July 13, 2005

Freedom of Speech--The Real Issue

There has been much ado about a group that wanted to have a “Peace float” in the Fourth of July Parade but was denied.

Although I haven’t heard it as much lately as I did at first, the always-powerful sounding, but usually uninformed protest claiming Freedom of Speech being violated was the foundational accusation against not allowing the float to appear.

So as usual, let’s get a grip here and be reminded of what the Constitution’s guarantee of Free Speech means instead of the gumby-ized version that liberals like to stretch, contort, bend and twist to support whatever their agenda of the day happens to be.
The First Amendment states: “The Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
It’s pretty straight forward saying that “Congress” is not allowed to pass a law that would preclude someone the right to speak freely against the government. That is clearly what the framers intent was when you actually read history and consider context which may explain why history is not taught anymore and most public school kids cannot read their way out of a comic strip. But I digress…
Freedom of Speech does not mean anyone has a right to put a float in a parade at whim. The organizers who said “No” to the folks who wanted to put a peace float in a parade that was expressly showing support for our military, past and present, was perfectly within their right to do so.
What freedom of speech does guarantee is that the folks who had the peace float have the same right to petition the city to form their own peace parade if they desire.
It was no more a violation of anyone’s rights to say no to the anti-military people to be in the July 4th parade than it would be if the Gay and Lesbian Alliance was having a gay pride celebration and turned down a request from our church to have an anti-gay float in their parade.
So let’s quit abusing the Constitution and flailing our arms in indignation about rights being violated when it simply isn’t the case. Confusing the real issues helps no one and eliminates the possibility of considerate exchange of ideas.

July 12, 2005

Remember--God's Love is Defined By His Justice

For some Christians the imprecatory Psalms give them heartburn trying to marry the curses and rantings against one’s enemies with the rest of Scripture and God’s obvious priority of “love.”

When you read a psalm like Psalm 69 David is pretty cranked up and is not shy about heaping scorn on the enemies of God. He writes:

Pour out your wrath on them;
let your fierce anger overtake them.
May their place be deserted;
let there be no one to dwell in their tents…
Charge them with crime upon crime;
do not let them share in your salvation.
May they be blotted out of the book of life
and not be listed with the righteous.

David’s words are harsh to be sure so why are they inspired by God and recorded for all eternity?

Walter Kaiser—Prof. Of Old Testament at Gordon-Conwell says, “These saying are legitimate expressions of longings of Old Testament saints for the vindication that only God’s righteousness can bring. They are not utterances of personal vendetta but utterances of zeal for the Kingdom of God and His glory.”

So while it may seem unchristian or mean to speak of the removal of terrorists from the land of living—terrorists who do what they do according to their holy writings as handed down from Muhammad--I do so after the fashion and heart of prophets of old who longed for God’s purposes for mankind and understood that sometimes, the only way to bring about righteousness is to annihilate wickedness as some wickedness will simply not be transformed. Remember God did say “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 'You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing loving kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. (Deut. 5:8-10)

So when you see a father staggering around a bombed out truck picking up the leg of his wife or the torso of what he thinks is his little girl; hoping and praying that the murderer who brought about such an offense as to destroy innocent image bearers of God, forfeit his own life is wholly consistent with God’s implementation of capital punishment for the purpose of removing evil from the land for the good of the public at large.

God is certainly a God of love but that love is defined and illustrated by His justice. Lose sight of that and you are left with a caricature of God who is neither loving nor just!

July 09, 2005

Supreme's Rule Against Right to Private Property

Perhaps you have not heard of one of the atrocious rulings handed down by the United States Supreme Court in this last session. It pertained to what is known as eminent domain which gives the government the right to take a person’s private property—namely their house and/or land—against their will--with compensation which isn’t necessarily fair compensation.

This is nothing new but what was at issue was what constituted a government’s prerogative to exercise this power. In the past it was understood that it must be for the good of the public at large. This meant for example, that if the government wanted to put a highway in some town and it had to cut across private property, that the state had the right to take the property and compensate the owners whether they wanted to give it up or not. It was controversial enough the way it was, but the new ruling makes it even worse.

The Supreme Court ruled that the “public good” could now be construed to mean that if a city, for example, wanted to sell your property to some shopping mall developers because it would yield higher tax revenues than your house, in the name of eminent domain they can now do so. This is unconscionable and you could predictably guess which judges supported it.

But in a rare bi-partisan move to counter this obscene ruling, Congress is enacting a bill that would essentially curtail such abuse of power much in the way the Hyde amendment curtailed some of the impact of Roe vs. Wade by disallowing government funds to be spent on abortion even though the Supreme Court ruled it was a woman’s right to have one. Hyde said, Okay, but it isn’t the government’s obligation to pay for it. Thank
you Henry Hyde.

