Category Archives: Commentary

We are Dylann Roof

I DO NOT forgive Dylann Roof, a racist terrorist whose name I hate saying or knowing. I have no immediate connection to what happened in Charleston, S.C., last week beyond my humanity and my blackness, but I do not foresee ever forgiving his crimes, and I am wholly at ease with that choice.

My unwillingness to forgive this man does not give him any kind of power. I am not filled with hate for this man because he is beneath my contempt. I do not believe in the death penalty so I don’t wish to see him dead. My lack of forgiveness serves as a reminder that there are some acts that are so terrible that we should recognize them as such. We should recognize them as beyond forgiving.

If we won’t forgive, even one individual, we can’t be forgiven. If there is an evil committed which can’t be forgiven, shouldn’t be forgiven, save the direct affront to God, then all of us are condemned. If we are to rise above evil we must forgive, and the way to understand how to do that is to realize that we are Dylann Roof. We are Ted Kaczynski. We are Aileen Wuornos. We all bear the responsibility of the worst of humanity. In this way, we are our brother’s keeper.

In doing this it does not mean we excuse the misdeed, or the wrong done. It does mean that we hold each other accountable under the power and authority of God because we have no power of our own over evil. This should be the primary reason Dylann Roof is being deprived of his freedom, not that simply “it is against the law”, were that we alone have such power over each other. Unforgiveness is the prison of our own making. Freedom is our aspiration, and that freedom avails itself only in Christ.

Ms. Gay errs in two respects. By her “unwillingness to forgive” even this one man she indeed empowers his evil. Ms. Gay goes on to state, “What white people are really asking for when they demand forgiveness from a traumatized community is absolution. They want absolution from the racism that infects us all even though forgiveness cannot reconcile America’s racist sins.” Secondly, demanding forgiveness is a contradiction in terms, for forgiveness only comes by the willingness of the offended, and it is the only way we can expect to reconcile all of America’s sins.

Insensible sensibilities

More things are lost through decadence than the simple distinction of right and wrong. All sensibilities are dulled.

A Zimbabwean lion researcher has spoken of his fond memories of Cecil, the celebrated animal who was killed with a bow and arrow shot by an American dentist. Brent Stapelkamp has been a researcher with Oxford University’s lion project in the Hwange National Park for nine years. The 37-year-old took the last photo of Cecil: an image shot a month ago, showing the adult male standing less than a mile from where, on July 1, he died. “Cecil was the most confident lion you ever met,” Mr Stapelkamp told The Telegraph. “He knew he was the biggest on the block.” Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota who shot the lion, has said that he “deeply regrets” killing Cecil.

If deep regret over one “celebrated animal” is a valid reaction, where is the unappeasable outrage over multiplied thousands of living human beings slaughtered in women’s “health clinics” as their carcasses are carefully picked for lucre?

After two shocking videos caught Planned Parenthood doctors discussing and arranging the sale of body parts of aborted babies, a third video has been released today catching a Planned Parenthood vice president negotiating the sale of aborted babies and attempting to get as much money as possible from the deal.

As LifeNews reported, the first video of undercover footage shows Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Senior Director of Medical Services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, describing how Planned Parenthood sells the body parts of aborted unborn children and admitting she uses partial-birth abortions to supply intact body parts.

In the second video, Planned Parenthood doctor Maru Gatter discusses the pricing of aborted baby body parts — telling the biotech company officials that the prices for such things as a baby’s liver, head or heart are negotiable. She also tells the officials that she could talk with the Planned Parenthood abortion practitioners to potentially alter the abortion procedure to kill the baby in a way that would best preserve those body parts after the unborn child is killed in the abortion.

Americans have lost their minds.

It’s called “piling on”

When success is achieved in one area they’ll pile on until there’s resistance.

The Atlanta Chapter of the NAACP is calling for the removal of the Confederacy from Stone Mountain Park. Local chapter president Richard Rose says, “It is time for Georgia and other Southern states to end the glorification of slavery and white supremacy, paid for and maintained, with the taxes of all its citizens.” According to Rose, “all of this recognition of Confederate generals is upholding the white supremacy on which the Confederacy was founded and the war was fought.” He goes on to say, “all of this should have ended in 1865 when Lee surrendered to Appomattox.”… Many, like Congressman Hank Johnson, see the park as a museum for the Confederacy. According to Johnson, “where do we draw the line, do we blast the faces off of Stone Mountain?” Rose says “yes”. He adds, “they can sand blast Lee, Jefferson Davis, and Jackson off tomorrow. I’d be extremely elated.”

