalia) is on record A saying that abortion in not found in the Constitution...
LifeSiteNews.com reported – In a recent interview with California Lawyer, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia stated that abortion is not included in the U.S. Constitution.
Scalia, who is opposed to the notion of an “evolving” or “living” Constitution, told interviewer Calvin Massey that by giving some of the “necessarily broad” provisions of the Constitution an “evolving meaning,” these provisions fail to do their job, which is to put in place limitations on what society can or cannot do.
Even if “the current society has come to different views [than the original framers],” he said, “you do not need the Constitution to reflect the wishes of the current society.”
Instead, he said, when something isn’t found in the Constitution, it should be taken up by legislators. One of the examples that he used to illustrate this point was abortion.
“You want a right to abortion? There’s nothing in the Constitution about that,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean you cannot prohibit it. Persuade your fellow citizens it’s a good idea and pass a law.
“That’s what democracy is all about. It’s not about nine superannuated judges who have been there too long, imposing these demands on society.”
Read the rest.
While Justice Scalia made this statement, it does not mean the high court will agree or even rule on the issue any time soon. But, thank God critical thinking skills and courage are still alive in, at least some, of our Justices today. Would that truth and justice be the value and motive for all court decisions!
There seems to be a growing frenzy and almost palpable excitement for a “revolution” and I do NOT think we really understand what that would mean. I also don’t believe that we all mean the same thing when we say “revolution.
We must be so careful that the cause of “saving our country” or “defeating the left” doesn’t eclipse the greater mission here. Souls are at stake. While I believe with increasing passion that we are to occupy this land for as long as we are here, without an absolute knowledge that we have NO victory without a turn towards God, who has protected us and ALLOWED us to live in freedom. As we all know, this is changing quickly. Some of these changes are glaringly egregious, and others are more insidious and concealed.
May we not think so highly of our own intellect or resolve that we even attempt to take on the enemy without seeking the Divine Protection that our Forefathers knew they were hopeless without. This means getting our own internal “house in order”. The enemy knows our weaknesses and will use them against us, and each other, if we do not do the business with God we ought to do. If we are right with Him, we can stand confidently and fight whatever is coming with full assurance that the outcome is already known and our hope is secure.
I am convicted to go deeper….how about you?
Newsweek’s proclamation of the End of Christian America left a sense of despair in the minds of many Christ-followers this year.
We heard President Obama state that America is neither a Christian or Muslim country, and now we read in the 2009 American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) that the percentage of individuals claiming no religious affiliation has almost doubled.
But there is more. The northeast quadrant of the United States is identified by the survey as a new “stronghold for the religiously unidentified.” This is not entirely unexpected as we have seen the ongoing decline of religious influence in academic institutions located in this region, institutions that were originally established to some extent to advance God’s Kingdom. And the concentration of liberal politicians in this region of the country has been noticeable for many years.
Observing that the momentum of the current political climate is resulting in a greater secularization of the American mind, I suspect that the numbers presented in this ARIS report will likely increase in the next five years. As Christian doctors continue to have their right of conscience threatened, as institutions like Notre Dame make an impractical distinction between the office of President and his ideology, and as common, every day believers hand over their religious freedom of expression for a mythical notion of neutral language and practice, I think we will see these numbers increase throughout the country.
But this is not the end of Christianity and God is not dead.
American Christians do not really know what it means to be persecuted, as do those in many other countries. Yet on a relative scale, I do believe that the infractions against conservative religious voices will motivate an uprising of American Christians willing to challenge the rising tide of intolerance.
The question for Christian conservatives is, are we willing to work harder AND smarter to impact individual’s lives that will ultimately have an impact on the overall worldview of our society? In theory, we are all willing, but are we willing to stake our lives and reputation on an explicit expression of the Christian worldview?
