…at least get your facts straight, both the current and the Biblical ones. Paul Wilson of the Media Research Center obliterates a Huffington Post piece by Domenick Scudera that was trying to take jabs at the Chick-Fil-A situation.
Got our last shot at a family summer vacation recently, which is why I’ve been quiet around here. Niagara Falls was wonderful. Thanks for asking. And actually it wasn’t the entire family. My son had marching band camp last week, so my wife stayed here with him for that. Band camp was so early because school starts so early; August 6! And there are some metro Atlanta schools starting this week, in July! Maybe they’re trying to ease us into year-round school.
Over vacation, something of a brouhaha got started around a statement by Chick-fil-a CEO Dan Cathy.
The company invests in Christian growth and ministry through its WinShape Foundation (WinShape.com). The name comes from the idea of shaping people to be winners.
It began as a college scholarship and expanded to a foster care program, an international ministry, and a conference and retreat center modeled after the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove.
"That morphed into a marriage program in conjunction with national marriage ministries," Cathy added.
Some have opposed the company’s support of the traditional family. "Well, guilty as charged," said Cathy when asked about the company’s position.
"We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.
"We operate as a family business … our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that," Cathy emphasized.
Combine this with previous statements and look at where the Cathy’s give money, and the worst-kept secret of Chick-fil-a was "exposed"; the Cathy’s are against same-sex marriage.
This prompted shock — SHOCK — among a group of big city mayors. Boston mayor Tom Menino:
“There’s no place for discrimination on Boston’s Freedom Trail,” Menino wrote to Cathy in a July 20 letter, “and no place for your company alongside it.”
Los Angeles mayor Edwin Lee:
“Closest #ChickFilA to San Francisco is 40 miles away,” tweeted San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee on July 26, “& I strongly recommend that they not try to come any closer.”
And Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel said something similar.
All this because the CEO of Chick-fil-a has the same position on same-sex marriage that President Obama had up until six months ago.
“I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix.” – April 17, 2008, while running for president, defining marriage at the Saddleback Presidential Forum.
The previously link Washington Post story also has this addendum.
Since making their initial comments, Boston Mayor Tom Menino and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel have sought to clarify that they do not intend to use city resources to block Chick-fil-A’s permitting efforts on account of CEO Dan Cathy’s political or religious views. They stand by their comments, however, that the stores do not belong in their cities.
So no organization who’s CEO’s personal beliefs don’t line up with the mayor’s is not welcome. This from the "tolerance" brigade? Does anyone on the Left side of the aisle see the irony here?
And if it’s just about same-sex marriage, why this?
After supporting a call to block Chick-fil-A over the religious views of its management, the Chicago mayor welcomed an army of men dispatched to his streets by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, the Chicago Sun Times reported Wednesday.
Islam doesn’t permit same-sex marriage, either. In fact, in Islamic countries, homosexuals are killed. No (honest) Christian is suggesting that be done. If you accuse Christians of having a persecution complex, you must reconcile shunning a Christian-owned business over a widely held Christian belief with welcoming Muslims that have the exact same one.
And this just in: I hear that, in order to faithfully represent the values of Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago, Chick-fil-a will now start murdering people and selling meth. But maybe that’s just a rumor.
Finally, Mike Huckabee has organized a "buy-cott" of Chick-fil-a for tomorrow, August 1st. There’s an official Facebook event page for it that Huckabee started, as well as one that suggests taking a picture of the restaurant you go to in order to show how big the crowds are. I’ll see you there.
There is no better place than church to talk about political issues because they are ultimately moral issues, First Lady Michelle Obama told a church gathering on Thursday.
“To anyone who says that church is no place to talk about these issues, you tell them there is no place better – no place better,” Obama told the African Methodist Episcopal Church’s 49th general conference, held in in Nashville, Tenn.
“Because ultimately, these are not just political issues – they are moral issues,” she said. “They’re issues that have to do with human dignity and human potential, and the future we want for our kids and our grandkids.”
When the political and the moral intersect, I agree that churches should not be afraid to take a stand on an issue (and shouldn’t lose it’s tax-exempt status when doing so). So I’m glad to hear Mrs. Obama talk about this.
But does anyone want to guess what the "separation of church and state" crowd would have done if Laura Bush had said the same thing? I think we all know what reaction they would have had. So bookmark that page for when they get their voice back. (They’ve been rather quite for, oh, about 4 years now.)
