Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Why Leftists & Globalists Hate John Bolton

This new article by John Bolton, written in Hillsdale College's Imprimis newsletter, is powerful. Read it closely, and you will understand why the globalists in the Senate, the State Department and the United Nations wanted him gone.

I hope we've not seen the last of him. He's one of the few defenders of national sovereignty and the United States Constitution that we have left.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Wright-Bomb

It's been interesting to watch the ongoing drama over the views of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, retired pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago and former pastor of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. Just when it seems like the Wright controversy will die down, the good reverend makes more comments that light the fire all over again. Only the fire seems headed toward a nuclear burst.

I, along with many others across the country, watched the live coverage of Dr. Wright's comments to the NAACP convention. I also watched -- with interest -- to see what the talking heads would have to say about it. As I expected, no one addressed the theological aspects of the controversy. And no one asked the right questions.

Dr. Wright was very cagey. He came across sounding almost reasonable. He even sang snatches of old hymns and referred to serving Jesus. The question is, which Jesus?

For starters, the Jesus of liberation theology -- standard or black -- is not the Jesus of the Bible. Also, if one really paid attention (note his references to the treatment of homosexuals), you would have probably detected hints of liberal theology bubbling forth. And for a United Church of Christ pastor, that is not surprising. As I have noted previously, with the exception of some conservative congregations here and there, the UCC largely threw biblical orthodoxy to the wind long ago, including embracing of homosexuality as a legitimate expression of human sexuality.

Dr. Wright now is blasting any criticism of him as a broad scale attack on the black church experience or context. I am certain that quite a few Bible-believing, Bible-preaching black pastors would take issue with the good doctor on that one. There are many, many black congregations out there that stand firmly on biblical orthodoxy and reject heresy.

In the end, it doesn't matter what your "experience" or "context" is. Right is right and wrong is wrong when it comes to biblical interpretation and exegesis. I don't much care whether a pastor or theological teacher is black or white. If said teacher is peddling heresy, then it must be confronted. It doesn't matter how loudly people squall or bleat in protest.

If anyone is trying to cause racial divides, it is people like Jeremiah Wright, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. These guys thrive on racial conflict. For people who style themselves as Christian ministers, they ought to be ashamed.

A late addendum to the above post.

I just finished watching more news coverage of this controversy, with more comments by Rev. Wright. Most notably, "black churches embrace a theology of liberation," spaced with more comments about interpreting theology through a black context.

I cannot emphasize this strongly enough. When it comes to biblical theology, race and experience is irrelevant. You don't interpret the Bible through a black context, or white context, or brown context. You deal with it through its own context. Scripture is what it is. Universal truth that is applicable to ALL people groups, no matter what the culture. There is one right interpretation, although there might be abundant applications of core biblical truth. Any attempts to wrest Scripture from its own context and authority must be rejected. Any attempts to make the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ into something that it is not must be rejected.

You cannot take the Gospel and turn it into the communist manifesto. You cannot take the Gospel and turn it into an apologetic for robber baron capitalism, or any other political/social movement of man. The Gospel is the Son of God taking on human form, taking human sin upon Himself, and paying the price for human sin through His shed blood. He rose again from the dead for our justification.

A human heart changed through the Gospel and regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit can indeed experience liberation. Regenerate human beings can indeed accomplish much good in the world. But the good works we accomplish as believers are the fruit of that changed heart and changed life. That is the message of Scripture. Anything else is a perversion of biblical truth.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Eldorado Cult and Religious Freedom

I have purposely waited to comment on the situation involving the Mormon-offshoot polygamist cult in Eldorado, Texas. I wanted to wait and see what facts came out before I said anything. Well, it's been several weeks now, and there is still little information about details. The authorities are purposefully being vague except for the general allegations. Therefore, I will hazard a few comments for the purpose of provoking some thought.

As an evangelical Christian, I have little sympathy for Mormon doctrine, or the doctrines of any cult. The mainstream Mormon church disavows this Texas group, but the roots of the group are in Mormon history and theology. That isn't even debatable. But there are other things about this that trouble me, and these things should give us all pause.

Obviously, we have a Bill of Rights. These are rights that cannot lawfully be taken away by the government as they were considered inherent by our Founding Fathers. Those rights include freedom of religion, and the free exercise thereof.

