Thursday, December 22, 2011

What Child is This?

In our church, we often sing a Christmas Carol written by William C. Dix entitled, "What Child is This?" It's nice to sing, and it has a familiar tune written to the old English folksong, Greensleeves. But more than being simply a nice song, it asks an important question.
"What Child is this, who laid to rest, on Mary's lap was sleeping? Who angels greet with anthems sweet, while shepherd's watch are keeping."
What a good question. What child is this? Who is this child born 2,000 years ago in an obscure village in a forgotten part of the world? Who is this baby whose birth we celebrate each year with parties and gifts and Christmas trees, who almost gets lost in the tinsel and wrapping paper? That might be the greatest question of the ages.

But even in Jesus day, the multitudes got it wrong. In Luke 9:18, Jesus asked His disciples, "Who do the crowds say that I am?" The answer given in the next verse was, "John the Baptist, but some say Elijah, and others say that one of the old prophets has risen again." They knew that Jesus was someone special, but they didn't have a clue who He really was.

Then, Jesus asked His closest disciples, His apostles, in Luke 9:20, "But who do you say that I am?" Their answer was right on. Peter, answering on behalf of them all, said, "The Christ of God."

Christ is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew Messiah. Wrapped up in this title are all the meanings from Scripture. Peter is saying You are the One we've been waiting for. You are the One the prophets have proclaimed. You are the One God anointed to bring salvation. Peter got it right, while the multitudes got it wrong.

The multitudes still get it wrong. They say all kinds of things about Jesus, but few get it right. some call Him just a good teacher, but good teachers don't claim to be God. Others call Him just a good moral example, but good examples don't hang around prostitutes and sinners, and they don't get executed as a common criminal. Some call Him a madman, but madmen don't speak with the penetrating clarity of the Sermon on the Mount. Others call Him a fake, but people don't die for a lie. Some call Him a phantom, but phantoms don;t have flesh to crucify or blood to spill. Some call Him a myth, but we don't set our calendars by a myth. This is 2011 A.D. - anno domini in Latin - translated the year of our Lord. All those answers are wrong, even though all of Scripture gives us the correct answer.

Even at Christmas time, if the masses give any thought at all to the reason for the season, they think only of a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying on a manger with angels, shepherds, and wise men gathered around. The un-churched can't be blamed too much for this. All they ever see in the midst of the Santa Clauses at every mall is an occasional nativity scene set up in front of a church or somebody's house. And the baby Jesus is forever a baby, forever a cute little cherub that lies so peacefully.

But to end the story there is a colossal tragedy, because a baby Jesus could do nothing for anyone. Not like an adult Jesus can. So to leave Jesus in the manger is a greater tragedy, say, than to leave George Washington in a crib, and never have him lead our country to independence from Britain. Or to leave Abraham Lincoln in the cradle, and never have him sign the emancipation Proclamation that freed the slaves.

Leaving Jesus in the manger is infinitely worse. We celebrate Christmas precisely because Jesus grew up, proved He was the Son of God by His miracles and teaching, and precisely because He went to the cross as the sacrifice for our sins. Had He remained in the manger, we would remain in our sins awaiting the wrath of God and our eventual judgment. Praise God, Jesus didn't stay in the manger.

But I believe the real reason people get the question wrong is they don't like the answer - they don't like Jesus' answer. That can be the only explanation for the animosity so many people have for the baby Jesus at Christmas time. It is because Jesus said this of Himself: John 14:6, "Jesus said. . . 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'" That is a claim to exclusivity. No other way to God, claims Jesus, will get you there. That claim is offensive to the broad minded and to anyone that concocts a different way, but it is exactly what Jesus said.

But what if Jesus is right? What if His claim is true? Truth is not broadminded. This Christmas season, I urge you to look beyond the babe in the manger, and take a good look at the man Jesus became. Examine His many answers in Scripture to that question, "What child is this?" See if His claims are true. Do so because the answers are eternally critical.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Feminism's Great Success - Feminism's Greater Failure

It's been fifty years since Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique, considered the magnum opus of modern day feminism. Since then, women have come a long way.

Feminists had a lot of legitimate beefs that needed to be rectified. I would have been furious if I was a woman working alongside a man, but receiving less money for doing the same work. I too would have been furious if I had been passed over for promotion simply because of my sex. I can understand their desire to fight for equality, and they have succeeded.

The Feminist Movement has made great strides in setting this right. As of 2010, women held 51.4% of all managerial and professional positions, compared with 26% in 1980. Women now earn the lion's share of bachelor and master degrees, and women outnumber men on college campuses 57% to 43%. In this regard, feminism has been a huge success.

But like many good causes, when the pendulum swings, it usually swings too far in the other direction. This has been true with the feminist movement as well. Along with their great success in achieving equality in the workplace and academia, they have also made great strides in destroying the underpinnings of marriage and the family.

Betty Friedan described the life of a housewife as a comfortable concentration camp, and feminists would sit around in their consciousness-raising parties sharing horror stories about their husband's bad behavior. As a result, women went off in droves looking for a good divorce lawyer. Now, about 70% of divorces are started by women.

As a result, marriage is on the rocks. This was evident in the cover story of The Atlantic magazine a month ago. The November issue carried the headline, "What, Me Marry?" The story featured Kate Bolick, the daughter of a renowned feminist, who claimed she marched off to third grade "in tiny green or blue T-shirts declaring: A WOMAN WITHOUT A MAN IS LIKE A FISH WITHOUT A BICYCLE." Now, in mid-life, she laments not being able to find a man to marry; and she is terribly unhappy.

But that was part of the feminist's plan. They were out to destroy men, to free women from the bondage of marriage, to make sex recreational and totally detached from commitment, to make abortion commonplace so women could avoid the consequences of their choices - and in this, they have also succeeded greatly. Now, according to the Pew Research Center, 44% of Millennials and 43% of Gen Xers think marriage is becoming obsolete. Fully 50% of the adult population is single, compared to 33% in 1950. Co-habitation has increased 15-fold since 1960. Feminist Gloria Steinman and Mrs. Bolick's Mother convinced the culture that the old sexual mores were, along with marriage and children, oppressive to women. So the old ways were jettisoned.

Men, too, found great freedom in the Feminist Movement. No longer were they expected to make commitments to marriage and to raising of children. They could follow their Peter Pan dreams of extended adolescence, getting the fringe sexual benefits of marriage without any of the troubling demands to love, care for, and protect a family.

The only problem is this goes totally against the fabric of who we are as a people, of who we were created to be. The change of attitudes has left a wake of destruction in its path - it has been a disaster for children, and heartbreaking for the adults who have to live with the their choices.

The good news is that those trends are changing. Research from the University of Virginia's Marriage Project shows this. The divorce rate is declining since hitting its all time high in the 1980s. One of the reasons is that Gen Xers don't want to put their kids through the trauma they experienced watching their homes disintegrate as mom and pop split up. As a matter of fact, they "would rather put chocolate syrup in the baby bottles than put the children through a family breakup," according to Susan Reimer of the Baltimore Sun.

Citing the Pew Research Study, Glenn Stanton, author of The Ring Makes All the Difference: The Hidden Consequences of Co-habitation and the Strong Benefits of Marriage, writes, "Young adults have the strongest desire to marry of any generation alive today . . . . and the unmarried folks in other generations alive today are not, nor ever have been, disinterested in marriage."

Brad Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project, concluded, "I think there are more couples out there who have been married and who realize, 'Hey, we may not be experiencing the life of bliss that we were hoping for, but it's the best thing for our kids for us to stay together and try to make this marriage work.'"

More and more, people are realizing that the destruction of marriage by the Feminist Movement was a colossal mistake. More and more, people are realizing that marriage as God designed it, as God intended it, is the best way for people to live. It brings people the most satisfaction with life. It is still the best way to raise our children. We need to again develop a family friendly culture that promotes, not destroys marriage.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Grinch Still Wants to Steal Christmas

When I was a kid, my very favorite perennial Christmas TV show was Dr. Seuss', "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." Oh, the Grinch hated Christmas, everything about it, and he was determined to eradicate it from the face of the earth. The show chronicled his evil, diabolical attempts to steal Christmas from the tiny village of Whoville.

By the end of the movie, the Grinch had reformed and returned Christmas, but those following his philosophical heritage are still at work, still trying to sanitize the world of this supposed evil of they hate so much. And they are doing a pretty good job of it - well, at least doing a good job of sanitizing Christmas of its true meaning, which, by the way, involves a baby lying in a manger.

So we are told, "Happy Holidays," at the stores instead of, "Merry Christmas," and the celebration is all about shopping and tinsel and lights and sometimes a jolly fat man in a red suit that prefers chimneys to doors and likes hot chocolate. But mention of the baby Jesus is all but forgotten, at least in the major media.

The Culture and Media Institute of the Media Research Center reported on the coverage of Christmas over a two year period. They spent two years watching the coverage on ABC's World News, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News. They found that of the 527 stories on Christmas,
"98.7% of the Christmas references highlighted the holiday's impact on the economy, weather, travel, retail sales, the passage of the Senate Health Care Bill, and other less religious connotations."
Just seven of the stories, 1.3%, referenced Jesus or God. In fact, only 312 words were given to the miracle birth of Christ. That's the message that can't be spoken.