Of course he’d be elated… elated enough to see how much MORE of the Confederacy he could have eradicated. The only reason they’re calling for eliminating Davis, Lee and Jackson from the mountain now is that they got what they wanted in South Carolina’s pulling down the Confederate flag from the state capitol. None of them will be satisfied until history is completely whitewashed, and their tyrannic rule is complete.

Game over

It’s love-40 and this is game/set/match for the U.S. military.

The Pentagon announced Monday that it will allow transgender members of the military to serve openly starting next year, marking an end to a long-standing policy that barred them from the armed forces.

In an echo of the Defense Department’s repeal of the ban on gays in uniform four years ago, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said he had directed the armed forces to devise new rules over the next six months that would allow transgender troops to serve, except in situations “where objective, practical impediments are identified.”

“We must ensure that everyone who’s able and willing to serve has the full and equal opportunity to do so, and we must treat all our people with the dignity and respect they deserve,” Carter said in a statement. He called the military’s current regulations “outdated” and said they were “causing uncertainty that distracts commanders from our core missions.”

If the military had any moral fortitude, this will dissipate whatever remained. Will Christian parents encourage their sons or daughters to join the military now?

The SCOTUS Obergefell decision was a high water mark for the rainbow elephant crowd. And the SECDEF used that “dignity” term, fresh from the SCOTUS definition of it out of the 14th Amendment.

The American military is on the decline, and by its own choosing.

Another time and another form

Following last week’s controversial U.S. Supreme Court rulings on Obamacare and gay marriage, voters believe more strongly that individual states should have the right to turn their backs on the federal courts.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 33% of Likely U.S. Voters now believe that states should have the right to ignore federal court rulings if their elected officials disagree with them.

I don’t believe in coincidences. Things happen for a reason, and when they happen often gives us clues as to why they do. The SCOTUS Obergefell v. Hodges ruling and the brouhaha over the Confederate battle flag is a case in point. We can understand the real reason the flag is being desecrated by the efforts of the rainbow elephant crowd. They through egalitarianism’s bastile mean to homogenize America. While the SCOTUS decision further divided the people, our history’s emblem of resistance to central government tyranny and imperial rule would be eradicated.

The ruling, as the dissenting justices of the court pointed out, would be divisive, but the ruling is just another in a long line of usurpations and corruptions of law abrogating honour and decency. People will not stand idly by while the framework of democracy is dismantled as an oligarchy of judges ascends. Others may manipulate or demean the reasons for our history of secession, but a principle is never defeated through war.

“The principle for which we contend is bound to reassert itself, though it may be at another time and in another form.” – Jefferson Davis, President, Confederate States of America

Clean thine own mess

The Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision landed like some sort of culminating body blow onto this beleaguered climate. Rod Dreher, author of the truly outstanding book “How Dante Can Save Your Life,” wrote an essay in Time in which he argued that it was time for Christians to strategically retreat into their own communities, where they could keep “the light of faith burning through the surrounding cultural darkness.”

He continued: “We have to accept that we really are living in a culturally post-Christian nation. The fundamental norms Christians have long been able to depend on no longer exist.”

Most Christian commentary has opted for another strategy: fight on. Several contributors to a symposium in the journal First Things about the court’s Obergefell decision last week called the ruling the Roe v. Wade of marriage. It must be resisted and resisted again. Robert P. George, probably the most brilliant social conservative theorist in the country, argued that just as Lincoln persistently rejected the Dred Scott decision, so “we must reject and resist an egregious act of judicial usurpation.”

…Consider a different culture war, one just as central to your faith and far more powerful in its persuasive witness.

We live in a society plagued by formlessness and radical flux, in which bonds, social structures and commitments are strained and frayed. Millions of kids live in stressed and fluid living arrangements. Many communities have suffered a loss of social capital. Many young people grow up in a sexual and social environment rendered barbaric because there are no common norms. Many adults hunger for meaning and goodness, but lack a spiritual vocabulary to think things through.

Social conservatives could be the people who help reweave the sinews of society. They already subscribe to a faith built on selfless love. They can serve as examples of commitment. They are equipped with a vocabulary to distinguish right from wrong, what dignifies and what demeans. They already, but in private, tithe to the poor and nurture the lonely.

