Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Another Caution on Global "Religion"

Former UK prime minister Tony Blair
Yesterday, I posted on the rather outrageous push by the mayor of Houston to intimidate Christian pastors by subpoena. Today, I am going to take up a call made recently by former UK prime minister Tony Blair for "religious respect." You can read the BBC story here.

As usual, the devil is in the details. If we're talking about mutual "tolerance" and "respect" in the genuine sense of the word, great. However, if said "respect" really means censoring what faiths teach, then it's not so great.

The two separate stories are really related if you think about it. Houston's mayor wants to intimidate and censor pastors from preaching against homosexuality—something clearly condemned as sin by the Bible, which is the source of authority for the Christian faith. This is a clear violation of religious freedom and the U.S. Constitution. But the pressure for churches to shut up about homosexual sin is under the guise of "tolerance." It really means anything can be tolerated except biblical Christianity.

So when global or national politicians talk about tolerance and respect, let's question them very closely on what they really mean by those words. Religions by their very nature disagree about truth and ultimate meaning. And that's fine. People need to be able to discuss their differences, and the very essence of religions discussing their values is to persuade others. To be sure, there are some faiths that aren't really out in front sharing their beliefs in an evangelistic sense, but the ability to do so is at the heart of freedom of religion AND freedom of speech. Also included in those freedoms is the right not to believe, nor to be compelled to believe. If the government—national, state, local, or global bodies such as the UN—desire to compel religious believers into silence, then there is a problem. An enormous one. Especially in a Constitutional republic such as the United States, where freedom is written into our DNA.

We have unalienable rights granted to us by God. Let's not allow them to be stolen away from us in the name of "tolerance" and "respect."

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Now It's Begun . . . in Houston

Dr. Russell D. Moore
Seems like it takes a whale of a story to motivate me to update the blog these days, and I apologize to my readers. Every time I think my schedule is slowing down to where I can do some writing, kaboom.

But this had to be addressed. In Houston, Texas, there is a controversy catching fire where the mayor of the town is trying to subpoena the sermons of churches who are biblically opposed to homosexuality. I didn't want to write anything until I had the story confirmed by a reliable source, and Dr. Russell Moore came to my rescue. I am posting his well-written column on the controversy here. He said it much better than I could have said—right on the money. More measured too, because I'm furious.

I will make one comment to try and illustrate the point. Let's take the "hot button" issue of homosexual behavior off the table and put in any other issue about which Christian churches might be concerned. Any other issue or sin addressed by the Bible—the Word of God. Shall we make speaking out on those issues illegal also? I think not.

I will not see the Bill of Rights or the ability of churches to worship, preach, and teach the Word of God flushed without a fight. The mayor of Houston may regret this one in the long run. She definitely will in eternity.

Friday, October 03, 2014

History? Whose History

Watching Fox News Channel tonight (specifically Megyn Kelly's show), I became aware of yet another flap going on out in Colorado—this one over history curriculum in schools. Keeping in mind the frequent left bias in mainstream media, here is the Washington Post's coverage of the story.

The gist of the argument is that the history curriculum put together by a private liberal arts college highlighted a leftist view of American history rather than a patriotic, or if not patriotic, at least a balanced view of events in American history. This isn't the first time there has been a fight over things like this, and quite frankly, I can understand why parents get up in arms over this stuff. The liberal left has had a chokehold on American education for decades, and the traditionalist/conservative viewpoint is often ignored, mocked, or given short shrift. School boards seem powerless to do anything about it, and in the event one or two school board members speak out, the full court press of the liberal machine goes into gear and tries to grind them into dust. In this Colorado case, the teachers even managed to gin up the students to walk out of school in protest.

Funnily enough, from what I can see, the folks (especially the school board member) who raised objections weren't asking for a solely conservative point of view. They were asking for balance in presentation, and that positives be taught along with perceived negatives. But that wasn't satisfactory for the regime. This must be squelched!

It appears a compromise was reached for now, so I hope that some good will come out of this. But there is a larger question I hope to address at some length later. And that is to review how things have gotten to the mess they have in this country, and how we have to address a couple of entire generations who have been educated and indoctrinated with the left's view of history and global geopolitics.

No doubt my tone above will raise challenges that I am advocating a conservative/traditionalist viewpoint only to be taught. Nope. Not in secular education. I want objectivity, balance, and fairness. I want TRUE academic freedom at the collegiate and post-graduate level. I want all sides of controversial issues aired fairly, factually, and objectively, and then for students to do their own study and arrive at their own conclusions. (Theology is a different matter. But that's another subject for another time.) Properly taught and guided, students will in general arrive at correct conclusions when presented with the facts.

