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Saturday, October 08, 2016

News Weakly - 10/8/2016

Stand for the Right
Last December in Florida a private Christian school playing a football game against another private school at a public field asked permission to do a brief prayer over the loudspeaker system according to their longstanding tradition. "We are raising godly young men that can make a difference in the world they live in," Coach Bob Dare said. "This is why CCS has committed to praying before every home football game." All well and good. Except the request was denied. Why? First, the facility was paid for by public money, so it is off limits to religion. Second, the FHSAA (Florida High School Athletic Association) hosting the game is a state entity and, therefore, cannot allow it. In other words, the government can and will make laws impeding the free exercise of religion. End of story. I know, I know, you thought the First Amendment forbade that, but you understood it wrong and it's the other way around. "The free exercise of religion is under any limitation the government chooses when exercised in the public square." Check it. I'm sure you'll see ... well ... no.

So, the school filed a federal lawsuit against the FHSAA. And they were right to do so, right? I'm sure the majority of Christians and especially the large numbers of reputable Christian lawyers fighting daily, it seems, to defend our First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion would say so. I'm pretty sure I'd be among a small minority to disagree. We are commanded to pray, but not over loudspeakers and not before every football game. So pray we must, but we don't need the permission of a state organization or a loudspeaker system to do it. We don't even need voices. Remember, Jesus commended the prayer closet idea (Matt 6:6). So, lacking a clear command from God to pray before every football game over the loudspeaker, I would step to the next clear command from God -- submit to the authorities placed over us by God. But, hey, that's just me trying to be a biblical Christian rather than an American Christian. I believe we should stand for the right even if it means we might lose our rights.

David (in the comments) has been taking me to task over this. In retrospection, I think that this is not the same thing as the previous "Take Your Bible to School Day" concern of mine. That one was intended as a civil disobedience, an intentional violation of the authorities. This one is a pursuit through the legal system of a perceived right (perceived, of course, because the First Amendment gives this right). This one is not defiance of the authority God has placed over them; it is a legal defense. As such, I don't want to suggest that it is wrong for Christians to do this. I just want to say that it is not "Christian". It is not "standing for God in the face of an evil government" like the disciples did. I am not opposed to it; I just want to make it clear that it is an "American" thing, not a "Christian" thing.

Bathroom Break
Now, I don't put my trust in science to prove my faith. I don't need historians or archaeologists or the like to demonstrate that Scripture is true. Besides, if my faith is built on science, then when science says otherwise, I'd have to discard my faith. So I don't go there. Nonetheless, this was just a fun story.

Scripture speaks of certain times when godly kings recognized the idolatry rampant in Israel and did a purge. One of them was Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:4). Well, now archaeologists have uncovered something interesting. Digging in the ruined city of Tel Lachish in Israel, they found a shrine from around the 8th century BC (Hezekiah's time) with two altars in the inner sanctum that were, oddly enough, cut off, and ... get this ... a toilet. The idea was that if they desecrated an idolatrous holy place, it could no longer be used. Another king who did some of these purges was Jehu. He went about destroying the cult of Baal. Part of the method of eliminating pagan places of worship was to make them unusable. One way they could do that was to turn them into a bathroom. Scripture says of Jehu's work, "They also broke down the sacred pillar of Baal and broke down the house of Baal, and made it a latrine to this day." (2 Kings 10:27)

Again, I'm not trusting archaeology to prove the Bible, but in this case it does. And that's funny, right there.

The irony is strong with this one
"Protecting all of God's children is America's calling," Hillary said from the pulpit of the Little Rock AME Zion Church in Charlotte. She had her arm around Zianna Oliphant, the little black girl who so movingly begged the city council to treat black people better. For reasons beyond my comprehension not one person seemed to recognize the irony that this candidate is pro-abortion up to the point of full birth to the detriment to the black community and spoke about protecting all of God's children in America. Spoken at a church, yet. Remember, it was Mrs. Clinton on this campaign trail who said, at a conference on the topic of women's rights and abortion in particular, "Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed." Oh, the irony is strong with this one.

(Note: I know that abortion is one issue. I know that we aren't supposed to be "single issue" voters. I just need to point out that a candidate who intentionally chooses to support the execution of innocent humans may be be a single issue, but it is a single issue that speaks to everything else of concern. "I won't do the first and foremost thing that government should do -- protect the innocent -- but you can count on me for tax reform." Really? I'm not buying it.)

Sure, it's from Canada, but interesting anyway
A University of Toronto professor refuses to use pronouns chosen by the elite few. I wonder how long that will last?

Democrat Trolls
Someone pointed me to this news item the other day and I was really shocked. Apparently a SuperPac calling itself "Correct the Record" is working with the Clinton campaign (normally that's illegal, but they found a loophole) and spending $1 million to target Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and Instagram users by being Internet trolls. They have people and programs going online cruising for folks that say bad things about Hillary and doing whatever they can to harass and eliminate them. Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert comic strip, says he was targeted by these folks, getting him silenced on Twitter, producing fictional reviews of his book on Amazon, and costing him speaking engagements. (He estimates he has lost $1 million in speaking events alone.) It does not speak well of a candidate who allows this kind of personal attack, integrated with the campaign folk, on opponents. I shudder to think what this kind of candidate would do given the power of the presidency.