Well guess who is squawking about this latest legislation? Nancy Pelosi—the self-esteem challenged liberal is against this saying it essentially negates the Supreme’s ruling. That’s the whole point! It’s called check and balances but Pelosi doesn’t want it. She wants the Supreme Court to be the unelected, unchallenged authority of the land which again, is why you will see a political world war III when President Bush appoints a conservative judge to the high court.

Christian—this is one battle to pray about and if you know anything about Spiritual warfare, pray diligently against the forces of antichrist which as 1 John 4:3 says, are already among us.

London Bombed!

Thursday only hours after the citizens of Britain were ecstatic over the announcement that they had won the bid for hosting the Olympics their ecstasy came to a tragic halt as terrorists once again indiscriminately took great delight in doing the work of their father the Devil.

Over 700 are wounded, over 50 are dead and it doesn’t even seem this time we can find a sliver of solace in knowing that there are a couple less terrorists now. There is no evidence that the blasts were caused by homicide bombers.

Still, as the reports and press conferences continue I am dismayed by the kit glove handling of all references to the terrorists as the followers of Islam. Officials go way out of their way to make sure everyone hears that these officials don’t identify these followers of Muhammad with the other, peaceful followers of Muhammad. So much so that it almost eclipses the focus of the event. Somehow it seems we are branded as being inclined to painting with the same very broad-brush stroke as the terrorists themselves. Hey, “We’re the good guys here.”

The other element that is infuriating in these stories as they flood out of the liberally biased media is that we somehow deserve this. As my wife put it; “It reminds me of the days when people always viewed a claim to “rape” as being somehow deserved one way or another. Well, she dressed provocatively; She shouldn’t have been at that place; She shouldn’t have gone to that part of own; She always was a flirt…

We’ve grown past the days of such offensive and errant thinking but not when it comes to religious murderers. Well if only the U.S. would…Well, ya know Britain is a strong ally of the America; Well, we are imposing our ways on these people…

The dead and wounded from Italy to Iraq are innocent victims of demon-possessed murderers with a Satanic blood lust for horror and fear.

As President Bush and Tony Blair have said all along, the only way to deal with such people is to eliminate them from the world of the living. And so we must.

Christian, are you praying to that end? If we don’t end this under this administration I believe we will lose it all and London will be Boston, or Portland, or any other city in these United States.

We have no idea how blessed we have been

July 06, 2005

United Church of Christ Declares Independence From Biblical Truth

On Independence Day, 2005 the United Church of Christ declared its independence; not from judicial tyranny; not from interference by the State; not from oppression by the government but they declared independence from Biblical authority.

In a resounding vote of member churches, 80% of the denomination’s General Synod approved a resolution endorsing same-sex marriage. The resolution demands member churches “do not discriminate against couples based on gender” and also directs its member churches to work against laws banning gay marriage.

What this does is give encouragement to those Christians, quasi-Christians or would-be Christians who question and are struggling to know God’s will regarding such matters. Now they have reasons to believe that God is pleased with a life choice of sexual perversion; something the Bible expressly forbids.

What this means is that these religious leaders have stumbled the weak or innocent and put up a barricade to the entrance of heaven to those who might otherwise have entered in. The Bible speaks to such people sternly.

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel about on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” Matthew 23:15 was addressed to the religious leaders who were teaching things contrary to what the Bible taught.

"But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from men; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. Matthew 23:13 speaks to those who, as I mentioned already, end up putting a roadblock in front of those who might have entered.

"And whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.” Mark 9:42 shows God’s heart towards those leaders who lead the less informed astray.

None of it is complimentary. To those in the U.C.C,. at least be honest; at least the UCC used to stand for Utterly Confused “Christians;” this decision sheds great doubt on the referent of the final “C.”

If you are a part of a UCC Church, (Congregational) In Jesus’ name, I adjure you to repent and leave before it s too late. You may have your personal beliefs but to be associated with such a body of rebels is risky business. It’s time to bail!

O'Connor Retires!

Sandra Day O’Connor has retired from the Supreme Court of the United States. That is worth celebrating indeed. While O’Connor was certainly not the worst judge on the bench, she tended to vote against issues important to conservatives in general and Christians in particular. The ever-inflatable Senator from Massachusetts, Edward Kennedy, spouted orders to the President about what kind of candidate for the high court he should put forth. Paraphrasing--it should be someone who holds the values of typical Americans. Kennedy, for once, is absolutely right. The problem with his statement is that what’s typical to Kennedy is atypical to anyone with an ounce of moral sensitivity.

