Saturday, January 31, 2009

What You Won't See During the Super Bowl

(Onenewsnow.com) NBC has rejected a pro-life ad for the Super Bowl, citing its policy not to run ads involving "political advocacy or issues."

The 30-second television spot, a project of CatholicVote.org and financed by The Fidelis Center for Law & Policy, actually emerged just before the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Brian Burch, president of CatholicVote.org, explains there is nothing objectionable in its "life-affirming" message, which features ultrasound pictures of a baby in a mother's womb.

"The ad actually sparked so much interest, and we started getting e-mails and calls from people who saw the ad [and] wanted to try to put it on the air," says Burch. "And given the time of year that we're at, there began a campaign to put it on the Super Bowl."

Burch says his organization signed a contract with NBC to air the spot, and they were extremely happy -- "Until we were informed that NBC, in conjunction with the NFL, was rejecting our ad because it was a political or issue ad," Burch states, "and they said they have a policy against it."

He respects NBC's decision but says his group's pro-life ad is not divisive or confrontational and is not really political. It simply asks people to imagine the potential of every human life.

"And particularly one person's human life -- which I won't give it away. You'll have to watch the ad," he says.

video

Personal Reflection: The point of this ad is simple. Since Roe v. Wade nearly 50 million babies have been aborted in this country. There is no telling how many Einsteins, Mother Teresas, and future leaders have been lost in this holocaust. Case in point: Barack Obama. His own abortion would have been justified in the eyes of many given the poor circumstances he was facing in life. And yet he overcame those obstacles to become President. Ironically, Obama's own life is a testimony against the radical pro-abortion choice position he supports.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Anti-Prop 8 Plan B


The following is from an AP article about gay marriage advocates planning to overturn Proposition 8 by ballot initiatives.

"One of the initiatives submitted to the state for approval this month, launched by a gay rights group in Davis, would repeal Proposition 8 outright. The second, initiated by two Los Angeles residents, would eliminate marriage as a state-sanctioned institution and replace it with domestic partnerships for couples gay and straight."

Talk about an attack on MARRIAGE!!! Does anyone remember what happened to marriage in Holland since enacting de facto gay marriage? People stopped getting married because it lost it's original meaning. As a result, single parent and orphan rates skyrocketed which is bad itself, but which also leads to most societal problems. So what strategies are the gay marriage advocates discussing?

"For one, the disappointing outcome of the Proposition 8 fight has energized a lot of gay marriage supporters and the momentum could be lost by waiting two more years, Binder said. Also, California voters will be going to the polls next year to elect a new governor to replace Arnold Schwarzenegger, so turnout is likely to be high. On the downside, passage of the measure, which marked the first time that voters were asked to take away marriage from gay couples who could legally wed, indicates that large numbers of voters remain firmly opposed to same-sex marriage. There may not be time to move enough of them to change their minds in 21 months."

Voters in the 18-25 age demographic overwhelmingly voted against Proposition 8 and would be the most likely to support its repeal. As time moves forward, and these new voters gain a larger proportion of the voting block, the chance for success of gay marriage initiatives increase tremendously. That is, unless we share the truth with those who are confused about the issue - especially those of us who are ourselves, or engage frequently with, young voters. Now is not the time to expect our win in November to last forever. The barbarians are at the gate, and we're the last ones left to defend it. If you want to know more about this issue or how you can get involved, email me at dangrossenbach@gmail.com.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Obama, Abortion, and Economics

Let's see...

What can I do to help America in this time of economic crisis?

I know! I'm going to repeal the Mexico City Policy and spend $440 million dollars a year to help fund global abortions! Brilliant!

Hurray for change!

