American Minute from William J. Federer
The first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court was the president of the American Bible Society. Who was he? John Jay, who died MAY 17, 1829.
A member of the Continental Congress, even serving as its president, John Jay signed the Treaty of Paris with Franklin and Adams, ending the Revolutionary War.
Jay helped ratify the Constitution by writing the Federalist Papers with Madison and Hamilton.
In 1777, John Jay told an Ulster County Grand Jury: "The Americans are the first people whom Heaven has favoured with an opportunity of...choosing the forms of government under which they should live."
To the New York Convention, December 23, 1776, John Jay said: "When you have done all things, then rely upon the good Providence of Almighty God for success, in full confidence that without his blessings, all our efforts will inevitably fail."
Jay continued: "The Holy Gospels are yet to be preached to these western regions, and we have the highest reason to believe that the Almighty will not suffer slavery and the gospel to go hand in hand. It cannot, it will not be."
On May 17, 1829, as he was dying, John Jay was asked if he had any last words for his children. He replied: "They have the Book."
The Gods of Liberalism Revisited
The lie hasn't changed, and we still fall for it as easily as ever. But how can we escape the snare?
Saturday, May 17, 2008
American Minute from William J. Federer
Pastor Fred MacDonald of Westside Baptist Church in Rapid City has an excellent Forum piece in the Rapid City Journal today.
It is in response to all the whining done by the Rapid City Journal editorial board and a number of other groups around the country on the National Day of Prayer this year. Some felt that since Christians decided to actually observe the National Day of Prayer, that it was being hijacked and Muslims, et. cetera were being excluded.
Pastor MacDonald uses a story about the distant land of Esahp where a National Day of Ice Cream. It seems that traditionally everyone chose chocolate ice cream to celebrate and eat on this day, until the local newspaper whined that "lovers of strawberry, maple nut, and pistachio ice cream were feeling left out."
Here's what happened in the name of "diversity" in the land of Esahp:
Representatives of the various flavors came together to plan the festivities. However, when the chocolate lovers delegate said he would use his time on the program to express his love for chocolate, he was shouted down. “That is intolerant. You will offend the lovers of cherry walnut.” This continued throughout the day until it was decided that only vanilla ice cream would be served at the National Day of Ice Cream. The next day the local paper rejoiced, proclaiming in its daily editorial that diversity had won out over narrow-mindedness in the land of Esahp. Chocolate lovers wept.
The moral of the story is: Diversity is not discovered by letting go of your distinctiveness. It is honored by living out your beliefs with conviction and courage while allowing others do the same.
This is true not only of the National Day of Ice Cream, but of the National Day of Prayer. It's also true of religious expression on every day in every way in the United States.
The U.S. has predominately been a nation of Christians, going back to colonial days; even now, 82% of Americans identify with Christian faith.
But we have religious freedom enshrined in our Constitution, in the First Amendment, and even I, a Christian, greatly appreciate that Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindu and every other religion in the world has the freedom to worship as they want to, and do so publicly. And that as a democratic principle they are free to pursue the advancement of their religious worldview in the public square.
Just as Christians are...and should, without shame or fear.
BY STAR PARKER
FOUNDER & PRESIDENT
COALITION ON URBAN RENEWAL & EDUCATION
California's Supreme Court has made its contribution to the ongoing debasement of our law, our language, and our culture by legalizing same-sex marriage.
California now has law in the tradition of Groucho Marx who said "Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes."
When the court says there is no difference between couples consisting of a man and a woman, a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, and that it's irrelevant that only one combination can produce children, who are you going to believe? The court or your own eyes?
This decision shouldn't come as any surprise. The notion that words have meaning, that there is truth, and that we can approach that truth through investigation and integrity of thought is becoming passi in the United States of Fantasyland.
The decision in California fittingly closed out a week in which in Ohio an administrator at the University of Toledo was fired for writing a column in the local paper expressing her personal views about gay rights.
Crystal Dixon, a black woman, and now former associate vice president of Human Resources at the University of Toledo, wrote a counter-point opinion column in the Toledo Free Press addressing an earlier column about gay rights.
In her piece, Dixon challenged equating gays to blacks ("I cannot wake up tomorrow morning and not be a Black woman"), produced income statistics for gay individuals and couples showing them in much better condition than black men, and questioned some allegations made about benefit plans at the University of Toledo.
But perhaps most troubling to those bothered by her column, Dixon said there is a God, that there is an order, and that man has free choice and responsibility for what he chooses.
Heresy in the United States of Fantasyland.
Dixon wrote to intellectually challenge the premises of the earlier column. She expressed no hate and made no suggestions about how anyone should or should not behave toward gays.
As result of the column, she was suspended, then fired, from her position at the University.
After the suspension, Lloyd Jacobs, president of the University of Toledo, wrote an explanatory piece in the Free Press. He did not address or challenge a single point made by Dixon.
The indictment was simply that she violated the "core values" of the university, which include "Diversity, Integrity, and Teamwork."
In other words, if the political culture at the university chose to adopt a view that the world is flat, and a university employee wrote as a private citizen challenging this, it would be grounds for dismissal.
The quality of the argument is irrelevant. The crime is dissent.
Central to the First Amendment lawsuit being filed will be the issue of whether Dixon's column was written as a private citizen or as a university employee. But the technicalities of the legal case are not my subject here.
My concern is the lack of intellectual integrity and dismal state of thought at this particular university and at, in my experience, many universities in the country.
The University of Toledo includes in its mission statement "to advance knowledge through excellence in learning, discovery, and engagement." The Code of Ethics of the Board of Trustees includes ensuring that what is taught "meet the generally accepted standards of truth as established by peer review."
There is certainly reason to believe that premises underlying the university's "Core Values" do not meet this standard of knowledge. The points that Dixon made were rigorous and germane to the discussion. Yet, those running the university could care less.
The blatant hypocrisy of claiming diversity as a goal when clearly there are individuals and points of view that are not welcome goes without saying.
Truth, and the process for discovering it, is being compromised and politicized at our universities. The kids being educated in these intellectual red light districts include our future lawyers and judges. As result, it's reasonable to expect more law of the quality that we just got out of the California Supreme Court.
A nation living in fantasyland does not bode well for the future. We all should be concerned.
Star Parker is president of the Coalition on Urban Renewal & Education and author of the new book White Ghetto: How Middle Class America Reflects Inner City Decay.
Prior to her involvement in social activism, Star Parker was a single welfare mother in Los Angeles, California. After receiving Christ, Star returned to college, received a BS degree in marketing and launched an urban Christian magazine. The 1992 Los Angeles riots destroyed her business, yet served as a springboard for her focus on faith and market-based alternatives to empower the lives of the poor.
Friday, May 16, 2008
I received a thoughtful comment today in response to my post yesterday about the decision of the California Supreme Court to redefine marriage.
This one was actually thought-out and contained a fair amount of logic, even if the author's logic was based on some flawed assumptions.
A substantive reply required more space than seemed appropriate in the comments section, so I've transcribed Lawrence and Ernest's comments here with my response to each of his/their points.
1. If eliminating marriage as a legal institution would obliterate civilization itself, then our civilization is really a very fragile thing, isn't it? I think this assertion is hyperbolic, and smacks of fear mongering.
Civilization really is a fragile thing, especially when its foundation is attacked. A skyscraper may seem pretty strong, but if you smash the foundation, it's going to come crashing down. Likewise, if you take a perfectly strong house off of a solid foundation and set it down on top of a sand dune, it won't be long before the walls are crumbling and the whole structure breaks apart.
2. " Even homosexuals have the same freedom as anyone else to marry someone of the same sex. What they do not have the right to do is to have sex with someone of the same sex and call it "marriage." " These two sentences seem to contradict themselves. However, I'll address the second one. No, having sex with someone does not constitute a marriage. Shockingly, homosexuals too participate in long term, committed relationships with non-sexual aspects. Same sex marriages in religions that do recognize them seem to be, de facto, marriages, unless we are to take the tenets of one religion as determinative of the rules for all other religions. However, there is religious freedom in this country, which means that Jews, Catholics, Buddhists, and Pentecostalists can all recognize whatever rules they want. But what we are talking about here is the government's definition of marriage. This is a legal, not a religious, institution. That is clear. The First Amendment guarantees a separation between church and state. Thus the legal institution of marriage is an aspect of government, and is subject to secular law, not determined by God's law(s).