A Different Inconvenient Truth
Okay, this is just fun. There have been multiple stories from various places on this, but the basic concept is that scientists are finding soft tissue on bones supposedly millions of years old. That's a problem that their theories can't handle.

Another One (Science, in this case) Bites the Dust
Meet Paul McHugh. Dr. McHugh is a psychiatrist. He was among the first in modern medicine to perform gender reassignment surgery, in charge, in fact, of the department at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. McHugh is not doing that anymore. Dr. McHugh is now persona non grata. Why? I mean, this is the kind of guy that should be riding the shoulders of the LGBT folk and their cheerful followers, right? Well, he took a wrong turn. Writing in such prestigious places as the Wall Street Journal, Dr. McHugh has come out against transgender surgery. "Policy makers and the media are doing no favors either to the public or the transgendered by treating their confusions as a right in need of defending rather than as a mental disorder that deserves understanding, treatment and prevention" he says. As it turns out, he finds -- shock of shocks -- no scientific evidence that gender dysphoria is anything but a mental disorder rather than a genuine condition. In The New Atlantis he and Dr. Lawrence S. Mayer have published a report on sexuality and gender. Their report is not a moral argument, but a scientific one. They conclude,
The understanding of sexual orientation as an innate, biologically fixed property of human beings — the idea that people are "born that way" — is not supported by scientific evidence.
They conclude the same on gender. The notion of "a man trapped in a woman's body" or vice versa is not scientifically supportable. They take particular exception to parents who medically delay puberty or alter sex characteristics in children because of this perception of gender dysphoria since the vast majority of children who experience this in their childhood outgrow it. (Remember the Modern Family child actor.)

Even without Scripture or religion, science agrees that this "gender dysphoria" is nonsense and these people need help, not surgery. But, don't worry, I'm pretty sure that these doctors will be soon defrocked and the public outcry will silence them. We live in the Age of Empathy where "I feel" trumps reality, emotions rule over reason, and "I want to help you" is only accepted if it is finished with "do whatever you want."


David said...

Is taking legal action to gain a legal right wrong in your opinion? As long as they don't pray against the rules, they're still submitting to the authority over them, but just like everyone tells me, it is my responsibility as a Christian to be active in politics, are not my legal rights part of that?

When do politicians not change statements based on audience? You think they actually think about what their writers tell them to say?

So, instead of Science as the definer of truth, "what I believe" is. Not all that surprising really. The only mode of natural Man is, "I will be like the Most High". For a while, Christian morality in this country have them pause, but then they were able to trot out Science to try to defend their actions. Now that that's failed them, whatever they want to believe despite the evidence is what is true.

Stan said...

To take legal action to protect a legal right is a function of a citizen. It is not a function of a saint. I don't mean to say that Christians are not citizens. What I'm saying is that when we go to court over things like this, it can only be as Americans, not as Christians. It isn't "Because I'm following God." It's "Because I'm an American."

David said...

How does differ from it being my "Christan responsibility" to vote, that some claim?

Stan said...

We are told to "love your neighbor." "Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor." (1 Cor 12:24) We vote for the best leadership we can in order to get the best we can for our neighbors. That's what we're supposed to do.

However, what I was saying was not that it is wrong to bring legal action here. I'm saying that loving your neighbor is not the same as fighting for your rights. I'm saying that fighting to defend our rights is an American thing, not a Christian thing. I'm saying that those who use legal action to preserve our rights are not doing it out of obedience to Christ. Not that it is disobeying Him. It's just a different direction, a different point, a different aim. Many Christians see it as "We must obey God rather than man" and this is not that.

David said...

Can't praying in a public venue be seen as loving your neighbor? It wouldn't be a hill to die on, but couldn't be argued that living Christ in public is loving our neighbors? Granted, I'm fairly certain that isn't the case for the referenced incident, but it has the potential to be a beacon for Christ. As long as it isn't like the Pharisees, public prayer could be a means of getting people interested.

I agree, to fight it legally is an American thing, not biblical, but to me, the way you write about these types of topics(using legal means to keep man given rights) comes across as saying they're wrong to fight for those things. Could be a failure in medium, but that's how it sounds.

Stan said...

Well, then, let me make it clear. And I quote, "What I was saying was not that it is wrong to bring legal action here." I am not saying they're wrong.

I'm trying to figure out how a Christian obeys God and obeys the authority God has placed over us -- two mandates for all followers of Christ. There is a spectrum of types of things here. When, for instance, the government assigns taxes, we know that Jesus said, "Render to Caesar what is Caesar's" in regards to paying taxes. He did not say, "We need to fight the Man in the area of taxes. We need to stand for our rights." On the other end, when the government says, "You cannot share the gospel with others," as they did to the apostles and as they have to some Christians today, we know that we are directly commanded to preach the gospel and make disciples, so here is an area in which we would need to disobey the authority God has placed over us. Where does "public prayer at a football game" fall in that spectrum? Is defiance of human government obedience to God in this case?

I believe that too many American Christians are confusing "my rights" with "commands from God" and see this as a Christian requirement to defend their First Amendment rights by means of legal action and even breaking the law if necessary. I personally don't think that "my right to use the PA system at a public football arena for a prayer" ranks with the commands of God. That's all I'm saying here.