Nor can you do good in the name of the Christ of Christmas. The U.S. Air Force apologized for their academy encouraging cadets to participate in Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan's Purse. This is a project our church participates in each year. People pack shoe boxes with toys, toiletries, school supplies, and other gifts to be distributed worldwide to children in need. It sounds like a great way to spread a little Christmas joy. Ah, but alas, Samaritan's Purse also adds a little cartoon booklet in the native tongue of the recipient that tells the story of Jesus. The shoe boxes could no longer be allowed at the Air Force Academy. I guess the Grinch wasn't just a made up character. The spirit of Grinch won another battle.

This past week, a Rhode Island lawmaker, Rep. Doreen Costa called her Governor Lincoln Chafee "Governor Grinch." Why? He defied lawmakers and decided that the state should have a "Holiday Tree" instead of a "Christmas tree." In announcing the decision, the governor pointed back to the founding of Rhode Island by Baptist Pastor Roger Williams, who fled Puritan domination in Massachusetts and their oppression of other denominations to open a haven of religious tolerance. But what Pastor Williams was looking for was religious freedom, a cornerstone of this country, not freedom from religion. "Governor Grinch," I mean Chafee, seems to have it backwards. In arguing against the governor, Rep. Costa stated,
"He tries to be politically correct 24/7. . . I'm sick of being politically correct. Nobody's been offended by calling a Christmas tree a Christmas tree. If we have a Menorah in the State House, what are we going to call it - a candle with sticks?"
Indeed, the Grinch people are political correctness run amuck, and I too am sick of it.

But Governor Lincoln Chafee is not alone. All across this land Christmas must be banned from public gatherings. Liberty Counsel, a non-profit legal group that seeks to protect religious freedom around the country, lists 44 lawsuits they are involved in. Here is a partial list:

In Plano, Texas, students were told not to wear red or green because these are Christmas colors. In Wisconsin, a school's winter program contained songs like "Silent Night" and "O Little Town of Bethlehem," but with the words changed. "Silent Night" was changed to "Cold in the Night," and contained phrases like,
"There is no one in sight, the winter winds are blowing, I wish I were happy and warm, safe with my family out of the storm."
Not quite the same meaning, is it?

In Houston, Texas, a school a school changed the words to "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" to ""We Wish You a Swinging Holiday." What holiday? Isn't it Christmas we are celebrating? Why can't they say so?

In Birmingham, Alabama, elementary students were to make "Holiday bags" for their class mates with the following rules: nothing religious as in angels, Noels, crosses, etc., no candy canes because of the obvious religious connotations, no red or green colors. Can you imagine how catastrophic it would be for these children to see stuff like that? They might be scarred for life by being exposed to Christmas, like we were. Imagine.

Why does the world hate Christmas so much? Why are they so intent on sanitizing the culture of the reason for the season? Perhaps they are like the Grinch, who Dr. Seuss described this way:
"The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season! Now, please don't ask why. No one knew the reason. It could be his head wasn't screwed on just right. It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight. But I think that the most likely reason of all may have been that his heart was two sizes too small."
Could that be the reason? Could their hearts be too small?

Yes, this is a heart issue. But fortunately, the Grinch finally saw the Christmas spirit in the eyes of a small child and the celebration of that small town. These modern day followers of Grinch need to look into the eyes of the Christ child who came because of hearts too small. This Christ child gave up all the glory and grandeur of heaven to be born in a stable in Bethlehem, all for the purpose of eventually ending up on a cruel wooden cross to be executed for the sins of the world. Without that sacrifice, Jesus knew there could be no hope for any of our too small hearts.

Won't you find the real reason for the season? Won't you look into the eyes of the Christ child and find love and forgiveness?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Transgender - The New Politically Correct Chick

The media always want to decide what we think and believe. They do so by the news stories they choose to publish, by the slant they report in their broadcasts, or by the cast and story line they feature in their sit-coms. They are the gurus of political correctness, and we follow along like blind sheep.

Lately, the new darlings of the media have been those calling themselves transgenders. It is the new politically correct chick. Chaz Bono was the token transgender on "Dancing With the Stars." Twice in the past couple of months, the Bangor Daily News has run front page articles on the Maines family that were the focus of the school bathroom use lawsuit in Orono - the latest reporting that they had received the 2011 ACLU of Maine Roger Baldwin Award "for their courage and perseverance in helping defeat the recent trans-gender legislation in the Maine State House." Now, we read that a boy named Bobby, who thinks he's a girl, requests and is allowed to join a Girl Scout troop in Colorado.

What's next? "Just when you think you've heard it all, something even more bizarre and disturbing occurs, and you and you can only scratch your head and wonder," writes Michael Brown. Yet, the Girl Scouts, who have been homosexual friendly for years, issued the statement, "Girl Scouts is an inclusive organization, and we accept all girls in Kindergarten through 12th grade as members. If a child identifies as a girl and the child's family presents her as a girl, Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomes her as a girl scout." It doesn't matter if the supposed girl has all the plumbing of a boy.

Kathryn Lopez writes, "My heart goes out to Bobby as the Girl Scout cookie continues to crumble. Being a Girl Scout may only contribute to his confusion." Indeed, it will. Bobby's parents and the Girl Scouts are all confused.

Whatever happened to common sense? Why do we let our kids continue to live lives so confused? Why have we not instead become the mature parents who guide our children to accept who God made them?

Recently, I read an article entitled, "The Girl Who Thought She Was a Werewolf Vampire," by Michael Brown. It put this into perspective with bold clarity. Let me relate Michael's main points to you. He presented the following scenarios:

Scenario #1 - A troubled teenage girl says to you, "Since I was twelve. . . I know this is going to sound crazy, but I believe that I'm a vampire, part of a vampire and part of a werewolf." What would you tell her? Would you tell her that werewolves and vampires don't exist? What if she was diagnosed with lycanthropy, a mental illness that involves a strong delusional belief that you have been transformed into an animal? Would you tell her she needs help? This confession was made by 18 year old Stephanie Pistey at her arrest in the aftermath of the grisly murder of a 16 year old boy. She acted on her belief in what she thought she was.

Scenario #2 - A man is convinced that there is something terribly wrong with his body, and he wants to amputate one of his perfectly good limbs. What do you tell him? What if the person was diagnosed with Body Identity Integrity Disorder, a condition that is commonly manifested by a desire to have an amputation of a specific body part. Wouldn't you tell him something like this? "Regardless what your mind tells you, you shouldn't do it. You have a psychiatric condition, and you need help." Wouldn't there be widespread outrage if a surgeon performed the amputation on a perfectly good leg?

Now for Scenario #3 - A man comes to you and says, "I'm convinced that I'm a woman trapped in a man's body, and I want to have a sex-change surgery and go on female hormones for the rest of my life." What would you tell him? "Look, biologically and anatomically you are a man. That is reality, and you can't change that fact."

Oh, but that answer would be considered insensitive, intolerant, and bigoted. Don't we know that God makes mistakes like that all the time, putting girls inside boy's bodies? But why is this third scenario any different than the first two? Why don't we treat this delusion with the same compassion and common sense as we do the other delusions? Why don't parents simply say, "You may feel like a girl, but you are really a boy." Why don't parents help their children learn to accept who God made them?

Unfortunately, liberal elites try to accommodate that delusion. The Los Angeles United School District Reference Guide, for example, says this, "Gender identity refers to one's understanding, interests, and feelings about whether one is female or male, or both, or neither, regardless of one's biological sex." In other words, it doesn't matter what body you were born inside, you are what you think. So, if you think you're a girl, even though you live in a boy's body, go ahead and use the girl's bathroom, and the school district will support your delusion.

The fact is, our minds don't always tell us the truth. Maybe we ought to work on changing the mind. Dr. Paul McHugh, University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry and Chairman of the John Hopkins Psychiatric Department, stated, "We psychiatrists . . . would do better to concentrate on trying to fix the minds and not their genitals." Yet, instead of fixing their minds, we accommodate their delusions.

Unfortunately for them, there is also a moral aspect to this. Even though the Bible clearly states equality of value and worth of both sexes, it also clearly states a difference in the sexes. God intended it to be that way, and He designed it into our bodies and minds. He doesn't take kindly to blurring sex identities. Deuteronomy 22:5 says, "A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman's garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the Lord your God."

This verse doesn't dictate particular styles of clothing, but it shows the need for difference. Boys are boys, and girls are girls; and people should be able to tell the difference by looking. We shouldn't have to wonder who is in the next bathroom stall. Don't let the media dictate how you think, use some common sense. Better yet, let God dictate how you think.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Arab Spring Leads to Christian Winter

When the Arab Spring began, excitement was in the air. We cheered when the dictators toppled. Democracy was coming we were told. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton talked of a new and hopeful "Arab Spring" as Islamic revolutions began arising across the Middle East and North Africa. Again this past week, there was joy that the terrorist and Libyan Dictator Maummar al-Qaddafi was killed.

But the biggest question is, what comes next? What comes next for Libya? What comes next for the the other countries taking part in the Islamic uprising? Well, now we know. The leader of Libya's transitional government says that Sharia Law will be the basic source of legislation. So much for freedom and equality. So much for women being treated with respect and dignity. So much for any hope of tolerance for Christians.

Egypt can be used as a case study. Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's dictator, was one of the first to fall last February, to the glee of the media. Sure, the masses were being led by the Muslim Brotherhood, but they are a peace loving bunch, we were told (never mind their history of using terror to advance their political agenda). The Egyptian army, we were told, showed great restraint by not using force in dealing with the Muslim protesters. But what is it like now?

