August 30, 2007

Hate Crimes Legislation Is Coming

The relentless onslaught of the homosexual juggernaut marches on. As I write the federal hate crimes legislation is wending its way through our government and despite what our Senators have written, it WILL jeopardize free speech and it WILL target Bible believing people with stiff reprisals. It is only matter of time.

But the future is already here for some living in oppressive states where constitutional law is trampled by homophobic legislators who fear reprisals if they do not bow to their demands.

Consider: Two 16-year-old Illinois girls who were arrested in May for distributing fliers in the parking lot of their high school. The fliers depicted two male classmates kissing and were captioned with a slang, derogatory phrase.

Now the girls were no angels and have previous encounters with the police. Understand I am in no way justifying their conduct. What is appalling though is that these girls were arrested by local police and charged with felony hate crimes. The girls copped a plea to avoid the felony charge.

This is down right Orwellian and with the involvement of the police, it became a constitutional issue instead of a local school issue. Consequently what should have been treated as a school infraction with attendant discipline became an absurd violation of the girl's freedom of speech. Remember under the Constitution, even offensive speech is protected--except when the offense is uttered against homosexuals.

Furthermore, the felony hate crime charge was held over their heads coercing them to plead guilty to a misdemeanor.

Let me say this again. The girls conduct is reprehensible and if it violated some written school policy the girls should suffer the consequences. But the law was used on juveniles to back them in to a corner of what the godless culture deems appropriate viewpoint.

"A simple schoolyard prank in bad taste resulted in criminal records for these two girls, all because of unwarranted felony charges of 'hate crimes,' " said Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst for Focus on the Family Action. "This is precisely the type of politically correct strong-arming of speech and beliefs that justifies all the dire warnings that have been made over the years about the agenda behind the push for 'hate-crimes' laws."

I say it again, federal hate crimes legislation is working its way through the maze of politics as I write. If this becomes law, Christians--sooner rather than later--will be prosecuted for even teaching the Biblical view of homosexuality.

What I wonder is, does anyone care?

Tribute to Dr. D. James Kennedy

Well we certainly hear about all the failures in the ministry and rightly so; God calls us pastors to a higher standard. So when one of us does it right, it is worth celebrating and so today I celebrate the retirement of Dr, D. James Kennedy founder and pastor of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church 48 years ago.

I used to listen to Dr. Kennedy when I was between seminary and my first church working in a factory in the Midwest. "Truths That Transform" was a great program with insightful biblical teaching on every facet of life with experts in their fields brought in by Dr. Kennedy to do interviews on the particular subject of the day. He did a series once years ago on creation/evolution which was fodder for several classes or sermons I would do in later years.

But beyond Pastor Kennedy's wise instruction was his impeccable model of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. There were no scandals, no accusations, and no questionable dalliances over 50 years of ministry. Now that is extraordinary.

And Dr. Kennedy was not one to ride the waves of cultural relativism nor did he take the road of ease through the popular preaching of telling people what they want to hear. There was no ambiguity with Kennedy's views on the hot button issues of the day.

Beyond that is the stellar feat of enduring 48 years at the church he founded. In an age when pastoral ministry has a lifespan of about 3 and half years, and as a pastor who has been at the same church for 17 years, I am flabbergasted by the depth of character and strength of a man who could run a race so well and finish so well to boot.

How men like this find the time to serve on various boards of sundry organizations and go on co-found national organizations like the Alliance Defense Fund is beyond me. All I know is they are few and far between.

At a time when the evangelical church seems to be losing it's moral purity and great leaders or in short supply, Kennedy's retirement is a loss for us all. But he is after all, only human.

Thank you Dr. Kennedy for your human example of what it means to be a real follower of our Almighty God.

August 29, 2007

No religion has done as well by women

A CNN special called God's Warriors highlights Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. It is a typical hatchet job on religion in general likening Christians--who take the Bible seriously--to Al Queda terrorists.

At various points, host Christian Amanpour plants her "experts" who predictably have the same anti-religious blood coursing through their veins as she. Enter Prof. Karen Armstrong who asserts that "no religion in the world has ever been good for women."