Laura Antkowiak, Research Assistant with the National Right to Life, has written an excellent article responding to economic arguments put forward by pro-abortion choice advocates. Contrary to what many believe, abortion hurts our nation economically. Laura's main points are as follows:

1. Fewer babies means fewer consumers, less demands for good and services, and fewer jobs.

2. Abortion slows labor force growth.

3. Abortion undermines technological innovation.

4. Abortion drives the Social Security crisis.

5. Abortion does not save tax dollars.

In the end, abortion is not just wrong morally. It is wrong economically as well.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Upcoming Biola Apologetic Events!

If you live in the Southern California area, Biola University will be having several great apologetic events this coming Spring session. The lectures and debates are open to all even if you do not presently attend Biola as a student. Some of the events are free while others include a fee. For those of you who work full time and have families, this is an excellent chance to get the best training and information available for minimal time, commitment, and cost. Visit the apologetics page for more information.

February 5: Free Theistic Evolution Debate with Karl Giberson & John West
February 12-March 19: Science and Religion Lecture Series with Multiple speakers
February 20-21: Escape to Reason: Francis Schaeffer for the New Generation with Os Guinness
February 26-28: Tactics & Persuasion Weekend Mini-Class with J.P. Moreland, Tim Muehlhoff, and Greg Koukl

I am especially looking forward to this last event. You may want to check out Greg Koukl's new book, Tactics. Brian at apologetics315 has written an excellent review here.

Also, Moreland and Muehlhoff's book The God Conversation is well worth your time.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Let the Obamanation Begin!

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- Officials with the incoming administration of Barack Obama have confirmed that he will indeed overturn a pro-life policy of President Bush on his first day in office. Despite campaigning on the rhetoric of wanting to reduce abortions, Obama will make one of his first actions promoting them globally.

Meanwhile, some 77 members of Congress have signed onto a letter asking Obama to back down from doing so.

President Bush used an executive order on his first day in office to reinstitute a pro-life policy that prevents forcing taxpayers to fund international groups that perform or promote abortions in other countries.

While U.S. law prohibits funding abortions directly, Bush's Mexico City Policy expands the law by also prohibiting the funding of pro-abortion groups that either do abortions overseas or lobby pro-life governments to sacrifice their abortion limits.

During the presidential election, pro-life groups issued a clarion call to voters telling them their tax money would be used if Obama were elected and saying he would likely reverse the Mexico City Policy immediately after taking office.

The capital publication Congressional Quarterly reports that top Washington officials tell it that the incoming president will reverse the pro-life measure on his first day as president, on Wednesday.

When Obama overturns the limits on global abortions, he will do so over the objections of dozens of members of Congress.

"As a new administration begins, it is our hope you will work, as you have pledged, to create a new era of bi-partisan cooperation. We urge you to continue the Mexico City Policy, which separates abortion and family planning in America's foreign aid programs," the bipartisan group of lawmakers wrote Obama on Friday.

They say the policy "ensures that United States family planning funds are not co-opted by groups who promote abortion as a method of family planning. Such activities would send a wrong message overseas that the United States promotesabortion."

The members, led by Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado and Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania, also say it is "insulting" to other nations to promote pro-abortion groups that lobby them to overturn long-standing pro-life laws based on their culture and heritage.

"We also have a responsibility to respect the laws of many developing countries who have laws prohibiting or restricting abortion. It is an insult to fund organizations that are intent on overturning those laws by promoting the Western ideology of abortion on demand," they said.

Rep. Nita Lowey, a New York Democrat who sponsored legislation in Congress to reverse the provision, told CQ that somehow putting it in place endangers the health care people in third world nations receive.

But Douglas Johnson, the legislative director of National Right to Life, tells LifeNews.com the Mexico City Policy and Obama's reversing it is all about abortion.

Thus, it appears Obama's move will take money away from non-abortion groups that provide services to poor people in foreign nations.

"One effect of Obama's anticipated order will be to divert many millions of dollars away from groups that do not promote abortion, and into the hands of those organizations that are most militant in promoting abortion as a population-control method," Johnson explained.