Now, there is evidence that "something is rotten in Cairo." The plight of the Coptic Christians prove it. On Sunday, October 9th, the Egyptian military attacked Christian protesters using armored personnel carriers, shooting randomly into the crowd and running over and crushing the protesters underneath their vehicles. According to Al Ahram, an Egyptian newspaper, 36 Coptic Christians were killed. According to the paper, they were run over by military vehicles, beaten, shot, and dragged through the streets.

The peaceful Christian protesters were marching to the headquarters of the state TV network to protest the burning of St. George's Church in Upper Egypt Village of El-Marinab. The broadcasters called on the "honorable Egyptians" to help the army put down the protest. "Soon afterward, bands of young men armed with sticks, rocks, swords, and firebombs began to roam central Cairo, attacking Christians," reports the Associated Press, and "troops and riot police did not intervene."

According to the international news channel, France 24, there has been "an explosion of violence against the Coptic Christian community." According to Jeff Jacoby,
"Copts, who represent a tenth of Egypt's population, are subjected to appalling humiliations. The mob that destroyed St. George's had first demanded that the church be stripped of crosses and bells; after the Christians yielded to that demand, local Muslims demanded that the dome be removed as well. For several weeks, Copts in El-Marinab were literally besieged, forbidden to leave their homes or buy food unless they agreed to mutilate their nearly century old house of worship. On September 30, Muslim thugs set fire to the church and demolished its dome, pillars and walls. For good measure, they also burned a Coptic-owned shop and four houses."
The Egyptian Union of Human Rights organization calculated that more than 90,000 Christians have fled the country since March of 2011.

For Christians, the Arab Spring has led to a Christian Winter. What took place in Iraq is now happening everywhere else where the "Religion of Peace" gains power. As reported by Caroline Glick,
"In Iraq, the Iranian and Syrian sponsored insurgency that followed the US-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein's Baathist Regine in 2003 fomented a bloody jihad against Iraq's Christian population. This month marks the anniversary of last year's massacre of 58 Christian worshippers in a Catholic church in Baghdad. A decade ago there were 800,000 Christians in Iraq. Today there are 150,000."
The press and our government should have seen it coming.

Lebanon's Maronite Catholic Patriarch Bechara Rai visited Paris and warned French President Nicolas Sarkozy that the fall of the Assad regime in Syria could be a disaster for Christians throughout the region. When Rai arrived in the United States, our administration cancelled all his scheduled meetings with them. According to Glick,
"Rather than consider the dangers that Rai warned about and use US influence to increase the power of Christians and Kurds and other minorities in any post-Assad Syrian government, the Obama administration decided to blackball Rai for pointing out the dangers."
See no evil; hear no evil; speak no evil.

What has happened in Egypt and other places in Muslim dominated countries should cause us to ask some questions. Why is the United States continuing to underwrite the Egyptian military regime? Why is there silence from the main stream media and our politicians? Why can Christians be slaughtered without a great moral outrage on the part of our leaders?

According to Michael Youssef, an Egyptian-born, American Christian,
"There's an American tragedy in this. Namely, that our tax dollars are funding the bottomless pit of the Egyptian Army's industrial establishment. . . . Therefore, we are partially responsible for the shedding of the blood of innocent civilians."
Yes, we have blood on our hands when we turn a blind eye to the systematic persecution of Christians by the "Religion of Peace" Islam.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Appeal of the Small Country Church

Many people love to go to big churches. That's why they are big. They usually feature the best of everything - top notch musicians and preaching, programs for everyone, and the excitement of being part of a big crowd.

But that can sometimes be a problem. Not everyone likes being in a big crowd. Alan Patterson and his wife Wyona attend the Orrington Center Church (located in the center of Orrington) because it isn't big. When they moved to Orrington from Stockton Springs, they tried out a couple of the bigger churches. "We tried out a number of churches, but people would look right at you and never say, 'Hi.'" said Paterson, "They were too impersonal. You go and you say you've been, then you leave and nobody knows. Sometimes you might not show up for a month and nobody knows."

But when they came to Orrington Center Church, things were different. According to Patterson, "People met us at the door and welcomed us. They made us feel right at home. Why would you want to go to a great big church where you are a nobody?" His wife Wyona added, "When they don't even know your name."

This is why there will always be a place for the small country church. It seems like family. It seems like you belong. When you miss a Sunday, people call to see what's wrong, or they send you a note telling you that you were missed. "If I miss church," added Patterson, "the Pastor always sends me a note and tells me I've been missed."

When the Davis family moved into the area from Deer Isle, they missed their old church. Sherry Davis explained, "Although we were loath to give up our old church, we wanted to join a fellowship where we could fit in as part of a new family and be part of a local body of believers. Orrington Center Church gave us such a warm welcome that we have been blessed."

Carolyn Howard agrees that the church has a family atmosphere. She is 93 years old and has attended the church since she was six. She raised her children and watched her grandchildren be raised in the church. In reflecting over her lifetime in the church, she says, "I've seen a lot of changes. We didn't even meet here in the winter when I was a child because we didn't have heat. Then we got a wood furnace, and the janitor came and stayed all night to tend the fire so we could have heat on Sunday."

Small country churches develop this kind of loyalty in their members. "Everybody supported the church in the area," Mrs. Howard said. "It was their church. They didn't always come, but it was their church." The small country church becomes a place of belonging.

It is also a place you can feel ownership and take responsibility. In the 1980s, when the church was loosely affiliated with the United Methodist denomination, there was an attempt by the denomination to consolidate the churches in Orrington. The Orrington Center Church was marked for shut-down and demolition. Eunice Baldwin, whose husband was one of the trustees who placed his own personal assets at risk by entering into a lawsuit to keep the building from being torn down, remembers. "It was awful," said Mrs. Baldwin. "I can't imagine they were going to tear this beautiful building down." Having gone through the battles together gives the congregation a sense of solidarity - a feeling that "this is my church" - a sense of ownership.

Being in a small church also gives you a place to minister. You don't have to have near professional quality talent to sing in the choir or play an instrument, and you don't have to have a seminary degree to teach Sunday School. According to Deacon Mark Chellis, "In a small country church, we all know each other and minister to one another. Everybody has an important ministry to fulfill, and no one has to feel left out or unused by the Lord."

Jody Lowery agrees. "Our small church encourages everyone, members or not, to use their gifts to minister to our church family and to those in the community," she said. "We are a family. If one is happy, we all rejoice. If one is down, we encourage each other."

Debbie Lockman concurs. "It's true," she said. "You feel like family. You can count on these people like family." Those who are ill or who have been shut-in have meals brought to them; or if they have home projects they can't complete, people come by to help.

Hebrews 10:25 says, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another." At a small church with a family atmosphere, it is easy to do that. Most people come, not for what they can get, but for what they can give. You see the same people week after week and get to know them. You know them well enough to know their needs. You know when they are hurting or depressed. You know when they are struggling with sin. You can offer the words of encouragement or correction, just like they were family.

These are the reasons there will always be a place for the small country church. It is the kind of place people crave to be a part of. The Orrington Center Church is still small enough to seem like family.

The Orrington Center Church at 468 Dow Road in Orrington is an Independent Bible Church that has sered the community for 175 years. They worship every Sunday at 9:00 A.M. For more information on the church, check out their web site at

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Contest of Values

My father is a World War II vet and a patriot who complains about high taxes and government waste. He thinks abortion is murder and can't imagine two men getting married. He lived through the Great Depression, so he always pays his bills on time and doesn't go into debt. He stands proudly at Fourth of July parades, and he always sings the National Anthem. My dad is also a lifelong Democrat.

There are a lot of other older Americans I know who are just like my dad, and they are also lifelong Democrats. Except now, the Democratic Party no longer reflects their core values. As a matter of fact, their political party is diametrically opposed to their core values. It's a far cry from the party they remember. Many remain in it only out of loyalty or inertia.

But this is why so many people holding beliefs like my dad have joined the Tea Party movement. It is a small government, patriotic movement that believes what they believe. It is, indeed, what Mark Potok, Huffington Post columnist and spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center, sneeringly refers to as the "Patriot Movement." Yes, they are patriots and proud of it. They love their country.

Which is why it didn't surprise me very much to read the results of a Harvard University study recently showing that those who attend fourth of July parades are more likely to become "right wingers." The actual title of the research paper is, Shaping the Nation: Estimating the Impact of Fourth of July Using Natural Experiment. Imagine, for a moment, someone actually doing such a study.

The research paper concludes,
"There is a political congruence between the patriotism promoted on the Fourth of July and the values associated with the Republican Party."
The paper further stated,
"Fourth of July celebrations in the United States shape the nation's political landscape by forming beliefs and increasing participation primarily in favor of the Republican Party."
Really? The Republicans own love of country? What do the Democrats own?

In commenting on the study, Matt Barber wrote,
"This, of course, begs the question: If Fourth of July parades churn out little GOPers and embody the values of conservatism, what type of parade might spawn young Democrats? What event best represents liberalism? If Old Glory is the banner behind which conservatives do battle,what pennon do you suppose guides the proud left into combat? Rainbow flag, anyone?"

Barber goes on to explain,
"Indeed the 'gay pride' parade perhaps more than any other best encapsulates the values embraced by today's secular-progressive left. Think about it. It's got it all."