I certainly understand her feelings but her facts are wanting. The truth is, no religion in the world elevated the status of women as Christianity did exemplified by Jesus scandalizing his disciples by giving audience to the woman at the well.

But Jesus saw people as His creations whom He loved which is why He was there in the first place. The Samaritan woman said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?" (John 4:9) She is shocked that He would even speak with her.

In the culture of the day, women were little better than chattel and to be a Samaritan woman was even worse.

When the disciples get wind of Jesus' conversation with her, they too are shocked with the text telling us, "they [also] marveled that He had been speaking with a woman…"

(John 4:27)

Jesus was sending a strong message by example that women, even Samaritan women, are people of value and worth. And when you consider the other examples of Jesus with the woman caught in adultery and Mary who wiped Jesus' feet, and then you add all of Paul's writings--one has to acknowledge that Christianity has been very good for women.

Of course I am aware of the caricatures of brutish husbands who treat their wives like dogs telling them to shut up and submit to them like good little Christian wives, but that is neither what Jesus, nor Paul taught at all; quite the contrary. Ephesians 5 makes it clear that husbands are to "love their wives in the same way that Christ loved the church…"

The fact that many do not, is not the fault of Christianity but of lousy Christians.

Give credit where credit is due--the founder of the faith truly elevated women like never before, or since and Prof. Armstrong is blinded by her prejudice and ignorance of Biblical truth.

August 25, 2007

Young Adults Abandoning Church

Results of recent survey ought to give parents and pastors pause. "Seven in 10 Protestants ages 18 to 30 — both evangelical and mainline — who went to church regularly in high school said they quit attending by age 23, according to a survey by LifeWay Research."

Some of the other findings are equally disturbing. Barely half could even find anything very complimentary to say about Christians or could use words like "caring" "welcoming" or "authentic" to describe the Christians they knew from their church years.

Nearly all of the dropouts (97%) cited life changes, such as a move, for stopping their attendance. Most (58%) were unhappy with the people or pastor at church. More than half (52%) had religious, ethical or political reasons for quitting. Dropouts were more than twice as likely as those who continued attending church to describe church members as judgmental (51% for dropouts, 24% for those who stayed), hypocritical (44% vs. 20%) or insincere (41% vs. 19%).

What's interesting in that paragraph from the survey is that those who dropped out because the members were judgmental are judgmental of those whose judgmentalism they couldn't tolerate. Ouch, don't you hate logic?

On the bright side, 35% of those who left the church said they resumed attending by age 30. What was the most significant factor in those returning to church after age 30 or those who never left? They all had both parents attend church with them during those formative years. And their pastors' sermons "were relevant and engaging, and church members invested in their spiritual development."

So how old are your children? Mom and Dad, do you both attend church with your kids or is that the women's work, Dads? Well, let me tell you in no uncertain terms, not only is taking the kids to church not women's work, neither is reading their bed time Bible stories, their devotionals, or anything else related to their spiritual development. Sure mom can and should help out with that, but you should be the driving force and the loving leader. And oh, by the way, my three adult children are all in a solid churches today and they never left. Now they are repeating with their children what they experienced at home. Got some changes to make in the home?

August 23, 2007

Vermont Prohibits Possible Religous Thought

The state known well if not perhaps best for Maple Syrup and backwoods values has once again shown itself to be a state of intolerance and bigotry. Vermont is a state which endorses and protects all manner of filth and perversion in the name of tolerance and respect for alternative lifestyles. (The state has taken a stand making "civil unions" legal which we all know is nothing more than marriage without the makeup.)

So while the governing authorities are quick to protect such speech which supports abortion, divorce and homosexuality, it isn't so tolerant when it comes to religion.

Shawn Byrne requested a vanity plate for his auto that read "JN36TN." The Biblically astute would recognize the cryptic message as "John 3:16."

Well the always open minded, in classic tolerant fashion, said "No way!" According to an Associated Press report a Vermont judge, said the state has the right to "prohibit religious messages on license plates provided it does not discriminate based on the particular message or viewpoint…" (Someone will have to parse that one for me explaining how that can even be accomplished but I digress…)

That the state has the official right to discriminate against religion at all is troublesome, but let's allows that to stand unchallenged.