In the little book Star Wars on Trial, in the chapter “Charge #2″ (to whit: While Claiming Mythic Significance, Star Wars Portrays No Admirable Religious or Ethical Beliefs”. The witness for the prosecution (John C. Wright) attacks this in part by pointing out that Star Wars borrows more from boy-fiction Flash Gordon &etc than anything pretending to be religion. Mr Wright suggests:
A real religion addresses metaphysics, spiritual powers, martyrdom, ethics, salvation, miracles, and life after death.
And no, all world religions necessarily evidence all of these. What he argues, point by point, is that Star Wars “Force” as religion is a calisthenic, it is
an atmosphere, a spooky hint of mystic powers and hidden forces meant to lend an air of exotic super-naturalism to the proceedings. The Force is there for the sword fights. The Force is meant to explain why a kendo fencer can perform amazing leaps, parry laser bolts or make a single one-in-a-million bull’s-eye shot into a ray-shielded thermal exhaust port with a proton torpedo and blow up a space station the size of a small moon.
The Force isn’t learned by credoa nd ethics, it’s something you learn by practice, “by doing one handed handstands while levitating crates on Swamp Planet.”
What, for example, are the doctrinal differences between Obi-Wan and Mr Vader?
Jesus is not your boyfriend
Or your homeboy.
Has our evangelical culture, in its eagerness to emotionalize our personal relationship with God Jesus, trended towards an essentially erotic view of said relationship? From the post at Her.meneutics,
It was not uncommon at my conservative Christian college to overhear girls say that Jesus was their “boyfriend” until God brought the right man along. I once had a girl tell me she could not hang out on a Friday night because she had a “date” with God. In our churches, many of our praise and worship songs border on the “love song” language, leading many girls to equate those warm and fuzzy feelings that come with attraction with Jesus. This is a dangerous place to be. Not only is it an incomplete picture of who our Christ is, it also sends the message that the girls (and women) who are truly devoted to Jesus equate contentment in him with a romantic relationship with him.
Reading the comments left at the post is also interesting. A sampling,
We used to sing this at a young adult study I used to go to:
“I wanna sit at your feet Drink from the cup in your hand. Lay back against you and breath, feel your heart beat This love is so deep, it’s more than I can stand. I melt in your peace, it’s overwhelming”
I could never sing the song and it took me completely out of worship. I’m a dude and this in NO WAY represents my walk with Christ. It’s borderline creepy to me and almost sexual. It did, however, REALLY make me curious as to how women see a relationship with christ differently than a man does due to gender differences.
Posted By: b | June 25, 2012 1:26 PM
just can’t handle the “So in love with you” songs about Jesus any more. It just seems too close to the eroticism of love songs.
One of our younger male pastors (when he was working with youth) would often talk about “being so in love with Jesus” and used other language that had a boyfriend feel to it. I told him this way of talking could have a rather creepy feel about it, especially to the adolescent boys just coming to terms with their sexuality – he looked at me like I was crazy. It may also have a certain appeal to young females so wanting to have a boyfriend experience.
Posted By: Annie | June 25, 2012 3:11 PM
Yet what of the Biblical references to Israel’s rebellion being akin to having an adulterous affair, or the overt sexuality found in Song of Solomon, or that the New Covenant church is referenced as the bride of Christ?
It’s my understanding that such analogies always refer to the corporate body (i.e., the nation of Israel or the church as a whole) and are not indicative of the personal relationship each individual follower of Christ has with God. Note that in the upper room discourse Jesus calls his disciples friends, or how Paul refers to Christ followers as sons of God, or how virtually all of Jesus’ disciples and followers addressed him as Lord, Rabbi, Teacher, etc., and not as Lover.
I think that because our culture emphasizes the emotional aspect of relationships (and, that is not necessarily a bad thing) we sometimes mistake the relationship, or direction, of various Biblical analogies. We need to remember that the various earthly analogies we have are but reflections of the heavenly aspect being presented. Thus, when Paul writes that all Christ followers, both men and women, are sons of God, he is not ignoring or deprecating the status of women, nor is he equating us to the Son of God. Rather, he is indicating that, as in the culture of his time, just as all sons received the family inheritance, so all sons of God (Christ followers) will receive God’s inheritance.