"So, a president who not long ago told the American people that he wanted to reduce the number of abortions, is already effectively promoting the increased use of abortion as a means of population control," Johnson added.

President Reagan first put the Mexico City Policy in place and it is named for a population conference that took place in the Mexican capital in 1984 when he introduced it.

President George H.W. Bush continued the pro-life policy, President Clinton overturned it, and President George W. Bush kept it for eight years and threatened to veto any Congressional spending bill reversing it.

Under the Mexico City Policy, funding for family planning programs is not reduced.

New Agenda in the White House

By Maurine Proctor of Family Leader:

The White House has already updated the government site outlining President Obama's plans for the future and they deeply affect family, marriage and religious freedom.

Early Childhood Education

  • Zero to Five Plan: The Obama-Biden comprehensive "Zero to Five" plan will provide critical support to young children and their parents. Unlike other early childhood education plans, the Obama-Biden plan places key emphasis at early care and education for infants, which is essential for children to be ready to enter kindergarten. Obama and Biden will create Early Learning Challenge Grants to promote state Zero to Five efforts and help states move toward voluntary, universal pre-school. [The government wants to educate our babies and make us pay for universal pre-school?]

Civil Rights

  • Support Full Civil Unions and Federal Rights for LGBT Couples: President Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples. Obama also believes we need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions. These rights and benefits include the right to assist a loved one in times of emergency, the right to equal health insurance and other employment benefits, and property rights.
  • Oppose a Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage: President Obama voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2006 which would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman and prevented judicial extension of marriage-like rights to same-sex or other unmarried couples.
  • Expand Hate Crimes Statutes: In 2004, crimes against LGBT Americans constituted the third-highest category of hate crime reported and made up more than 15 percent of such crimes. President Obama cosponsored legislation that would expand federal jurisdiction to include violent hate crimes perpetrated because of race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or physical disability. As a state senator, President Obama passed tough legislation that made hate crimes and conspiracy to commit them against the law. [Both Hate Crimes and ENDA (Employment Non-discrimination Act) laws impact religious freedom.]
  • Fight Workplace Discrimination: President Obama supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and believes that our anti-discrimination employment laws should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity. While an increasing number of employers have extended benefits to their employees' domestic partners, discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace occurs with no federal legal remedy. The President also sponsored legislation in the Illinois State Senate that would ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
  • Repeal Don't Ask-Don't Tell: President Obama agrees with former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili and other military experts that we need to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The key test for military service should be patriotism, a sense of duty, and a willingness to serve. Discrimination should be prohibited. The U.S. government has spent millions of dollars replacing troops kicked out of the military because of their sexual orientation. Additionally, more than 300 language experts have been fired under this policy, including more than 50 who are fluent in Arabic. The President will work with military leaders to repeal the current policy and ensure it helps accomplish our national defense goals.
  • Expand Adoption Rights: President Obama believes that we must ensure adoption rights for all couples and individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation. He thinks that a child will benefit from a healthy and loving home, whether the parents are gay or not. [We will be putting children in a position where they do not have the right to a mother and father. What does this mean for religious adoption agencies?]
  • Promote AIDS Prevention: In the first year of his presidency, President Obama will develop and begin to implement a comprehensive national HIV/AIDS strategy that includes all federal agencies. The strategy will be designed to reduce HIV infections, increase access to care and reduce HIV-related health disparities. The President will support common sense approaches including age-appropriate sex education that includes information about contraception, combating infection within our prison population through education and contraception, and distributing contraceptives through our public health system. The President also supports lifting the federal ban on needle exchange, which could dramatically reduce rates of infection among drug users. President Obama has also been willing to confront the stigma - too often tied to homophobia - that continues to surround HIV/AIDS.