What I meant to say was this: Even homosexuals have the same freedom as anyone else to marry someone of the opposite sex. What they do not have the right to do is to have sex with someone of the same sex and call it "marriage."
Moving on with the rest of point #2, I know of no religion which recognizes homosexual relationships as "marriage." There are heretical elements in some religions which do, and sadly there are such elements from the Christian religion. But they do so in defiance of the clear teachings of the Bible.
While it is true that some homosexuals maintain longstanding relationships, only a small percentage last longer than 10 years, and of those only a small fraction remain monogamous. According to a study published in the Journal of Sex Research, only 2.7% of homosexuals say they have had sex with only one partner; the most common number of lifetime partners was 100-500. Even if the number of monogamous homosexuals was doubled and the number of lifetime partners was halved, the sexual chaos is staggering.
In countries where homosexual "marriage" has been legalized, only a small fraction of the homosexual population has availed themselves of the opportunity. In one country where it's legal, the Netherlands, the average length of these "marriages" is 1.5 years, and there are an average of 8 sex partners outside the relationship during this time. Heterosexuals aren't doing well enough at marriage to crow about it, but they're definitely doing better than this.
I think the reason homosexuals don't take advantage of legalization more often, and don't do more with it, is that it's not so much about the institution or even the financial benefits as it is the normalization of homosexuality.
Marriage is a religious institution first; secondarily, the state has a compelling interest in protecting it because of the aforementioned stability and civilizing effect. And I won't even get into the widely misunderstood "separation of church and state" except to say that it doesn't apply here (as it seldom does apply to anything) because there is no attempt to establish a religious institution involved.
3. Actually, many cultures have recognized marriages between men and men and women and women in the past. (CF Native American bedraches, Rome in general). There are many examples that prove your statement that marriage has always been between men and women historically inaccurate. Your assertion that marriage is a product of God is based upon your own religious views, not mine, and ought not to be determinative of the laws which govern both of us.
These "two-spirit" Native American Berdaches to which you refer were simply homosexuals within the larger Native American community; they were not a culture unto themselves.
As for the Romans, while the Roman Empire did experience a relatively high incidence of homosexual behavior as societal decay set in, I'm fairly well studied on Roman history and I don't know of a single instance where Rome recognized or embraced the concept of homosexual "marriage."
Though there has been an element of homosexual behavior in almost every civilization throughout history, and in some cases was tolerated by those civilizations, it has never been accepted on the same plane as heterosexuality, and the concept of homosexual "marriage" has never been embraced.
That marriage was instituted by God is a contention held by every major religion, and whether you like it or not, the American governmental and legal system is based on a Christian worldview. Someones values have to win out, and since the majority of Americans still claim allegiance to Christianity, and a Christian worldview has produced the greatest nation in human history, I think it makes sense to stick with the plan and not muck things up.
4. Money is issued by governments. Marriages are as well. When the government issues a new note, it is not counterfeit, it is valid. So too when the government recognizes a new marriage. We aren't demanding that the government recognize private religious ceremonies as valid. We are asking that the procedure by which a relationship is validated by the government be open to all relationships, not just a restricted class of relationships. Your analogy fails to persuade, and I think really works to my point.
Again, marriage is first a religious institution and second a state interest. And to the illustration of counterfeit money, you cannot simply by fiat call something which by nature it is not; even if the government declared that tree leaves were $20 bills, it wouldn't make it so...and it would undermine the value of the $20 bill because there would no longer be anything unique and "valuable" about the $20 bill. Our government does a lot of stupid and counterproductive things, but even they aren't stupid enough to devalue its own currency by saying something different is the same as.
You can call an apple an orange all day long, but it's never ever going to taste like an orange or look like one. That is what is being perpetrated with the concept of homosexual "marriage": it's pasting a label on something that can never be what the label proclaims. Marriage is the union of a man and a woman; by nature it cannot be anything else.
5. Marriage is important for many reasons. Homosexuals have families as well. You are, in effect, trying to deny their children a safe, nurturing and stable environment on account of their parent's sexual orientation. This does not seem right to me.
Homosexuals do indeed have families, and they owe those families to the norm for human sexuality: heterosexuality. They were born to families through heterosexuality, and if they have children, they owe them to heterosexuality.
As I stated before, homosexual relationships are predominately of short duration and unstable, and come with tremendous health risks (72% of male AIDS cases come from homosexual behavior; homosexuals also have much higher rates of almost every other STD that exists; higher rates of anxiety, depression, substance abuse and suicide; and they have much higher rates of domestic abuse in cases where a longstanding relationship actually does exist). The institution of marriage definitely has its problems (far too much divorce, abuse, etc. going on among heterosexuals), but opening the door to put children in homosexual homes is throwing children out of the frying pan and into the fire.
6. I'm not really advocating for the abolition of marriage. I support gay marriage, ultimately, because I think that it serves a social function. Gay marriages already exist, but they are rarely recognized as such by the government. My point is this: either the benefits of marriage (including the social status that comes from governmental recognition of the validity of a marriage) be open to all married persons, or those benefits should be available to no married persons. I don't think marriage is a byproduct of God, but you do. If you want to keep the government from interfering with a religious institution, then keep the institution out of the law. I think that marriage is a social institution with a legal structure. To the extent that it is, access to it cannot and should not be denied to anyone. The government ought not to be in the business of ranking the validity and significance of a relationship between two individuals. In California and Massachusetts, this is no longer the case. Hopefully this trend will continue.
Homosexual "marriages" do not exist because they cannot exist, anymore than an apple tree bearing oranges exists, or dry water exists, or red crayons that are white. You can call a homosexual relationship a "marriage" or a white crayon a red one, but that no more means it's true than pigs flying.
Marriage is the union of a man and a woman, with the sacred and natural purpose of creating a new family (something homosexuals are biologically incapable of doing), involving commitment and union on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual (for those equipped to sense it) level; nothing else can ever or will ever be that, regardless of whether we slap the label on it or not.
Even in the heterosexual community, a man and a woman shacking up isn't a marriage. The guy and gal may be joining their sex organs together on a regular basis, and maybe even their emotions, but they haven't made the required commitment in order to make it "marriage." In lacking that commitment, they are also not mentally and spiritually united either; oh, there may be some connection, but it isn't UNITED. If labels are convenient to describe this state of noncommittal, you can call it "common law marriage", a "domestic partnership" or a "civil union" or a plain old shackup, but it's never going to have the same spiritual and commitment characteristic that marriage does--and that's even having the prerequisite sexual parts to produce new life together. That's why we don't recognize two heterosexuals shacking up as "marriage."
It takes several elements to comprise a marriage: a man, a woman, love, cooperation, commitment, emotional union, physical union and the ability to procreate under normal circumstances. If you lack any of these, you don't really have a marriage. Just like it takes several key parts to have "a car": body, engine, wheels, drive train. If a car dealer tried to sell you a car without a drive train, he wouldn't really be selling you a car, would he? It might look like a car on the outside, and the dealer might even call it one, but it wouldn't really be a car, would it? Because it couldn't perform the function of a car, could it? And you wouldn't buy this "car," would you? Like I'm not buying homosexual "marriage."
But you do bring up an interesting point in paragraph #6, perhaps one of the most pertinent secular points of this debate: social function and value.
The "shackup" situations/relationships I described above, both homosexual and heterosexual, do not provide the same value to society that marriage (i.e. between a man and a woman, since apparently the obvious must be spelled out) does. To say that it has the same value is essentially like saying that tree leaves have the same value as $20 bills. They're both green, they're both thin, and they'll both fit in your hand...but they simply do not have the same value.