As the author of the post states,
Just as self-marriage misses the mark for what God designed marriage to point to, “marriage” to Jesus misses what his work accomplished. Marriage to Jesus while waiting for a husband can often trivialize our Savior in a way that makes him more like a sweet boyfriend who takes us out on dates, rather than the God-man who paid for our sin on the cross. Jesus did not accomplish redemption to marry us individually. He died for the church corporate, of which we are apart [sic]. His death accomplished something much greater than simply meeting our deep-seated desires for a significant other. That is what Paul is getting at in Ephesians 5:22–33 when speaks of the mystery of marriage.
When I set up the post category hierarchy originally (see the Categories box over there?), I put Mormonism under Christianity because, while it may be considered to have many serious errors according to most Christian denominations, I figured it was the best place to put it since they use the Christian Old and New Testaments (or at least their version of them) as one of their foundational scriptures. Justin Taylor, however, pointed out a New York Times opinion piece by a devout Mormon who insists that he is "emphatically not a Christian".
Now, what the writer means by "Christian" varies between a theological definition and a cultural one. Taylor deals with some of the points in the article, but then goes on to describe some of the key differences between Mormonism and historic Christianity. I think it’s a good start at understanding the religion of the likely Republican nominee for President.
And as clarification, while I think that a candidate’s religion is fair game for scrutiny during an election, it is mostly as a gauge to understand how he may act politically. I’m not electing a national pastor; I’m electing a political leader. To the degree that his religion affects his politics and policies, I think it’s worth understanding. However, this particular examination of the Mormonism is for the purposes of understanding it as a religion; disassociated from politics. Just an FYI.
“I would not have you exchange the gold of individual Christianity for the base metal of Christian Socialism.” – Charles Spurgeon. He had quite a bit to say on economic and political issues of the day, applicable to that day and this.
For those still blaming Bush for our economic situation, Paul Mirengoff reminds us that the housing market collapse was the main cause of it, and the Bush administration tried to keep it from happening. Democrats would have none of that.
"The New York Police Department, the mayor and the city’s top prosecutors on Monday endorsed a proposal to decriminalize the open possession of small amounts of marijuana…." But the real scourge, Big Gulps, will not be tolerated.
A cautionary tale about hyper-partisanship.
Remember those advertisers that left the Limbaugh show after his remarks about Sandra Fluke? One big one tried to come crawling back, and Limbaugh just said No.
The Obama administration is against voter ID laws, but Michelle Obama herself required IDs to get a book signed. Irony. Meter. Pegging.
Austerity works, when it’s actually implemented. Just ask the European country who’s economy outpaced the average growth in the euro-zone by 500%, and has the only budget surplus there.
Obama actually was a member of a socialist political party while in Chicago. Stanley Kurtz of National Review has the documentation. Where was the mainstream media on this 4 years ago?
In case you heard otherwise, no, the Boy Scouts are not changing their policy on gay scouts and scout leaders.
One person can’t comment on every idea, or every person expressing an idea, which sometimes causes others (who’s particular axe to grind wasn’t touched on by a particular blogger) to say that someone is "strangely silent" on the matter. Sometimes that charge is warranted, especially when the target has been vociferously vocal on the subject in general.
I recently participated in a blog comment thread noting that the same Democrats and pundits, who have been extremely vocal about a supposed Republican "war on women", have been silent on the actual war on women that goes on worldwide, usually in Islamic countries. As I’ve said many times, for the Left, it’s always political. Principle, when it shows up, usually takes a back seat.
Today, however, I want to publicly state that a particular opinion, expressed by a Baptist pastor, is most certainly not what I believe, and am totally against this expression even though I suspect my opinion on the overarching topic is the same as this pastor. I can’t catch every situation like this, but this particular expression has gone viral and needs to be addressed.
A North Carolina pastor’s supposedly vehement anti-gay sermon is making its way around the blogosphere. According to a YouTube description, the man depicted in the clip is named Charles L. Worley and he is the faith leader at Providence Road Baptist Church in the town of Maiden. In his address, the faith leader discussed, among other themes, “a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers.”
In the two-minute video, which appears to be a portion taken from a longer sermon, Worley condemns Obama’s recent endorsement of gay marriage, and makes a shocking statement about homosexuals — that they should be placed inside of an electrified pen until they die off. Call his words mere hyperbole or pure hate — at the least, taken in the minimal context they’re presented in, they are stunning.
“Build a great, big, large fence — 150 or 100 mile long — put all the lesbians in there,” he said in the sermon, which was allegedly filmed on May 13. “Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals and have that fence electrified so they can’t get out…and you know what, in a few years, they’ll die out…do you know why? They can’t reproduce!”
