Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pedophile Bill Passes

This is one of those rare moments where my heart sinks for our country. At 4:55pm (ET) yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 1913 - Law Enforcement Hate Crime Prevention Bill. The bill sounds fine on its face. After all, who's not for preventing hate? But in this case, I am.
Although promoted as protection for victims of violent crimes, this bill is a long-awaited fulfillment of the Matthew Shepard campaign to criminalize homosexual criticism. As soon as the president's new website posted, this goal was there. Change was promised and congress was primed to deliver.

As a warning, the following scenario is a disturbing example of the logical extension this bill presents. It's terribly unfortunate the severity of what happened can't be expressed more gently, but the truth must be told. I only use this illustration to demonstrate the obscene legislation supported by a majority of our representatives and it brings me no pleasure to put it so bluntly.
Imagine walking into your house after dinner with your wife to find your 22-year old babysitter, whom you trusted, sexually violating your four year-old daughter. The U.S. House of Representatives decided today to place a higher value on the protection of that monster than on your child. If you were to physically harm the offender, you would be punished more than if you took out your anger on your own victimized child.

Violence committed against any person or property because of one's sexual behavior is subject to an additional 10 years in federal prison according to the bill. That's 10 years more than if the victim's sexuality was irrelevant. That's right, the sexual view of the victim is the focus here. The same rule applies to a weirdo in your city who installs hidden cameras in your local school locker room, a homeless man exposing his erect penis to women jogging in the nearby park, a funeral worker having sex with your deceased grandmother, a pet groomer sodomizing the family dog, or your married neighbor having an affair with his 18-year old step-daughter. These are those whom our government representatives have decided to pass a special bill for. And they decided to protect them more than you! The AFA compiled a list of the newly protected sexual orientations under this bill.

It's true H.R. 1913 only applies to crimes of violence. Obviously we don't condone violence against anyone. We also acknowledge that people have been victims of terrible violence because of their sexuality including despicable acts commited by people claiming to be Christian. But the reason we are shocked by those violent acts is not the offense against a victim's sexuality, but because it is an attack on a priceless human person. When the government deems some people worthy of more protection than others based on sexual identity or gender identification, equality is eroded. While there are lots of problems with legislation of hate crimes, below are five troubling facts about this bill in addition to the appalling scenarios described above.

1- Reducing Human Value

The government just isn't as concerned about you being attacked as they would be if your attacker disagrees with your sexual habits. This is an outright rejection of inert human value and replaces it with subjective value of our sexual desires based on the whims of whoever is in congress. Our government has seriously strayed from the founders' intent of "created equal" by replacing it with the value of "minority behaviors are preferred." The supporters of Hate Crimes legislation are not satisfied by protecting all people equally. For them, the real crime is not attacking a human person, but attacking one's sexual identity. This is wrong. All humans have intrinsic worth and deserve equal protection under the law regardless of their behavior or sexual desires.

2-Rejecting change

There were several attempts by members of congress to propose amendments to the bill. Knowing that the Democrat majority in the House virtually assured the bill's passage, conservative representatives only attempted modifications to an absurd bill they knew they couldn't defeat outright. Examples of changes suggested were adding veterans and immigrants to the list of protected classes. Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King was the most vocal proponent of a pedophile exemption so the bill would not protect those whose sexual orientation included children. You'd think that would have been a reasonable request.

Rep. King presented this "pedophile exclusion" amendment to the Judiciary rules committee on Tuesday. This committee is the gateway for all proposals to make it to the House floor for a vote among all representatives. Here is a 7 minute clip showing his presentation to them.

Wisconsin Democrat Rep. Tammy Baldwin (from my hometown Madison) responded in opposition tp the King amendment by claiming that a pedophile exclusion was an unnecessary narrowing of the term "sexual orientation." She said the Hate Crimes Statistics Act of 1990 already defined it as "consensual heterosexuality or homosexuality" so that probably excludes children.