However, our rights under the Constitution are not necessarily absolute, depending on what we're discussing. We have freedom of speech, but that doesn't mean we have the freedom to shout "fire" in a crowded theatre, or to slander people. We have the right to keep and bear arms, yet that right does not include individuals being able to possess a nuclear weapon.

Do we also have freedom of religion? Yes. But that right does not carry over into child sacrifice or temple prostitution. These Texas cultists are insisting on their religious freedom, but that religious freedom does not carry over into the right to sexually abuse children. Polygamy is also against the law, and has been since the mid-1800s at least.

While I can sympathize with Texas officials and their desire to protect children, I am also concerned about the precedent this sets. Waco and the Branch Davidians also set a precedent. What if the government decides one day that homeschooling is child abuse? What if they decide that teaching kids that God created the universe is somehow child abuse? Any church doctrine that the powers that be don't like can be a target.

A stretch, you say? Maybe. But governments can abuse their power. I also know that precedents are established in stages. The Nazis had a game plan to control society long before they won a legal election in 1933. It can happen, folks. Even here.

In my view, the authorities were at fault for not arresting the leaders of this group immediately when they learned polygamy was going on. The men are the ones responsible for this situation. (Yes, the women are accountable also, but this is a male hierarchy situation. The husbands should have been held criminally liable early on, and this could have been snuffed out long before it ever reached this stage. Now you have families and children involved, and the emotional trauma inflicted of being taken from parents. It's really sad.

Another concern of mine involves well-documented abuses by child welfare workers in various states. While many such workers genuinely do have the best interests of children at heart, and work hard to balance parental rights with protecting children, others have a hard-core leftist view of the family. The state basically owns your children, in their view. They have an agenda, and it's an ugly one. Others have questionable backgrounds themselves, and they act out their own hatreds on Christian families. Lawsuits have been won over that very thing. As you can see, this isn't a cut-and-dried situation.

I don't know. Perhaps this was necessary to protect these children. If, as is alleged, girls were being raised to become sex slaves for middle-aged men, something had to be done. But we don't know all the facts yet. All I know is that this is the largest child custody crisis in U.S. history. This situation in Texas will have broad implications for the future, and for the entire country.

We had better be very, very careful.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Jimmy the Bigot?

It appears that the Israeli ambassador is unhappy with former president Jimmy Carter.

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Manzullo on Fuel Costs

In addition to being a good friend of mine, Don Manzullo (pictured at podium) is a Congressman representing the 16th District in northern Illinois. Below is his view of our current gasoline/fuel woes, and what to do about them. I largely concur.

Reducing Gas Prices, Ending Our Dependence on Costly Foreign Oil

By Congressman Don Manzullo

As you very well know, gasoline prices are now at record high levels surpassing $3.50 a gallon and are expected to go even higher as we near the peak summer driving season. Many experts predict we will be paying close to $4 a gallon by Memorial Day.

What’s driving this outrageous surge in fuel prices? Crude oil closed this week for the first time above $117 a barrel (it was at about $60 a barrel this same time last year). This is primarily due to a huge increase in the worldwide demand for oil, and the foreign oil producers’ unwillingness to increase production. WE MUST END OUR DEPENDENCE ON COSTLY FOREIGN OIL.

I believe we need a comprehensive energy policy focused on taking care of our own needs without having to rely on outsiders who don’t have our best interest at heart. I am a strong supporter of renewable and alternative energies (I am involved with several active projects in northern Illinois) and I believe we need to do a better job of conserving our energy, but we also need to pursue more domestic production of oil and gasoline. The oil is there; we just have to want to get it.

Using environmentally sound practices, we can produce an estimated 1.5 million barrels of oil a day on a tiny portion of the Alaskan National Wildlife refuge (exploration would occur on 2,000 of the 19 million acres of the ANWR). The oil from the ANWR would increase America’s oil reserves by 50 percent.
During exploration in 2006, Chevron found a deep well offshore in the Gulf of Mexico capable of producing up to 15 billion barrels of oil.
The U.S. Geologic Survey just released a new assessment of production estimates for the massive Bakken Oil Formation in Montana and the Dakotas. The government now estimates 4.3 billion barrels of oil can be extracted from those fields with existing technology.
I voted several times the last two years to support the projects above and allow more domestic production of oil and gasoline to end our dependence on foreign oil and reduce gas prices in America. Unfortunately, the bills were blocked in the Senate in 2006 and failed to pass the House in 2007. While the United States maintains its ban on drilling off the Florida coast, Cuba will soon start drilling in the same waters through a partnership with China!