I would also like a healthy sense of patriotism reintroduced. Patriotism is NOT radical nationalism—a false charge thrown by the left to silence its critics. The American experiment and the ideals around which our nation was founded are worthy ones. The system was by no means perfect, and our Founders realized the fallen nature of man. They built into the Constitutional system a way to remedy things, and for quite a while we managed to do so. That is until the left managed to worm its way into our educational system and jurisprudence.

Conservatives have often wondered why they often win at the ballot box but little seems to change. I have insisted for years that conservatives have not waged the battle where it needs to be waged the most. Getting politicians elected is one thing. But when you ignore the school boards, the college boards, university boards, superintendencies, law schools, teaching tracks, teacher's unions, and a host of related things, (AND NOT TO FORGET THE MEDIA—PRINT, RADIO, AND TELEVISION) you're striving after wind. The left is busy building its hive mind right under your feet. Winning a few elections changes nothing. The fight and rebuilding of the country has to begin from the ground up. Why am I so concerned about the secular educational system and especially the secondary/collegiate level? When you have someone like Ward Churchill or Bill Ayers hired as professors or instructors at major schools, and their radical viewpoints are not even challenged, something is wrong. The students that get churned out of these classrooms are filled with those viewpoints and they carry them out into society.

I have a lot to say on this. It's late, I'm tired, and this is probably written more disjointedly than I'd like. My headline says "History? Whose history?" In that, I recognize that history is told from many points of view. Ideally, an historian chronicles facts and tries to draw a picture of human events, and why they happened the way they happened. A good historian does not impose his or her biases on their work. I am afraid we have less historians at work these days and more propagandists. The American history of the far left is FAR different than the American history of the far right. There is a center left and center right view, as well as a general centrist view. If the reader is up to speed enough to detect where the writer/researcher/historian is coming from, you can at least have that in mind when you're reading. But historical facts are historical facts. The interpretation of those facts is where the fun comes in.

I think if education and history that's being taught ends up having a destructive impact on your country and the next generation, it's time to get concerned and to do something about it.

More later, God willing.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Apologist Ken Silva With Christ

I was saddened this week to hear of the passing of Pastor Ken Silva, head of the apologetics website Apprising.org. In prior years, before I stepped down from the apologetics radio program I co-hosted in 2011, Ken had been a frequent, enjoyable, and knowledgeable guest.

We first got acquainted back in the late 90s and early 2000s when the Emergent Church stuff began rearing its head. He shared the concern of many of us that it was basically the same old theological liberalism wearing a new guise. Those concerns proved to be true in many cases.

Ken fought the fight of a good warrior for Christ. While his concerns ran deep, I never heard him express those concerns on our program in any other way than kind and loving, yet direct and plain. For the past several years unknown to me, he had been battling degenerative disease in his spine and other ailments. Those ailments finally claimed his life Sunday morning. Ken will be missed, but we also rejoice that he is now in the presence of the Savior he loved and served. Please pray for Ken's family, church, and loved ones.

It seems like we've lost quite a few apologists over the past several years. It is not a ministry for the fainthearted.

*Thanks to Chris Rosebrough of Pirate Christian Radio for the great tribute photo of Ken.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Free Network Campaign Ads for Hillary?

Well, lookee here. CBS is going to be airing a new show called "Madam Secretary." It's supposedly inspired by the Benghazi hearings. In pre-publicity releases, it even shows the lead actress getting the "3 AM phone call" that Hillary Clinton brought to the fore in her failed bid against Barack Obama in 2008.

Given the no longer plausibly deniable bias in the media, I think it's plain to see this show for what it really is. A not-so-subtle attempt to help create a sympathetic public for a Hillary presidential campaign. Of course, the manner in which it's done skates under campaign finance and other laws because it's not a direct commercial tied by name. It's art and drama, you see. Snork.

Interesting also, that this comes along with Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett's recent appearance on "The Good Wife." Wonder what else we'll see before the presidential campaign season gets off to a hot start?

Lest anyone charge me with conservative bias, let me restate something I've often said and still believe. I have always been uncomfortable with former politicos moving over to news commentary and anchoring. From George Stephanopoulos on the Democratic side to Mike Huckabee on the Republican side, I'm sorry...it just makes me uncomfortable. I guess if said politico openly declares their colors and make clear that their programs are not objective journalism and are instead intended to advocate a point of view, fine. But that line gets increasingly blurred and journalists of the "old school" like me don't like it very much.

It can be argued that there is no such thing as "objective" journalism and people bring their biases to their work. I can say that when I was in secular journalism, I made every effort not to do so, and to report controversial issues objectively. I saved opinions for the editorial commentary. While I'm pretty confident there are still journalists out there who operate that way, it's harder to see these days. We need a "revival" in journalistic objectivity.