What's interesting to me is that even with JN36TN referring to "John 3:16," the symbols mean only "John 3:16." In other words, what is on the license plate does not communicate anything religious in and of it self. It is only if someone either has prior knowledge--external to the actual content of the plate--or knows to look up the information to which the letters and numbers refer, and then does so, that one could consider it "religious." But in that case, the religious content is removed by three leaps of interpretation. The content of the plate is not religious but essential nonsense.

I could argue that when I look at the plate, I don't see "John 3:16" at all. I see a clever license plate of a man named John Newton, age 36, who is proud to hail from the state whose abbreviation is TN.

Which means the state is not merely prohibiting religious speech but only the possibility of associated religious thought as determined by some outside--apparently omniscient--agency with infallible interpretation.

Byrne's lawyer is planning to appeal on the basis of previously allowed messages like 4PEACE. This is not a strong attack however and I hope the sense occurs to this lawyer to see a better defense--if I do say so--like the one stated above.

August 17, 2007

The Spiritually Blind Spout Off

Recently the Central Maine newspapers ran an article I wrote, about the latest Gallup Poll showing that people's confidence in organized church is near an all time low. The essence of that article from which I did a recent commentary, gave widely known, iron clad examples from current events of how messed up the church is and stated 1, that this is nothing new citing the church at Corinth, and stating that in light of all the foolishness and sin on the part of clergy, I am surprised confidence is as high as it is.

Well the letters to the editor are rolling in and of course I am the scourge of the earth. "God is about love and acceptance." wrote one critic. "I don't think he hates any of his children. If we lead a good honest life and treat others with respect and kindness that's all life should be about. "Pastor" Cripe teaches bigotry and narrow mindedness. I think he is a very dangerous person."

A local physician wrote, "The light of God exists in each one of us. Real conversation about this sacred spiritual essence, as expressed by the great wisdom traditions of the world, can only lead a better understanding of God."

The doc goes on to admire the "spirituality" of Jenny Boylan who is the transgendered Colby Prof who opined recently in the paper about "his" beliefs. "I greatly prefer [it] to the myopic self-righteousness of Cripe." Said Madam doctor.

Finally a local Unitarian pastor wrote, "The Rev. Bill Cripe's words were used like clubs to attack the religious beliefs of others. Christian supremacism is not 'manifest destiny.' The world, and our religion, need understanding, not theological claims to superiority."

Admittedly it is difficult to find the connection of the criticisms to the actual article but that is par for the course. I am neither surprised nor offended by the criticisms. These are the ones who need the truth; Christians cannot make people believe. Jesus didn't tell us to make people accept the truth, only to speak it in love. Sometimes the truth hurts.

So I am not dissuaded from continuing to tell it like it is, the Lord knows there is a dearth of Christians who can and will speak the truth in an intelligent, biblically consistent way. And so I continue.

August 15, 2007

Darwin Trounced Again

A couple weeks back the Associated Press announced another blow to Darwinian evolution. We've all seen the cartoonish looking drawings of the so-called evolution of man with the knuckle dragging ape-like creature progressing to a more and more upright

creature looking more and more like modern man. Again, Darwinists are scrambling to hang onto their precious gorilla-to-man scenario.

Meave Leakey, member of the famous Leakey family of paleontologists, reveals that her recent research on African fossils found in 2000 clearly show that Homo Erectus and Homo Habilis, two of the ape like evolutionary links supposedly living in different epochs, lived concurrently. The report stated that it "makes it unlikely that H. Erectus evolved from H. Habilis." Actually, it doesn't make it unlikely, it makes it impossible. In the evolutionary ladder, you can't have a supposedly more advanced creature living at the same time as the creature from which it evolved.

While this is all being touted as an amazing discovery, it is what creationists or intelligent design advocates have been saying for ages and what the late Yale, Paleo-anthropologist, Stephen J. Gould wrote years ago.

"There is no firm evidence of any progressive change within any hominid species." Gould noted. He stated that the evidence clearly showed Australopithecines, Homo Erectus, and Homo Habilis all living at the same time.