Gasoline was $2.29 a gallon when Democrats took the majority of Congress last year; today it’s $3.65 a gallon. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised for more than a year to bring up for a vote a “common sense plan” to lower gas prices, but she has yet to deliver. I will continue to work to convince my Democrat colleagues who set the House agenda that an integral part of any successful policy to reduce gas prices in America must include more domestic production.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Miley Cyrus - Another Testimony Compromised?

The news is a-twitter these days with some rather racy photos of "Hannah Montana" star Miley Cyrus have hit the Internet. After Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and so forth, I guess none of this should be shocking. What it is is sad -- all the more so because not so long ago -- a few weeks -- Miley talked about her Christian faith and what it meant to her. She also talked about how her parents kept her grounded. Thanks to this rather stupid move, Miley's testimony and credibility is out the window for who knows how long.

Of course, many won't care. You will no doubt hear plenty of defense from fellow entertainers, but you'll also hear it from some within the "Christian" community. Remember my post a day or two ago talking about the lack of holiness in today's evangelical churches? Here's a glaring, precise example of what I was talking about. Remember my comments about modesty a few days ago? And it's just not me. The Bible says we're supposed to be holy, modest and proper. We're supposed to flee youthful lusts and not be stumbling blocks to others. Sadly, many young girls today who call themselves Christians have the attitude, "if you've got it, flaunt it." Scripture means nothing, or gets twisted and redefined to be meaningless. The postmodern culture has done its work well.

Let me be clear here. My intent and wish is not to pile on Miley. I am concerned over my own daily life, and increasingly anxious that I not dishonor the Lord by my behavior. While I am not prone to racy pictures (trust me, I'd probably only appeal to an orangutan), I am certainly capable of other stumbles as are all human beings, and yes, even Christians. We're redeemed, but still struggle with the old nature. But I think we all have to be concerned when Christians are indistinguishable from unbelievers in our behavior.

I would like to see Miley come out and show some repentance for these photos instead of expressing defiance. That would show a genuine Christian attitude, and hopefully be a better example to the millions of children who love Miley and her alter-ego, Hannah Montana.

But we live in interesting days. Who knows what will come down the pike in the days ahead. It could get worse.

Update: According to the Christian Post, it is not clear whether these photos were genuine or part of a smear campaign with a look-alike. We will stay tuned.

Yet another update. The pix were genuine, and the latest uproar involves a semi-nude taken for Vanity Fair. This will need some further comment, which I'll make in a day or two.

A Case for Retributive Justice

So. A 6 foot 5 man in Indianapolis decides to rob a bank. He vaults over a counter and shoots a teller in the stomach before taking the loot. The teller was a woman, pregnant with twins.

I hope they catch the thug, and soon. And then . . .

But instead, we'll probably hear how the thug was victimized by society and needs therapy. I'd say he needs therapy. About 2,400 volts worth.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Dark Days Ahead?

Do return, O LORD; how long will it be? And be sorry for Your servants. O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness, That we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Make us glad according to the days You have afflicted us, And the years we have seen evil. Let Your work appear to Your servants And Your majesty to their children. Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; And confirm for us the work of our hands; Yes, confirm the work of our hands (Psalm 90:13-17).

This morning, I led the prayer group at my office and shared the above verses from Psalm 90. I found it especially striking as I had been listening to the news both at home and on the way into the office.

There is so much bad news. The economy is in a mess. Our troops are in harm's way. The cost of living -- fuel, food and everything else -- is skyrocketing. The worst prognosticators are expecting a full blown depression by the end of the year. Some see devastating hyperinflation around the corner. Some regions around the country already have a form of food rationing going on in stores.

None of the candidates running for America's highest office are particularly inspiring. We have our government trying to bring down God's wrath on our nation due to our Israel policy, and we have a buffoon of a former president inviting more by kissing up to Israel's mortal enemies. We seem to be losing more of our rights and freedoms by the year, and it seems that the powers that be -- both from the public and private sector -- are bound and determined to end American sovereignty under the guise of free trade.

I could go on with this. It's depressing, isn't it? But I found the words of Psalm 90 comforting, because it reminds us we have a sovereign God who is firmly in control of events, and who has promised to never leave or forsake us. We won't necessarily be spared tough times, but He will see us through it. And the tough times can give us all a chance to bring glory to the Lord through our testimony to the world around us.