All of that is to say, get ready for the fire works. This is precisely what the Democrats have been waiting for, hoping for, longing for. They cannot get their ideologues elected by the public which means they cannot get their often godless and deplorable values through the process of representative democracy, so they do it through the courts.

Sports fans, this is what this past election was all about. I know you thought it was about a war in the Middle East; but I’m telling you it all comes down to appointments to the new governing authority of the land—The Supreme Court.

With so many decisions decided by a 5-4 margin--decisions which run against decency and the American way of justice and liberty for all—with two more conservatives on the court (Rehnquist is soon to retire as well giving a net gain of one) the court will have the ability to adjudicate on the basis of American law and precedent as the framers intended rather than international law, and opinion and the liberals on the bench do routinely.

This is exciting indeed but there’s a long way to go. If Justices Breyer and Stevens decide to go fishing for good, elation will be the order of the day.

As a Christian I understand the courts are not the answer to the country’s apostasy but they can sure establish a friendlier environment in which to do the business of ministry. May we pray that it be so.

Father Still Knows Best

A recent USA Today article by Ginny Graves who co-authored the book, Bringing Home the Bacon, notes that more women are earning more than their husbands. I suppose that’s good news for single women but the bad news, for working married women is that while more women work, their domestic responsibilities have not decreased.

One explanation is that men who are already feeling rather emasculated by their wage earning wives are reticent to do household work. The solution according to Graves is to “replace old notions about men’s and women’s roles with more progressive ones.”

Graves solution is of course patently wrong. The God of heaven assigned roles at the outset; roles which have been subverted, controverted and perverted. That does not change the wisdom of God’s counsel nor the consequences of ignoring it.

In the 40 years since Betty Friedan’s Feminine Mistake—I mean Mystique—the family has been in a downward spiral with women and children paying the highest price of all. Ironically, what was supposed to bring equality and liberation has brought bondage and pain with men reaping the bulk of the perks of women’s desire for man. This goes all the way back to the curse of Genesis 3:16 when God said to Eve, “Your desire shall be for your husband.” In other words, the woman will as a matter of course, be out to usurp the man’s role in life.

So now we pay the piper with a society in shambles, transient relationships and a culture of temporary gratification which favors the male and that, a result of the woman’s doing.

Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinhem and the rest did more to liberate the man from responsibility, faithfulness and consideration of the opposite sex better than any man ever could have. Ironic isn’t it? What was called women’s liberation has became women’s oppression unlike anything ever known in America.

And yet the nature of deceit is that it is covert and to this day, women still don’t get it. They are not any freer than they were when June Cleaver was preparing dinner for Ward in heels and pearls.

To be sure there were inequities of gender that needed to be addressed but you have to admit that Wally and the Beaver at least came home to a “home,” and they knew who their mother and father was and life, though not perfect, was at least peaceful; something unknown to the American family today. Amazing isn’t it? It’s still true today—Father Knows Best!

July 03, 2005

Supremes Give Bi-polar Ruling on Commandments

The two rulings over the public display of the Ten Commandments have everyone staggering with uncertain, unclear, and obtuse logic. You know that they ruled 5-4 in each of two cases allowing one display to remain but another display must be removed.
Stephen Breyer—the swing vote in each case—demonstrated eye-rolling reasoning when he said that the difference in the two cases was one of intent. In the Texas case, the motive was clearly secular but in the Kentucky case the display was religious.
This is even more troubling than the ambiguous rulings themselves. For now, as Breyer asserted, “motives must be secular.” Apparently, now, one of the new qualifications to sit on the highest court in the land is the ability to have ESP. How else does a judge discern motive?
It is also problematic in that the role of the court is not to assess covert intent, or obscure, personal desire by second-guessing and imposing ideas on the heart and soul of the accused. Rather the court is to assess the legality of a situation based on firmly established law with precedent clarifying, where necessary, the law in question. In this case, the asserted rule that government is to be “neutral” concerning all things religious.
Chief Justice William Rehnquist, writing with perspicuity, in the Texas case argued against the notion of governmental neutrality towards religion. He wrote, the court has never barred "any and all government preference for religion over irreligion'' as long as it uses no coercion and shows no preference for a particular religion.
Silly Rehnquist—he always goes back to original intent and centuries old practices of the rule of law. Justice Antonin Scalia's dissented vigorously in the Kentucky case, accusing the majority of hostility to religion and an ignorance of history and tradition. Goofy conservatives; they always get so wrapped around the axle of common sense and historical fact.
Whatever you believe about this issue, one thing is certain and that is that no one is certain now what this all means except that a lot of people are confused about what it and is not legally acceptable. As one story recorded it, “Analysts were left scratching their heads.” I’ll say. What a fiasco.