Friday, January 27, 2012

Naughty Newt Wins South Carolina

"Naughty Newt." In a recent article, that's the name Doug Giles used of the former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich. He was commenting on the fact that his admitted marital infractions were old news - fifteen years old to be precise. He also made comment that the rant by wife number two just before the South Carolina Primary (That Newt won handily, by the way)appeared to be more politically timed than because of some fresh passion for morality. It was her, after all, who was Newt's partner in sin as he cheated on wife number one as she lay in a hospital bed. Obviously, this second wife was not a paragon of moral virtue any more than Newt was.

But that's not the point of my article. Neither is it the fact that moral indiscretion is viewed as a campaign killer for a Republican, but no big deal for a Democrat. The point I want to examine is this: Does character matter when picking a leader? And then I want to ask: If it does, how can we vote for those with great character flaws?

Before I start, however, let me state my bias. I am an Evangelical Christian. A candidate's position on the moral issues ranks at the top of my consideration. I will always vote for the candidate that is the strongest pro-life and pro-family candidate. That's why I could not bring myself to vote for President Obama even though he seems to be a nice man with a solid marriage and a good family. His radical promotion of abortion and the homosexual agenda precludes me from ever voting for him.

Does that mean I would support Newt? Not necessarily - I'm not sure he is the one most committed to family and moral issues - and nothing I say here should be viewed as an endorsement. I do want people to be fair in how they evaluate him and all the candidates, however.

But it does beg the question: How can evangelicals who condemned Bill Clinton's dithering support Newt? The answer is Newt's repentance. I remember listening to a Focus on the Family radio broadcast as Dr. James Dobson interviewed Newt. Newt freely admitted his sin, freely admitted he had been a scallywag; but he also stated that he had now had a religious conversion, and he humbly begged for forgiveness.

Was it genuine, or just for political convenience? Only God can see inside a heart. But the Scriptures are clear. We are to forgive and restore those who have fallen, being aware how easy it is for any of us to fall. The Scriptures are also clear on what takes place after a person comes to Christ for forgiveness. Second Corinthians 5:17 says,
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new."
If Newt was indeed born-again, and we have to take him at his word, the old sins are erased.

That is why the drunk driving charges against George W. Bush shouldn't have mattered to his election. That he would drive drunk was certainly foolish and irresponsible - not the qualities we would want in a President; but they took place when he was much younger and much more foolish, and they took place before he came to faith in Jesus Christ. They were a part of his past, but we all have some skeletons in our closet. And as Jesus said, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

What kind of moral character does the man have now? That is the question to ask. Can we trust his word? Does he live by what he proclaims? Rick Santorum, for instance, has demonstrated a solid family life and a solid stand on the family issues for decades. That is why a group of 150 evangelical leaders who met in Texas earlier this month chose Santorum as the candidate that best reflected their views. He was their preferred candidate both for his impeccable lifestyles and for his stands on the moral issues.

So, no, old sins don't necessarily disqualify a candidate. Yet, moral character does matter greatly. How can we expect a candidate to make a vow to support and uphold the Constitution when he has violated his sacred vow to love, honor, and cherish his wife till death do them part? How can we support a candidate that switches positions as often as the political winds switch? These are not unrelated issues. Character does matter.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

When is it OK to Kill a Baby?

On January 22nd, our country commemorates the 39th anniversary of the infamous Roe v Wade decision, the case in which the Supreme Court legalized abortion. It should be a time of reflection for our nation. To help you reflect, let me ask a question. Ponder this for awhile: When is it OK to kill a baby? Can you kill a baby from six minutes to six months old? How about six minutes before birth? How about the third month of pregnancy? Is there a moral difference? When is it OK to kill a baby?

What about the national media attention a couple of years back over the student at Lincoln Memorial University who delivered a baby, ripped the umbilical cord off, wrapped the baby in a sweatshirt, and threw the baby into the trash? She went to jail. Had she aborted that same baby the moments before birth, she would have been within the law. Does this make any sense? Is there really a moral difference? When is it ever OK to kill a baby?

Does it matter when human life begins? All the genetic information we possess existed at the moment of conception. When our mother's egg and our father's sperm united, our body size, hair color, eye color, basic intellect, and personality were all laid out.

A baby's brain begins functioning enough to generate measurable brain waves at 40 days. The baby appears to smile as early as 12 weeks. At 22 days, the baby's heart begins to beat. When is it OK to kill that baby? What would you say?

A number of years ago, a group of 60 prominent physicians, which included former presidents of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the American College of Neurology, met in Cambridge, MA and presented a declaration that said,
"The fetus is not a sub-human species . . . the embryo is alive, human, and unique in the special environmental support required for that stage of human development."
When is it OK to kill a baby?

Addressing God, Psalm 139:13-15 claims,
"You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth."
God personally forms every child in the womb. We are all a product of His handiwork. We each bear the image of our maker. When is it OK to kill that baby?

Legally America has determined that babies can be killed in the womb at any age up to the moment of birth. Innocent babies, some old enough to leave the womb, are killed at the rate of 3,000 per day. That's around 1.2 million babies a year. Since Roe v Wade, some 54 million babies have been killed in the womb. That equals the number of people that populate California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington combined. That is the scope of the American Holocaust. Under the banner of Pro-Choice, we have chosen death.

But shouldn't we choose life? In Deuteronomy 30:19, Moses set forth this choice,
"This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live."
America, choose life.