But calling "consensual sex" a definition is a stretch. The only thing we can exclude from "consensual" sex is rape. But rape oviously is illegal already. Despite this, she conceded that the definition is found nowhere else in federal law. She also objected to King's amendment as having "inflammatory implications" although failed to expand on that complaint.

Rep. Baldwin referenced the following portion of the HCSA which is now Title 28 U.S.C. Section 534:
"As used in this section, the term ‘sexual orientation’ means consensual homosexuality or heterosexuality."
After the vote, Texas Republican Rep. Gohmert (a former appellate judge) warned the committee in this video clip that Baldwin's claim about "sexual orientation" being defined in one other 1990 bill is insufficient. He said when legislators intentionally refuse to specify a definition, judges don't examine other legislation but look at the face of the bill. Accordingly, the practicality of this bill will protect pedophiles and will be upheld as such on appeal since no other specific definition was offered.

The chairman Rep. Conyers (who is the original co-sponsor of this bill) ignored pleas for other amendment supporters to be heard. His apology afterwards was odd considering he clearly heard the objection but continued with the vote anyway. He added that even if he had allowed them to speak, it was irrelevant because the amendment passed anyway. After a vote count, it was later learned he was wrong and King's amendment excluding pedophiles from federal protection failed.

3-Policing Thought

George Orwell's fictional account depicted in his 1984 novel has arrived - at least in the House chamber. It's impossible to enforce crimes based on the content of one's conscience alone. The only way to even know what's on someone's mind is by a truthful admission. A free society where the expression of ideas is supposed to be encouraged can't operate with thought crime restrictions. Prior to the vote yesterday, King gave a nine minute speech critiquing the bizarre way this bill would criminalize thoughts. Never before, said King, has federal law included suspect thoughts instead of overt acts.

Most hate crimes supporters ignored these arguments, but Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) took the challenge. He attacked the "thought crimes" complaint by identifying special protections already in place such as members of congress. Where Rep. Frank is confused is that attacking members of congress is punished more severely not because we value them more, but because a position of public office is valued in itself for the stability of our nation. In the same way, the hate crimes bill places a special value on sexual orientation itself.

Additionally, a congressman is identifiable outwardly whereas sexual orientation is invisible. The difference between covert thought and overt action should be obvious. Thomas Jefferson would agree. In his series of letters to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802, he clearly explains that, under the first amendment, opinions would never be subject to criminal law.

4-Silencing Dissent

Rep. Gohmert warns that anyone publicly speaking against "sexual orientation" is prosecutable under 18 USC 2(a) and can be charged as a "principal:"

The section as revised makes clear the legislative intent to punish as a principal not only one who directly commits an offense and one who “aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures” another to commit an offense, but also anyone who causes the doing of an act which if done by him directly would render him guilty of an offense against the United States. It removes all doubt that one who puts in motion or assists in the illegal enterprise but causes the commission of an indispensable element of the offense by an innocent agent or instrumentality, is guilty as a principal even though he intentionally refrained from the direct act constituting the completed offense.

In other words, if a pastor teaches the traditional interpretation of verses like Genesis 19, Leviticus 20, Judges 18, Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 6, 1 Tim 1, 2 Peter 2, or Jude 7 and someone who heard him goes out and beats up someone who's sexual behavior falls into a protected class, that pastor can be arrested and charged with a federal felony. You may think this is an exaggeration, but it's not at all. Pastor Ake Green was arrested as a result of similar legislation in Sweden. Other free nations like Canada, New Zealand, and Australia are experiencing similar incidents as well.