Then Barber lists the following:gay pride parades are obscenely expensive; they celebrate a caution-to-the-wind, enjoy-now-pay-later lifestyle; they have men who act like women and women men; they have flamboyant narcissism, moral relativism, and plenty of gyrating nude bodies; they have colorful public sex displays to confuse, desensitize, and sexualize the kiddos; they have lots of anti-Americanism; and they are devoid of God. I think he's on to something. And our President is leading the charge.

President Obama is the one who spearheaded the the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. He is the one who refuses to do his job as chief law enforcement officer and defend the Defense of Marriage Act. He is the Commander in Chief that allows military chaplains to marry same-sex couples on military bases, and gives them benefits reserved for married couples. Our President seems embarrassed, and feels the need to continually apologize, for the nation we once were. The list goes on and on.

When speaking at a fundraiser for the homosexual activist group Human Rights Campaign recently, President Obama said of the 2012 election,
"This is a contest of Values. That's what is at stake here. this is a fundamental debate about who we are as a nation."

He is absolutely right - I couldn't agree more. This is a contest of values. This is a moral issue. Are we going to be the land that celebrates God and patriotism, or are we going to be the land that celebrates tolerance and diversity of everything except God and morality?

My dad continues to be a democrat, along with many other good men and women that I admire; and they continue to vote democrat. But they either have to ignore the direction of their party, or they have to hold their nose while voting. Perhaps it is time for the Democrats who love truth, morality, and America to take back their party from the radicals.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Chasing the Wrong Europe

I've been preaching through the book of Habakkuk in my church, and the plight of this Old Testament prophet has a lot of parallels with our nation. The prophet looked around his nation of ancient Israel, and what he saw sickened him. There was sin and idolatry all around - yes, in this nation that had once been built on the law of God. The prophet asked God why he put up with it, and God responded that He already had it all under control. God had prepared the mighty Babylonian army to sweep down from the north and take them captive. We too, as a nation established on godly principles, have fled far from our origins.

As we looked at that scenario, we talked about the steps leading up to the death of a nation. There are always three: The first is religious apostasy. The second is moral awfulness. And the third is political anarchy.

Are we at stage three? Who knows? Some point to gridlock in congress as proof. Others point to the protests on Wall Street, similar to the protests in Greece and other European countries, which are decidedly anti-capitalist and anarchist. Now protests have spread across the country and have even come to Portland, and other cities of Maine. According to Ann Coulter, the anti-capitalist rhetoric comig from the participants of Occupy Wall Street mirrors the beginning of "totalitarianism." Coulter writes,
"All those quotes could have been said in 1789 in France before the French Revolution, or with only slight modification when the Nazis were coming to power, in Cuba under Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. . . . This is always the beginning of totalitarianism."
More and more, people are fleeing personal responsibility and demanding to be taken care of by the government.

We may debate whether our economic crisis and Occupy Wall Street are the beginning of anarchy, but there is little doubt about the first two stages. How can we deny moral awfulness when our country allows the killing of our babies in the womb, makes pornography available on the internet, and promotes same-sex marriage? But none of this would happen if we had not first abandoned our faith in a good and just God. We are even now actively rewriting our history to repudiate the Christian heritage of our nation. We are definitely in the midst of religious apostasy.

Once, the United States was a beacon of freedom and goodness for the world to emulate. Unfortunately, that is no longer true. Donald Wildman, founder of the American Family Association, wrote,
"A dark cloud has ascended on America. Once the land of freedom and responsibility, once a culture guided by a Judeo-Christian heritage, once a land where responsibilities were exalted, America has been shrouded by a dark cloud. This cloud has left us unable to tell right from wrong. Indeed, it has caused us to call wrong, right."

Much of our problem is our mad pursuit of the failed policies of Western Europe. Western Europe is a land of social (socialist) democracies that run huge government debts (like Greece). It is a land of sexual promiscuity, and they have paved the way for same-sex marriage. But most telling, Western Europe is a land where Christianity has all but died. Their great cathedrals are now mostly empty, or they have been turned into boutiques or Muslim mosques.

Rather than chase after the Western Europe, which has paved the way for failure, we should emulate an Eastern European country - Hungary. Coming out from under the iron heel of communism, they are turning back to their Christian roots. Recently, they passed a new constitution that has some fascinating articles. Let me quote some passages from it:

The first paragraph applauds their Christian past. It is entitled, The National Avowal of Faith. It states,
"At the dawn of a new millennium, we members of the Hungarian nation declare the following, with a bond of duty to all Hungarians: We are proud that one thousand years ago our king, Saint Stephen, based the Hungarian State on solid foundations and made our country a part of Christian Europe."
We have been running from our Christian past and libeling the faith of our Founding Fathers, denying that their Christian faith guided their pursuit of building a nation based on the laws of God. We are traveling in the opposite direction of Hungary.

The same section of their constitution also says,
"We acknowledge the role Christianity has played in preserving our nation. We respect all our countries religious traditions. We solemnly promise to preserve the intellectual and spiritual unity of our nation, torn apart by the storms of the past century."
Those storms came in the form of subjugation to the atheistic, communist Soviet Union. We are now trying to do what the communists did in banning Christianity from public life.

But, because of their Christian roots, they also uphold marriage. Their constitution also adds these lines in Article K, a section called, Fundamentals:
"Hungary shall protect the institution of marriage, understood to be the conjugal union of a man and a woman based on their voluntary decision. Hungary shall also protect the institution of the family, which it recognizes as the basis for the survival of the nation. Hungary shall promote the commitment to have and raise children."
We once upheld the family unit as the basis of society. We need to again.

One more noteworthy section is entitled, Freedom and Responsibility. It contains the line,
"Human dignity shall be inviolable. Everyone shall have the right to life and human dignity: the life of the fetus shall be protected from the moment of conception."
That once was universally understood. here too; the right to life even being included in our Declaration of Independence and and Bill of Rights as a core value. But as I said earlier, we are now trying to be more like Western Europe than Hungary.

I applaud the stand taken by Hungary on these fundamental issues. I can't help but believe that God will bless them for this. When will we, as a nation, return to the original experiment of our Founding Fathers, which worked gloriously, and discard the new experiments of the social engineers, which have failed Western Europe? We are following the path to destruction as a nation. The way is all too clear. But the path back from the brink is just as clear. We must return to our roots - our Christian roots. Then the rest will fall into place.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Christians Have Nothing to Lose

The world is a dangerous place for Christians. When Jesus sent out His disciples in Matthew 10:16, He warned them, "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves." Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani would agree. The wolves are circling around him waiting for the kill.

This past week, this Iranian pastor faced execution rather than recant his Christian faith. Pastor Nadarkhani, who claims he was never a Muslim, was found guilty of converting to Christianity by the 11th Branch of the Gilan Provincial Court because he has an Islamic ancestry.

When asked to repent, Nadarkhani stated, "Repent means to return. What should I return to? To the blasphemy that I had before my faith in Christ?"

"To the religion of your ancestors, Islam." the judge replied.

"I cannot." Nadarkhani answered.

Thus the verdict - the sheep was found guilty. Since the public outcry, the Iranian officials, after the fact, claim his case is about rape and extortion. How convenient. The truth is he gained notice of the Iranian officials because his house church had grown to 400 people, and he questioned the indoctrination of his children by Iranian schools.

Nadarkhani isn't alone. Elam Ministries of England reports that during the six months from June 2010 until January 2011, a total of 202 such arrests occurred in Iran. The sheep were rounded up. But even though stories like this aren't reported often, stories like this are extremely common. As a matter of fact, each year about 100,000 Christians are martyred world wide. Romans 8:36 says, "We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter;" and world wide, the slaughter of Christians takes place.

The number of "silent killings" of Christians in Nigeria over the past few months failed to make the news. International Christian Concern reports that radical Muslim leader, Boko Haran, has killed at least ten Christians in Maiduguri, Nigeria, for violations of Sharia Law.

In 2009 in Pakistan, Asa Bibi, a mother of five, working with other women in a field picking berries, went to the well for a bucket of drinking water. When she returned, the other women refused to drink from it saying it was contaminated having been touched by a Christian. There was an altercation, and the Muslim women went to a cleric to accuse Bibi of blasphemy.

Bibi was tried for violating Pakistani Penal Code, section 295c, which says, "Whoever . . . defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable for fine." According to the London Telegraph, she was "convicted on the evidence of two witnesses who were not present in the fields where the exchange is supposed to have taken place." Bibi still remains in prison, and her family hides in fear for their lives.

Why would these Christians refuse to recant in the face of this intense persecution? Reading the Scriptures makes it clear. In Luke 12:4-5. Jesus told us,
"My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell: yes, I say to you, fear Him."
The answer is simple. All men can do is kill you. But, God holds your eternal soul in His hands. Fear God more.

But the next verses show how much God cares. In Luke 12:6-7, Jesus says,
"Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are numbered. Do not fear, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows."

The good news for believers is that God has already taken the eternal risk out of death. In John 11:25, Jesus assures us, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, yet shall he live." In Romans 8:35, Paul asks a rhetorical question, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" Then he lists as many things that he can think of that might. But none of them can. Paul's conclusion, in Romans 8:38-39 states,
"For I am persuaded that neither life nor death . . . nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

We all die. Why shouldn't we die for something worthwhile? And what is more worthwhile than serving the King of kings and Lord of lords who loves us and rewards us? God is great at rewarding us. Jesus assured us, in Matthew 5:11-12,
"Blessed are you when the revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven."
We have nothing to lose by serving God and everything to gain.