Washington has declared war on wealth. Certain income levels are regarded as excessive and unfair, and whether you work for one of the bailed out financial institutions or not, you may find your salary level somehow capped by the current administration. The prevailing belief by Washington insiders is that people need to be taken care of and, willing or not, the government wants to redistribute your “unfair” excess to those who are “unfairly” deficient. Government is casting its net wide to both judge what is excess and claim for their own one of the causes of the church, to help those in need. This is clearly another instance of ethics being thrust upon us by this administration, disguising it as some sort of economic science.
What I don’t understand is how financial excesses, to whatever relative degree they are determined, are a bad thing and sexual excesses to any degree aren’t even on the radar. Perhaps it has more to do with what people in society lack rather than what they have, which in the end simply yields votes for those who are the providers for new, costly, ineffective programs.
We hear all about creating a society where people don’t have to worry about where to sleep, where their next meal is coming from, or how they will obtain an antibiotic to cure a simple infection. Noble pursuits, I don’t like to see anyone suffer either, but in many cases we are simply holding the wrong people responsible for the solution, especially when many of these folks are also some of the most generous people in the world. But the politicians in D.C. who are determining your morality by the width of your wallet aren’t looking at the symbol of sexual excess that they have place in everyone’s metaphorical wallets Sexual excess leads to so many of the problems that this administration wants to alleviate through taxation, and instead of dealing with the root cause, they prefer to perpetuate this viscously irrational circle of behavior.
In the realm of virtue ethics, there is a concept known as Aristotle’s “Golden Mean.” If you know a little bit about mathematics, the mean is the average or the middle between 2 numbers. For the current administration, a virtuous society is one in which everyone is somewhere in the middle between poverty and prosperity. But apparently sexuality is not measured by a similar scale, perhaps because they believe sexual excesses contribute to the virtuous nature of a society and that we should not only legislate, but encourage a sexual free-for-all. Removing parental notification laws, providing access to all forms of birth control to girls of any age, and denying doctors and pharmacists of conscious protections will apparently—all in the name of science and health care of course—benefit society.
Washington D.C. has clearly set itself up as the religious center for reproductive and economic ethics, with Obama continuing to fulfill his role as Messiah, yet has chosen not to rightly address the fundamental issues in society that promote or prevent human flourishing. It’s difficult to pinpoint anymore where the liberal line that separates church and state is, but all of the ethics put forth in the name of science are clearly opening the door to an increase in America’s secularization while dismissing the Christian worldview outright.
During the recent 100 day press conference, President Obama declared--almost word for word to previous statements--his position on abortion. Even though he isn't a great speaker, he likely is a wordsmith on paper and has framed this language in such a way that it sounds logical, caring, respectful of religion, and dare I say, even centrist.
You know, my view on abortion I think has been very consistent. I think abortion is a moral issue and an ethical issue. I think that those who are pro-choice make a mistake when they — if they suggest — and I don’t want to create straw men here, but I think there are some who suggest that this is simply an issue about women’s freedom and that there’s no other considerations. I think, look, this is an issue that people have to wrestle with, and families and individual women have to wrestle with.
There is some serious strategy going on here. I believe what Obama is trying to do is de-politicize abortion for the sake of the pro-abortion position. By referring to it as a moral issue that "families and women have to wrestle with" he is eliminating the notion of objective morality and linking abortion instead the realm of private values. But if the debate remains tied most dominately to the extreme feminist, reproductive rights movement, abortion remains open to public debate amongst ideological foes, each with the assumption that there is an objectively correct answer. And if that debate continues to rage, Obama can't appear as if he is taking no side. But there is more.
The reason I’m pro-choice is because I don’t think women take that position casually. I think that they struggle with these decisions each and every day, and I think they are in a better position to make these decision ultimately than members of Congress or a President of the United States — in consultation with their families, with their doctors, with their clergy. So that’s been my consistent position.
There is a ton to address in this portion of his statement, but what I want to focus your attention to the "private" relationships he mentions, between a woman and her family, doctor, clergy. His administration's work to mute the public abortion debates leaves it in the realm of these private relationships...and take note that religion is removed from the public realm (no surprise) into the private life of the woman. This is the only place where religion has a voice in the matter.