While both Pastor Worley and I likely have the same view of homosexuality (i.e. that God considers such acts a sin), this is awful, mean-spirited, and unbecoming of a Pastor, let alone a Christian. I find it completely against the idea that we should love the sinner, even if we hate the sin. How does this build up the kingdom of God?
It doesn’t, and should be condemned. I do condemn it.
Chris Matthews, a Catholic Democrat, isn’t sure, at least about the bishops, and neither was Sister Simone Campbell, executive director at the National Catholic Social Justice Lobby. While discussing the requirements that the Catholic Church must provide insurance for contraception (against its teachings), Matthews asked if the bishops were all aligned with a certain political party, based on their views on this.
MATTHEWS: Do you think they’re all Republican, the bishops?
CAMPBELL: I don’t know if they’re all Republican, but it sure seems that they’re speaking from the, the playbook, sort of possibly as surrogates for the Republican Party, I don’t know. But they certainly are engaged in politics that seem much more aligned with the Right.
Noel Sheppard, covering this for NewsBusters, comes up with the numbers regarding Catholics and political party.
Catholics in this country historically have been solidly Democratic, although this has waned in recent years.
As EWTN News reported in February, a 2011 Pew study found 48 percent of Catholics surveyed said they were Democrat or Democrat-leaning compared to 43 percent claiming to be Republican or Republican-leaning.
As such, it seems absurd to think all Catholic bishops are Republican.
So no, the Pope isn’t necessarily Republican, but he is Catholic. Matthews ought to know that. But for the Left, everything is political. Even religion.
From CNS News, the gauntlet has been thrown down.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, and 42 other Catholic dioceses and organizations around the country announced on Monday that they are suing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for violating their freedom of religion, which is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution.
The dioceses and organizations, in different combinations, are filing 12 different lawsuits filed in federal courts around the country.
The suits focus on the regulation that Sebelius announced last August and finalized in January that requires virtually all health-care plans in the United States to cover sterilizations and all Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptives, including those that can cause abortions.
The Catholic Church teaches that sterilization, artificial contraception and abortion are morally wrong and that Catholics should not be involved in them. Thus, the regulation would require faithful Catholics and Catholic organizations to act against their consciences and violate the teachings of their faith.
Earlier, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had called the regulation an "unprecedented attack on religious liberty" and asked the Obama administration to rescind it.
“We have tried negotiation with the Administration and legislation with the Congress–and we’ll keep at it–but there’s still no fix," Cardinal Dolan, who is also president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said in a statement released by the conference this morning.
Four days later, and this item is old news, but Obama coming out of the closet and no longer hiding (what we all knew was) his stance on same-sex marriage is going to have political ramifications. I daresay that was the intent. But his religious reasons for his view seem to me to be very flimsy, more of a fig leaf to try to keep goodwill with the majority of Christians and Jews who believe this is wrong.
[Michelle and I] are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated.
"Christ sacrificed Himself. We should treat others the way we want to be treated. Therefore, same-sex marriage is good." With that sort of "deep" theological thought, one could rationalize any number of behaviors that the Bible is rather clear on. But once more for emphasis:
Genesis 2:24 – For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
Pretty clear to me. And again, as I have noted before,
- Every time the Bible mentions homosexuality, it is speaking against it.
- Every time the Bible mentions marriage, it is heterosexual.
- Thousands of years of Christian and Jewish thought understand this.
But for Mr. Obama, personal experience trumps all of that.
“I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people, the word ‘marriage’ was something that evokes very powerful traditions, religious beliefs and so forth.
“But I have to tell you that over the course of several years, as I’ve talked to friends and family and neighbors, when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together. When I think about those soldiers or airmen or Marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf, and yet feel constrained even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone because they’re not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”
"Some of my best friends are gay. Therefore, same-sex marriage is a good thing." I’m sorry, but quoting the Bible is not the same as following it, especially when it says things in the most definite of terms that are diametrically opposed to what you are suggesting it says.
This may be helping Obama in the short term (he got a surge of donations soon after the pronouncement), but in the long term, this may hurt him with African-American and Latino voters. It’s time to take notice of the actual values of the man you may be voting for.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, who (supposedly) goes after hate groups, admit, “We’re not really set up to cover the extreme Left.” Once again, it’s all political with the Left. Hate is only hate if it’s right-wing hate.
Life is wasted without Jesus. That’s a pretty benign Christian aphorism. You can agree or disagree, but is it hate speech? It is in Canada.