In his History of Christian Missions, Stephen Neil wrote that every early Christian "knew that sooner or later he might have to testify to his faith at the cost of his life." More and more, that is becoming true again today. We, as Christians, must be prepared for it.

Even here in America, we see the bubble of protection afforded to us by our First Amendment being eroded. Whether it's the firing of Frank Turek by Cisco for comments in favor of traditional marriage, the intimidation against those in California who favored Proposition 8, or the resignation of Laura L. Fortusky, town clerk in Barker, New York, rather than be forced to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the threat is real. Even the Bangotr Daily News reported death threats against Marc Mutty and Michael Heath for their work turning back same-sex marriages in Maine in 2009.

Quoting Alan Sears,
"From high school and college textbooks that ridicule or try to expunge our historical Judeo-Christian roots, to shameless lawsuits against the public display of symbols identifiable with Christianity, to the hampering of the religious speech of public officials, and of course, the ongoing governmental limitations on the First Amendment protected rights of pastors in the pulpits, Christians (and Christianity) are forced to fight for the freedom so many others readily enjoy."

In the words of John Piper, "In America and around the world, the price of being a real Christian is rising. Things are getting back to normal."

Friday, September 30, 2011

Shoulder to Shoulder with Our Friend Israel

Since modern Israel's birth as a nation in 1948, the United States has been Israel's best and sometimes only friend. But in return, Israel has been our only true friend in the Middle East. As a result, we have promised to stand shoulder to shoulder with them and defend them. That is why, as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected direct negotiations and showed up last week at the U.N. to demand that the United Nations vote to recognize Palestinian statehood, the United States had to say, "NO!"

Not that anyone objects to a Palestinian state. Even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "If we have their recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and the security requirements, there's no reason that" we not recognize a Palestinian state.

But that's just the point. According to Netanyahu, "They're trying to set up a state to continue the conflict with Israel rather than to end it." Indeed, the stated goal of the Palestinian Authority is to drive Israel into the sea. This little country of Israel, occupying an area about the size of Rhode Island, has seen some 12,000 rocket attacks by their neighbors. Israeli children live in constant fear of suicide bombers targeting their school buses. And if they retaliate, they are called the aggressors by the world. The prophet Jeremiah said it well in Jeremiah 6:14, "Peace,peace, when there is no peace." Until there is, we must stand with Israel.

Why should we stand with Israel? We share a common heritage. Jesus Christ was a Jew. The prophets were Jews, as was Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Moses, David, Solomon, etc. The apostles were all Jews. It was through the Jews that we got our Bible. It was on the Law of Moses that we based our laws. Our Judeo-Christian heritage shaped our morals. We are what we are because of the Jews.

We share common ideals. Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East. In the past few decades, Israel changed leadership at least a dozen times through peacefully contested elections. As we watch the Arab spring unfold, we see that changing leadership in the rest of the Middle East is a matter of bloodletting and people are kept under the iron fist of Sharia Law and women live in subjugation.

Yet, the United States and Israel both respect individual freedom and honor the rights of the individual. We tolerate dissent, and we practice religious freedom. Pat Robertson writes,
"Of course we, like all right thinking people, support Israel because Israel is an island of democracy, an island of individual freedom, an island of the rule of law, an island of modernity in a sea of dictatorial regimes, the suppression of individual liberty, and fanatical religion intent on returning to the feudalism of eighth century Arabia."

We share a common enemy. On September 11th, as we were in shock and horror watching the images on TV of planes crashing into the twin towers, we also saw images on TV of people throughout the Middle East dancing in the street in celebration. But not in Israel. In Israel, the Jewish people cried with us. They flew their flag at half mast. Quoting Gary Bauer, "They shared our grief." Then he adds, "On September 11th, many Americans came to understand what it is like to be an Israeli and to face barbaric terrorism that targets innocent civilians."

The great conflict of our time is between the west and radical Islam. Israel is the front line ally in the war. Israel is surrounded on all sides by Muslim nations and daily faces Muslim terror. Bauer writes,
"It is the same philosophy that motivates the government of Sudan to kill 5 million Christians in the last decade. It inspires the gunmen with AK47's who run into churches in Pakistan and open fire on women and children. It inspires the kidnappers of Daniel Pearl who tormented him on video tape, forcing him to say over and over again, 'I am a Jew,' before they decapitated him and sent pictures of his severed head throughout the Middle East as a recruiting tool. This philosophy causes the Palestinian mother to leap for joy at the news her teenage son has blown himself up as long as it assured that he killed Jews in the process."
That philosophy targets both the "Little Satan" Israel and the "Big Satan" United States for destruction.

Finally, we share a common blessing. From the day when God first made His irrevocable covenant with Abraham giving him the land of Israel, God included all who bless Israel in His blessing. In Genesis 12:3, we read God's promise, "I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you." God restored Israel to the land of promise. God will preserve them. But if we expect to continue receiving the blessings of God, we must continue to stand with Israel.

History bears this out. Egypt prospered as long as their Pharaoh blessed the Jews through Joseph. When they refused, their armies were drowned in the Red Sea.
Spain thrived and ruled the world until the Spanish Inquisition expelled the Jews from the land. Hitler was well on his way to building his thousand year Third Reich, but he ended as a suicide in a lonely bunker.

Quoting John Hagee,
"Where are the Babylonians? Where are the Romans? Where are the Greeks? Where are the Persians? Where is the Ottoman Empire? Where is that lunatic Adolph Hitler and his Nazi hordes? They are historical footnotes in the bone-yard of human history. Where is Israel? Where are the Jewish people? They are alive and well in the only democratic society in the Middle East. The Jewish people have survived pogroms and persecution. They have outlasted Pharaoh's slavery and Hitler's final solution. They are living testimony that there is a God in heaven who keeps His word."

As I close, let me leave you with a question asked by Tom DeLay,
"We need to ask ourselves: Do we want the Middle East to look more like Israel, or do we want Israel to look more like the rest of the Middle East? In a lands largely barren of freedom, we must preserve the lone fountain of freedom."
Yes! We must stand shoulder to shoulder with our friend Israel.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Is Rick Perry a Knuckle Dragger?

In my last article, I looked at Rick Perry's big problem with the secular media - he takes his Christian faith too seriously. In this article, I look at why the media considers him deficient in natural intelligence. It goes way beyond being dumber than George W. Bush because Perry attended Texas A&M while Bush attended Yale. Perry is dumb, according to the media, because he believes in creation - proof enough that he is a knuckle dragging Neanderthal right out of the backwoods.

The media had a "gotcha" moment when Perry expressed doubts about evolution to a young boy, and it was caught on tape. He had the nerve to call evolution a "theory," not a fact, and he claimed there were "gaps" in it. Now, mind you, Perry isn't a young earth Biblical creationist as I am, but he does believe God had a hand in shaping this earth. That was enough to cause the famous atheist, Richard Dawkins, to call Perry an "uneducated fool."

Michele Bachmann received that same kind of treatment because she supported a Louisiana law allowing teachers to introduce supplemental textbooks to help students critique and review the scientific theory of evolution. No! Critiquing evolution is off limits, we are told. And how could she support such a thing? But isn't that what scientists are supposed to do?

That kind of intimidation has caused many in the church to dig a hole and crawl in. Or it has caused them to abandon their faith in the Bible as they try to reconcile the Bible to the most recent scientific theory. Shame on them.

Dr. Karl Giberson, a Nazarene author and theistic evolutionist, is an example of a "Christian" who drank the cool aid. In his HuffPost rebuttal to Bachmann, he as much as said scientists are not to be questioned. In other words, have blind faith in evolution or be a heretic. Giberson further stated that it is "disastrous" to allow high school students in Louisiana or elsewhere to critically analyze evolution. Really?

Isn't that what scientists are supposed to do - question and test their theories? Apparently not any more, at least not with evolution. We must meekly accept what we are told by these high priests of the religion called science. Funny, isn't it, that while scientists restrict inquiry, the Bible calls for it. First Thessalonians 5:21 says, "Test all things, hold fast to what is good."

There's a good reason the evolution "cult" refuses to tolerate argument. They can't win - the evidence is stacked against them. Their theory is a house of cards. Even Charles Darwin knew this. Recognizing that the fossil record showed no evidence for his theory, he faulted the "extreme imperfection of the geological record." The fossil record should contain vast numbers of intermediate species (missing links) if this theory of slow change over time were true. What we do find in the fossil record is vast numbers of species appearing complete and fully formed, but we find no intermediaries.

Darwin's excuse was that paleontologists would eventually find the intermediaries in abundance, and he encouraged them to get looking. But they never found any. According to David Raup, geologist at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, since the time of Darwin, "the situation hasn't changed much." Of course not. The evidence for evolution would have been found, if it were true. But there's no evidence for this false theory.

There are no transitional fossils showing animals in the process of evolution - NONE! ZIP! ZERO! This is why the late Stephen Jay Gould of Harvard, the nation's preeminent evolutionist, called the absence of transitional fossils the "trade secret" of paleontology. Indeed, it wasn't the theologians who first opposed Darwin, it was the paleontologists.

I was once a fervent evolutionist myself, totally indoctrinated by the educational system. I majored in zoology as an undergraduate and did post graduate work in the sciences. But it took a bright young girl, whom I later married, and her common sense questions to get me to think critically.