This statement he makes is clearly driven toward a removal of religious voices from the public square, and the fact that he consistently makes his position known suggests his words need to be closely examined. If the Obama administration succeeds in muting the debate, even if only on the side of the pro-aborts, religious voices will be even further marginalized and secularism will be the default worldview, even among those who identify themselves as Christian. And we see a lot of that occuring already.
When President Obama recently signed the Executive Order that would provide federal funding for embryo-destructive research, the ideological floodgates were opened. Obama said the new order is “about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda—and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology.” Science does not make decisions, ethics and the theories that support them are where decisions are made.
There are two significant issues that arise from this whole discussion. The first is the fact that science can only provide us with an “is.” Science can only describe what we can do or what we might be able to do, but science will never, on its own, answer the question, “what should we do?”
Simply because the progress of science and research allows us to do something does not necessitate that we ought to. This IS-OUGHT dilemma is so extremely elementary, yet escapes Obama and his left-leaning ideologues. Indeed, he has answered the ethical question that was previously “above [his] paygrade,” but tries to disguise it as a matter of science.
The other significant issue is that Christian conservatives are catapulted again into the discussion of what is an embryo, when does human life begin, what does it mean to be created in the Image of God, and what are the implications of this research on the character of American society? But oddly enough, while Obama is allowed to bring ideology to the teleprompter in his IS-OUGHT charade, the church is a bit more temperamental about bringing so-called political issues in the pulpit. The fact is, most issues of politics are issues of faith and matters for the church to engage, yet there is nothing inherently political about embryo-destructive research that should make it off limits from our pastoral leadership and communicated from the pulpit.
Embryo-destructive research is first a matter of ethics and is secondarily political. In fact, it’s only been politicized because of the desire to appeal to the wants of a very vocal and left-leaning segment of our society. And aversion to these discussions from the pulpit is based on the idea that they have great potential to cause division inside the church so we, for our own good, should abide by the so-called Wall of Separation. Is this evidence that the church is really as political as government, and government is really as faith-oriented as the church? An interesting reversal of roles.
In a persistent effort to rid the public square of any religious voices, one the few voices that might be left after the 2008 election, that is, the American Humanist Association, launched an advertising campaign to "raise awareness" of humanist doctrine. On ethics, they state:
"Morality doesn't come from religion. It's a set of values embraced by individuals and society based on empathy, fairness, and experience."
Competing against God would no doubt make an individual or organization insecure, necessitating the launch of a campaign aimed at desensitizing the voting public against the existence of God. Apart from their inability to account for objective good, they clearly are inconsistent in application of tolerance. A pluralistic public square is indeed what we have, and in a democratic society the predominant beliefs of the people are going to have the greatest impact. So organizations like the American Humanist Association go on, poisoning the well against theistic perspectives on public issues.
But to the heart of this advertising, it's no surprise that they would try to argue for goodness without God. As part of how man was created, he can have a sense of right and wrong, good and evil. But he'll certainly struggle giving an account for the right and the good in absolute terms. Humanism leaves us in the mire of relativism, with numerous interpretations of the right and the good.
As we move into the new administration in 2009, we will undoubtedly encounter more efforts to promote humanistic ideals at the expense of policies that protect human life and promote human dignity. Resulting from this will be more confidence for the anti-theistic verbiage. Clearly we're in for a rough ride, but certainly not a without an aggressive response.
The Arab American news reported on the ACLU "Reclaiming Our Rights" conference that was held in the Detroit area.
One of the speakers was Arab American News publisher, Osama Siblani, who spoke on "Church & State: Freedom of Religion." One of Siblani's claims stated that of the many presidential candidates, many are bringing religion to the forefront of many issues and using it as a tool to sway voters.
He also stated that after September 11, religion was suddenly thrown back into politics...I don't believe we are practicing separation of church and state; I believe we are witnessing the abuse of religion in politics.