Reproductive Choice

  • Supports a Woman's Right to Choose: President Obama understands that abortion is a divisive issue, and respects those who disagree with him. However, he has been a consistent champion of reproductive choice and will make preserving women's rights under Roe v. Wade a priority in his Adminstration. He opposes any constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court's decision in that case.
  • Preventing Unintended Pregnancy: President Obama was an original co-sponsor of legislation to expand access to contraception, health information, and preventive services to help reduce unintended pregnancies. Introduced in January 2007, the Prevention First Act will increase funding for family planning and comprehensive sex education that teaches both abstinence and safe sex methods. The Act will also end insurance discrimination against contraception, improve awareness about emergency contraception, and provide compassionate assistance to rape victims.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Being Pro-Life Christians Under a Pro-Choice President

A commentary by John Piper:

That is the title of a sermon I preached January 17, 1993, three days before Bill Clinton was inaugurated president. It is just as relevant—or more—today.

The text was 1 Peter 2:17, “Honor the king.” I closed with eight ways to honor a pro-choice president. The seventh was this:

We will honor you by expecting from you straightforward answers to straightforward questions. We would not expect this from a con-man, but we do expect it from an honorable man.

For example,
  1. Are you willing to explain why a baby's right not to be killed is less important than a woman's right not to be pregnant?

  2. Or are you willing to explain why most cities have laws forbidding cruelty to animals, but you oppose laws forbidding cruelty to human fetuses? Are they not at least living animals?

  3. Or are you willing to explain why government is unwilling to take away the so-called right to abortion on demand even though it harms the unborn child; yet government is increasingly willing to take away the right to smoke, precisely because it harms innocent non-smokers, killing 3,000 non-smokers a year from cancer and as many as 40,000 non-smokers a year from other diseases?

  4. And if you say that everything hangs on whether the fetus is a human child, are you willing to go before national television in the oval office and defend your support for the "Freedom of Choice Act" by holding in your hand a 21 week old fetus and explaining why this little one does not have the fundamental, moral, and constitutional right to life? Are you willing to say to parents in this church who lost a child at that age and held him in their hands, this being in your hands is not and was not a child with any rights of its own under God or under law?

Perhaps you have good answers to each of these questions. We will honor you by expecting you to defend your position forthrightly in the public eye.

You have immense power as President of the United States. To wield it against the protection of the unborn without giving a public accounting in view of moral and scientific reality would be dishonorable. We will honor you by expecting better.

Possible Reversal of the "Mexico City Policy"

Washington (CNN) -- President-elect Barack Obama is considering issuing an executive order to reverse a controversial Bush administration abortion policy in his first week in office, three Democratic sources said Monday.

Obama's second full day as president falls on the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in the United States.

The sources said Obama may use the occasion to reverse the "Mexico City policy" reinstated in 2001 by Bush that prohibits U.S. money from funding international family planning groups that promote abortion or provide information, counseling or referrals about abortion services. It bans any organization receiving family planning funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development from offering abortions or abortion counseling.

The "Mexico City policy," commonly referred to by critics as "the global gag rule," was devised by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 at a population conference in Mexico City.

President Bill Clinton lifted the ban in January 1993 as one of his first acts as president, but President George W. Bush reinstated it in his first executive order on January 22, 2001, the 28th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

At the time, critics -- including Planned Parenthood -- called the move a "legislative ambush."

Bush defended the action, saying then: "It is my conviction that taxpayer funds should not be used to pay for abortion or actively promote abortion."

Monday, January 19, 2009

Obama Is No Lincoln

Anthony Horvath has posted an excellent article entitled "Abortion and Slavery: Obama as the Anti-Lincoln":

Right there on the Drudge Report was a picture of Obama posturing in front of the Lincoln Memorial. It doesn’t take much to see the relevance. Lincoln was instrumental in liberating black people from slavery in this country. 150 years later, a black person is president. The spin doctors aren’t content to leave it at that. The effort is on to try to relate Obama to Lincoln’s style, intellect, etc. But Obama is no Lincoln.