I am not, nor have ever been, a datesetter in terms of the return of the Lord or the Rapture of the church. Could it be around the corner? I hope so. But if it's not for some time yet, we still have our marching orders . . . orders that have not been rescinded. We're to preach the Gospel, make disciples, and "occupy until He comes."

I am also increasingly convicted and concerned about our testimony to the world around us in terms of our behavior. So many Christians these days seem indistinguishable from non-believers. I won't give you a litany of the behaviors I have in mind, but it's certainly not holiness as defined by Scripture. I am concerned about myself. I want to live in holiness, and I certainly find it a struggle. But these times ought to encourage us to do so. Remember the words of the Apostle Peter . . .

Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness . . . (2 Peter 3:11).

Whether the Lord's return is around the corner or not, we are in for some very tough days as a country, and in the church. May we all be found faithful.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Journalism's Corpse

As you probably know, the majority of my adult life has been spent in media and journalism (or was before I entered full time ministry). Although I am no longer working as a journalist, I still try to stay engaged with what's going on in the profession.

I was trained by "old school" journalists. Report accurately, report fairly, and don't slant the news. Don't express an opinion on an issue unless it's in an editorial. Report both sides.

In Barbara Simpson's WorldNetDaily column today, she mentions the controversy over Time Magazine's butchering of the famous Iwo Jima flag-raising photograph. Instead of an American flag, they put a tree being raised by the soldiers. The survivors of Iwo Jima are justifiably incensed. While I am also outraged, I'm even more outraged at what the managing editor of Time had to say. Here's an excerpt from Barbara's column . . .

It's all about the bottom line, even though Time managing editor Richard Stengel says the editorial purpose was to give the magazine a "point of view" and address the issue as a crisis, just as war is a crisis. But most revealing is what Stengel said April 17 on MSNBC. According to the Institute, he said journalism needs that "point of view."

(Read this carefully.)

He continued . . . "You can't always just say 'on the one hand, on the other' and you decide. People trust us to make decisions. We're experts in what we do. So I thought, you know what, if we really feel strongly about something, let's just say so."
That's it! Real journalism is dead. No more balancing issues or presenting both (or more) sides. In fact, readers/viewers can't be left to think/decide for themselves.
According to Stengel, he and "they" know better and will tell us what to believe.

Now how's that for breathtaking arrogance? Not only do we have an elitist attitude on display, but also the very unprofessional insertion of a personal "point of view" in a news story.

My friends, that is not fair, objective journalism. That is Joseph Goebbels-like propaganda. And it's probably only going to get worse.

And while I am at it, let me also take a whack at WBBM A.M. in Chicago, a CBS-owned news/talk station. I am tired of hearing them air only one side of news stories and slanting them in a way to hurt conservatives. This morning, they aired a story about John McCain campaigning in the South, but the only actuality they offered was one of a Republican critic citing how John McCain's positions are out of touch. No response from McCain or a GOP representative. They do it all the time. Blatantly.

Unprofessional doesn't even begin to describe it.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Gordon Brown Acolytes for the New World Order

In this recent news article , British prime minister Gordon Brown steps up to the plate as the latest acolyte for the globalist New World Order gang.

Of course, this shouldn't surprise us any. To me, the notable thing is that they are getting more open, more vocal and more persistent in their push for the end of the sovereign nation-state. North American Union. North American Superhighway. The European Union. And so on.

The only thing that will stop it is if people rise up and do something about it.

I don't think that's going to happen. We have an entire generation or two of sheep, which is what they've labored for all along. Bring this matter up to someone, and their eyes will either glaze over, or they stupidly think it's a good idea. Most don't even care.

I know this is all prophesied to happen. It doesn't make it any easier to watch, especially when you know what's coming down the road.

Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Margaret Thatcher Nails It On The Head!

I've always admired former British prime minister (now Baroness) Margaret Thatcher. I found the following quote from her today, and it's delicious. What an ally she'd make in battling postmodernism and the Emergent Church!

Ah consensus … the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects; the process of avoiding the very issues that have to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner 'I stand for consensus'?

-- Margaret Thatcher

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Some English Fun

I am not sure who authored the following piece, but I got a huge hoot out of it. Since I am overloaded with work today, I will offer this up in lieu of my usual rants.