He may actually have a point. I've seen more religious activity coming from the left than ever before-because they know that there is a religious left that they need to address. There has been more "God-speak" on the left than on the right, primarily because each side is held to different standards, but that's a topc for another day.
It is, however, unclear what Siblani's point is...if he is talking about everyone or if is making the charges commonly asserted against the Christian right. Whatever he means, he has opened the door to hypocrisy. Take note of what else was reported about what he had to say:
Siblani went on to discuss the diversity of religion that exists in the U.S., stating, 'We need to use it as a tool to reach out to those around us. Islam should be used in the US as an asset, a way to build bridges with the rest of the world.'
This comment leads me to believe that he is well-aligned with the religious/political left of the US that asserts faith as a matter of political expediency, not as a matter of truth. This reveals a level of blatant hypocrisy that is permissible in our culture. It seems that, with diversity held as the highest value, that the concern isn't really about the separation of church and state. It is a movement to separate Christianity and its influence from the public square.
Shalit's book, by the same title, documents story after story of young women who are tired of the sexual exhibitionism that defines contemporary feminism. They understand the backwards logic of this in that it cancels out the work of the early feminists who wanted to be taken seriously as intellectual equals instead of merely objects of sexual gratification.
The Girlcotters are a group of young women known for their objection to the Abercrombie & Fitch t-shirts for girls that say "who needs brains when you have these." A young group of feminists, Shalit spends many pages telling their story, leading up to their invitation to be guests at a NOW conference. Here is what one of the girls had to say about the conference:
We went to the NOW conference last week, and I support equality and would never like to be controlled by a man, but the NOW conference was more like a brainwashing feminist summit than anything else. They had this artistic performance that was so much about sex and how much all men suck; it really made me feel sick...Those three days were awfully confusing for me...I mean, we got the Women of Action award for what we've done, but...I think we've been misunderstood. Everyone thinks that we are so feminist, but, frankly, most of us are not that radical. We just want to be on par with men...I thought that they were very reasonable, middle-of-the-road like me, but I guess I was somewhat mistaken. (page 235)
What Shalit points out in numerous ways in GGR is that 2nd and 3rd wave feminists cannot accommodate today's young feminists who embrace modesty as a way to value themselves. The feminists of previous generations hold that promoting modesty is a sell-out to patriarchy, but I can't understand how young women giving themselves over entirely without emotional or commitment safety is of any benefit to woman.
Desiring fair and equal treatment between men and women is a noble pursuit, but women have deceived themselves into thinking that being bad, engaging in casual sex and and other forms of exhibitionism puts them on par with men. In fact, it accomplishes quite the opposite and the evidence is that sexism is still a serious problem in our culture. I believe we can place the blame on women who have made it easy for men to not take any of us seriously.
Abortion isn't a religious issue according to Garry Wills in a LA Times opinion. If you read the article with a highlighter, searching it for fallacies, you will have a very colorful document when finished. Please check out the article for yourself, I want to address some core issues here.
First of all, this rant against evangelicals opposing abortion on the basis of religion is terribly amusing given that he doesn't quote a single evangelical Christian theologian, philosopher, bioethicist, biologist, etc. Interestingly, he suggests that the relevant experts are philosophers, neurobiologists, embryologists. Evangelicals want to exclude them because most give answers they do not want to hear.
Apparently his circle of influence is very small, he can't even find a Christian philosopher? And by virtue of his list of qualified professionals, he's left himself out, thus rendering his commentary null and void. After all, what could a historian possibly know about human dignity, when life begins, or about theological arguments supporting the life position?!
For a historian, he does make an excellent point about the issue of exceptions. I agree with him that a consistent life ethic would exclude making exceptions for abortion, because as he states,
"the circumstances of conception should not change the nature of the thing conceived." I've called Sean Hannity on this before.