The Post Office, supposedly, allegedly privatized, is going to cost the taxpayers $34 billion dollars. It could cut costs, but Congress won’t let it.
A 20+ year study proves conclusively that outlawing abortion does not lead to "coat hanger deaths". Bonus: NARAL co-founder admits they made up numbers to garner sympathy for their cause.
Foiled bomb plots: Occupy Wall Street – 1, Tea Party – 0. The same goes for dozens of incidents (enumerated at the link) that, had they happened at a Tea Party rally, would have headlined national news for day. (I know this because charges of racial epithets with no actual proof did just that.)
VP Joe Biden lauds NBC for moving American towards same-sex marriage. How? “I think ‘Will & Grace’ probably did more to educate the American public than almost anything anybody’s ever done so far.” The next time someone tells you "It’s just a TV show" or "Just change the channel" for complaining about TV show content, ask them to get a new writer. The old script is a lie.
And speaking of same-sex marriage, Nancy Pelosi seems to think that her religion provides the reason why she must act against her religion on the matter.
For what it’s worth, "An official from Iran has refuted claims of plans to execute imprisoned pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who has been imprisoned for almost three years on accusations of apostasy, a crime where one disaffiliates themselves from a religion." This from a country not even holding to its own laws regarding the case.
Ask not what you can do for your country, ask what your country can do for Julia.
And finally, the recent European elections in perspective. (Click for a larger image.)
For all of my Christian friends who will be voting on this amendment today, defining marriage as one man and one woman, a couple of verses.
Genesis 2:24 (NIV) – That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Proverbs 14:34 (NIV) – Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.
Righteousness and sinfulness are indeed both personal and corporate. Please consider this.
"The nation’s Social Security and Medicare programs are sliding closer to insolvency, the federal government warned Monday in a new report underscoring the fiscal challenges facing the two mammoth retirement programs as baby boomers begin to retire." (And some think that making Medicare required for everyone is the solution. Only in Washington is failing on an even larger scale considered success.)
What is sin?
Being out of alignment with my values.
What happens if you have sin in your life?
I think it’s the same thing as the question about heaven. In the same way that if I’m true to myself and my faith that that is its own reward, when I’m not true to it, it’s its own punishment.
(What brand of Christianity does this represent? Honestly, I have no idea. Read the whole interview.)
“Nice work, occupiers,” tweeted Jeremy Tooker, owner of the popular Four Barrel Coffee. “You made me leave my sick kid at home to go clean paint bombs off my windows. That’ll show Wall Street, fellas.” (More May Day Occupy Wall Street madness at Yourish.com.)
"For activists and Christians opposed to the so-called Israeli occupation, two key votes by the United Methodists will certainly serve as a discouragement. On Wed., May 2, the denomination twice voted to reject resolutions that called for a divestment from companies accused of assisting Israel in the ongoing dispute over Middle Eastern lands." (The UMC cares for both the Jews and the Palestinians, and won’t blame one side for violence from both. Good for them.) (Oh, and on May 1st, "A Qassam rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip and exploded in an open area in Ashkelon Coast Regional Council.")
And finally, Economics 101, from Chuck Asay. (Click for a larger version.)
From Fox News:
LANSDOWNE, Va. – Watergate figure Charles Colson, who turned to religion, died Saturday at a Northern Virginia hospital after a brief illness, according to a family spokesman. He was 80.
“This is a time of conflicting, colliding emotions for all of us,” said Jim Liske, the chief executive of the Lansdowne, Va.-based Prison Fellowship Ministries that Colson founded. “We grieve that our brother, our founder, our inspiration is no longer with us. But we rejoice that Chuck is with Jesus, we rejoice as we reflect on his life and legacy and that we could be a part of that, and we rejoice when we think of all the redeemed in heaven who will greet him and thank him for the role he played in their salvation.”
Colson was the author of numerous books his most famous being his autobiography Born Again which tells his compelling story of coming to faith in Christ prior to going to prison for his role in the Watergate scandal.
He was also a compelling speaker and boldly proclaimed Christ at every opportunity. My wife and I had the privilege of being in the audience at his acceptance of the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion at the Universty of Chicago in 1993. In the midst of a highly ecumenical service with representatives of every major religion, Colson bravely and unashamedly proclaimed the gospel. Many who disagreed with him walked out during the speech. However, reading the text nearly twenty years later still gives me chills.
Chuck Colson made a tremendous impact on many believers all over the world. His story is a true story of redemption and the power of Christ to change lives.
Rest in peace, brother.