5-Restricting Civil Rights
"But the protection is just for violent crimes!" Really? Why would a federal protection only apply to a victim of a violent crime while leaving them out to dry all other times? If a class of people are federally protected, why would they be allowed to be discriminated against in any other aspect of society? Can they be refused things like employment, insurance benefits, or restroom facilities because of their sexual orientation? How can this be? It seems that either the government deems a group federally protected or not. If they are protected from violent crimes, they should be protected from all kinds of discriminatory practices. This poses an obvious problem. If legislators insist the term "sexual orientation" be left open-ended, and pedophilia, necrophilia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, incest, and bestiality are protected behaviors, how can we continue to arrest people for doing what comes naturally from their federally protected sexual orientation?

The real problem is that those who are supporting homosexual advocacy groups have little ground to stand on in disagreement with other brands of sexual preference. In fact, the very same arguments posed by gay-rights groups in the 70's to lobby groups like the APA (American Psychiatric Association) to remove homosexuality from their list of mental disorders, are now being used by groups like NAMBLA (North American Man-Boy Love Association) to normalize pedophilia. Gay advocates realize the logical trail here. If the government assigns special privilege to homosexuality, no objective reason exists to deny protections to other kinds of sexual behavior. For those logicians out there, this isn't a slippery slope fallacy which reasons that if we allow X then Y will certainly follow (even if it need not). The above argument takes a different direction: it argues that if we allow justification J for X, we will have no grounds for objecting to the justification J for Y. There simply is no reason to stop with consensual adult homosexuality. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) conceeded this by boldly urging federal protection for 547 sexual paraphilias published by the APA in this 44 second speech.

On Tuesday, Sen. Ted Kennedy introduced a senate version (S.909) which, if passes, will be sent to a president who campaigned on tougher hate crime laws (see the White House agenda here). Let's pray that Senate leaders are more willing to hear all sides of the argument before voting. Unfortunately, Obama wants "swift" action reminiscent of the 1,100 page bailout bill that passed before anyone could read it. Here's how Obama puts it himself: "This week, the House of Representatives is expected to consider H.R. 1913, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. I urge members on both sides of the aisle to act on this important civil rights issue by passing this legislation to protect all of our citizens from violent acts of intolerance – legislation that will enhance civil rights protections, while also protecting our freedom of speech and association. I also urge the Senate to work with my Administration to finalize this bill and to take swift action."

Opponents to the bill hope to gain enough support for a filibuster despite this week's defection of Sen. Arlen Specter to the Democratic caucus. Keep an eye on this bill and be sure to write a quick note to your Senators and President to make your voice heard. Obama pays very close attention to public opinion so large amounts of attention on this issue is our best way to make an impact. AFA, FRC, and Citizen Link are active in combating pro-family causes like this and their websites are excellent ways to keep current as it's not covered much by the main stream media. Here's a petition that's pretty simple to sign on to.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Dangerous Rise Of Islam

Islam is growing worldwide at an alarming rate. Here are some important things to keep in mind:

(1) Statistically speaking, in terms of children, religious families by and large outproduce secular families.

(2) As America and other European countries become more secular, the fewer children we should expect to see in the next generation.

(3) These anti-religious, anti-child cultures create a religious vacuum, as well as a population vacuum, making it easy for Muslims to immigrate and fill in both the religious and population gaps.

(4) Were it not for immigration, America itself would be a dying nation (this should be no surprise considering we kill one-third of the next generation through abortion).

It is always disheartening to see non-Christians display a greater commitment to their false religion then Christians do with true Biblical Christianity. The tremendous growth of Islam is an excellent example. The Church in America needs to wake up.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

'Hateful Words' May be Prosecutable

( Jim Brown

A Democratic congresswoman's candid remarks in the House Judiciary Committee yesterday bolster the fears of Americans who are concerned they one day may be convicted of a "hate crime" for merely publicly expressing their opposition to homosexuality.

The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act was reported out of the Judiciary Committee yesterday in the House (see earlier story). The bill, which is expected to face a vote in the full House on Wednesday, would add gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability to the list of protected categories under federal hate crimes law.

Proponents of the hate crimes bill claim that Christians and others who speak out publicly against homosexuality are not threatened with the same type of prosecution that criminals would face for committing acts of violence against homosexuals and transgender people.