The prevailing argument in the hundred years leading up to the Civil War was this simple question: is a black person a human person, entitled to the rights and privileges granted to all members of the human race. The debate raged even in Christendom, with pro-slavery Christians trying to manipulate the Bible so as to justify slavery. Among these Christians, sometimes the argument wasn’t so much that blacks weren’t persons as that they deserved what they were getting (mark of Cain type arguments). The Civil War didn’t end the debate. For one thing evolutionary theory provided a new justification, asserting that black people were lesser evolved- animals, if you will.

The question of ‘personhood’ for blacks, at least, has been settled. But the question of ‘personhood’ in general is nowhere near settled.

Today, hundreds of thousands of unborn are slaughtered every year. Today, one can find Christians straining to find ways to continue justifying this from the Scriptures, hoping beyond hope that when we read we are created in God’s image, that image is only imprinted in the birth canal (except in cases of partial birth abortion- the image in that case is only imprinted once the child is fully out. Except when the child isn’t wanted… etc). And Evolutionists continue to leave their mark, thinking in terms of over-population and costs to society.

And where does Obama fall? Obama insists that he finds abortion regrettable and wishes it were rare. And yet he has vowed to pass FOCA “as the first thing he will do” in office. This legislation, it is universally agreed, will toss out all restrictions on abortion, like for example against partial birth abortion and other late term abortions. Obama claims to be a Christian, and yet, like the southern plantation owners of old, has managed to find a way to tell himself that the unborn are not persons. Obama is no Lincoln. He says one thing but does differently.

The woman says “I have the right to do what I want with my body!” irrespective of whether or not there is another body involved. The southern plantation owner made the same argument: “I have the right to do what I want with my property!” irrespective of whether or not there is another body involved.

The argument is extended: “Well, how do you know it is only your body and that there isn’t another body involved?” “Because its my body!” Right. “Well, how do you know that slaves are only property?” “Because they are my property!” See? Settled.

We’ve come so far and yet not far at all. It is a strange irony indeed where a black man takes the presidency, his ‘personhood’ status assured by the spilt blood of hundreds of thousands of Americans in the Civil War and hard fought for the hundred years after, and then that black man makes himself very comfortable depriving another oppressed people their personhood status. It’s a bit like if Jew survives the Nazi holocaust only to come to power and do the same thing to a different class of people.

Obama is no Lincoln. Andrew Jackson, perhaps. He thanks the Lord for his own freedom while continuing to restrict it for others.

The irony persists- this black man also tries to justify his position about the personhood status of another under the guise of Christianity. Meaningless, meaningless, says the teacher: There is nothing new under the sun.

While it is understandable why so many black Americans are cheering the election of Barack Obama it is tragic that they were willing to abandon the very principles that brought them their own freedom, overlooking the fact that there exists in this country, and in the man they elected, the view that that there is another ’subset’ of humanity that does not warrant personhood status. Their success, therefore, is no success at all. They elected ‘one of their own’ and didn’t care if it meant something worse than slavery for millions of people. And many of these believe they are doing the ‘Christian’ thing. It will only be a genuine success after it is achieved in such a way to respect the rights of all individuals- not just those with your skin color or stage in human development.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

What Abortion Really Is

Today is Sanctity of Life Day, 2009. It's impossible to speak about the sanctity of life without addressing the issue of abortion. And you cannot address the issue of abortion without talking about what abortion is. Think about the word "abortion." What comes to mind? For many people, the word "abortion" conjures up images of a pro-choice or pro-life protest (or maybe even the bombing of an abortion clinic). Why? Because the majority of people receive their news information through visual media. And when the media portrays the issue of abortion the pictures that are put before us time and time again are like the one shown here: two protesters holding signs. But is that what abortion really is? Absolutely not. Abortion is not a protest. Abortion is not a bombing. So how do you successfully communicate what abortion really is with a culture that, in the words of Ravi Zacharias, listens with its eyes and thinks with its feelings? You show them. Meaning needs to be restored to the word abortion before dialogue can take place. And to understand what abortion is you must see what abortion is. The following video shows abortion for what it really is.