The defining face of social conservatism could be this: Those are the people who go into underprivileged areas and form organizations to help nurture stable families. Those are the people who build community institutions in places where they are sparse. Those are the people who can help us think about how economic joblessness and spiritual poverty reinforce each other. Those are the people who converse with us about the transcendent in everyday life.

It’s the same old tune. They tell us now the culture war is over. Give up the fight, and move on to champion social causes to give Christianity a good name, as if a good name depends on them. They dismissed our warnings after Roe v. Wade and the consequences of legalized abortion. They dismissed our advice about no-fault divorce and the breakdown of the family. Now we tell them of the repercussions of legalized homogamy, but have they ever listened?

No. They refuse our beliefs, but want us to “reweave the sinews of society”. They want our selfless acts to fix what they break, but they won’t heed our spiritual advice when the dangers they face result in social disaster. They tell us to “help nurture stable families” devoid of spiritual foundation. They want us to “build community institutions”, but don’t want our community. They even suggest a fixable connection between “economic joblessness and spiritual poverty” when they have no clue they live in the poverty of spirit while economically secure.

Yes, Jesus tells us to care for the poor and needy. Yes, Jesus tells us to tend to the widows and orphans. His Word also tells us to remain unstained or uncorrupted by the world. Yes, God is love, and Christians are people of His love, but we’ve also repented of our sinfulness and stupidity. We don’t need any of the Left’s worthless advice. Christians are smart enough to care for the so called disadvantaged and lonely without any advice from them, and we’ll continue to do it, but it is inseparable from the message of the Gospel. Take it or leave it.

The elephant in the room

But he [Pres. Obama] admitted that on Friday night he took a moment to enjoy what he called a “gratifying” week as the White House was lit with rainbow-hued floodlights in celebration of the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision.

“To see people gathered in an evening outside on a beautiful summer night and to feel whole and to feel accepted and to feel that they had a right to love – that was pretty cool,” Obama said. “That was a good thing.

Interesting it is that the White House was bathed in the rainbow. The biblical rainbow was a sign of God’s covenant not to destroy the earth again by flood, with particular emphasis in scripture.

I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds, and I will remember my covenant with you and with all living creatures. Never again will the floodwaters destroy all life. When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth.” Then God said to Noah, “Yes, this rainbow is the sign of the covenant I am confirming with all the creatures on earth.” – Genesis 9:13-17 (NLT)

…but it curiously also recurs in Revelation…

After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.” Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne. And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads. After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.” Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne. And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads. Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God; and before the throne there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind. The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say,

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, Who was and Who is and Who is to come.

– Revelation 4:1-8 (NASB) [Bold my emphasis]

It’s ironic that homosexuals have assimilated the rainbow symbol into their own culture. Earlier in Genesis, prior to God’s rainbow declaration, it states, “Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.” (Genesis 9:1) It was clearly His intention, just as it was at the beginning (Genesis 1:22), to have man procreate with woman. That is the design of marriage. Instead we have not only the deviance of men and women thwarting the Lord’s intentions sexually, but they throw it back in His face, as it were, by assuming the protection of God’s rainbow. For now they live in an absurd cocoon fashioned by their self absorption. By the vision of Revelation, they will revisit the rainbow as a sign of their own undoing.

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! – Isaiah 5:20

While we’re on the subject of marriage…

SCOTUS Docket 14-556 and Proverbs 18:17

The first to plead his case seems right, Until another comes and examines him. – Proverbs 18:17 (NASB)

Some of the arguments people are making to support the legalization of homogamy sound plausible. On closer examination they don’t hold the proverbial water they should.

1) No one is going to make you be gay.  Now that SCOTUS has finally declared that discriminating against people on the basis of their sexual orientation violates their basic rights, they are not saying that you have to become gay now yourself. This approval of same-sex marriage at the national level does not mean that you now have to get gay married, okay?  So let’s get that part out of the way first.  It also doesn’t mean that you can’t teach your own children to judge other people for their sexual orientation. You’re still free to do that, no matter what. It’s your right.  It’s a part of your religion (or at least of your particular version, just don’t ask the other people in your religion who don’t see it the same way), so the United States government is not going to take that away from you, I promise.