What I discovered from the evidence totally convinced me - evolution is a sham, a farce, a fraud built on theories totally misrepresenting the data. There is no way that the intricacies of even a simple single cell, or even part of a single cell, could ever have happened by chance no matter how many billions of years you give it to try. Even Antony Flew, the most prominent atheist apologist of all, announced that DNA research showed "almost unbelievable complexity," convincing him that "intelligence must have been involved." That intelligence was God. No thinking person could believe otherwise. The awesome design of life must have had a designer.

I became frustrated and angry at the hoaxes and frauds perpetuated as fact and taught in our schools, many of which are still in our children's textbooks - things like "embryology recapitulates phylogeny," or the horse evolution charts, or moths changing color from light to dark because of the amount of soot in the air in England, the Piltdown Man, Nebraska Man, and Java Man. All hoaxes. Who can believe liars and frauds to present the unvarnished truth? Rather, evolutionists are religious fanatics that will go to any extreme to explain their existence apart from God. They might have to admit their accountability to God if they did. Blind chance and billio0ns of years is the only answer they can come up, as totally impossible as that is.

The only answer that makes sense is the one presented in the first verse of the Bible, Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." I take my stand on the Word of the One who was there and gave us his eyewitness account - God.

So, no, it is not the closed minded scientist who have it right. Rick Perry makes immensely more sense by questioning evolution than they do with their blind faith. It won't hurt Perry or Bachmann with the Republican voters either. A Gallup poll showed that "just 8% of Republicans . . . said they believed in evolution without any other intervention." Most Americans can see through this theory of evolution.

Now certainly these articles have not meant to be an endorsement of Rick Perry's candidacy, but a way to point out the folly of the media that have attacked him and the other Christians running for public office. I hope you will see the foolishness of their attacks. If you too want to be opened minded and take a critical look at the evidence, I would recommend checking out the Answers in Genesis website at or the Institue for Creation Research web site at

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Rick Perry's Problem - He's a Christian!

First, let me set the record straight. I'm not the one who said that. Rather, it is the recurring theme the media continues to publish as they attack Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, and even Sarah Palin. These politicians take their Christian faith too seriously. How horrid, say the pundits.

An example would be the editorial by Dana Milbank in the Bangor Daily News this past week. Milbank made the direct accusation,
"Rick Perry is a theocrat. By his own account, he is a cultural warrior, seeking to save marriage, Christmas, and the Boy Scouts from liberals, gay people, and moral relativism."
That's supposed to be a bad thing? It is if you are a Dana Milbank, who goes on to chronicle Rick Perry's own statements of his Christian faith - statements, by the way, that I find refreshing - as proof that Perry is unfit to be President.

But this is just one example of the multitude of attacks on people of faith who dare enter public life. Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times, argues it is time to stop being "squeamish" about "aggressively" digging into politician's religious convictions. He urges reporters to "get over" any "scruples" about the "privacy of faith in public life." That's why he can worry that Perry and Bachmann are "afflicted with fervid subsets of evangelical Christianity."

That kind of rabid, anti-Christian rhetoric is heard from coast to coast in the media. Collins English Dictionary defines a bigot as "a person who is intolerant of any ideas other his or her own, especially on religion, politics, or race." And they have the nerve to call us bigots after these kinds of diatribes?

Commenting on people like Keller, Jeff Jacoby writes,
"When they see Christian conservatives on the campaign trail, they envision inquisitions and witch hunts and the suppression of liberty. They dread the prospect of a President respecting 'any higher authority than the Constitution,' and regard ardent religious faith as the equivalent of space aliens."
But God and His Word is higher than our Constitution.

Oh, religion is OK with them if you don't take it too seriously or let it affect your life. President Obama claims to be a Christian, and that's perfectly OK; yet, he hardly ever attends church. He favors the destruction of unborn babies in the womb. He refuses to defend DOMA. He forgets Easter proclamations, but never forgets a Ramadan proclamation. He mocks Biblical passages and seldom quotes the Bible, but quotes instead from the "holy Qur'am."

In a 2008 interview with George Stephanopolos, candidate Obama spoke passionately about his Muslim faith. After a few moments, Stephanopolos corrected him, "Your Christian faith." Just a mistake, right? Just a slip of the tongue? How many other "Christians" would make that kind of a silly error. But Obama's kind of faith is OK.

And we aren't supposed to be concerned that Obama sat for twenty years under the teaching of rabid anti-Semite and racist Rev. Jeremiah wright and his hate filed "G__D__ America" rants. Shouldn't that be a concern to us? No. After all, Obama wasn't paying attention.

As David Limbaugh writes,
"Bill Keller's concern isn't with the religious beliefs of all candidates, only Christians; and not all Christians, only those who take the Bible seriously. He doesn't seem to have a problem with the religious beliefs of non-Christians or about the charlatans who opportunistically pass themselves off as Christians. Wouldn't an objective reporter have as much interest in someone fraudulently proclaiming a certain faith as he does in one who sincerely professes a faith he finds repugnant?"

So, it is perfectly legitimate, Keller thinks, to ask Michele Bachmann about her following the Biblical mandate of submission to her husband as found in Ephesians 5:22, or to ask them about their belief in Creation over evolution as they asked Perry, all so they can gloat over their back woods answers.

The goal, of course, is to get them to back down and slink away in shame. And so many of the "Christian-in-name-only" types do just that. Ah, but Christians who truly believe, what can you do with them? You have to discredit them as mind dead hicks from the sticks.

Since when did being a genuine Christian become a disqualification for public office? What they don't understand is that our founding fathers, most of whom took their Christian faith very seriously, were champions of individual rights. But they based those rights in the context of moral responsibility. George Washington in his farewell address stated,
"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports."
I guess Washington would be as unacceptable now as a Perry, Bachmann, or a Palin are. In the early days of this country, faith in God was necessary to get elected. Now, according to Bill Murchison,
"It's kind of fascinating, in a carnivalesque sort of way, the notion of religion as a force alien and dangerous to the American polity, hence to be regarded as fear."

The truth is, according to David Limbaugh, "Liberty has no greater ally than believing Christians of all stripes." Certainly, there would be no liberty under Sharia law. Limbaugh says,
"Ironically, it is the left who are far likelier to use the power of government to selectively suppress political and religious liberties."

Yes, we Christians are narrow minded. Yes, we Christians do think we have the truth. But that is only bad if we don't. Let me give you an illustration. When I go out at night when I am camping, I take my flashlight. As I shine the light, the beam spreads out and diffuses as it goes out along the path, getting weaker and weaker the further from the source. But the closer to the source, the narrower and more intense the beam becomes. Likewise, the closer one gets to the truth, the less room there is for deviation and the more narrow minded one becomes. Truth is very narrow, while error is broad and diffuse. Give me a genuine Christian candidate any time who believe in absolute truth.

But let them realize they will pay the price for their belief. Jesus told us in John 15:20,
"Remember the word that I said to you. 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours."
It is not you they hate, but the truth and the one who spoke that truth.

Let me close with this challenge from Perry Himself,
"We are close to a tipping point in American society, If we believe there is right and wrong, that there are acceptable standards of behavior . . . then you have a stake in this war. If the attackers win many more victories . . . the culture war may be lost before we kinow it. If that happens, we will find ourselves living isn a world where moral relativism reigns and individualism runs amok. Now is the time to enlist in this effort to stand up and be counted."

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Case of the Missing Girls, and Joe Biden's Bungles

There is an amazing phenomena happening worldwide. There is a shortage of girls. According to a Fox News article by Debra Saunders,
"In China, the sex ratio is 121 boys to 100 girls. In India, it is 112 to 100. Sex selection is a force in the Balkans, Armenia, and Georgia."
How can this be happening? It happens through selective abortions.

In her book, Unnatural Selections: Choosing Boys Over Girls and the Consequences of a World Full of Men, journalist Mara Hvistendahl writes that ultrasound has allowed women to determine which child should be kept and which to abort. The result? She writes, abortion has "claimed over 160 million potential women and girls - in Asia alone." By the way, that is more than the entire population of females in the USA.

Recently, a mother told me her daughter couldn't find a decent, godly man to marry, claiming there weren't enough out there. But apparently worldwide it is the other way around, and it is the men who can't find wives. One would think it would make girls more valuable, and it does, but not in the way one might think. Saunders remarked,
"As surplus men have trouble finding mates, young girls are forced into prostitution. Others are forced into arranged marriages."
Hvistendahl writes that on Taiwan's eBay three Vietnamese women were on sale for $5,400.

But I thought abortion was a good thing for women? Isn't that what we've always been told? It looks like we've been sold a bill of goods. The truth is the feminist agenda has always done more damage to women than it has ever helped them, and abortion is one of the biggest culprits. Abortion has backfired on women.

Which brings us to Joe Biden, our less than eloquent vice-president, and his remarks concerning China's one child per family policy. On Sunday, August 21st, at the Sichuan University in Chengdu, Biden told his Chinese audience,
"Your policy has been one which I fully understand - I'm not second guessing - of one child per family."

He understands? Our own State Department in their latest human rights report has affirmed that China's one child policy "in some cases resulted in forced abortion or forced sterilization." The report also said,
"Female infanticide, sex-selective abortions, and the abandonment and neglect of baby girls remained problems due to the traditional preference for sons and the coercive birth control policies."
Didn't Joe Biden know that?