Warning: This video is extremely graphic.

video

It is hard to watch a video such as this and think that abortion has anything to do with what is typically portrayed on television or in the news media. Many people object to the use of graphic images when it comes to the issue of abortion. But why? We use graphic images all the time to communicate the horrors of the holocaust, starvation, and violent acts of terrorism. The question is not whether or not these pictures are emotional. They are. The question is whether or not these pictures are true.

When abortion is hidden, abortion is tolerated. When abortion is seen, everything changes. America will not reject abortion until America sees abortion.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

National Sanctity of Human Life Day, 2009

A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

All human life is a gift from our Creator that is sacred, unique, and worthy of protection. On National Sanctity of Human Life Day, our country recognizes that each person, including every person waiting to be born, has a special place and purpose in this world. We also underscore our dedication to heeding this message of conscience by speaking up for the weak and voiceless among us.

The most basic duty of government is to protect the life of the innocent. My Administration has been committed to building a culture of life by vigorously promoting adoption and parental notification laws, opposing Federal funding for abortions overseas, encouraging teen abstinence, and funding crisis pregnancy programs. In 2002, I was honored to sign into law the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which extends legal protection to children who survive an abortion attempt. I signed legislation in 2003 to ban the cruel practice of partial-birth abortion, and that law represents our commitment to building a culture of life in America. Also, I was proud to sign the Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004, which allows authorities to charge a person who causes death or injury to a child in the womb with a separate offense in addition to any charges relating to the mother.

America is a caring Nation, and our values should guide us as we harness the gifts of science. In our zeal for new treatments and cures, we must never abandon our fundamental morals. We can achieve the great breakthroughs we all seek with reverence for the gift of life.

The sanctity of life is written in the hearts of all men and women. On this day and throughout the year, we aspire to build a society in which every child is welcome in life and protected in law. We also encourage more of our fellow Americans to join our just and noble cause. History tells us that with a cause rooted in our deepest principles and appealing to the best instincts of our citizens, we will prevail.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 18, 2009, as National Sanctity of Human Life Day. I call upon all Americans to recognize this day with appropriate ceremonies and to underscore our commitment to respecting and protecting the life and dignity of every human being.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.

GEORGE W. BUSH

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Congrats to Dan!

Just wanted to give a shout out and a hearty CONGRATULATIONS to one of our blog contributors, Dan.

Dan is to humble to mention it...so I'll do it for him.

Dan graduated this last December from Biola University with his M.A. degree in Christian Apologetics. We are very fortunate to have such an intelligent and insightful contributor here at Apologetic Junkie.

You can see a picture of Dan here. Sorry ladies, he's married.

Congratulations!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

January: Sanctity of Life Month

January is Sanctity of Life Month. This seems highly ironic given the most radical pro-abortion choice candidate in U.S. history will be sworn in as President in just a few days.

If you haven't done so, you need to read "Obama's Abortion Extremism" by Robert George. Then you need to sign the petition to fight against the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA).

What is the Freedom of Choice Act? It is an extreme piece of pro-abortion choice legislation which would eliminate all nationwide restrictions on abortion through all nine months of pregnancy. In a speech to Planned Parenthood back in 2007, Barack Obama stated, "The first thing I'd do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That's the first thing I'd do."

It's a shame that Obama's "change" doesn't extend to the unborn.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

LET'S GO GET THEM BIGOTS!

Apparently sites such as "You Can't Hide Your Hate" don't go far enough in listing the names of donors to the "Yes on 8" campaign in California. Now there is a website showing exactly where these donors live! The site is simply called "Prop 8 Maps" and states, "Proposition 8 changed the California state constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage. These are the people who donated in order to pass it."

