March 29, 2006

Wiccan Warrior Fallen

Patrick Stewart was shot down in his Chinook helicopter while on a mission in Iraq last September. Now his wife wants to honor her husband in a way that has been used to honor all such fallen warriors in his home state of Nevada. Namely, there is a memorial wall at the Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery which contains the plaques of other fallen warriors.

On the plaque is the name of each warrior and, among other things, a symbol of the person’s religion. There are 38 such symbols currently approved for use on these plaques but the Wiccan religion is not among them. I know there is considerable misunderstanding, especially among Christians, about what Wicca is all about. These notions range from vampires to Satan worshippers. While there may be some Wiccans who fall into one of these categories, Wicca is just another from of Neo-paganism or “Earth Worship.”

According to Stewart’s wife, the space for Stewart’s plaque will remain empty until and unless the symbol for the Wiccan religion is approved.

"It's discrimination," Stewart’s wife said. "They are discriminating against our religion.”

"I had no idea that they would decline our veterans this right that they go to fight for," she said. "What religion we are doesn't matter. It's like denying who my husband is."

I have to agree with Stewart’s wife. This is not an issue of religious orthodoxy but an issue of religious freedom. Patrick Stewart’s dog tags identify his religion as Wiccan why not his plaque.

This man gave his life for, among other things, religious freedom, it strikes me as profoundly hypocritical to deny this one the same freedom for which he gave his life.

Frankly, this is a clear issue of violating the constitutional requirement that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” This is a no brainer.

For now, apparently there are forms submitted and decisions pending seeking approval of the Wiccan pentacle (not to be confused with a pentagram) as one more of the officially approved symbols of religion.

If you listen to these commentaries regularly, you know what I think of Wicca, but that is irrelevant to the topic at hand. We are a pluralistic country which is supposed to pride itself on religious freedom. If this man’s symbol is not approved in short order, there should be a major stink raised. Anything less is downright un-American.

Spellbound—The Final Chapter

Okay, this is one last update on the small Augusta shop named Spellbound. The lingerie store made national news when it started putting live models in the storefront window.

Felicia Stockford—the owner—thought it would be fun, and wouldn’t hurt business either, if she had some aspiring models sporting some of the shop’s offerings. I’m not exactly sure why it was such a big news story that it captured such major news outlets as Fox News, but it did.

As the days passed, and there was a growing sentiment within the community that such a store was not exactly what Augusta needed, Stockford, instead of toning things down, stepped it up several notches. She had a context for a date with one of the models and started posting fairly racy pictures of these girls on her website. What really turned the tide though (my opinion) were two things.

First, people of decency—people with a Biblical faith—began to pray. It was prayer (my opinion) that set the second set of events in motion. It seems the raunchier Ms. Stockford became in her marketing creativity, the more wickedness that percolated to the surface. The model, who was the contest prize, apparently received horrific, vile sexually filled threats from someone who was quite close to the model according to the news reports. That combined with other pressures that came to bear caused Ms. Stockford to throw in the towel. Today there is just an empty storefront where Spellbound Intimate Apparel USED to be.

That’s right; the store has closed its doors altogether. I am not thrilled that Stockford and the girls are out of work; I am thrilled that they will have to seek different lines of earning a living of such a nature that they will not be required to sell their souls—so to speak—or their self-respect.

These women too, are among the masses for whom God took on human form to demonstrate just how valuable and loved these women are. Women for whom Jesus suffered the degradation of a sin filled world so that they need not. I hope some way they learn of His love for them and the liberation—and self-respect--that comes in receiving that love.

Teens Rally for Virtue!

Fueled by their faith, teens mobilize BATTLECRY—Taking Stand Against Pop-Culture Forces Contributing to Teen Sex, Drug Abuse, and Suicide. That’s the headliner of the Battlecry website; a youth ministry supporting kids who want to take back their culture and make it a culture of decency!
You may have seen the skirmish going on in San Francisco last week as Bill O’Reilly of the Fox News channel interviewed Ron Luce of Battlecry and Sunsara Taylor, spokesperson for an anti-Christian organization called "World Can't Wait."
The teens were praying for the city of San Francisco when they were met by these counter-protestors who were shouting at them, calling them fascists, etc. It is the primary method of argumentation by anyone whose ideas are so vapid, they have to steer communication away from content and make it pure mindless, passion and name-calling.
Here’s what is fueling the Christian youths--again from the Battlecry website:
“Some forty years after rebellious youth started a cultural revolution rejecting rules and boundaries, American teens are once again challenging societal norms. Only this time, the young rebels are in ‘reverse rebellion.’”

