Life in the balance in South Dakota

June 20, 2006

Interesting news from South Dakota concerning the recent strict anti-abortion law passed in the state legislature. Opponents of the law have managed to gather the required number of signatures to place the law on the Nov. 7th ballot, allowing SD citizens the option to vote keep the law as is or have it removed from the books.

There appear to be three possible outcomes to this effort; the first being that the opponents win the day in South Dakota and the legal barriers to abortions are removed (again). In that case, they have undermined a regular argument they have made, namely that the courts must act to preserve a women's right to abort because democratic processes aren't sufficient protectors of essential rights.

The second outcome might be that the law holds up, in which case the oft repeated idea that Roe v. Wade is a 'popular' ruling will be dealt a blow.

Of course, in the case of a loss, an appeal to the Court is likely. But this is a rather circuitous route to take; normally abortion rights groups run directly to the local judge; why attempt a democratic solution first?

I suspect this is because abortion rights advocates are afraid that the tide has turned on the court; a series of appeals is more likely than ever to end with an erosion of legal support for Roe. In that case, a number of states may move to enact such laws.

Overall this seems to be a lose-lose-lose proposition for the pro-abortion bunch; they must now utilize the democratic process they have so far disdained, and in doing so, undermine their primary venue for advancing their cause – liberal pro-abortion courts.

Of course, in the interim, the greatest loss continues to be the lives of the unborn.


Meyer vs. Ward Transcript

June 20, 2006

In a previous post I linked to an audio of the Peter Ward/ Stephen Meyer Intelligent Design debate. Here is a transcript of the debate for those with slower connections (or for those that prefer to read).

It highlights again the eminently reasonable arguments of Intelligent Design.

Last Stand in Clark County

June 20, 2006

Comes a story out of out of Las Vegas Nevada not unlike the recent events I detailed earlier in Kentucky. In this particular case, rather than banning a prayer, the school administrators took restrictions a step further; they shut off the microphone of a valedictorian when it was perceived she might voice religious sentiments, or more specifically, credit her success with it's source; faith in Christ. From the report:

She knew her speech as valedictorian of Foothill High School would be cut short, but Brittany McComb was determined to tell her fellow graduates what was on her mind and in her heart.

But before she could get to the word in her speech that meant the most to her — Christ — her microphone went dead.

The decision to cut short McComb's commencement speech Thursday at The Orleans drew jeers from the nearly 400 graduates and their families that went on for several minutes.

However, Clark County School District officials and an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union said Friday that cutting McComb's mic was the right call. Graduation ceremonies are school-sponsored events, a stance supported by federal court rulings, and as such may include religious references but not proselytizing, they said.

They said McComb's speech amounted to proselytizing and that her commentary could have been perceived as school-sponsored.

Presumably had she given praise to the public school systems, a disciplined homework regime, or positive thinking, Foothill High School Valedictorian Brittany McComb would have been free to say whatever she pleased. Indeed, had she criticized the current government, the supposed 'intolerance' of more conservative thinkers, or any other presumed enemies of the American educational system, she certainly would have been applauded by those in charge.

The ACLU, long the protector of speech, no matter how vulgar or vile, seems wholly complicitous with the administration. Allen Lichtenstein, an ACLU lawyer, who finds school dress codes to be "Orwellian" finds the systematic review and editorial removal of references to Christ to be wholly inline with the administrator's duties.

I think this is a further demonstration of the restrictive nature of the secular state. By attempting to parse the sentiments of a young woman who by all measures was a an educational success in one of the largest districts in the US, the school in all respects acts as advocate of anti-religious ideologies. Far from being neutral, the school teaches it's captive audience that the only true freedom is a godless one.

Of course, it doesn't have to be that way. My own children attend a charter school here in Minnesota. It is a fairly unique school, originally begun by home-schoolers and sponsored by a local Christian college. Even though it is a 'public' school, because of our charter system it flies under the radar of many of the restrictive policies normally found in our nation's public schools.

Last year, for our graduation ceremony, an academically accomplished young woman was asked to speak. Her story was quite amazing by all accounts; she came from a significantly broken family, her mother dealing with drug addiction and a string of bad boyfriends, her father completely absent. I remember reluctantly dropping her off at her home one time; the sagging roof, the plastic over the windows. It just didn't seem the place one would leave a child.