In response, Judiciary Committee chairman John Conyers (D-Michigan), a co-sponsor of the measure, stated: "The bill only applies to bias-motivated violent crimes and does not impinge public speech or writing in any way."

However, during the Judiciary Committee markup yesterday, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas) reinforced the notion that people could be prosecuted for having a particular belief. "We also need to protect those potential victims who may be the recipients of hateful words or hateful acts, or even violent acts," said the Democratic lawmaker.

Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), a former judge, offered several amendments that would have provided religious-freedom protections from hate crimes prosecution, but they were all rejected by Democrats on the Judiciary Committee.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Earth Day for Evolutionists?

( Greg Koukl

Has anyone else but me noticed an inherent contradiction in the underlying convictions that drive annual “Earth Day” celebrations? The vast majority of those who attend such fetes are Darwinists who believe humans have a moral obligation to protect the environment? My question is: Why?

For millions of years “Mother Nature” has spewed noxious fumes and poisonous gasses into the atmosphere and littered the landscape with ash and lava. Indeed, the most “natural” condition in the universe is death. As far as we know, Earth is completely unique; death reigns everywhere else.

Species have passed into extinction at a steady rate from the beginning of time, the strong supplanting the weak. Why shouldn’t they? Each is in a struggle-to-the-death for survival. It is a dance of destruction that fuels the evolutionary process as every creature exploits every other creature for its own benefit. That’s evolution.

No locust swarm stops short of denuding a field because it ought to “leave a bit for the crickets. After all, we all have a right to be here.” The logic of naturalism and the rules of evolution dictate human beings rape our environment, just as everything else does, not protect it.

The moral obligations underpinning Earth Week activities simply do not follow from the naturalistic world view that embraces Darwinism. It follows, rather, from a theistic world view in which God has created man as unique and given him responsibility over the Earth to care for it. Earth Week makes sense for Christians, not for Darwinists.

You can read a longer take on this in "Worldviews & Earth Day."

Suggested STR resource on evolution: Why I'm Not an Evolutionist

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Same-sex Rhetoric & Miss America

( Greg Koukl

Rhetoric is winning the day.

Lately when I hear public crossfire-type discussions on the issue of same-sex marriage—discussions that have filled the airwaves since the unfortunate incident at the Miss America pageant—traditional marriage wins on the merits, but the other side wins the rhetoric game.

It’s time we stop letting others frame the debate in terms of “tolerance,” “fairness,” “equality,” and “compassion,” in a way that pushes us into defense mode trying to neutralize the loaded language, but never really gaining any ground for our side.

The fact is, decent Americans are the ones being bullied here, citizens who are people of conscience, overflowing with tolerance in the classic sense, but are being pushed around and oppressed because they disagree with the extreme views of the minority. Instead of making the case for traditional marriage, maybe we should also point out what's really going on behind the rhetoric that appeals to fairness and equality.

Let me tell you what’s really going on here.

Good people with honest differences with the Homosexual agenda are being bullied.

First, Americans are incredibly tolerant of homosexuality, especially considering the moral concerns lots of folks have with it. Same-sex couples have been getting married for years in private ceremonies. No one interferes, and no one should.

Americans are happy to give equal rights, and that is done virtually everywhere. However, they do not want their arms twisted into approving something they do not think is good for America or for families. That’s the real issue.

Think about it: The government represents the people. When the government steps in and gives its approval, it’s like the people are giving their approval. With a marriage license for same-sex couples, it’s the same as the people saying that same-sex relationships are exactly the same as heterosexual relationships.

Some of those people do think that, but the vast majority of Americans do not—witnessed by the dozens of state referendums—and should not be forced to act like they do.

Miss California was bullied, and good, tolerant, compassionate Americans are being bullied, too. Decent people around the country do not want that.

Decent Americans who step out of line with political correctness are being punished simply for dissenting.