Mark Hemingway of The Corner writes "Here's a handy map Prop 8 opponents have put together showing you where donors to prop 8 live. You have to love the "Jump to San Francisco, Salt Lake City , or Orange County" feature. If someone put together a map showing where all the gay people in the neighborhood live that would properly be called an implicit threat, but this is altogether different, right?"

Proponents of same-sex marriage such as Raphael have not been afraid to post blogs openly endorsing this site, though he has been less enthusiastic about engaging in any type of meaningful debate. Raphael does say, "Now, PLEASE!!!!! Harassing donors is NOT going to achieve anything. Treat people with respect. And fight the bigotry, not the bigot." But it is hard for me to take this comment seriously. How could a website such as this be used to "fight the bigotry, not the bigot?" As Mark comments above, imagine if someone were to put a map together showing where all the gay people in the neighborhood live. To make the example analogous, suppose there was a disclaimer on the map which read, "Hate the homosexuality, not the homosexual." No one would view that map as a moral crusade against homosexuality but rather as a threat against homosexuals themselves. And so it is with this website. As I have noted before, this may just be one more example of Prop 8 opponents attempting to hide their own hate and intolerance for those who disagree with them.

Melinda Penner has rightly noted that this website is an abuse of freedom. Freedom is not the right to do whatever one chooses to do. Freedom is the right to do what one ought to do. And a person ought not to do this. This is especially true given the harassment and violence already sufferred by some Proposition 8 supporters.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Eyes on the Prize


Being a Christian is hard. I would even suggest once we start thinking it's easy, we might not be doing it right. That's the thought that entered my mind as I entered the 6th mile of my 8.4 mile training run today. I'm not a runner, but I've decided to participate in a 120-mile relay run which a 5.3 mile segment is my part. Now that I'm no longer in my twenties, I'm starting to realize that being fit takes some work. Like obediently following the teachings of Jesus when it’s the unpopular thing to do, it's hard, especially at first. If I thought running was easy, my wife (a marathon runner) would probably be the first to tell me I wasn't doing it right.


So as I started loosing my steam, I started to think about spiritual parallels to running. Race training is a good analogy to a spiritual journey, but I'm not the first one to make the observation. It's widely known where the Olympics got their start and that the "Marathon" comes from the original city in ancient Greece. The Romans adopted much of Hellenist culture including athletic competition evidenced today by the numerous arenas that remain in ruins. The Roman Empire during the life of Jesus and the early church was well aware of these contests. Paul plainly makes the comparison in his final goodbye letter when he says in 2 Timothy 4:7, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." The context here is in reference to presenting the gospel and all that comes with it. Anyone familiar with Paul’s story in Acts can relate to the difficulties he faced while passionately engaging in fervent evangelism. In reference to the wreath that the champion wins, he mentions in verse 8 that "now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing." This is the eternal prize of unending life in paradise with the Creator and all our fellow believers.

Jesus himself refers to the kingdom of heaven several times in terms of a prize. He compares the reward of heaven in parables to that of a precious pearl or a banquet feast yet cautions his followers of the coming persecution for his sake. He gives this warning at least eight different times just in the gospel of Matthew alone including this one from the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt 5:10-12 NIV). Jesus is not warning of the possibility of persecution, but that it certainly will happen. Notice his choice of words in his statements like “when they persecute you” (Matt 10:23), “when persecution comes” (Mark 4:17), and “they will persecute” (Luke 11:49). If we listen to his Word, we will be more prepared to endure the difficult road ahead.

The pain of fighting the good fight or running the race is only temporary whereas the rewards are long lasting. Christians so often err by focusing solely on future rewards in heaven while neglecting the fact that eternity begins with our creation on Earth. A runner doesn’t see the health benefits only later in life, but also soon after beginning the healthy lifestyle of exercise. Likewise, a new Christian can experience the benefit of a renewed and healthy lifestyle on Earth long before entering heaven. The benefits of such a transformation are too numerous to mention, but some are less guilt, less anger, more love, genuine fellowship, purposeful living, valued relationships, peace in this life and anticipation of things to come. There are even physical benefits to living as God intended such as a minimized exposure to STDs, alcohol/drug related incidents, incarceration, and violence.