This was not an easy admission for Gould as he was an ardent atheist and a staunch evolutionist. Gould concluded however, "I suggest the fault is not with evolution but with a false picture of its operation that most of us hold..." ("Ever Since Darwin" pg. 58ff.)

The evidence didn't push him into the arms of God; rather, he postulated another evolutionary theory called Punctuated Equilibrium, a theory which is at least faithful to the scientific data.

I always respected Gould's scientific commitment to the truth. He had the integrity to admit when evidence contradicted theory and in good scientific fashion, modified the theory to fit the facts rather than modifying the facts to fit the theory. If the vast majority of today's evolutionists would only do that much, we would be much closer to the truth and they would be much closer to seeing the God behind that truth.

August 08, 2007

Tiller the Killer Finally Stopped--For Now...

Finally some long overdue good news about the nation's most brazen murderer, George Tiller. Tiller has been the decades-long, undisputed, heavy weight champion of the "I never met an abortion I didn't like" crowd. By his own count, he has killed over 60,000 babies. (Side note--Where is the outrage from groups like PETA who would be enraged if he had been killing little puppies or kitty cats?) Not only have there been no protests by such groups (there never are…) but Tiller has been given numerous awards the most ironic is the National Abortion Federation's highest honor, the Christopher Tietze Humanitarian Award. Tiller is to humanitarian causes what Hitler was to Jewish causes.

Tiller has neither conscience nor soul having performed abortions of every stripe at every stage of gestation of the human baby although his specialty is late term, post-viability abortions. In other words, Tiller murders babies who could easily live if they had been delivered rather than killed. And his crimes do not stop there. He has left babies that didn't succumb to his potassium chloride poisoning of them, to die on their own after birth. There's much more but you get the message. This guy is Satan's right hand man.

Recently, there was outrage when it was revealed that Tiller's clinic had been falsifying medical records, performing abortions on children, and even performing abortions on rape and incest victims yet in defiance of the law, did not report such sexual assault crimes. When the new Kansas State's Attorney, who is pro-abortion, wouldn't prosecute, people of moral conscience were outraged.

Now at last, tiller's clinic has been temporarily shut down as he faces indictments on 19 charges. This is a big step especially since Kansas' Attorney General had said that he would not prosecute Tiller. The fact that he is, seems to show that the evidence is so overwhelming, and many are optimistic that justice is finally going to be served.

Let us pray so for this man is evil pure and simple. Tiller the Killer will answer for his crimes against humanity hopefully sooner rather than later.

August 01, 2007

Supreme Court Lacks Balance???

In a recent blurb in the local paper I read that more people believe the Supreme Court is more conservative than it should be as the ideal is to have a "balanced" court. In context, what the writer meant was that somehow the ideal makeup of the Supreme Court would be to have it half "liberally biased" and half "conservatively biased."

The premise is troublesome since, when it comes to the Supreme Court you cannot have an even split being comprised of 9 judges. But more important is that the function of the Supreme Court or any court for that matter, is not to ensure equal representation of view points but to ensure justice. In other words, the ideal court would be one that renders perfect justice on each and every decision with the judges unanimously and perfectly agreed.

But in our warped world of relativism the first problem we have is that there isn't any standard of perfect justice and so the court's role becomes, not a quest for real justice, but a show of viewpoints fighting it out with the winning side being the "right side" and the "right side" being the side which best represents the majority opinion of the people the court represents

I don't know about you but I don't want any court, much less the highest court in the land, being made up of half of the judges on the side of "wrong" and half the judges on the side of "right." Yet, that is what is meant today by a "balanced" court. If there is such a thing as "right and wrong," then we should desire a court that decides what is truly "right" 100% of the time even if what is "right" cuts across the grain of popular opinion.

Now that the court is a bit more "conservative," the liberal mainstream is complaining the court is "too" conservative meaning its decisions are sometimes not what they prefer.

Well either you have a court whose purpose is to decide what is truly, good and true and right or you have a court that decides what is in the best interest of a vocal or angry majority which is precisely what liberals want. This means courts are not about justice, but about bowing to convention and that is not justice at all but pragmatism and that is ghastly.