The London Sunday Times reported the trauma of Zhang Linla, the mother of a four year old daughter, who happened to get pregnant again. The paper quoted her account as follows:
"Six days before the due date, 10 strong strangers came to my house, forced me into a truck, then took me to the family planning clinic, where the doctor gave me the injection (a drug to induce labor). The child began to struggle in my womb and one of the scum kicked me in the abdomen. Then the baby came out and they threw it in the rubbish bin. I could even see it was still moving."
Didn't Biden know that over and over that kind of barbarism is repeated on woman after woman - on baby after baby? Even as a U.S. Senator, rather than vote present as he usually did, Barack Obama voted against a law that would have given protection to U.S. babies born alive from botched abortions. Obviously Obama would approve of China's policy too.

But wasn't the whole abortion issue about choice? No! It never was. Just take a few minutes some time to read the words or Margaret Sanger. She was the founder of Planned Parenthood and a prominent abortion advocate. On blacks and immigrants, she wrote, ". . . human weeds, reckless breeders, spewing . . . human beings who never should have been born." In her plan for peace, she argued that couples should be required to submit applications before being allowed to have a child. She wrote that the purpose of birth control was "to create a race of thoroughbreds." She wrote, "Eugenics is the most adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political, and social problems." Page after page the quotes could could go on and on. Adolf Hitler was a big follower of her ideas, with predictable results.

Thank you, Joe Biden, for showing us the true color of abortion advocates like you. Abortion has nothing to do with choice. It has everything to do with getting rid of unwanted human beings. It is a population control device first and foremost. And the ones who suffer most are the women.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

God's Job Approval Rating

The glaring headline on Fox News is that President Obama's job approval rating hit the lowest level ever. Only 39% of those polled believe he is doing a good job. But what else I saw recently was a little more astonishing.

The same folks who brought us the Obama job approval rating decided to take the same poll for God. They felt it wouldn't be fair to God to take into account the answers of the atheists. They don't believe in God anyway. Nor did they take into account the answers of the agnostics who admit they don't have a clue. So they only tabulated the answers from those who who claim to believe that God exists.

What were the results? Fewer that 50% felt God was doing a good job. The most common reason listed for His bad grade was the abundance of terrible tragedies that take place - tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, plane crashes, terrorist attacks, murders, rapes, robberies, etc. People felt that either God could have prevented them and didn't, meaning He didn't care; or that God was incapable of doing anything about it, meaning He isn't up to the job.

Politicians live or die based on their job approval ratings, and I'm sure our President is pretty nervous about his. But I doubt that God is up in heaven wringing His hands over this. Yet, the reasons given by people need to be explained. The truth is the ratings show a complete lack of understanding about the way the world operates.

The truth is it isn't God's fault the world is messed up. It is ours. Starting with Adam and Eve, we've lived in rebellion against God and His rules. We've ignored The warnings of God. Then we complain when we get the outcome.

Adam started it off. Adam disobeyed the one and only restriction God placed on him in paradise by eating the forbidden fruit, and he suffered the promised punishment. He died - spiritually at first and eventually physically.

Beyond that, this entire world was cursed. Genesis 3:17-19 gave the details as God addressed Adam,
"Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken, for dust you are, and to dust you shall return."
We bear the burden of living in this cursed world - a world cursed because of man's sin.

Throughout history, men knew their sinfulness, and they knew who to blame for the curse. The Puritans used to say, "Life is brutish and short, and then you die." But they never lost their faith because of it. Why? Because their pulpits thundered against sin. They never thought to blame God when they were so obviously sinful. They were simply grateful for the opportunity to repent and receive forgiveness.

Now it seems like lots of God's spokesmen are embarrassed by the God of the Bible and by the Bible itself. They have eradicated any mention of sin, judgment, punishment, or hell. Rather God is presented as a jovial Santa Claus like figure who doles out goodies and winks at our failings.

Bob Burney wrote that these pastors have done to God what they used to do to criminals and mentally ill patients in the 40s and 50s. They lobotomized God to make His behavior acceptable to society (A lobotomy being a surgery to remove part of the brain to alter behavior). He writes,
"His holiness makes us uncomfortable. His justice seems a little harsh. His righteousness seems totally out of touch with our culture as a whole. So what do we do with a God who makes us feel uncomfortable and inferior? It's easy. We perform a lobotomy. We simply perform an operation to remove the offending attributes."

Jeromy Johnson tells why:
"Cause if God behaves and thinks like that, that is not a God worthy of my - nor anyone else's worship or even respect. This god would be deemed as evil, hating, unjust, and demented."
Really? And this from His so-called spokesmen?

So instead of preaching the God of the Bible, we hear of a kinder and gentler God. Quoting Burney,
"It's not hard to find this gentler, kinder God. Turn on the TV or radio and you're likely to hear from Rev. Johnny Glitter-teeth smiling broadly and telling the congregation that God only wants to do good things for them. Think happy thoughts and God will give you all you want whenever you want it. You will hear wonderful platitudes like 'Turn your scars into stars' and other wonderful possibilities."
No wonder people blame God when it doesn't come true. They have been offered a false god, not the God of the Bible. The God who allows tragedies doesn't fit that modern template.

What you won't hear from their pulpits are the words of Scripture, words like these from Hebrews 10:28-31,
"Anyone who has rejected Moses' Law dies without mercy on the testimonies of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment do you suppose will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
But no one is warned about that from most pulpits.

Rather than be surprised by tragedy, pain, or suffering, we should wonder why any of us are ever spared. Yet we are. Praise God that He sent His Son to die on the cross to bear the penalty of our sins.

But as to the job rating of God, the blame should never be laid at the feet of God. Rather, it should be laid at the feet of the church, and more specifically the pulpits. Jesus said in Matthew 5:13, "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?"

Salt was the preserving agent that was rubbed into meat to keep bacteria from growing. Symbolically, the salt is the church (the individual believers making up the church) rubbed into the world, permeating it and providing a preserving influence on society by teaching and modeling Biblical truth. If our world has gone rotten to the core, who is to blame? Is it the meat's fault of the salt? Obviously, the church has lost her saltiness.

Chuck Baldwin wrote.
"There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the biggest reason America is in the mess that it is in today is directly due to the apathy and indifference of the American pulpit."

Isn't it time the American pulpits thundered again?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cheating Scandals - No Longer Confined to Students

Cheating is probably as old as tests. Considering the sin nature that dwells within each of us, it's not surprising it pops up from time to time. But usually cheating is done by the students, not the teachers and the administrators. That is why the cheating scandal that enveloped the Atlanta Public Schools is so shocking to us.

Now the scandal has reached Maine. On Saturday, August 6th, the Bangor Daily News ran a front page article on a Newport teacher who resigned after a state probe into cheating on standardized tests. The resigning teacher is alleged to have reviewed MEA Science Test answers with his students before the test, which in turn allowed the students to score better. This is only the latest shocker.

The widespread scandal on standardized tests from the Atlanta Public Schools (and Baltimore, Detroit, Philadelphia, Washington, and other cities) shows the failure of the system. Rather than simply teach the test, these educators changed answers to cover up their academic failure. Cheating took place in 44 of the 56 schools examined in Atlanta. Apparently some 178 educators, including 38 principals, were involved. What incredible widespread corruption. It's understandable that families would flee from that kind of system.

What was to blame for this scandal? Why, the standards, of course. That's what we were told. It put undue pressure on the schools to perform better. It was, "No Child Left Behind," which tied federal subsidies to performance. This is the reason given by Diane Ravitch, research professor of education at New York University.

Seems to me this is the same reason kids give for cheating. The test is too hard. It must be too hard to teach competency in reading, writing, math, science, and history. So rather than work to improve performance of the students, many of the educators cheated to raise test scores.

If we looked at performance, indeed the standards do seem too high, until one examines the facts. Education Secretary Anne Duncan states that by next year as many as 82% of all public schools could be failing. She writes,
"When a child is meeting the state standards, they are in fact barely able to graduate from high school. And they are absolutely inadequately prepared to go to a competitive university, let alone graduate."
Apparently the standards aren't really that high. Yet, turning out an educated student is too much to expect. That's why some educators had to cheat.

As I've written before, the focus of public education is wrong. Our President's friend Bill Ayers, Weather Underground founder and former professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, was an influential thinker formulating the modern philosophy of education. Mr. Ayers has written that subject mastery isn't necessary for teaching. In other words, your child's math teacher doesn't have to know math. Rather, Ayers and his cohorts who have hijacked education advocate that teacher colleges train teachers to engage in "social justice," and even teach subjects like math and science in the context of social consciousness. Little Johnny can't read, but he can learn to be a leftist activist.

Quoting Marybeth Hicks,
"When teachers don't view their role as imparting information, knowledge, and skills, but rather as preparing students to be 'agents of social change' through 'critical; thinking,' it's no wonder that the kids aren't capable of passing standardized tests."
She concludes,
"It must be said: we aren't training our teachers to do the job we say we want done in our classrooms."

What is the answer? Parents need to reclaim their right to determine the education of their children, not bureaucrats. Part of the answer has to be competition. Charter Schools are a start, but just a start. Give parents vouchers that they can use in whatever way they deem best to educate their children - public, charter, private, Christian, or home school. It should be a parent's choice where the money is spent to educate their child. Unfortunately, this is the one answer that the educational establishment resists with a passion.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Why We Home School

Every parent has the right and responsibility to determine the education of their children. I don't intend to denigrate anyone else's decision, but my children are among the 2 million k-12 home school students in this country (the figure is provided by the National Home Education research Institute). We would not consider any other method of educating our children because it works.