The heart of Wills' article is the belief that "there is no theological basis for defending or condemning abortion." It's curious that he includes 'defending' abortion, I'm sure the folks at RCRC aren't very happy with him on that. What Wills misses is an entire body of work on the topic of human dignity. Human dignity is the basis for respecting persons and is grounded in the fact that all persons are created in the image of God. This is the basis for the evangelical prolife position and Wills misses it entirely.
The absurdities of this article continue with statements such as:
"The universal mandate to preserve "human life" makes no sense. My hair is human life -- it is not canine hair, and it is living. It grows. When it grows too long, I have it cut. Is that aborting human life? The same with my growing human fingernails. An evangelical might respond that my hair does not have the potential to become a person. True. But semen has the potential to become a person, and we do not preserve every bit of semen that is ejaculated but never fertilizes an egg."
Is this guy serious? Sperm is a necessary component of fertilizing an egg (unless we are talking about SCNT) but the sperm on its own will never mature into an adult human person. Do we really have to explain these things?
In a recent interview with Beliefnet, Barak Obama was asked about the role that faith and faith-based programs might play in confronting social ills. The question posed suggested to Obama that perhaps his view is similar to George Bush's. Obama replied:
"No, I don't think so, because I am more concerned with maintaining the line between church and state. And I believe that for the most part, we can facilitate the excellent work that's done by faith-based institutions when it comes to substance abuse treatment or prison ministries...I think much of this work can be done in a way that doesn't conflict with church and state. I think George Bush is less concerned about that."
His response reminded me of the claims made by a Wisconsin based atheist organization that put forth a lawsuit claiming that the government had crossed the so-called wall of separation in allowing faith-based organizations to receive government funds for the purpose of taking on these social ills.
"The Freedom From Religion Foundation Inc., objected to government conferences in which administration officials encourage religious charities to apply for federal grants."
But I'm not here to defend Bush's work against the charge that he isn't concerned about the separation of church and state. That's like asking someone if they've beaten their pet rabbit today. The charge is simply ridiculous as it assumes that Obama's view of the wall of separation is the correct position. To equivocate in response to the question posed to him is, at best, the artistry of lawyering, or is simply pure ignorance.
It's not been established that any of the faith-based organizations that have received federal grants to confront social ills have inappropriately diverted such funds to proselytizing efforts, nor has it been shown that Bush doesn't care whether that happens or not. But to put this to rest, the atheist organization did not get a hearing because their complaint was without merit.
Faith-based organizations have always been a part of the work in our society, this isn't anything new.
Americans United put out a press release demanding that the Florida State School Board not consider the inclusion of creationism or intelligent design as a part of public school curriculum. Barry Lynn, who manipulatively dons the title "Rev," says that "public schools must teach science, not religion, in science classes." The press release also states that "the Constitution requires a separation of church and state and that the courts have repeatedly forbidden teaching religion in science classes."
We are so past the point of needing to address the role that philosophical/theological presuppositions play in the minds of Darwinists. They aren't even attempting to argue science, rather they are playing a political game intended to further marginalize evangelicals. So let's look closer at the claims of these materialists...and recognize what is a matter of philosophy-not science-on their part.
The latest issue of Salvo magazine sums things up well:
"Scientific naturalism is a philosophical position that assumes an entirely materialistic origin to the universe-a faith claim for which Darwinists have no proof whatsoever..."
Though Intelligent Design doesn't out of logical necessity preclude the possibility of evolution, it does counter well what is the prevailing notion in the public arena-that God is dead and Darwinists are purely objective observers...and that is their fatal flaw.
Beginning with the idea that the material world is all that exists has the Darwinist (philosophical materialist) in the field of philosophy and theology, not science. They simply cannot observe what happened first unless time travel is now also possible.
So while Darwinists are dabbling in philosophy, they need to ask themselves how it is that they can know that only the natural exists.
Such an assertion is not only a claim to universal knowledge, but is the epitomy of arrogance and political correctness - not to mention just plain foolish.
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