Marriage is uniquely able to provide a number of important things to the state and society, which is why it is prized and valued above every other relationship (an uncle-nephew relationship is positive, but it doesn't have the same value as the marriage relationship), and this is why the state has a compelling interest in preserving the integrity of marriage.
For one thing, marriage provides to the state the population growth necessary for the strength and stability of the nation. A nation that isn't growing in number will be one that is in decline. If numbers drop or fall behind other nations, that nation will not have the manpower it needs for defense, to maintain its industries, and to create new economic growth.
Marriage also provides an environment of stability for child development. A key characteristic which provides this stability is commitment; not just an agreement or a contract, but a down-to-the-bone commitment--it's why we have those "for better/worse...till death do us part" pledges in our marriage ceremonies.
This commitment is essential to provide a place where children can grow from infancy while being provided with food, shelter, clothing, and the essentials. Provision of these necessities suffers even in the heterosexual community when marriage breaks down (single-parent homes are something like 7-8 times more likely to experience poverty than 2-parent homes). As the child grows older, this stability also contributes to their mental and emotional health; kids can quickly become basket cases when they never know whether the family is going to remain intact, and whether those necessities are going to be provided because the family is split, and they wonder if mom and dad still love them, etc. We also see the benefit of this stability in academics; children in 2-parent homes perform much better in school...which enables them to get better jobs and avoid poverty and stay out of trouble with the law--all benefits to society.
And speaking of trouble with the law, this is yet another benefit marriage provides to the state/society. The stable environment provided for the children also serves to CIVILIZE the children--vital for them at any age, and especially when they reach adulthood. Children from broken, chaotic homes are tremendously more likely to experience anger issues, lash out, become rebellious, do dangerous things, and get in all kinds of trouble with the law. I know--I was a cop for several years in the 80s and 90s, and we seemed to have more trouble out of the kids from broken homes than adult crime...but in saying that, juvenile crime was just a crop waiting to come in upon adulthood.
Marriage also provides a balanced environment where children can learn how they are supposed to relate to the opposite sex. Men and women are different in many ways, and those differences are complimentary. By having a mother and father in the home, committed to the marriage and the family and the home, children see how men and women work together in a complimentary fashion, and how men and women are supposed to treat one another. Enough children are robbed of this in broken homes; why in the world would we inflict even more confusion on them by sticking them in a home where one sex is not only absent, but isn't even WANTED or VALUED?
There are rights, roles and responsibilities in any healthy society. We can't simply do whatever we want without regard to convention, law, and the welfare of others.
For instance, the average citizen can't run around with a gun on their belt, pull people over and/or arrest people. That is a role entrusted by society to the police. If anyone could do the things police are empowered by the state to do, there would be utter chaos. Some people would abuse such power. Even well-meaning people would do a lousy job of law enforcement because they weren't properly equipped for it, and people would get hurt because of this. People would become inherently distrustful of the police and of each other. There would be no clear lines of authority, responsibility and accountability.
A similar scenario would result if everyone ran around trying to put out fires when they wanted to. If average joes usurped the role entrusted by society to firemen, you'd have people getting themselves killed trying to fight a fire they were ill-equipped for, more property and lives would be lost because those properly trained and equipped weren't doing the job, and the usurpers would actually get in the way of those who should be doing the firefighting.
Likewise, marriage has been entrusted (by God and society) to a man and a woman because they--and only they--are equipped to provide the things I mentioned that are necessary to the health of a society: produce new life, provide essentials, provide stability, civilize developing children, and model proper sex/gender roles.
As I've said before, the right to marry isn't being denied to ANYONE, not a single solitary person. Everyone has the right to marry someone of the opposite sex--even homosexuals. They have the same right as everyone else; there is no inequality.
Just as I do not have the right to give a banana to a cashier and demand she recognize it as a real $20 bill, no one has the right to call a relationship which does not meet the criteria of a real marriage "marriage." I don't have the right to take my family of four and declare us a "fire department" or declare ourselves a sovereign nation--we just don't meet the requisite criteria.
To open the door and allow any combination of people to attempt to perform the vital role of the married couple is like inviting bankers to be cops, stock-brokers to be firemen, and cashiers to fly airliners. It results in a breakdown of order, of the efficient operation of a culture and economy, and is downright dangerous to people's health and welfare--especially children, who are the least able among us to defend themselves and overcome adversity.
When you start calling sexual relationships that don't consist of the essential elements "marriage", the institution of marriage as the family structure and the stabilizing force for society is undermined, devalued, and essentially becomes meaningless.
That's no good for people, for children, or for our society.
A great video from the Tennessee GOP, featuring several people who are very proud of their country. Unlike Barack Obama's wife Michelle, they have been proud of their country many times, for a long, long time...and they tell you why.
The Tennessee Republican Party welcomes Michelle Obama to Nashville
From the mailbag today, Mark Kirkeby is a Republican running for re-election to the South Dakota District 35 House of Representatives. There are two seats available in the general election and three Republicans running in the primary: Kirkeby, Terry Batchelder, and Don Kopp.
The Evangelical Manifesto released a week or so ago has generated several denunciations, including my own.
Briefly, while the document seemed innocuous enough on the surface, it's implications and logical end really cannot amount to anything other than a call for the surrender of commitment to Biblical values and a Christian retreat from the public square.
When I read the list of signers and wrote about it, I noted that there were at least a few names I was surprised to see on the list:
While I know that some of the people involved with this manifesto are liberals, I know that at least a couple of the signers are solidly loyal to the Bible, so I don't think it can be said that supporters (at least not all of them) just want to undermine Christian values in the public square.
A handful of the people listed as signers were people I knew weren't compromisers of Biblical truth and weren't the kind to shrink from engaging the culture, so I was a little puzzled to see them there.
Today OneNewsNow reports that one of those names I was surprised by, Dr. Ergun Caner, president of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, actually didn't endorse the manifesto.
Dave Eppling, Caner's chief of staff, says Dr. Caner was consulted about the document but never gave an endorsement.
"How [the endorsement] it occurred, we really don't know," Eppling admits. "At best case, it was an oversight on the folks who drafted the Manifesto; at worst case they were trying to get his name to garner attention to the Manifesto -- and scripture warns us about attributing motive, so I cannot say one way or the other. But Dr. Caner is very, very disappointed that his name was attached to this."
Dr. Caner spoke at my church a couple of years ago. I was impressed by his Biblical scholarship and passion for the faith. As a former Muslim and convert to Christianity, he has an extraordinary insight on different worldviews, and the battle for truth over error in the public square.
Dr. Caner has issued a clear statement on the Seminary website stating his disagreement with many of the positions of the manifesto.
Here are a few excerpts:
Further, reading the document sounds like an extended apology, and I do not apologize for the stance we have taken for decades: evangelicals are unapologetically and unabashedly pro-life, pro-marriage and pro-prayer. We believe that Christianity has been pushed out of the public square, and I do not believe such a “manifesto” will accomplish the aim of bringing prayer back in schools or rescuing the unborn.
We are not “owned” by any political party, but we will stand with and for candidates that are for our values, and against those values that we see as unbiblical, such as homosexuality and abortion.
Popularity is not the goal of an evangelical; Converted souls in heaven are the ultimate goal. You do not change a culture by surrender.
Dr. Caner asks this of the authors of the manifesto:
I shall continue to stand in the public square, without apology. I ask that my name be STRICKEN from the charter list of the Evangelical Manifesto. This is NOT a movement with which I am comfortable.
I checked the signers page again today and found that they had removed his name.
I didn't catch Jerry Falwell's name on the signers list the first time I read it a couple of weeks ago, but the OneNewsNow article says he was originally listed as a signer, but his name is now gone, too.
There are still a couple of names on the signers page that surprise me somewhat, but who knows: maybe we'll see those names disappear, too.
Just when you think you've heard every excuse to smoke pot...