The English Lesson

We'll begin with box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox should be oxen, not oxes.
Then one fowl is goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a whole lot of mice,
But the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn't the plural of pan be pen?
The cow in the plural may be cows or kine,
But the plural of vow is vows, not vine.
And I speak of a foot, and you show me your feet,
But I give a boot... would a pair be beet?
If one is a tooth, and a whole set is teeth,
Why shouldn't the plural of booth be beeth?

If the singular is this, and the plural is these,
Why shouldn't the plural of kiss be kese?
Then one may be that, and three be those,
Yet the plural of hat would never be hose.
We speak of a brother, and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.

The masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine she, shis, and shim.
So our English, I think you will agree,
Is the trickiest language you ever did see.

I take it you already know
of tough, and bough and cough and dough?
Others may stumble, but not you
on hiccough, through, slough and though.
Well done! And now you wish, perhaps
To learn of less familiar traps?
Beware of heard, a dreadful word
That looks like beard and sounds like bird.
And dead; it's said like bed, not bead!
For goodness sake, don't call it deed!

Watch out for meat and great and threat,
(They rhyme with suite and straight and debt)
A moth is not a moth in mother,
Nor both in bother, broth in brother.
And here is not a match for there,
Nor dear and fear for bear and pear,
And then there's dose and rose and lose –
Just look them up – and goose and choose,
And cork and work and card and ward
And font and front and word and sword.

And do and go, then thwart and cart.
Come, come, I've hardly made a start.
A dreadful language: Why, man alive,
I'd learned to talk when I was five.
And yet to write it, the more I tried,
I hadn't learned it at fifty-five.

[An alternative version quotes the final couplet as:

And yet to write it, the more I sigh,
I'll not learn how 'til the day I die.]

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Jimmy the Unspeakable

So Jimmy Carter isn't just content to meet with a murderous terrorist organization known as Hamas, despite the pleadings of his own government, much of Western Europe, the Israelis, and several moderate Arab states.

He now has to physically EMBRACE Hamas leaders. Jimmy the Huggy Bear.

Jimmy the disgrace.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Will Someone Please Lock Up Jimmy Carter?

Every time I think I can forget about Jimmy Carter for a while, the meddlesome former president again manages to insert his proboscis where it is not wanted.

Now he's over in the Middle East meeting with Hamas, a known terrorist organization devoted to the destruction of Israel. To what end?

Our government doesn't want him there. The Israelis don't want him there. Most of the moderate Arab governments who are our allies don't want him there. Everyone seems to get it except Carter himself. The only thing he will accomplish is to further muddy and pollute already muddied and polluted water.

I think it's high time that the current administration put its foot down, both for its own benefit and the benefit of future administrations. Carter long ago ditched appropriate behavior for an ex-president on foreign soil. It's time that action was taken to yank Carter's passport and any security clearances that he still holds. If our government can restrict travel to Cuba and impose other sanctions that bite, it's time to do so with Carter, who can't resist meddling and trying to fashion himself as some sort of global statesman.

Yes. Yank his passport and make him park his derriere in Plains where he belongs. Enough is enough.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Greg Laurie Takes on the Emergent Church

Today, I link you to this article by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California. He's affiliated with Chuck Smith and the Calvary Chapels. Today, he takes on the Emergent Church.

I love this, because if you know anything about the Calvary Chapels, they were in the forefront of the Jesus movement and reaching the so-called counterculture. But they were --and still are -- unwavering in their commitment to the Gospel and the inerrant Word of God.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Good Post on Social Justice

Over at his blog, my friend Dr. Ron Gleason has been dealing with the subject of how the church does social justice. My stepfather came home from the hospital today, so in lieu of a post from me, I offer a link to Ron's latest with the highest kudos.

I hope to be posting myself again before too long, but it's been nuts around here for the past week.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Update On Things . . .

I write this morning from the hospital. We are rejoicing that my stepfather came through his surgery okay yesterday. It was a close call this time. The surgeon told us that the clot in his carotid was hanging "by a tether." It could have gone anytime, and that would most likely have been fatal. Praise the Lord for His loving care.

My stepdad is doing remarkably well for being nearly 85. We still have to keep an eye on things. Due to his age, they will want to keep him here a while longer. His speech is slurred a bit, which they tell us is normal for this type of surgery. It should clear up before too long.

One lesson in all of this . . . don't wait to get something done, especially with something as potentially life-threatening as a clot in a carotid artery. I will try to have more of an account of our experience later so you can see what I mean. Also, don't be afraid to ask questions.