Making specious claims about the arguments of others will get them nowhere. Address the issue accurately. The Obergefell v. Hodges decision, Supreme Court Docket 14-556, addressed homogamy, not homosexual discrimination. The court in its magical way found homogamy in the fourteenth amendment to the Constitution when nothing in the Constitution says anything about marriage, let alone homogamy or homosexual marriage. On the basis of this decision from the Supreme Court homogamy is now constitutionally protected. Suggesting that Christians are still free to teach our own children to judge on the basis of sexual orientation because “the United States government is not going to take that away” is being blind and deaf to the whims of not only the court, but of the other two branches of government as well as the education system. The powers that be want nothing more than to indoctrinate our children. To “promise” such a thing upon which one has no control is foolish and stupid.

2) Preachers will not be forced to marry gay people. Thanks to the same First Amendment that keeps your religion from taking over everyone else’s lives, those churches which do not approve of this move will remain free to disapprove of it—and to speak publicly about their disapproval—for as long as you still care about this issue.  What’s more, that constitutional protection has enabled churches to refuse to marry anyone they choose despite every new national advance in the fight for civil rights.  You don’t want to marry an interracial couple?  That’s actually your right.  Always has been, always will be.  Your churches will remain free to reject as many kinds of people and relationships as you please.  This is a well-established protection that will not budge no matter what those who disagree with you wish were the case. Even if somebody tries to take you to court over it in the future, they will fail because your constitutional protections overrule their personal views.  That’s how this works.

John Adams, as many others have echoed, believed this to be a government of laws, and not of men. This guiding principle, like the failed Confederacy in Jefferson Davis’ words, died of a theory. The First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances“, and the Supreme Court’s enshrinement of homogamy into the constitution are on a collision course if only because homosexuality and Christianity don’t go together. If the court can conjure homosexual marriage out of a document which says nothing about marriage at all then it can compel pastors and the religious to sanction something labeled marriage for the clearly immoral. Anyone claiming “…that constitutional protection has enabled churches to refuse to marry anyone they choose…” is ignorant of a little SCOTUS case called Bob Jones University v. United States which was argued due to the university’s prohibition of student interracial dating or marriage. Yes, the constitution enabled Bob Jones University to freely practice it’s belief, but this case enabled the IRS to withdraw Bob Jones’ tax exempt status based upon racial discrimination. Money has a way of speaking louder than the law. The SCOTUS in this case found that “Government has a fundamental, overriding interest in eradicating racial discrimination in education.” If a similar case comes before the court it wouldn’t hesitate to use this case as precedent and eradicate sexual discrimination. A question in the minds of many is how long it will be before the first 501c3 tax exempt status is withdrawn by the IRS from a church on this basis. It’s been threatened on the basis of sermon content alone before. When the first homosexual couple darkens the doorway of a church to insist that their “marriage” be officiated by some reluctant curate we’ll know we’ve arrived.

3) It will not become illegal to be a Christian. Ever the opportunist willing to stoke the fires of evangelicals’ persecution complexes, Mike Huckabee continues to spout warnings that once LGBT folks are given the same rights as the rest of us the government will begin putting people in jail for openly disparaging this move.  He continues to capitalize on evangelicals’ irrational fears that the Christian faith will soon be criminalized like it was back in ancient Rome under a completely different kind of government. Huckabee used to run the entire state of Arkansas, but I honestly can’t tell if he just really doesn’t get how the US government works, or if he’s being intentionally dishonest in order to whip his potential base into a frenzy just to get their vote. Either way, you shouldn’t listen to him because he’s misleading you.

Again, anyone foolish enough to imagine this to be a “completely different kind of government” and that a former state governor and presidential candidate “really doesn’t get how the US government works” doesn’t have a very good handle on reality themselves. Christianity can just as easily be criminalized tomorrow as homogamy was sanctioned in a day by a panel of 5 judges. Perhaps the only reason it doesn’t happen suddenly would be because it runs the risk of revolt. Yes, there are Christians who would revolt. No, it most likely won’t happen that way, but it will happen slowly, carefully and methodically. There may be enough of their atheist friends around to help make their dreams come true. That pesky law of unintended consequences, though, will bring about some very undesirable results in the absence of Christian moral restraint.

4) God isn’t going to destroy America. I can’t really tell if my Christian friends seriously think this will happen even though they use the rhetoric a lot.  Most American evangelicals I know harbor a deep sense of exceptionalism which leads them to believe that God needs America in ways that would prevent him from wiping us out.