A man who was arrested for allegedly distributing marijuana says he and his wife are members of a cannabis ministry and have a religious right to use pot. But, police aren't buying it. (May 15)
--Hillary Clinton scandals
--Chelsea Clinton to run for office?
--Wikipedia sued for inaccuracy
--The Guardian sinks Jaws into global warming
--McDonald's and Michael Moore
--Jerry Seinfeld's Web site woes
“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face.”-—George Orwell
It has been 60 years since George Orwell published his novel 1984. Described as political satire, it is, in reality, a political prophecy.
1984 portrays a global society of total control in which people are not allowed to have thoughts that in any way disagree with the corporate state. There is no personal freedom. Snitches and surveillance cameras are everywhere. And people are subject to the Thought Police, who deal with anyone guilty of such thought crimes. The government, or “Party,” is headed by Big Brother who appears on posters everywhere with the words: “Big Brother is watching you.”
Orwell’s story revolves around Winston Smith, a member of the Outer Party. When Winston meets and falls in love with Julia, they begin seeing each other secretly, thus embarking on an illegal relationship. They are eventually arrested by the Thought Police and placed into reprogramming.
Much of what Orwell envisioned in his futuristic society has now come to pass. Surveillance cameras are everywhere. The government, as we have learned, listens in on our telephone calls and reads our emails. Political correctness—a philosophy that discourages diversity—has become a guiding principle of modern society. Hate crime legislation punishes thoughts. We are increasingly ruled by multi-corporations wedded to the state. And much of the population is either hooked on illegal drugs or ones prescribed by doctors.
All of this has come about with little more than a whimper from a clueless American populace largely comprised of nonreaders and television somnambulists. But we have been warned about this in novels and movies for years. In fact, film may be the best representation of what we now face as a society on the verge of fulfilling Orwell’s prophecy.
The following are ten of my favorite films on the topic.
Fahrenheit 451 (1966). Adapted from Ray Bradbury’s novel and directed by François Truffaut, this film depicts a futuristic society in which books are banned, and firemen ironically are called on to burn contraband books—451° Fahrenheit being the temperature at which books burn. This film is an adept metaphor for our obsessively politically correct society where everyone now pre-censors speech. Here a brainwashed people addicted to television and drugs do little to resist governmental oppressors.
THX 1138 (1970). George Lucas’ directorial debut, this is a somber view of a dehumanized society totally controlled by the state. The people are force-fed drugs to keep them passive, and they no longer have names but only letter/number combinations such as THX 1138. Any citizen who steps out of line is quickly brought into compliance by police equipped with “pain prods”—electro-shock batons. Sound like tasers?
A Clockwork Orange (1971). This masterpiece from director Stanley Kubrick presents a future ruled by sadistic punk gangs and a chaotic government that cracks down on its citizens sporadically. Alex is a violent punk who finds himself in the grinding, crushing wheels of injustice. This film may accurately portray the future of western society that grinds to a halt as oil supplies diminish, environmental crises increase, traditional morality is destroyed and the only thing left is brute force.
Soylent Green (1973). The year is 2022 in an overpopulated New York City. A policeman investigating a murder discovers the grisly truth about what soylent green—the principal food for people—is really made of. The theme is chaos where the world is ruled by ruthless corporations whose only goal is profit.
Blade Runner (1982). In a 21st century Los Angeles, a world-weary cop tracks down a handful of renegade “replicants” (synthetically produced human slaves). Life is now dominated by mega-corporations, and people sleepwalk along rain-drenched streets. This is a world where human life is cheap, where anyone can be exterminated at will. This film questions what it means to be human in an inhuman world.
Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984). The best adaptation of Orwell’s dark tale, this film visualizes the total loss of freedom in a world dominated by technology and its misuse and the crushing inhumanity of an omniscient state.
Brazil (1985). Sharing a similar vision of the near future as 1984 and Franz Kafka’s novel The Trial, this is arguably director Terry Gilliam’s best work, one replete with a merging of the fantastic and stark reality. Here a mother-dominated, hapless clerk takes refuge in flights of fantasy to escape the ordinary drabness of life. The longing for more innocent, free times lies behind the vicious surface of this film.
V for Vendetta (2006). Society is ruled by a corrupt and totalitarian government where everything is run by an abusive secret police. A vigilante named V dons a mask and leads a rebellion against the state.
Children of Men (2006). It is 2027, and the world is without hope since humankind has lost its ability to procreate. Civilization has descended into chaos and is held together by a military state and a government that attempts to keep its totalitarian stronghold on the population. But hope for a new day comes when a woman becomes inexplicably pregnant.
Land of the Blind (2006). This dark political satire is based on several historical incidents in which tyrannical rulers were overthrown by new leaders who proved just as evil. A demented fascist ruler of a troubled land named Everycountry has two main interests: tormenting his underlings and running his country’s movie industry. Citizens who are perceived as questioning the state are sent to “re-education camps” where the state’s concept of reality is drummed into their heads.
Likewise, as Orwell’s novel concludes, Winston and Julia are taken to the Ministry of Love as part of the reprogramming process. Since Winston fears rats, he is tortured with rats until his feelings for Julia are destroyed. As confirmation that he sees the new reality of the state, Winston writes that 2+2=5. The reprogramming is successful. He is cured. As the final sentence of Orwell’s book concludes, “He loved Big Brother.”
Let us hope this is not an epitaph for our times.
Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. He can be contacted at email@example.com. Information about The Rutherford Institute is available at www.rutherford.org.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
The Yankton Press & Dakotan has an article on Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sam Kephart of Spearfish today.
Kephart said the majority of the nation’s problems come to down to power struggles.
“It’s not as much about partisan (politics), Democrats against Republicans, as it is about the ‘Ins’ versus the ‘Outs’,” he said. “Those with power are constantly struggling to keep the power, while those without power are constantly struggling to gain the power. How are we going to address the real issues if it is all about power? Well, we can’t and we’ll leave one big mess for the next generation.”
I'd have to agree that there are many in both parties who play things that way; they're more interested in power than advancing a philosophy or agenda.
But there are still plenty, in elected office and even more in the rank and file, who committed to ideas which will either help or hurt our country.
In the article, Kephart doesn't describe himself as a typical Republican:
Although Kephart, who is seeking the seat currently held by Sen. Tim Johnson, describes himself as a relatively conservative Republican, he says he is not a party ideologue.
“I’m an idealist, not an ideologue,” he said. “I don’t think that the I’m right so you’re wrong mentality is any way to build bridges.”
“I’m a populist first, which sets me apart from the other candidates,” he said.
I have to be honest, and I don't think this will come as a surprise to anyone who knows me: I'm not interested in building bridges to destructive agendas and working with people who are taking this country down the path to hell. Sorry, I'm just not. I know that sometimes you can't get everything you want, and sometimes you have to compromise, but compromise is far from Choice #1 (and I think it is for most people, if they'd admit it).
As for populism, to me that's a euphemism for "finger-in-the-wind politics," which doesn't constitute leadership.
We are a nation of laws, and are supposed to be governed by a Constitution. That means all laws apply equally to everyone. What's "popular" is irrelevant if it conflicts with our laws and the values of our Constitution.
I had a very pleasant and enjoyable lunch with Sam last year when I interviewed him for a column in the Rapid City Journal.
He's definitely a political outsider, if you're looking for someone who hasn't been a part of the process, and he's an "outside the box" thinker. He has some good ideas.
These qualities have their advantages, but I'd prefer someone who's more interested in working hard to implement ideas which benefit our nation and take us in the right direction, than in building bridges to dead-end ideas.
In a speech to Israel's Knesset, President Bush said Thursday, 'some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals.' Democrat Barack Obama has interpreted the remark as a slam against him. (May 15)
It's going to be hard to top this one from President Bush before the Israeli Knesset for Quote of the Year:
Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: "Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided." We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.
The White House says this wasn't directed at anyone in particular (not even Jimmy Carter or Barack Obama), but those of you whom this description fits...you know who you are.
This is certainly shaping up to be an uncertain political season.