More later.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Red State vs Blue State

In the midst of all the medical fun going on in my family, I have a real quick post to make -- as you'll see by the time stamp, it's nearly 11:30 p.m.

Much was made of the map published in USA Today reflecting the county-by-county, state-by-state vote of Bush vs. Gore back in 2000. In the years following, we frequently heard "red state vs. blue state."

Here's my question. Since when did "red" become a color associated with conservative Republicans? In my experience, "red" meant quite something else.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Prayer Request

My posting may be pretty sporadic over the next few days. My stepfather is facing vascular surgery of some type later this week, but we don't know yet know the specifics.

He suffered a mini-stroke two weeks ago, and we have discovered that he has a carotid artery blockage. We had to rush him to the hospital over the weekend because he nearly passed out twice. Sunday was calm for the most part, but he began noticing weakness and numbness in his limbs. That concerned us, so we asked for his appointment with the surgeon to be moved up.

That appointment took place today, and the surgeon believes there might be more going on with him besides just the carotid blockage. I'll be at the hospital quite a bit, so my blog time will be very limited for a while. I'd appreciate your prayers for this situation.

This Does Not Compute!

After a very difficult day at the hospital with my mother and stepfather, I made the mistake of trying to unwind before bed by turning on the news. Fox News, to be specific.

They were running a story about the AFL-CIO wanting to organize Mexican car washers out in California, where the minimum wage is $8 an hour. You see, the majority of these "washeros" are illegal immigrants, according to the story. They are not being paid minimum wage by their employers. So the union is trying to organize these workers, encouraging them to "demand" their legal rights under the law.

Now, let me get this straight. Workers who are here illegally -- violating American immigration law -- are being asked to form a union to demand their legal rights under the law?

What's wrong with this picture?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Charlton Heston, RIP

I was saddened to learn early this morning of the passing of legendary Academy Award-winning actor Charlton Heston. In recent years, he has been more known for his term as president of the National Rifle Association than for his decades of being an actor. I appreciated him in both roles.

His best known role was probably Moses in Cecil B. DeMille's film, "The Ten Commandments," although that wasn't the movie that won him the Oscar. His performance as Moses was beyond powerful. I am not sure whether or not Mr. Heston was a Christian believer. I know that he recorded hours of Bible readings, which were aired over Christian television networks. I hope and pray that he knew the Lord. I also pray that the Lord will bring comfort to his family in the difficult days ahead.

The world has truly lost a great thespian and a great patriot.

Update: Today I received a tribute to Charlton Heston written by Ted Baehr, head of the Christian Film and Television Commission. He discussed Heston's Christian faith, and told the story of how Cecil B. DeMille had a profound influence on it. For more information, go to the ASSIST News Service website.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Taking Schools Back

Let me warn you in advance. This will probably be almost stream-of-consciousness with little regard for run on sentences or grammar lapses. I'm mad. Maybe I'll clean up the copy later. Then again, maybe I won't!

This linked article reports yet another outrage with public schools usurping the rights of parents to direct the upbringing of their children.

The news stories -- as well as actions by parents -- tend to focus on the legal battles. Unfortunately, with so many liberal or so-called "progressive" judges infesting the courts, more often than not the courts back the schools. "Parents, what we teach your children is none of your business." It is truly an outrage, but what to do about it?

Obviously, a broad scale effort is needed. We need to get enough conservatives elected to Congress -- especially the Senate -- who will both make law and, in the Senate's case, confirm conservative judges who still believe that parents have the right to govern their families. We need to elect a genuine conservative president who will nominate the right people. We also need to preserve the right to homeschool. The same thing needs to be done on the state and local level. But there's another thing that must be done, and you don't hear much about it.

Conservative or traditionalist parents need to get elected to school boards. School boards and parents need to take control of the districts back from the administrators/professional "educators" who are adept at intimidating school boards (not to mention parents). Leftist administrators or superintendents need to be fired or not have their contracts renewed. Before hiring a new superintendent, the school boards need to cross examine them closely as to their philosophy. The same thing applies to teachers. The teachers' unions have a stranglehold on the system, and that needs to be broken. That will only happen if enough parents get involved, run for office, run for school board, become educators etc. The left spent decades taking over. It's too bad conservatives seldom show the same single-minded determination to pursue their goals.