“’We’re sick and tired of pop culture telling us it’s cool to sleep around, dress like tramps, get high on drugs and alcohol, and behave badly,’ said 18-year-old Amanda Hughey from Orange County, Calif., who, along with tens of thousands of other teens, will take part this spring in the BattleCry movement. ‘Life is not MTV, and if we continue to live like we’re starring in those outrageous music videos, our generation is doomed.’”
The kids are fed up with what Ron Luce—the head of Teen Mania calls “Virtue Terrorism.” They are sick and tired of the MTV psychologists defining what is good and healthy and right. So tens of thousands of teens are gathering in three venues around the country to pray and worship.
Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse and you start thinking the return of the Lord MUST be right around the corner the Lord raises up a new generation. In the Old Testament it began with an 8 year old named Josiah. Godly leadership restored the land to become recipients of God’s favor once again. May we be so fortunate.

March 23, 2006

Religion the Cause of All Violence in the World?

Terry Libby wrote in a letter to the editor recently his opinion about why people commit violence.
“Violence was one of our ancestors' major tools of survival... We inherited our violent capacities from the animal world, and I don't mean muskrats and beetles, but directly from our ancestors. Civilization is in part an attempt to both diffuse the harsher realities of nature, and tame our species' naturally selected instincts. Religion is partly an expression of human nature. A sort of magnifying glass that causes, intensifies or aggravates the brain's neurotic tendencies… The world is full of violence because its religious manias are based on the mentalities of ancient barbarians.”
It sounds to me like someone has been reading the atheist philosophers of the past. It was Karl Marx who said, “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people.”
So what is the answer to world violence, bloodshed and war? Libby says, “Heck, that's easy -- Me. De-brainwash [people] from the lies and delusions of the myth-pushers, and I promise, more world ‘peace’ will follow.”
There’s one small problem with Libby’s assessment and answer of atheism. We have centuries of history that reveal the opposite. While Christianity has had its punctuations of violence, those dots are mere pinpricks against the complete backdrop of the Christian faith. Furthermore, such violence is clearly an aberration to true faith and is always revealed to be in spite of--not because of--the faith.
Atheism on the other hand, has at its core, a license and a history of violence with man as its own highest authority. In the absence of a Supreme Being there is no one and no reason to mitigate such behavior. The history of atheistic despotism illustrates the absurdity of world peace as the expected outcome of atheism.

Historically, it is undeniable that Christianity mitigates and decries the worst of man’s nature whereas atheism, provokes it; energizes it. Libby is grossly mistaken both philosophically, and historically to conclude that the absence of religion would be the panacea of the world’s woes. You think there’s violence in the world now; remove all influence of God and what you’re let with is hell on Earth.

Westboro Baptist Church--Sanctuary of the Devil...

This past Saturday Sgt. Corey Dan was laid to rest having given his life in the service of our freedom in the middle east. One cannot express the proper gratitude for someone giving their life, not for their benefit but for others.

Now imagine you are the one burying your precious son who died so honorably and you have to traverse a picket line of lunatics waving signs that say, “Thank God for dead American Soldiers.”

Fred Phelps is the so-called Pastor of the so-called Westboro Baptist Church whose web site is called “God Hates” Phelps and his handful of followers attend funerals of soldiers to celebrate their deaths claiming that God is punishing America for being a “Fag-loving,” (their words not mine) country.

I have never in my life heard a more hate-filled, demonically inspired group in my life and unfortunately because of our hallowed right to free speech, their hatred and vitriol is protected. Personally, I think that ought to change!

The United States Supreme Court determined years ago that not all speech is protected. Speech that foments violence or can cause harm to others is not necessarily protected. The classic example given is that one cannot yell “FIRE!” falsely in a crowded theater.

Some states have passed legislation prohibiting protests at funerals. I think it is time Maine followed suit. These people are rabid, crazed madmen without conscience, without souls and are despicable wretches. I heard The group’s lawyer who is also the daughter of Fred Phelps. Her use of scripture is so twisted and obtuse. Unfortunately hers is a classic example of someone knowing scripture and having no clue about theology; no clue about God.

This sect is stuck in the Old Testament and has yet to understand the role of the Savior in the whole story of the Bible. Theirs is a great example of knowing just enough to be dangerous. There’s more to be said, and I’ll do so on Wednesday. Stay tuned!

March 17, 2006

Homosexual Activists of "Soulforce" Reveal Their True Intent

About two weeks ago I told you about a group called “Soulforce” which is a group of homosexual activists targeting Christian Colleges around the country. Supposedly their intention is to stimulate conversation to help each other understand their positions and come to a place of peaceful coexistence.

But Soulforce showed up at Regent University in Virginia, crossed a police line and were arrested. At the time of their arrest, according to Citizen Link, each of the 6 protestors recited the exact same mantra to the arresting police.” "There are students across that line, and I want the chance to talk to them,” they said. Of course there were no students on the other side of the line. Their clear, rehearsed intent was to cause trouble and make a media event of their cause.

Now in my previous commentary I said that I thought it was wrong headed of Wheaton College—another Christian college in Illinois--to invite them to their campus for conversation because I believed conversation was never their intent. They want wholesale elimination of anyone’s morals and convictions that are at odds with their own and their own are all that matter! After what happened at Regent, I now stand even more firm on that position.