Despite the Republican presidential nominee being "chosen" early on, and a long-raging hard-fought war between the two Democrat contenders, it remains difficult to guess how things will play out in November.
Because there were initially several conservative-to-fairly-conservative Republican candidates, and conservative support was divided among these, the best choices in the Republican field ended up flaming out early, leaving "moderate" John McCain as the defacto winner.
Since McCain has so frequently embraced liberals and liberal policies, and thumbed his nose at his own party so many times, many Republicans are having a very hard time getting behind their party's nominee.
NewsMax today reports an ominously high number of Republicans who are unsatisfied or "very unsatisfied" with their choice of candidates.
In what could spell bad news for the presumptive Republican nominee John McCain, an overwhelming 86 percent of self-described “very conservative” voters said they are displeased with the current presidential candidates, and 65 percent of these voters said they are very unsatisfied.
The vast majority of conservatives (76 percent) and Republicans (76 percent) also expressed significant dissatisfaction with the current candidates, as did more than half of political independents (55 percent).
Meanwhile, 82% of Democrats say they are satisfied.
When you factor in the candidates from other parties on the Right side of the aisle, things look even more bleak for McCain. The Constitution Party has chosen the popular columnist and talk show host Chuck Baldwin as their nominee, and Libertarians are expected to choose former Republican Congressman Bob Barr. Both of these candidates, while a longshot to win, will undoubtedly siphon off conservative votes when McCain desperately needs every one.
Consider also that even in the face of such incredibly high Republican dissatisfaction, McCain is still spitting in the faces of the conservative base by embracing liberal global warming fantasies and stating he'll ask Democrats to serve in his cabinet. I'm sure Baldwin and Barr are looking pretty good to a fair number of conservatives, right now.
But then the Democrats have their problems, too. Barack Obama has been pretty much coronated the winner of the Democrat primary, but Hillary Clinton is fighting on, causing additional strife in the party.
This bitterness in the Democrat Party has lead nearly 1/3 of Democrats to say they'll abandon their party if Obama is their nominee.
Obama is a flashy package that contains little when you open him up. "Hope" and "change" may satisfy the intellectually feeble, but after even minimally thinking people have a chance to consider his ideas and his ability to carry them out, Obama will come up short.
McCain may be many things unpalatable to conservatives, but he's pretty good in a debate. Obama, on the other hand, has shown that when he gets off-script, he fumbles for coherency. McCain is likely to clean his clock in a debate or town hall format.
The prospects for a substance-filled campaign from either side are about as firm and appealing as a warm bucket of spit. Given the dissatisfaction in the opposing party, either party should have a cake walk in 2008...if either party had a solid nominee.
Neither does, which should make an otherwise pathetic campaign season interesting on at least some level.
The National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, which is known officially as "NARAL Pro-Choice America has formally endorsed Barack Hussein Obama.
In an article titled “Obama Wins Pro-Abortion Sweepstakes” OneNewsNow reports:
NARAL's political action committee board was reportedly about evenly divided among Hillary Clinton and Obama supporters, yet it voted unanimously to back the Illinois senator. Calling him "the candidate of the future," NARAL president Nancy Keenan lauds Obama's pro-abortion stand on issues the group believes are closely related to their cause: "comprehensive" sex education, women's access to abortifacients (e.g., RU-486) at pharmacies, and women's increased access to abortion clinics and the services they offer.
Hillary Clinton has enjoyed the support of NARAL for many years so we can safely assume that NARAL views Obama as even more friendly to their position than Hillary! And what is NARAL’s position? No restrictions on any abortions of any kind through the entire 40 weeks of gestation, to include the barbarous, brutal, cruel and unnecessary technique of partial birth abortion.
I wonder how many Obama supporters call themselves Christians? How do they reconcile these facts about their candidate?
ALLIANCE DEFENSE FUND NEWS RELEASE
May 15, 2008 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT ADF MEDIA RELATIONS: (480) 444-0020 or www.telladf.org/pressroom
California Supreme Court strikes down Proposition 22; ADF attorneys say decision is “perfect example” of need for marriage amendment
SAN FRANCISCO — The California Supreme Court ruled 4–3 Thursday that Proposition 22, the California Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman, is unconstitutional. Alliance Defense Fund attorneys who defended Proposition 22 note that the outcome illustrates precisely why a state law alone is not sufficient to protect marriage.
“The government should promote and encourage strong families. The only way to make sure it does so in California is to amend the state constitution to protect marriage. That’s ultimately the only avenue to ensure that no one interferes with the will of the people,” said ADF Senior Counsel Glen Lavy, who argued before the court (www.telladf.org/news/story.aspx?cid=4413).
“The ruling from the court today ignores the will of the people of California who approved Proposition 22. The voters realize that defining marriage as one man and one woman is important because the government should not, by design, deny a child both a mother and father,” Lavy explained. “The court’s decision clearly demonstrates that marriage is not ultimately safe from tampering by activists and others in government until the voters have amended the constitution.”
Californians will likely have the opportunity to vote on a proposed amendment in November. The text of the proposed amendment is available at www.protectmarriage.com/read.php.
A copy of the high court’s ruling in the California marriage cases, which includes Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund v. City and County of San Francisco, is available at www.telladf.org/UserDocs/Prop22decision.pdf.
ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.
WASHINGTON, May 15 /Christian Newswire/ -- Christian leaders have joined with pastors and legislators to put forth a new initiative on caring for the environment. Today marks the launch of www.WeGetIt.org, a website offering visitors the opportunity to sign up and be a part of an historic movement.
The reaction to climate change has reached deep into prevailing culture. Knee-jerk reactions with good intentions can harm more than help. The recent increase in the cost of food is one example of the consequence of diverting crops such as corn to the production of ethanol as a fuel source. The impact that steep corn price increases have had on food distribution to third-world countries has been profoundly negative. Keeping in mind this difficult lesson, the "We Get It" coalition offers recommendations by which we can honor and care for the environment along with the poor.
The "We Get It" campaign coalition includes Senator James Inhofe, Cornwall Alliance, Institute on Religion and Democracy, Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, and Wallbuilders. Janet Parshall, Joel Belz of World Magazine, Acton Institute and Dr. Richard Land have also joined this monumental movement.
The Rev. James Tonkowich, IRD President, commented:
"Rather than consumers and polluters, we maintain that humans are stewards and creators—co-creators with God himself in whose image we humans have been made.
"A biblical and historic Christian approach to the environment understands that Earth was shaped by a benevolent Creator to be the habitat that sustains and enriches human life. Human creativity and human industry sustain and enrich the Earth while allowing us to obey Jesus' command that we love God and neighbor.
"The 'We Get It!' campaign is nothing more than good theology, simply stated and applied to questions of the environment. It acknowledges the sovereign God as creator of all things, humans who are in God’s image as producers and stewards, the redemption available through Jesus Christ, and the obligation to love our neighbors wisely and appropriately."
The activist judges are at it again.
According to USA Today and several other media outlets, the California Supreme Court has declared California's Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which was passed by the voters in 2000, to be unconstitutional.
Part of the court's "finding":
the substantive right of two adults who share a loving relationship to join together to establish an officially recognized family of their own — and, if the couple chooses, to raise children within that family — constitutes a vitally important attribute of the fundamental interest in liberty and personal autonomy that the California Constitution secures to all persons for the benefit of both the individual and society.
California currently makes concessions to homosexuals, allowing homosexual couples who register as "domestic partners" to obtain the same rights normally reserved to married men and women.
But this wasn't enough; parity and equality were demanded. As many pro-family defenders have stated, homosexual activists will not be satisfied until homosexuality is completely normalized and set on an even plane with legitimate sexuality. These rogue judges have paved the way for that in California.
This abuse of judicial power illustrates why it was so important for South Dakota to enshrine the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman in 2006.
It also underscores the need for a Federal Marriage Amendment to protect our most basic societal foundation from homosexual activists and their accomplices in the courts. If we do not, a future liberal majority in the U.S. Supreme Court could use the U.S. Constitution to smash even the state constitutions, forcing the counterfeiting of marriage on the states.