Everyone lives forever, but not everyone receives the same reward. This comes about not by human effort but as a supernatural gift from God. The race training metaphor has been appropriate up until this point but differes sharply when it comes to merited honor. While the competitor earns a prize through hard work, the Christ follower gains a heavenly reward by God’s unmerited grace alone. (Although, I guess even the ability to have been born healthy and capable for atheltic competition is unearned as well). A Creator who is perfectly just cannot go against His nature by ignoring even the smallest sin. No matter how minor it may seem from our human perspective, our fallen state keeps us infinitely far from the glory of the Lord. Since we are all imperfect beings, we require help to please God in lieu of our inability to reach His standard on our own. We need something more than the natural world can offer. Fortunately, everyone is offered the same gracious reward since Jesus already earned the prize for us. Once we examine the Christian claims and find them to be true, all we need to do is accept God's gracious offer, trust his Word, and keep our eyes on the prize.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009

Jihadists in Anaheim

A friend of mine from church went to an anti-Israeli protest this past weekend. She sent me this picture and an e-mail of which the following is an excerpt:

"We went out to one of the anti-Israeli protests yesterday right there in Anaheim. It was fairly big, and very, very hostile. Tons of anti-Israeli stuff around, chanting about the infitada, etc. Signs with the Star of David on it and a swastika written over it. Anti-Jew, anti-American signs, death to Israel, death to America. Just ugly stuff.

George (the director of ACP) and I got out and walked around, and the anger and hate was so intense it was out of control. At one point when George was speaking about Christ being the only way to peace and that the land in Sudan, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon etc., had all been taken over by the sword and Muhammad, and that Islam was the problem, he and I were surrounded by a pack of Muslims full circle. They shouted over George, even threatened us. George had to call the police from his cell phone. But they, of course, never showed up.

Anyway, I wanted to share a picture of two girls who might have been in their late teens, early 20's, who were at the protest standing on the corner, dressed in full Hamas terrorist garb head to tow, holding a sign reading 'Jihad on Zionists.' They are calling for the out right killing of the Jews, right here in the good old USA. Who would have ever thought, that you could present yourself as a Hamas terrorist and hold a sign promoting murder?

The time has come when American citizens ARE in fact turning there backs on Israel and God. When we were leaving, George tried to talk to a young Arab couple with a baby. He told them that he was a Chirstian from Sudan, and that tons of Christians in Sudan were being murdered. What about them? The woman turned around to George and said to him, 'I hope you are one of them.' My friends, the time is short."

Pray for Israel. Pray for the Jews.

*Photo used with permission by Anna Wong

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Should proposition donors be disclosed?

Before you answer this question, click on this Wall Street commentary. It seems as though public disclosure of individual donors to ballot initiatives creates an environment of harassment and intimidation regardless of the side you're on. The original intent may have been to prevent private campaign contributors from paying for benefits like Governors Richardson (NM) and Blagojevich (IL) are both accused of, but donors to propositions rarely get anything in return. Even so, why attack an individual donor of $100 whose individual donation may have hardly made a difference by itself? It's sad that people have lost jobs as a result of the pressure from a few angry people who didn't agree with their support for an idea. Sadder still is the disincentive of people who might not give financial support to support traditional values next election after seeing what happens to those who do. As the author of the article notes, this is not too far from publicly disclosing who and what a person votes for. As long as the government allows this to continue, our freedom will suffer.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Prayer for the New Year

At the New Year's Eve church service I attended, Pastor John encouraged the congregation to make the following verses our prayer for the year:

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds (Titus 2:11-14).

Maranatha! Amen. Come Lord Jesus!