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Saturday, May 05, 2018

News Weakly - 5/5/18

Banning the Bible
California Assembly Bill 2943 passed the state house on April 19 and is now in the state senate. Snopes jumped into the fray assuring us that it wouldn't result in banning the Bible. Robert Gagnon explains why that ain't necessarily so. It may not result in a Bible ban, but it could result in a partial ban. It must certainly result in banning these kinds of books. It could result in prosecution for a pastor who teaches a seminar on how Christ can free you from sexual sin such as homosexual practices. It could even place a pastor in court for suggesting his congregation buy a Bible in the bookstore to see what Scripture says about homosexual sin. "A Christian bookstore could be sued for carrying a book such as Ryan T. Anderson's latest, When Harry Became Sally, solely because the message is in conflict with the LGBT agenda."

The government makes no differentiation between "conversion therapy" and "conversion". It refuses to recognize that lives can be changed by Christ. And the bill offers no religious exemptions. As a consequence, these kinds of things could result. Will they? Given the aggressive LGBT efforts to wipe out opposition, I think it would be foolish to consider the possibility a long shot.

More Judicial Legislation?
Last week I brought you the story of how the court has decided to make DACA law, clearly judicial legislation -- making laws from the bench. It's not new. Redefining "marriage" and making "gay marriage" a thing that the entire nation is required to recognize was similar. Now they're trying for another. Reuters reports, "California and a group of 16 other states on Tuesday challenged the Trump administration’s decision to revise strict U.S. vehicle emissions and fuel efficiency rules put in place under former President Barack Obama." Because these 17 states get to decide for everyone in the nation what vehicle emissions should be and they will do so by force of law ... oh, wait ... no, not law ... by force of judicial legislation. "We don't need no stinkin' Constitution. We'll force it through with our courts and tell the whole country what they will do ... because we're the liberal states. As in 'we share liberally with all our personal requirements for you to submit to.'"

Double Standard?
Big news. They tell me that the Boy Scouts will be changing their name because they allow girls to join. It started with Cub Scouts where girls wanted to do the cool things that Cub Scouts did, but now it's going on up the levels. So they'll be dropping "boy" from their name. Girls complained long enough ("I just want to see a change," [Sydney Ireland] said. "Right now they're discriminating against girls, and I'm just calling it as it is.")

Interestingly, 1) the Girl Scouts object ("We're all girls should ever need") and 2) they do not allow boys (unless, of course, they identify as girls). Now, why is no one protesting that?

The Infidel
Meet Luis Ruiz. Luis is one of the worst things to come on the scene -- a deconverted gay man. That's right. Luis Ruiz was a survivor of the Pulse nightclub massacre where a young man chose at random (not because it was a gay hangout) to shoot up the place and kill a bunch of people. (He originally intended to do it at Disney World; this wasn't an "anti-gay" thing.) Ruiz now says he has become a Christian and is no longer gay ... GASP! "Oh, no, that will never do. We applaud people who say they are gay or who say they are a different gender than all of science says they are, but we abhor those who change their minds on that. We are not that kind of tolerant. We do not embrace them."

Please note: Ruiz is being held up as an example of the evil "conversion therapy" that California has outlawed and most everyone else (including organizations that once practiced it) has denied. Please note: Luis Ruiz is not a story of "conversion therapy". His is a story of conversion. Not the same thing. (I should also note that I do not know the veracity of his conversion. That is not the point of my bringing this up here. The point is that a life changed by knowing Christ is not the same as a person changed by undergoing "conversion therapy". And my point is that the "tolerant" folks aren't so tolerant if one that they once embraced no longer is what they embrace.)

Disunifying Unity
Andy Stanley, son of Charles Stanley (senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Atlanta and president of In Touch Ministries), made news when he spoke at the Orange Conference and declared that Christian unity was more important than theological corectness. Basing his words on John 17 and Jesus's prayer that His followers would be one as the Father and the Son were one, Stanley argued that being on the same page was mor important than "doctrinal peculiarities".

So, I have questions:
+ When the Bible speaks of unity, what does it mean? Uniformity? Same thinking? Same clothing? Same actions? Same purpose? For instance, if we are united in a cause but do different tasks, is that unity? If we are united in purpose but have different perspectives is that unity? What unity is in view?

+ Does unity negate the possibility of theological correctness? If we are to be one as the Son and the Father are one, do we assume that they might both be wrong? Are the Father and Son as one because they agree or because they are both in complete truth? Is unity around falsehood better? That is, is it better to be united than to have a correct view of God?

+ Wouldn't it be best to be unified around the truth?

Sometimes I get too easily confused, I suppose.

Faulty Reporting
The headline for the Newsweek story reads (in all caps), "LGBT COUPLES COULD BE DENIED ADOPTION ON RELIGIOUS GROUNDS IN KANSAS AND OKLAHOMA." For reasons I don't quite understand it does not read, "The 1st Amendment Rights of Religious Organizations Upheld." The story is that Kansas and Oklahoma have passed laws that grant "legal protection to faith-based agencies that refuse adoptions to LGBT families on religious grounds." (That the states would "grant legal protection" is horrendous on its own. Really? States need to pass laws affirmed in our Constitution?) What the laws in question do not do is "deny adoption to LGBT couples." That is, if they don't go to a "faith-based agency" they are free to adopt. "Faith-based agencies" are not the sole providers for adoptions.

The Human Rights Campaign complains these laws give "license to discriminate." They don't explain why it's okay for a restaurant to state, "No shirt, no shoes, no service," but unacceptable for a faith-based agency to "be granted" its religious freedom. I will also point out that the Bill of Rights does not insist that we have the right to adoption, but does claim we have the right to the free exercise of religion. The aim is to undercut the latter for the former, to take down the right that exists in our constitution to exert a right that does not.


Anonymous said...

On the girl/boy scouts story, it is interesting to contrast that integration instinct with something I saw on social media last month about segregation in chess. “I wanted to go to All Girls Nationals because I never got to an All Girls tournament as a scholastic chess player. The atmosphere is so different from other tournaments.”

Stan said...

Anonymous, seems odd, doesn't it, since "gender is a social construct"? That's what they tell me. Yes, I would guess that any "all girl" thing would have a different atmosphere than any "all guy" thing and vice versa.

Stan said...

Glenn, thanks for the catch. I fixed it.