We should not have to enshrine in our constitutions what was obvious to everyone just a few decades ago, what God and nature make apparent.
But our courts have demonstrated a willingness and even an eagerness to overstep the bounds of judicial authority, and our legislative branch has shown utter cowardice in holding these judges accountable for their impeachable offenses.
We therefore have no choice but to elevate laws to the constitutional level to prevent them from being declared "unconstitutional" by activist social engineers.
It remains to be seen whether the people of California, and the Congress of the United States, may do this before it's too late.
Yesterday the Interior Department capitulated to radical environmentalists and rejected scientific evidence by adding the polar bear to the list of “endangered species.” This was enacted on the basis of presumed warming of the polar ice caps which theoretically may infringe upon the migratory range of the bear. This marks the first time that the Endangered Species Act has been used as a means to enforce reductions of green house gasses, i.e., carbon dioxide. The ramifications of this ruling are yet to be fully realized, but the wording and provisions of the ESA leave little doubt that the effect will be far-reaching. As habitat loss is the principal concern with declining species, the ESA may designate specific zones as protected habitat and enforce any and all activities that may impinge upon that protected habitat. By including polar bears, whose population today is UP 40% from 1974, as “threatened” or “endangered” because of some highly-disputed warming of the north pole, anything that can remotely contribute to the unproven theory of man-made global warming falls within the purview of the environmental regulatory agencies and is subject to enforcement up to and including heavy fines and imprisonment. Furthermore, the ESA also has a provision that allows citizens to sue the government over suspected violations. Every mining operation, lumber company, steel mill, airline, automotive manufacturer, power plant, and virtually anything and anybody that does or potentially can produce carbon dioxide is now under threat of lawsuit and enforcement by a bloated bureaucracy encouraged by ill-informed and malicious busy-bodies.
Those of us who have argued for development and exploitation of U.S. energy reserves, building of new refineries and nuclear power plants as a strategy for energy independence have effectively been trumped. To the list of things contributing to the rising cost of energy we can now add polar bears (and the environmentalists who seek to harm the United States)!
UPDATE: The Senate Committee on the Environment and Public works released a statement by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.)that addresses this issue:
Inhofe Says Listing of Polar Bear Based on Politics, Not Science “With the number of polar bears substantially up over the past forty years, the decision announced today appears to be based entirely on unproven computer models.”
UPI says Congress has tied the all-time low for congressional approval ratings.
Who's running congress now? Democrats?
This record low for which congress is tied, when was that? Was that last year, when the Democrat-controlled congress set a record for a new low? Hmmmm.
Why are Republicans rushing to embrace liberalism as a saving strategy when it doesn't even seem to be working for the Democrats?
I think Bill Cosby explained the reason-defying behavior of Republians when he once tried to explain the strange things his kids said and did: brain damage.
Gallup is quick to the rescue of their Democrat friends in Congress, though:
Gallup said Wednesday the reason for the low approval rating is because "rank-and-file Democrats are providing no support cushion for the Democratic-controlled institution."
Translation of libspeak: Democrats don't like the Democrat-controlled congress, either.
Incidentally, Bush's approval rating is higher than that of congress.
As Marlon Brando in "Apocalypse Now" said, "The horror!"
From the British Telegraph, Paul McCartney is said to be "horrified" that his new hybrid earth-saving Lexus was delivered by airplane, wreaking untold environmental damage and threatening to knock the earth out of its orbit, plunging it into the sun.
The Lexus LS600H, which costs £84,000, was a gift from Lexus to the 65-year-old former Beatle, who helped promote the hybrid vehicle.
But instead of arriving by boat as expected, the car was flown to Britain on a Korean Air flight, creating a carbon footprint almost 100 times bigger than if it had come by sea.
You might think that if Lexus was environmentally conscious enough to build a hybrid, they would have never dreamed of sending a car internationally by airplane.
This environmentally reckless act goes toward my contention that even many "green" companies aren't buying this environmental extremist garbage; they're just playing along to avoid political fallout from the followers of this earth-first religion.
Of course, if you can sell an extra vehicle or two by pandering to someone's environmental paranoia, I suppose that makes good capitalist sense.
From AP yesterday, relatives of Randy Scott have settled for $1 million in the wrongful death of Scott by former South Dakota U.S. Representative Bill Janklow.
Randy Scott of Hardwick, Minn., was killed Aug. 16, 2003, when his Harley-Davidson struck the back of a Cadillac that Janklow drove through a stop sign at an intersection in eastern South Dakota.
Scott, 55, was killed instantly. Janklow, 68, was injured.
Scott's family sued the federal government for $25 million after the U.S. attorney in Minnesota concluded Janklow was on official business at the time. A trial had been scheduled to start June 16 in Minneapolis, but the family opted to settle Tuesday, said Scott's mother, Marcella Scott of Luverne, Minn.
I understand that government employees must have certain legal protection in the performance of their duties; I was in the military and a cop, so I understand the need for that.
But when it goes beyond a simple mistake or a case where things went awry, and involves something clearly wrong or negligent, then I don't think the government should be on the hook for responsibility.
I supported Janklow as governor and in his election to the House; I didn't always agree with him, but he wasn't afraid to tell it like it is, he could get the job done, and he did a lot of good things for the state of South Dakota.
But the way he acted in this incident made me ashamed I had supported him. Instead of taking responsibility, he blamed his diabetes, and hid behind "I was on official business" when he blew through that stop sign:
Janklow has diabetes and testified he had not eaten the day of the accident and likely blacked out when he approached the intersection.
Even though it was demonstrated that Janklow has a record and a pattern of reckless disregard for public safety by speeding and blowing stop signs.
Here's the "justice" he was administered:
A jury in his boyhood home of Flandreau convicted him of second-degree manslaughter in December 2003. He resigned from Congress a month later, served 100 days in jail, paid a $5,000 fine, temporarily lost his law license and was forbidden from driving during his probation.
That's pretty cheap for a human life when negligence and disregard for public safety caused the loss of life.
That he got back his law license is another travesty of justice.
At least it's over now for the family of Randy Scott; as over as it can get when you'll never ever see your loved-one again.
Chalk up yet another success for adult stem cell research; meanwhile, the crickets still chirp for a single success from the human-life-destroying embryonic stem cell research.
CitizenLink calls attention to at article in the Star-Telegram and Digital Journal about an athlete being successfully treated for meningitis-related damage to his limbs.
Two weeks after treatment, the soles of his feet and palms of his hands are softening, his circulation has improved, and his right foot is moving, said Dr. Zannos Grekos, the cardiologist who is treating Lampkin, now at the hospital in Naples, Fla., where Grekos is based."It looks like we have already saved his legs and arms," Grekos said. "Now we're hoping to save most of each foot and his hands."
This isn't the first adult stem cell treatment administered by Dr. Grekos
Grekos said he has used adult stem cells to treat patients for cardiovascular, lung and kidney. But he had never used the technology with a patient who was suffering tissue decay due to meningitis.
Adult stem cell therapy is ALREADY responsible for dozens of successful treatments ranging from muscle damage to leukemia, angina, vision loss, Parkinson's Disease, diabetes, and hear tissue regeneration.
There is simply no reason to pursue the destruction of human life with embryonic stem cell research when adult stem cell research is already producing breakthroughs.
Unless, of course, we've become cavalier about human life and embraced the culture of death...
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Wonder Land columnist Dan Henninger speaks to Kelsey Hubbard about why the Burmese and Chinese governments have rejected global aid in the wakes of their deadly disasters.
The Face the Truth Tour with Joe and Eric Scheidler came to Rapid City tonight.
The Face the Truth Tour, which was in Sioux Falls yesterday, is presented by the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League. The Scheidlers were invited to Rapid City by Al Carlson of the Rapid City Citizens for Life group.
When I arrived at Dakota Middle School for the presentation tonight about 6:30 pm, there were about 7-8 protesters on the sidewalk in front of the school, waiting for the event to start.