This is one Christian who knows that America isn’t standing in the way of God’s will, it’s unpleasantly coming to it. While the atheists, agnostics and all around ungodly merrily celebrate an America covered in rainbows, there are Christians wise enough to see the hazards and dangers ahead. Just because the destruction of America, just as illegal Christianity, doesn’t happen tomorrow doesn’t mean we’re not headed there. It’s a pity as well, for if their minds were of understanding they would realize, just as Christians do, that America’s time is drawing short.

While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. – 1 Thessalonians 5:3-5

It’s full of … emanations and penumbras!

Not since Justice Douglas first delivered us the emanations and penumbras from the Constitution have we seen interpretations of law and opinions so broad as to be unintelligible.

Same-sex couples won the right to marry nationwide Friday as a divided Supreme Court handed a crowning victory to the gay rights movement, setting off a jubilant cascade of long-delayed weddings in states where they had been forbidden. “No longer may this liberty be denied,” said Justice Anthony Kennedy. The vote was narrow – 5-4 – but Kennedy’s majority opinion was clear and firm: “The court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry.” The ruling will put an end to same-sex marriage bans in the 14 states that still maintain them, and provide an exclamation point for breathtaking changes in the nation’s social norms in recent years. As recently as last October, just over one-third of the states permitted gay marriages.

By my count, 35 states had homogamy legalized by either federal or state judicial fiat prior to Obergefell, overturning either state legislatures or popular vote in those instances. The states of Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington along with the District of Columbia had legislation adopted to legalize it. So in the majority of states those courts overruled the will of the people. Now the SCOTUS dispenses with the will of the people in the remaining 14 states who’ve had marriage protection laws by simply stating:

 The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex… The right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same-sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty.  Same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry.  – Justice Kennedy, delivering affirming opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges

In another ruling coming as a slap in the face to morality, Justice Kennedy was again the pivotal deciding vote. Remember who appointed Justice Kennedy to the bench? Hint: He was a California REPUBLICAN. Is it any wonder how voting Republican to keep conservatives on the Supreme Court bench worked out? Perhaps this will finally teach us that voting third party, as in Constitution Party candidates Michael Peroutka or Chuck Baldwin, wasn’t the wasted vote we thought. Unfortunately, I’m dubious to think that 2016 for Christians will be any different.

This Obergefell v. Hodges ruling will go down in history with Roe v. Wade as Supreme Court rulings that divided a nation. The Supreme Court justices were sharply divided in this ruling. Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito each wrote dissenting opinions for the court, a rare thing. Scalia’s is particularly scathing of Justice Kennedy’s affirmation. This is but another dividing wedge, as is abortion, gun control, etc. Both of these decisions coming by the will of select judges and not the will of the people serve to further undermine the democratic process.

Today, however, the Court takes the extraordinary step of ordering every State to license and recognize same-sex marriage. Many people will rejoice at this decision, and I begrudge none their celebration.  But for those who believe in a government of laws, not of men, the majority’s approach is deeply disheartening.  Supporters of same-sex marriage have achieved considerable success persuading their fellow citizens—through the democratic process—to adopt their view. That ends today. Five lawyers have closed the debate and enacted their own vision of marriage as a matter of constitutional law.  Stealing this issue from the people will for many cast a cloud over same-sex marriage, making a dramatic social change that much more difficult to accept. – Chief Justice John Roberts, dissenting opinion, Obergefell v. Hodges

It may have closed the debate for five lawyers, but it won’t close the debate in the public arena. I suspect this will, in fact, become the new battleground, just as Christians fought on the beachhead of abortion for decades. The charade that is the bifurcated Republican/Democrat political elite is over. The charade of the rule of laws is over. There is only the question of upon which side the Christian happens to be as the line between good and evil is drawn.

However, even as we struggle as a church to come to a unified response to this blatant rejection of the entire history of humankind and its practice of marriage, “We shall obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29). Christians will now begin to learn what it means to be in a state of solemn conscientious objection against the state. We will resist its imposition of falsehood upon us, even as we continue to reach out to those who continue to be harmed by the ethic of radical sexual freedom, detached from God’s blessing of marriage. And we will stand shoulder to shoulder with Christians, churches and people of good will who are resolute on this issue.

God help us. Amen.