And they also don’t want to be punished for their views. Miss California was clearly manipulated by a homosexual judge for his own political purposes.

Increasingly, homosexual rights extremists are repressing dissent and oppressing those who disagree with them. More and more often, good people are being punished because they hold a different point of view—punished through name calling, punished through harassment, punished through public humiliation and intimidation (like Miss California after the pageant), punished through lawsuits, and even sometimes punished through the loss of their jobs (after Prop 8 passed in CA, for example).

Same-sex marriage is a strong-arm attempt of a minority to force public approval of homosexuality from a majority who doesn’t approve.

A marriage license does not confer any significant liberties that same-sex couples do not already have. Instead, it is meant to give them what they’ve been demanding for a long time—complete, unqualified, unconditional, and undiminished, social approval.

This is not about equal rights. It’s about public validation and social acceptance. It’s about one group who has a minority view trying to use the law to force their views on other people who don’t agree with them. If people want to celebrate same-sex unions, fine. That’s their business. Let them do that in private ceremonies, even religious ones if they can arrange them. But the government shouldn’t get involved. That basically gives broad cultural affirmation by government decree.

The insistence for same-sex marriage is about a radical attempt to alter the foundational institution of civilization by using government muscle to strong-arm the decent Americans into affirming a lifestyle and set of behaviors they does not, by and large, approve of, but are willing to tolerate as long as it is not forced on them.

The challenges, on balance, are empty and manipulative.

As to the charge, “That’s discrimination!,” I only note that it’s the same discrimination we make against polygamy. The people are not going to endorse polygamy because they think it’s wrong, just as they think same-sex marriage is wrong. Every argument for same-sex marriage is an argument for polygamy—and polyandry (multiple husbands), and polyamory (group marriage), etc. (get creative). If not one, why not the other?

Same-sex marriage advocates must support polygamy, given their logic. If they say, “That’s ridiculous,” I say, “You’re right. It is ridiculous. That’s my point. Ridiculous conclusions follow from the reasoning same-sex marriage advocates present.”

This is not about redefining marriage. This is about redefining civilization.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Kathy Ireland: An Effective Pro-Life Voice

Kathy Ireland recently appeared on the Mike Huckabee show where she shared her Christian testimony and what motivated her to change her stance on abortion from pro-choice to pro-life.

She does in excellent job of articulating a maximum number of facts in a minimal amount of time in a winsome and attractive manner. As Melinda from Stand to Reason notes, she is a "gracious and effective ambassador."

To watch the video, click here.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

An Atheist Explains Suffering

A challenge to explain suffering is often a question asked to Christians. Some will wonder if a loving God exists, then how could there be suffering. This is a fair question and worthy of a reasonable response. However, this question is not exclusively for a believer in God, the atheist must explain suffering or the problem of evil as well.

Below is a video of one atheist’s explanation of suffering in the world. If you were an atheist, how would you explain why suffering exists in a world that you believe has no God? To paraphrase this young atheist’s answer “crap happens” would be the best answer I could give as well.

Watch this video to see what insight to the question you can gain.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Resurrection Day!


Looking for some resources on the life, death, and resurrection of Christ?
You might want to check out the following:

1. Gary Habermas' website, an excellent resource.

2. Articles by William Lane Craig, both scholarly and popular.

3. Great audio, including debates, as well as book reviews and essays at Apologetics315.

4. Risen Jesus, the apologetics ministry of Mike Licona.

Recommended books (just to name a few):
1. The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, by Gary Habermas and Michael Licona (If you get one book on the resurrection I would make it this one)

2. The Son Rises, by William Lane Craig

3. The Resurrection of the Son of God, by N.T. Wright (A hefty book that can also double as a weapon)

4. The Historical Jesus, by Gary Habermas

5. Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, by Richard Bauckham

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Rick Warren Disavows Support for Prop. 8

( Jim Brown

California mega-church pastor and author of The Purpose Driven Life Rick Warren says he apologized to his homosexual friends for making comments in support of California's Proposition 8, and now claims he "never once even gave an endorsement" of the marriage amendment.