I spoke with a few of them and took a yellow handout which was offered. The handout was titled "WE ARE NOT THE ENEMY" and stated that they wanted to "move beyond bans and abstinence only programs," and that in a "perfect world every pregnancy would be a reason to rejoice." It also said that I the recipient of the handout could "help us create that perfect world by - Voting NO on Initiated Measure 11" or contacting a women's group for more information.
When I shook hands with the woman who gave me the handout and told her my name, I was recognized by two or three in the group. Since I had taken a picture of them in front of the school when I arrived, they wanted to take a picture of me. I stuck around for a minute or so while a couple of them tried to get their cell phone cameras to work, and talked with the lady who handed me the yellow paper.
I asked her if they were going to come in and listen to the presentation when it started. She seemed surprised that I asked, and said she didn't know they were invited, and asked something like "Could we?" I said, "Well it's open to the public so I don't see why not." She indicated they might come in, and since I had to get inside for a scheduled interview of the Scheidlers, I told her "Maybe we'll see you inside, then" and hurried in. Unfortunately I don't think the protesters got their cameras working in time, and they missed tonight's chance to capture my glory (I'm so sexy it huuuuuuuurts).
Much of what I discussed with Joe Schiedler in an interview prior to the presentation was also mentioned in the presentation, so I will blend the two together.
Al Carlson emceed the event, which was opened with the Lord's Prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by two of Eric Scheidler's sons.
Joe Scheidler spoke first and said that he, too, had invited the protesters in to hear the presentation. Joe also noted the yellow handout and said that when you want to do something evil out in the open, you usually dress it up as something good. He said the handout was dressing up evil.
Joe addressed the controversy surrounding the graphic pictures of aborted babies that his group often displays. He said that we are a visual society, and that people are more greatly impacted by the truth when it is seen.
He told of the anti-slavery movement in England in the early 1800s and how the abolitionists had brought chains and whips into the legislative chamber, and had shown people what conditions on slave ships were actually like.
During the civil rights movement, photos of hangings of black people were shown to illustrate the crimes being perpetrated on black Americans.
Joe said that during the Nuremberg Trials photos of the starving concentration camp prisoners and the piles of bodies were shown to illustrate the Nazi atrocities.
None of these were pretty, and they were all shocking, but they were considered necessary for the full truth to be known.
"We are killing children," Joe said. "We are killing human beings. We have killed over 50 million of our posterity. It's suicide."
Joe said that when he learned of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion in the United States, he said, "This is suicide. This is how you kill a nation."
Joe said he didn't know much about abortion when he attended a pro-life rally in Chicago in 1972. But while he was there, he saw pictures of a plastic bag full of aborted babies from Canada, where abortion was already legal. Seeing the harsh reality of abortion motivated him to become more involved in the effort to save unborn children.
He said his organization held off using pictures of aborted babies at first because they bothered some people. But he realized that most of the people who don't like the pictures weren't going to like his pro-life group anyway.
Joe said the pictures had motivated many women who had intended to have an abortion to change their mind when they understood the life that was inside them, and what the abortion would do to that life. He said as many as 30 women in one day had changed their mind about having an abortion due to the presence of those pictures in front of an abortion clinic.
He said that fathers usually don't have any say in whether their child gets aborted; legally, the decision is completely up to the woman. Joe said he talked to a man who came to an abortion clinic with his girlfriend. He told the man about his own son, and said, "Your son will never jump rope, he'll never play ball, he'll never come up and give you a hug." Joe said the man left with his girlfriend and they didn't get an abortion.
Joe said many women who have had abortions have told him, "If only someone had been there the day I had my abortion. If only I'd seen the pictures."
Joe acknowledged that the pictures were graphic and ugly. But, he said, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was graphic and ugly, and the cross (as an instrument of capital punishment) was ugly. Yet this graphic incident has brought billions to God.
He said his group is busy traveling nationwide, but encouraged attenders to start their own "Face the Truth" tours.
When Joe's son Eric spoke, he said there is beauty in human life, even in the babies who have been aborted.
Eric said those who feel acutely the injustice of abortion have a special responsibility to do something about it.
Eric read the opening of the Declaration of Independence and highlighted three of the most famous inalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. He said these rights are not only inalienable, but are interdependent; when one is endangered, they are all in peril.
He said not only is the right to life under fire in our nation, but the First Amendment right to free speech is under assault as well. Eric cited the recent incident in Wisconsin where a university student vandalized a pro-life display in public, but the security guard did nothing.
Eric said his group had also been told by police that they had to take down their signs on a public sidewalk because they "upset" people.
He said there is a growing idea that if you don't want to hear something, you have the right to shut it off.
Eric encouraged people to join them tomorrow as they continue the Face the Truth Tour in Rapid City. There will be several gatherings around town tomorrow, including a lunch at Immaculate Conception Church.
I spoke with Eric after the presentation about his involvement in pro-life work. Since Eric had grown up with a father so dedicated to pro-life work, I wondered what had caused the issue to move beyond "this is part of my family" to being something "real" for him personally, that he internalized.
Surprisingly, Eric said that this had happened at a time in his life when he was in rebellion against his church roots.
Though he had rejected many of the church's teachings, and even questioned the existence of God, he remained pro-life. But when he began questioning the morality of contraception and the meaning and purpose of human reproduction, this led him to also examine why he believed abortion was wrong.
Eric said that he came to realize that if there was no God and there was no objective truth, then what did it matter if you aborted a fetus? This question led him on a quest for understanding truth and finding "first principles," which ended up bringing him back to the church and his faith.
The controversy over the use of graphic pictures of aborted children is certain to continue for the foreseeable future, and even pro-life people sometimes disagree over their use.
But a couple of truths remain that aren't really disputed, even by pro-abortionists: images of abortion are shocking, and abortion isn't pretty.
When you're a terrorist, you have to watch what you say sometimes...especially when it hurts your friends.
So it goes with Hamas when leader Ahmed Yousef expressed hopes for a Barack Obama win in November. He must have momentarily forgotten that not all Americans are liberal Democrats, and thus do not consider Republicans more dangerous than terrorists.
The Hamas terrorist organization is strongly considering issuing an official statement claiming it doesn't endorse any U.S. presidential candidate and that remarks made by an official supportive of Sen. Barack Obama were "misunderstood," a top Hamas leader told WND.
Other Hamas sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the terror group "understands" praise for Obama last month from Ahmed Yousef, Hamas' chief political advisor in the Gaza Strip, is harming the Illinois senator.
In an interview with WND and WABC Radio last month, Yousef said he "hopes" Obama becomes president and compared the Illinois senator to President John F. Kennedy.
"We like Mr. Obama, and we hope that he will win the elections," said Yousef.
"I hope Mr. Obama and the Democrats will change the political discourse. ... I do believe [Obama] is like John Kennedy, a great man with a great principal. And he has a vision to change America to make it in a position to lead the world community, but not with humiliation and arrogance," Yousef said, speaking from Gaza.
I guess while terrorist organizations may be expert at killing innocent people, they're a little slow on political considerations.
I said earlier today that the Republican Party seems to have formulated a "suicide pact" among the leadership. And their ain't no end in sight...
From the Weekly Standard blog today comes a link to a memo circulated to the Republican leadership by Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia.
Instead of learning the lessons of 2006 and since, Dr. Davis also prescribes hemlock for what ails the Republican Party:
Charley Cook put it best: “The GOP playbook is obsolete. Spouting an undiluted conservative message doesn’t consistently work anymore, even in some of the nation’s reddest districts.”
When was the last time we saw an "undiluted conservative message?" We saw a few in congressional races in 2004, and a "generally conservative message" in the presidential campaign in 2004.
So what does Davis suggest? Throw the conservative base under the bus, just get rid of this unwelcome baggage:
...remember that this election is about independent voters. Even if we get every Republican out to vote, we lose without Independents.
I've got news for Rep. Davis: if you bank hard-Left and embrace the mushy middle, even more conservative Republicans are going to abandon the party--and you STILL lose!