And before someone starts screaming "unfair," let me remind you to look at how the leftist administrations and faculties at secular universities tend to treat conservative professors or students. What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Friday, April 04, 2008

A Worthy Read on Limited Government

This link will take you to an excellent article by Charles R. Kesler, professor of government at Claremont McKenna College and editor of the Claremont Review of Books. I heartily recommend reading the whole thing, but I am posting an excerpt below to give you a taste of it.

Mr. Kesler does a stellar job of drawing the contrast between those of us who want to conserve the Republic our Founding Fathers gave us, and those who would rather have a socialist/communist "Brave New World." A good reminder on what constitutional, limited government is supposed to be.

Constitutionalism vs. The State

Accordingly, my fourth proposition is that limited government must be constitutional government. Government must be limited to its proper ends, but its means must be capable of effecting those ends. To resolve these goals was the great achievement of the political science of the Founding Fathers, whose emblem was the Constitution; or to be more precise, the Constitution as seen in the light of the principles of the Declaration of Independence.

Proposition five: Limited government, in the sense of constitutional government, is opposed to the political assumptions of the modern state, which arose after the New Deal. Those assumptions came largely from the political science of the Progressive era, whose proponents argued that the Founders’ limited government was an 18th century nostrum that was powerless to solve 20th century problems. From this point of view, natural rights were an immature form of genuine right, enshrining egoism and individualism that might have been necessary for frontier farmers but made no sense in an interdependent, industrial society. The Progressives believed that freedom did not come from nature or God, but instead is a product of the state and is realized only in the modern state. Far from being the people’s servant and, therefore, a possible threat to freedom—because servants can be unfaithful—the state is the full ethical expression of a people. The state is the people and the people are the state. This strange use of the term represents the Progressive attempt to translate the German concept of der Staat into American politics. America did not have a state theory of this sort until the Progressive era. Conservative and most libertarian anti-statism arose in opposition to this innovation; but too often, in recent years, hostility to der Staat has been confused with opposition to government per se.

To put the difference more plainly, consider Woodrow Wilson’s insistence that “living political constitutions must be Darwinian in structure and in practice.” In short, it is not the limited Constitution of the Founders, but the living Constitution, which is the ideal of Progressives and of modern liberal theory and practice. A fixed or limited Constitution would make sense if human rights are fixed and unchanging, as the Declaration affirms. But if human rights are essentially historical or evolutionary, then we should want a Constitution that is free to adapt and evolve along with them. In theory, then, no a priori limitations on government power—whether property rights, speech rights, or even religious freedom—can be allowed to impinge on government’s ability to bring about historical liberation. The old or natural rights have to be sacrificed in order to achieve the new rights of self-fulfillment. Thus for the Progressives—as for Barack Obama and many liberals today—political tyranny is no longer the ever-present threat that it was considered to be by James Madison or Alexander Hamilton. In liberal eyes, the real political threat is not tyrannical government or even the tyranny of the majority, but the well-connected capitalists, the “economic royalists” hiding behind the fa├žade of democracy, who manipulate things to their advantage. Liberals ever since the New Deal have argued that limited government must become unlimited, in order to prevent the few from becoming tyrannical.

A new theory of the Constitution corresponded to this new theory of rights. FDR put it memorably in his 1932 Commonwealth Club Address: Government is a contract under which “rulers were accorded power, and the people consented to that power on consideration that they be accorded certain rights.” According to this view, we give the rulers power and the rulers give us rights. In other words, rights are no longer natural or God-given, but emerge from a bargain struck with the government. And it is up to liberal statesmen or leaders to keep the bargain current, redefining rights constantly—adding new rights and subtracting some of the old ones—in order to keep the living Constitution in tune with the times. Entitlement rights—rights created and funded by government—replace natural rights. Given this new relationship of people and government, we don’t need to keep a jealous eye on government anymore, because the more power we give it, the more rights and benefits it gives us back—Social Security, Medicare, prescription drug benefits, unemployment insurance, and on and on.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Drinking Age

Watching Fox News tonight, I found it interesting that the subject of the drinking age has come up again.

Apparently, several states are debating whether to lower their respective legal drinking ages to 18 again. If you remember, the federal government dangled the threat of losing highway money to states if they didn't increase the age to 21. That threat by the feds gets used quite often, a clear violation of constitutional states' rights if I ever saw one.