You see When Regent U. learned that they were one of the targeted universities, school officials wanted to change the confrontation from a protest in to a conversation. The university set up 3 different events “…so that they could dialogue with our students, with our faculty and even with our university officials."

But as Regent officials visited the activist’s website, the group, “continued to falsely claim that Regent was not open to dialogue and not intending to allow the protesters on campus.” The school decided to pull its offer.

Good for them! It is time someone called these people to account. They have no desire to engage in meaningful conversation. They only want to disrupt and overturn all that is decent and virtuous. That is the only way, any society can come to endorse and extol perversion. Your views, your beliefs, and your faith matter not.

I said it earlier and I am saying it again. There is no hint of tolerance or understanding from those who deny their very God-given gender and God-given function on earth and all that it means to be civil, moral and upright. But why would there be? When one denies the most basic of truth concerning one’s existence, nothing else can possibly be expected to fall in place.

So like I said in my earlier commentary, the targeted schools ought to tell Soulforce to take a hike.

March 09, 2006

"Mommy" Madonna Has Different Standard for Her Own

Don’t you find it interesting when some of culture’s stars, who have made their fortunes selling all manner of immoral and destructive fodder for your children, admit that they don’t even allow their own children to imbibe of the same things?
I have heard numerous celebrities over the years—singers; rappers and movie stars who have argued and protested when someone else raises the issue of the corrupting nature of what they produce. Yet when asked if they allow they’re own children to listen to the music they are peddling to everyone else’s children or watch the movies they have made, they say things like, “Are you kidding?” “No, I don’t want my child listening/watching to that garbage.”
Well Madonna breaks onto the scene again with a story published in the March 7th Chicago Tribune.
Madonna, now Mommy Madonna, was queried by her 9 year old, as to whether or not Madonna was gay. What provoked the question was the 9 year old’s knowledge that her mommy Madonna had kissed Brittany Spears before millions of viewers at the 2003 MTV music awards.
Madonna says her daughter is somewhat obsessed with who is and who isn’t gay and likes to guess who is and who isn’t as they are out and about people watching.
So how did Madonna answer her daughter? She said, “No, it just means I kissed Britney Spears. I am the mommy pop star and she is the baby pop star. And I am kissing her to pass my energy on to her."
Now shouldn’t Madonna have been honest with her daughter and told her that at the least she is bi-sexual? Doesn’t it sound like Madonna is a bit ashamed of her daughter maybe thinking she is gay? But why should she if it is such a natural and wonderful part of who a person is? Why didn’t she just say, “I like kissing girls sometimes; sometimes I like kissing guys?”
Could it be that she doesn’t want her daughter to grow up with an aberrant sexuality; that she knows inherently that God intended for such relationships to be between a man and a woman?
Now I can’t read Madonna’s mind but it sure sounds like an attempt to gently distance her daughter from the degenerate and debauched world-view through which she has made millions warping everyone else’s kids.
It’s the old, “Don’t do what I do, do what I say.” approach to life. Jesus calls it hypocrisy and worse.

Lingerie Shop Removes Live Models

Remember Spell Bound—the Lingerie shop in Augusta which made national news when owner Felicia Stockford decided to put live models in the window of her shop. I initially yawned at the story when I first heard but as time went on, Stockford, by her own express admission, decided to keep pushing the envelope of decency. She went so far as to raffle off one of the models for a date with the winning entrant.
In a past commentary about that issue, I said, “Call me old fashioned, square and a prude but who is looking out for this naïve young girl when she has to go on a date with who knows what? Will it be supervised? Will Ms. Stockford shoulder any responsibility if the date turns sour or worse? One of the strong proponents for Spellbound is a convicted sex offender; gee, maybe he’ll win the contest, won’t that be special?”
Well as fate would have it, or if you prefer—the power of prayer would have it—Stockford has decided to end the live displays. And guess why?
Apparently one of the models—the one who was the package of meat being raffled off by Stockford, started receiving phone calls that were so vile that Stockford, who describes herself as "a raunchy woman," said, she "wouldn't even repeat it.”
And lest you start hearing rumors that the calls were from Christians who were protesting the shop, the police know who the caller was and it was someone close to the model.
"It seems like the weirdoes are coming out of the woodwork," Stockford said.
Weirdoes? How about sexually obsessed men, sexually charged by the model’s strutting their stuff for all to see? Is Stockford truly that naive that she didn’t think something like this would happen?
Well, I for one, am just glad that she has come to her senses, at least concerning this matter. And I’m glad that nothing has happened to any of the models who have traded some of their innocence for a few fleeting moments of “fame.”
God would certainly have it otherwise. He loves them, he loves Felicia Stockford; I hope she can get that message someday soon. I’d be happy to share it with her!