Davis suggests this for energy policy:
The President should send an emergency energy package to Congress and dare them to act. It should include some global warming initiatives to keep it credible...
So the Republican Party should veer Left and indulge in some global warming fantasy to "keep it credible"? Ooooooooookay!
On illegal immigration and border control:
John McCain, being from a border state, may be out of sync with many Republicans but he has standing among Hispanics.
In other words, McCain may be out of sync with the base, but hey, he panders well to minorities and illegal alien voters.
Health care? Not much leadership from the GOP here, either:
Health Care is the weakest issue for Republicans. After all, aren’t we the ones who opposed extending health care to children of the working poor (S-CHIP)? Never mind the policy arguments. Voters have made their choice. What we have not done is talk about the Democratic failings in Health Care.
So Davis' plan is to criticize Democrat failings. Wow. That's impressive leadership. I'm sure Independents will be overwhelmed with this innovative new idea to solve the problem.
How about some actual solutions? Maybe to expand Medical Savings Accounts? Maybe to encourage greater private industry competition? Maybe programs to encourage more cost-cutting involvement from the customer--the patient? But no; let's criticize.
And like Cole, Davis wants to embrace John McCain and his mushy-middle agenda. John McCain, the candidate many in the Republican Party can barely hold their nose long enough to vote for, much less get enthusiastic about.
With leadership like this, the Republican Party deserved what it got in 2006, and it deserves what it's almost certain to get more of in 2008.
Did the Republican leadership ever stop an think for just a moment that maybe their woes aren't because independents and liberals don't like them, but that their conservative base is sick and tired of platitudes, lip service and cowardly tail-between-their-legs compromise with liberals.
They can't seem to get their beltway-befuddled heads around the fact that they lost the confidence of their base in 206--and they haven't done anything to get it back.
Independents are a fickle bunch. The ones that aren't just liberals afraid to admit they're liberals don't really have a consistent ideology. Show them some leadership and throw in a dash of principle and they'll back you.
But if you lack LEA-DER-SHIP and act like a bunch of liberals-in-waiting, the conservative Republican base is going to stay on hiatus.
Pollster Scott Rasmussen reports that if Hillary Clinton doesn't win the Democrat nomination (which she won't, at least not above-board), 29% of Democrats say she should run as an Independent for the White House.
Well, that would sure keep the fun rolling until November in this campaign.
Knowing the monumental ego of the Clintons, it could happen...
The Christian Post has an insightful piece on the new Chronicles of Narnia installment "Prince Caspian."
Since the Naria novels were written by Christian apologist C.S. Lewis, it should be no surprise that shadows of Christian theology would be present.
But as the article points out, there are more than just shadows of similarity with our world today:
“We enter a world of skepticism that is very much like our own,” commented Mark Earley, president and CEO of Prison Fellowship Ministry, in a column this week. “Let’s just say that the best-selling books of Miraz’s kingdom could easily have been titled ‘The Aslan Delusion and Aslan is Not Great.’”
The conflict changes this time from a direct good versus evil fight – where Aslan is pitted against the White Witch in the first Narnia story – to a war between followers of the opposing powers. But on a personal level, the characters struggle individually with their faith in the stories about Aslan, including Prince Caspian himself who has never seen the lion.
“Here is something with which Christians today can certainly relate,” Earley observed. “It is one thing to be among the first witnesses who exult in the risen Christ. It is quite another to act out of faith when the stories of His witnesses are so many centuries removed from our world.”
Earley has a point. Why else would Jesus have said, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
I don't think there's a single Christian out there who hasn't examined their faith in a critical light from time to time, and even doubted. With all the skeptical and contradictory messages being sent by the secular world, faith can be a tough row to how--especially when God isn't exactly providing daily, incontrovertible miracles to bolster you.
But then, sometimes even seeing isn't necessarily believing. Remember that Adam and Eve knew God in a face-to-face way that we do not--and they still chose to believe a lie over God.
Maybe that has something to do with why God doesn't make it easy, why He doesn't provide daily miracles to get us to believe--if you can maintain faith in Him simply on His promises and His track record, then maybe that's the kind of people God is looking for to populate the new Earth someday.
Anyway, I'm sure that, though Prince Caspian will definitely be entertaining, you'll walk away with some food for thought...if you have eyes to see and ears to hear, that is.
From the mailbag, Terry Batchelder is a Republican running for South Dakota District 35 House of Representatives. There are two seats available in the general election and three Republicans running in the primary: Batchelder, Don Kopp and a current Dist. 35 Rep. Mark Kirkeby.
Have you ever had a friend or loved one who seemed determined to destroy themselves? I think almost all of us have known someone like this at one time or another, so most of you will know what I'm talking about.
Maybe they were the kind that drinks too much...and drinks to soothe the guilt of drinking too much, ending up in trouble with the law or losing their job or their family...and drinking some more to soothe the hurt over this. You know, the vicious cycle?
Or maybe they use drugs in the same self-destructive spiral.
Or gamble and lose money, so they gamble more to recover the money they lost and lose still more money.
You can talk to them, you can try to reason with them, you can try to help them...and they keep running back to what's killing them.
Apparently the Republican Party has become one of these entities bent on its own destruction.
Why do I say that? If it weren't already obvious, I read this today from the Washington Times:
In the wake of their third special election loss in three months last night, House Republican leaders are rushing to embrace their presumptive presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain, as their hope for staving off disaster in November.
"Candidates who hope to succeed must show that they're willing and able to join McCain in a leading movement for reform," House Minority Leader John Boehner, Ohio Republican, said in the wake of Democrat Travis Childer's victory in Mississippi's first congressional district — a seat that had been firmly Republican.
The First-Amendment-bashing, global-warming-believing, compromising-with-liberals, not-supporting-Bush-tax-cut, soft-on-illegal-immigration John McCain is NOT the benchmark for reforming the Republican Party--or congress!
It just makes me shake my head, and I almost want to laugh, if so much weren't at stake. Even when they get a lesson, they walk away with the exact wrong message.
Democrat Childers ran as a conservative--more conservative than most Republicans these days--and wins, and the Republican party surmises: we must embrace liberalism to win.
More from the Times:
Rep. Tom Cole, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said Democrats have succeeded in running conservatives immune to being tied to the national Democratic Party. He said the solution for Republicans is to work with Mr. McCain to define a new agenda.
The McCain campaign also pointed out that Mr. Childers sought to distance himself from Sen. Barack Obama, who is leading the race for Democrats' presidential nomination. Mr. Childers even ran an ad protesting being linked "to politicians I don't even know" and proclaiming himself "pro-life and pro-gun."
Pro-life and pro-gun...the kind of things the leadership of the national Republican Party has paid lip service to, and proven it isn't really committed to.
Republicans may indeed be correct when they figure they have a "brand problem," but if your product "brand" is suffering because you have too much vinegar it, you don't improve perception of your brand by adding another bottle of vinegar to the mix!
Likewise, if your brand is unpopular because it's tasteless and watered-down, you won't improve confidence in the product by adding another bucket of water. Duh!
I don't know where Cole has been, but McCain is pretty mushy when it comes to being pro-life, and he's mushy on guns. For that matter, McCain is mushy on being conservative. He's even mushy on being a Republican, given his alliances with Democrats on things like education, campaign finance "reform," illegal immigration, and judicial nominations.
The Republican Party didn't get control of congress in 1994 for the first time in 40 years by banking Left; they got it by boldly proclaiming a conservative agenda (Contract With America) and an end to the liberal lunacy.
Too bad they didn't stick with it after the first 100 days; they'd still be in charge on the Hill.
Does the Republican Party really think that now the key to success is to continue alienating its own base? Does the Republican Party really believe the answer to its problems is to accelerate its morphing into the Democrat-Lite Party?
It looks like RedState is right: Republican leadership is proving that it's going to have to spend some "Old Testament" time wandering in the wilderness until this liberal generation of Republicans dies off, before they're fit to enter the "promised land" of congressional leadership.