Monday night on CNN's Larry King Live, Pastor Rick Warren apologized for his support of Prop. 8, California's voter-approved marriage protection amendment, saying he has "never been and never will be" an "anti-gay or anti-gay marriage activist."

"During the whole Proposition 8 thing, I never once went to a meeting, never once issued a statement, never -- never once even gave an endorsement in the two years Prop. 8 was going," Warren claimed.

However, just two weeks before the November 4 Prop. 8 vote, Pastor Warren issued a clear endorsement of the marriage amendment while speaking to church members. "We support Proposition 8 -- and if you believe what the Bible says about marriage, you need to support Proposition 8," he said.

The following is a complete transcript of Warren's comments just weeks before the Prop. 8 election:

"The election's coming just in a couple of weeks, and I hope you're praying about your vote. One of the propositions, of course, that I want to mention is Proposition 8, which is the proposition that had to be instituted because the courts threw out the will of the people. And a court of four guys actually voted to change a definition of marriage that has been going for 5,000 years.

"Now let me say this really clearly: we support Proposition 8 -- and if you believe what the Bible says about marriage, you need to support Proposition 8. I never support a candidate, but on moral issues I come out very clear.

"This is one thing, friends, that all politicians tend to agree on. Both Barack Obama and John McCain, I flat-out asked both of them: what is your definition of marriage? And they both said the same thing -- it is the traditional, historic, universal definition of marriage: one man and one woman, for life. And every culture for 5,000 years, and every religion for 5,000 years, has said the definition of marriage is between one man and a woman.

"Now here's an interesting thing. There are about two percent of Americans [who] are homosexual or gay/lesbian people. We should not let two percent of the population determine to change a definition of marriage that has been supported by every single culture and every single religion for 5,000 years.

"This is not even just a Christian issue -- it's a humanitarian and human issue that God created marriage for the purpose of family, love, and procreation.

"So I urge you to support Proposition 8, and pass that word on. I'm going to be sending out a note to pastors on what I believe about this. But everybody knows what I believe about it. They heard me at the Civil Forum when I asked both Obama and McCain on their views."

During his CNN interview on Monday, Warren expressed regret for backing Prop. 8. "There were a number of things that were put out. I wrote to all my gay friends -- the leaders that I knew -- and actually apologized to them. That never got out," he admitted.

Additionally, Pastor Warren said he did not want to comment on or criticize the Iowa Supreme Court's decision last week to legalize same-sex "marriage" because it was "not his agenda."

Bryan Fischer with the Idaho Values Alliance says Warren is abdicating his biblical role as a pastor. "For Pastor Warren to say that shoring up marriage is not something that's on his agenda is just something that's hard to believe for somebody who believes the Bible is our rule for faith and practice," Fischer notes.

Dr. Jim Garlow, the senior pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church in the San Diego suburb of La Mesa, helped spearhead the Prop. 8 effort in California. Garlow admits he is confused and troubled by Pastor Warren's decision to apologize for supporting Prop. 8.

"Historically when institutions and individuals back away from convictional biblical truth, it is driven primarily by one single factor -- and that is the respectability of other people. In other words, much more caring about what other people think about them than what God thinks about them," he concludes.

Pastor Warren did not respond to a request from OneNewsNow for an interview.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Message from Logan Sekulow

Thank You
Monday, April 6, 2009 at 12:05PM

We want to give a sincere thank you to everyone who signed our petition. We can not believe that over 58,000 of you signed up in support of the Conscience Clause. Keep checking our websites and blogs as we will report what the Presidents final decision is. Also, in the coming weeks we will be launching a new cause where you can Be Heard!

ALWAYS BE HEARD, Logan Sekulow

see his original post here