A recent poll showed that more and more parents are leaving public education, fleeing a system that undermines their values yet fails to educate. That's understandable. In spite of well meaning educators, the system itself is the problem.

We have a system that crams up to thirty kids in one room and treats them as if they were all the same. It doesn't recognize that boys and girls are different, and doesn't accommodate the difference. These children spend most of their waking hours for five days a week within four walls where every aspect of their day is programmed. Students are expected to do and learn the same things and at the same pace. It's a place where dreamers like Thomas Edison, who was labeled addled by the school he attended, don't fit. Anthony Esolen has called the schools human warehouses where any act of imagination is dangerous.

No wonder they turn out bland uniformity. Like at McDonalds, anywhere you go in this country, every Big Mac is the same. Shopping malls all look the same. The same brands are in every grocery store. And we mass produce mediocre students. Now there is a push for a nationwide standardized curriculum to assure even more uniformity. but children are not all the same. That's why for many of us, we home school out of a simple desire for a better education for our children.

This desires includes wanting my children to be good citizens. The National Assessment of Educational Progress reported a couple of weeks ago that only one in four high school seniors scored at least "proficient" in knowledge of U.
S. citizenship. History is just as bad, and the older the student the worse the results. It showed 20% of sixth graders, but only 12% of high school seniors could demonstrate a grasp of our nation's history. That is scary to think about these kids getting old enough to vote. I want my children to know why our country is the greatest on earth.

I want my children to have a rigorous and broad liberal education. Bruce S. Thompson, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford and professor of classics and humanities at Cal State, surveyed the educational offerings of colleges. His bleak conclusion,
"No longer do they provide students with a grounding in the best that has been said and thought, as (Mathew) Arnold put it. What they do provide is a poor substitute: vocational training and unexamined left-wing orthodoxy."

According to Thomas Sowell,
"Unfortunately, an increasing proportion of American education, whether in the schools or in the colleges and universities, is closer to the baton twirling end of the spectrum than toward the nuclear physics end. Even reputable colleges are increasingly teaching things that students should have learned in high school."
Sowell continues,
"Too many of the people coming out of even the most prestigious academic institutions graduate with neither the academic skills to be economically productive nor the intellectual development to make them discerning citizens and voters."
That's not good enough. We want better for our children.

What is an educated person? Robert Heinlein, the noted sci-fi author, defined it like this:
"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
I couldn't agree more. As home school parents, we try to give our kids a wide variety of experience. Our children have helped butcher pigs and chickens. They have written poetry. They have followed the Oregon Trail and explored Civil War battlefields. They have taken boards and nails and made elaborate tree houses. They have taken years of Latin. They have compared the Code of Hammurabi with the Law of Moses. They have read Eusebius and Plutarch's Lives - not snippets, but the whole books. They have practiced fencing with home-made swords. And they are thoroughly grounded in the Bible.

Someday, I want my children to be the leaders in their communities, not followers. I want them to be able to think and use their reservoir of learned knowledge, not follow blindly anywhere the so-called elites take them. And above all, I want them to be grounded in their faith. That is why we home school.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Moral Decline of America - Part Two

Last time, I discussed the moral decline of America. I said we were already over the edge morally and in a free fall. I gave examples of that free fall, and I gave a Biblical reason - America has kicked God out of public life.

To prove it, I quoted Romans 1:18, which said,
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness."
I pointed back to the turning point, when the Supreme Court decision of Abington versus Schemp in 1963 forbid Bible reading in schools.

Since then, there has been an ongoing assault on the public knowledge of God. We cannot post the Ten Commandments for fear someone might read them and actually obey them. We cannot allow prayer at graduation ceremonies or football games. The list goes on and on.

But if we are in moral decline, this presupposes we were once a moral nation. Some claim we were even a Christian nation, a claim President Obama denies. Certainly nations can't be Christian, only people can. But there is clear evidence that was the intent of the founders. Many of the earliest came to America to escape repression and to seek religious freedom. They desired to build a nation on the laws of God.

We were forged to be "One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." We were to protect certain "inalienable rights" endowed to us by our Creator - rights including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - and yes, freedom of religion. We were to be a nation ruled by people who were ruled by God's Law.

James Madison, Principal author of our Constitution and Bill of Rights, who was often called the Father of our Constitution, wrote:
"This duty [homage to God] is precedent, both in order of time and degree of obligation,to the claims of civil society. Before any man can be considered as a member of civil society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the universe."
What makes a good citizen, and in turn, a good country? That her citizens have faith in Jesus Christ.

George Washington said,
"Of all the dispositions and habits which leads to public prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports."
The founders built this country on the twin supports of religion and morality. When Washington said religion and morality, he understood that to be Christianity and the morals taught in the Bible.

John Adams, our second president, eloquently concurs,
"We have no government, armed in power, capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion [same two supports]. . . Our Constitution was made only for a moral people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other."
Aren't we finding that true?

What makes the current state of affairs seem so dark and dismal is because we've experienced a righteous nation. Perfect? Oh, no! It never was. But at least it tried. But not anymore.

As Ron Blue writes,
"The nation's moral fiber is being eaten away by a playboy philosophy that makes personal pleasure the supreme rule of life. Hedonism catches fire while homes crumble. Crime soars while churches sour. Drugs, divorce, and debauchery prevail and decency dies. Frivolity dances in the streets. Faith is buried. 'In God We Trust' has become a meaningless slogan stamped on corroding coins."

We've lost what we once had, and the blame falls squarely on the church. We, who were called to be salt and light, to preserve and to show the way, have failed our mission. But we are the only hope for the future.

In 2nd Chronicles 7:14, God says,
"If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will forgive their sin and heal their land."
That is a conditional promise.

We who are God's people, who bear the name of Christ as Christians, must put aside our arrogance and fall on our knees in fervent prayer for this land. We must seek God's face where it is revealed - in the Bible. We must diligently study, teach, and obey God's Word.

Plus, we must turn from our wicked ways. This is talking to God's people. We must stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution. We must get over our love-affair with the world and fall in love with God all over again. Then God will hear and heal our land. But it is up to us. If we do, I believe revival will sweep this country once again. Yes, we can regain what we have lost.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Moral Decline of America - Are We Already Over the Edge?

Awhile back, Glenn Beck made a statement that offended conservatives. He said that same-sex marriage would never destroy America. How could this unrelenting attack on marriage not be the final nail in the coffin of the family? How could it not bring down God's wrath on us? Yet, Beck is right. Same-sex marriage isn't the reason for God's wrtath, but the result. Let me explain.

Same-sex marriage will not bring down God's wrath on America, because it is already upon us. In Romans 1:18, Paul writes chilling words, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness." Paul further explains that God Himself placed within each of us a God-consciousness, a conscience perhaps; plus God has revealed Himself abundantly in nature. So no man has an excuse for not recognizing God.

If this knowledge of God is suppressed, God's wrath comes upon us. Oh, not in the Sodom and Gomorrah way, but God simply lets us destroy ourselves. As the old saying goes, God gives us enough rope to hang ourselves, and we do. There's enough evidence to lead anyone to God, but men reject Him and suppress that knowledge. Therefore, God gives them over to their own sinful passions to reap the awful consequences of thier sin.

The rest of the chapter in Romonas elaborates the consequences, and they might not be what you would expect. Romans 1:24-29 says, "Therefore, God also gave them up to uncleanness in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies amongst themselves. . . for even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men, committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due."

The point is these evils manifest the wrath of God. Is is Galatians 6:7, "God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap." George Mason, Virginia delegate to the Constitutional Convention, said, "As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, they must be punished in this. By the inevitable chain of causes and effects, Providence [God] punishes national sin by national clamaities."

As a society, have we suppressed knowledge of God? Absolutely, and with predictable consequences. We officially did as a nation in 1963 in Abbington versus Schempp when the Supreme Court first repudiated the Bible and its teaching in public affairs by banning Bible reading in public schools (then banning prayer the following year). Since then, there have been scores of cases overturning long standing practices stemming from God's law.

It is so prevalent now, that Arleen Ocasio, director of the Houston National Cemetary, tried to ban using the names of "God" or Jesus" at funerals, or saying "God bless you" to grieving families. She thought the ban was consistent with national policies.

There is a self imposed absence of God in public America. The results? Quoting historian David Barton, "As a result of the reversals, the United States is now number one in the world in violent crime, divorce, ilegal drug use; number one in the industrial world in teenage pregnancies; and number one in the industrial world in illiteracy. We have always been a world leader; however, since 1962-63, we have begun to lead the world in many of the wrong categories."

Back in the 80s, William Bennett, former Secretary of Education and Drug Czar, chronicled the decline by listing the changes since 1963 in "The Index of Leading Cultural Indicators." Violent crime increased 560%. Illigitimate births increased 419%. Divorces were up 400%. Child abuse increased 340%. Teenage suicide was up 200%. S.A.T. scores dropped 80% in spite of massive funding. These trends are frightening. Our country went over a cliff morally. The destruction of the traditiional family continues with disatrous consequences.

This is the wrath of God upon us. Truly we live in a decadent society, but as Cal Thomas noted, "Our major social problems are not the cause of our decadence. They are the reflection of it." Our decadence reflects our attitude about God and His Word. We have repudiated His Word as a nation, so God has given us up to do whatever we please. This is destroying us!

Let's reverse this. Rebecca Hagelin writes, "Unless we are willing to stand. . . our children may grow up in a society slowly crumbling under the weight of its own pervrrsity."