Now, before you chide me, let me state something clearly. My views on this have nothing to do with the actual issue of consuming liquor. You will find true, saved Christians who have differing views on alcohol. Some are teetotalers, some are not. Both have convincing arguments. My purpose here is not to take a position on whether Christians are allowed to consume alcohol. My issue -- in this instance -- is secular civil society. Issues of conviction and conscience are a different matter altogether.

If an 18-year-old is a legal adult, then an 18-year-old needs to have all the legal rights and responsibilities of adulthood. Can they sign papers? Can they enter into legal contracts? Most importantly, can they join the military, fight and DIE -- YES, READ THAT AGAIN . . . DIE -- for their country? Can they gain military rank and command men to go and die?

If they're old enough to die, they're old enough to have a legal beer. If they're not old enough to have a legal beer, then let's restrict the age of entrance into the military to 21.

Society really needs to come to grips with who is an adult and who isn't. This kind of silliness really gets me steamed.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

What Happened to Modesty - Part Deux

Thanks to the commenters who contributed to the previous post on the subject of modesty, or the growing lack of it, in the church. Some of you anticipated my thinking a bit.

Discussions on this subject encounter a lot of ire these days, especially from the younger set. And as noted earlier, you will also encounter objections from those who insist any attempt to uphold a certain standard crosses into the line of legalism.

It goes without saying that Scripture ought to be our guide in these matters. Aside from Scripture, I can't help thinking about what a Supreme Court justice was supposed to have said once on defining obscenity. "I'll know it when I see it." That is a bit loose for me, especially when we have clear, overwhelming guidance from God's Word that a Christian's standards are supposed to be higher than the unregenerate world's standards.

But what about the fact that styles, fashions and tastes change over time? That might be true, but the general sense of God's Word never changes. I am not advocating that people adopt the styles in the photos I posted of 19th century swimming attire (or hoop skirts and corsets). However, I do believe that some free-spirited believers have come to be comfortable with the idea of thong bikinis at the beach and Sharon Stone moments in the church. (I've seen it come close, I kid you not!)

I am going to point to some Scriptures, beginning with the Old Testament. While we as believers are not under the Law of Moses, and the Law is not salvific, the Old Testament is still part of God's Word. The things that God considered evil are still evil. The Old Testament is still instructive to us in discerning principles. It is still instructive to us in learning about God's attitudes toward certain things.

Even in the beginning with the fall of man, you can see that there is a sense of shame with nakedness. As soon as they ate of the tree, Adam and Eve were aware that they were naked and covered themselves. Before the fall, there was no such shame. If need be, we can discuss the reasons for this at another time. For the purposes of this discussion, it's important to note the change that took place after the fall.

Genesis 9 contains the account of Noah's drunkenness, and his sons' respective attitudes toward the nakedness of their father. Leviticus 18 has numerous strictures about uncovering the nakedness of various individuals. These typically have sexual morality in view, but there is also the general principle of modesty. First Samuel and Isaiah reference the shame of nakedness. There are many more.

In the New Testament, Revelation 3:18 contains words by Jesus aimed at the church of Laodicea, again using the word picture of shame associated with nakedness. Again, there are numerous examples from the NT I could cite showing a general attitude toward nakedness. Nakedness is often connected with shame. It is obvious to me that outside of the marriage bed of a husband and wife, exposing oneself -- especially in public -- is not considered to be a good thing.

There is another issue beyond nakedness or scant clothing in and of itself. It is the matter of Christian love. The Old and New Testaments make it clear that we ought not to be a bad example or an allurement to those around us. We are not supposed to cause others to stumble. We are supposed to flee youthful lusts. And even if you don't have a problem with lust, you might well cause a problem for someone else who might.

Many in our youth culture -- thanks to the godless education and man-centered, self-esteeming philosophies they are force-fed -- have the attitude that self-expression is their god, even if they won't put it that way. "I have the right to be me." "I am not ashamed of my body." That is not a godly attitude. That is an attitude that comes right off of the altar of self-centered rebellion.

I am not out to impose some sort of dress code. But I really think that Christians -- old and young -- ought to really consider their behavior in light of what God's Word says. Way too many people who call themselves Christians blow off Scripture with too much aplomb. A Christian boy walking down the street or in church with his pants pulled down so far that his pubic hair is exposed, or a Christian girl walking around with three-quarters of her breasts showing (with nipple outlines) is inexcusable.

But to some people in the church today, even that is not obvious. In some circles, it seems that defending the indefensible has become a new art form.