And yet this girl thrived, nurtured by a church family and a school that encouraged rather than opposed her faith. And for the graduation ceremony, she requested that she be able to say a prayer rather than give a speech; a request that administrators, not bound by the 9th District Court, happily allowed. What preceded was the most beautiful prayer I think I have ever heard, one that brought tears to the eyes of the most skeptical; its power being primarily in the life of a young woman whose experience had obviously exceeded the expectations of her circumstance.

It is ironic, that in our age a relativism where truths are thought to be mere personal expressions, people are allowed to express in our schools anything they percieve to be true so long as they don't really believe that it actually is.

Rove Cleared, Zarqawi Dead, GOP Doomed

June 16, 2006

It's been a busy week at home, so my posts have been few and far between, but I thought I would offer something light on a Friday.

I try to keep this blog fairly non-partisan (admittedly, a task virtually impossible for me) but I am not above political humor. Indeed, I consider good humor in most forms is an essential ingredient in life. On that note, I offer the latest from Scrappleface, a political humor site, on our President's 'difficult' week:

Rove Cleared, Zarqawi Dead, GOP Doomed

The Da Vinci Ode, Part Deux

June 8, 2006

This is the second part of the two part talk I did on the Da Vinci Code, this time discussing the reliability of the four Gospels. I know, it's already old news, but I did it two weeks ago and forgot to post.

 Audio here.

A Place for shame

June 6, 2006

A recent article reported in the Agape press centered around the current practice of a group in Indiana of posting pictures of patrons of one 'adult' store in order to shame them into avoiding the place, and presumably, having the ultimate effect of closing the shop down.

The posting of pictures was just one part of the battle, which also included 24 hour protests.

At issue in a recent discussion group was whether it was 'Christ-like' to publicly shame pornography patrons by posting pictures of them on the internet; as one poster said, "This could potentially cause someone alot of embarassment, psychological distress, and pain, which doesn't strike me as the best way to spread the gospel.".

One wonders if 'spreading the gospel' requires a casual acceptance of the intrusions of adult industry juggernaut into our cities, neighborhoods and homes.

And that is where we need to be clear; the Goliath in this battle is the pornography industry. It is a multi-billion dollar industry that subjugates tens of thousands of young men and women to the most pernicious of activities; the buying and selling of their bodies. It is prostitution once removed. It is protected by numerous court cases, and is ubiquitous in its availability. It reaches easily into every American home via the internet and for other forms of 'adult' entertainment not easily transmissible over cable lines there are numerous legal outlets in every major city, and a number of not so major ones.

To the discerning and thoughtful it's damage is readily apparent; the entrapment of millions of men in addiction, the destruction of marriages, the scarring of children exposed to lies enticingly presented by the pornography moguls.

This industry has relied in recent years on two things; the anonymity of its customers, and the increasing public acceptance of deviant behaviors.

Indeed, those who would never defend the activities of the pornography industry seem intent on protecting the people who contribute a few dollars at a time to its continued existence.

What of the point that Jesus was above shaming the unrighteous?

While Jesus of course notably loved and reached out sinners, he also seemed intent on publicly vilifying the unrepentant and hypocritical. Scribes, lawyers, Sadducees, Pharisees, money changers, would be stone casters, and even his disciples came under public rebuke when necessary. Indeed, he actually voiced a methodology by which those who failed to repent of there behaviors would be subject to increasingly public pressures.

And of course, John the Baptist, the harbinger of Christ, notably lost his head for publicly shaming Herod for being involved in what amounted to an adulterous relationship with his brother's wife.

So I am not so sure the distaste displayed by some Christians against the protestors is wholly warranted; indeed, I would say their outrage against the growing sexual industry is much too subdued.

Does this mean that Jesus would have stood outside a porn shop snapping pictures of the patron's comings and goings? Probably not; but then again he might very well have cleared such a building with a scourge for corrupting the lives of people whom he loved – an action which in this day and age might get him jail time, and in an earlier age gotten him … well, crucified.