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The Obama administration, in the final days of 2016 and of its existence, gave a Christmas gift to Planned Parenthood. Let’s talk about how to take it back.
In the waning days of 2016, when most eyes were turned to the Trump team transition or holiday distractions, the Obama administration developed a new and reprehensible rule to preserve funding for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.
Planned Parenthood is having a rough time lately. The organization was caught on video in 2015 trying to sell body parts of aborted babies, which is a clear violation of federal law. Then, their clear choice for president lost somewhat unexpectedly to a candidate who vividly described abortion in the final presidential debate, before promising to nominate Supreme Court justices who would overturn the legality of their largest moneymaking product: ending the lives of unborn children. All of this while public opinion seems to be drifting in a pro-life direction.
Even so, Planned Parenthood has friends in high places. For example, the Justice Department did nothing to hold Planned Parenthood accountable for what the Center for Medical Progress videos revealed. Instead, CMP was hauled into court for supposedly breaking the law. And Planned Parenthood receives $500 million in annual federal funding.
That money comes to Planned Parenthood through Medicaid, the Title X family planning program, Title XX Social Services block grants, and from a Title V Maternal and Child Health Services block grant. As long as taxpayer funding doesn’t directly pay for abortions, it’s all legal. In an accounting trick, the money goes to help pay for the mammograms that Planned Parenthood doesn’t actually provide, while freeing up dollars for the organization to spend on abortion. The scandalous federal spigot for the abortion giant is wide open.
Our confidence in the gospel spurs us to serve our communities, not to shrink back when they decide they no longer need us.
As the Catholic writer Joseph Bottum has observed, we live in an anxious age.
In an increasingly diverse and rapidly changing culture, some people are anxious about shifting cultural norms, civil rights, and religious liberty. The past decade has seen a rapid transformation in public opinion and legal norms around sexuality, same-sex marriage, transgender rights, and religion in the public square—changes that have caused anxiety for a great number of traditional religious believers, including Christians, Muslims, and Orthodox Jews.
Socioeconomic disparities create other anxieties. Some people have been left jobless or underemployed by the global economy. Others confront inadequacies in housing, education, and health care in impoverished and often segregated neighborhoods and communities. And people wonder why those with greater means are indifferent to the financial burdens of the lower and middle classes.
There is, of course, an even more dire anxiety that emerges when some people prove incapable of living with our differences. In the past few years, violent men have taken innocent lives in places including a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, the apartment of a Muslim family in North Carolina, a black church in Charleston, and just last week, a gay nightclub in Florida. In each of these instances, vulnerable communities became the intentional targets of mass violence, leaving others in those communities wondering about their own safety and sense of belonging in this country.
If the Orlando massacre had been committed by professed Christians, would Barack Obama have called them out for their faith? Without hesitation, says one prominent evangelical pastor.
President Obama’s reluctance to name radical Islam as the enemy in the fight against terror has puzzled many of his critics for quite some time.Witness the president’s statement on the afternoon following the nightclub shooting by Omar Mateen in the early hours of June 12:
“We’ve reached no definitive judgment on the precise motivations of the killer.”
Dr. Robert Jeffress of First Baptist-Dallas finds that strange, since it was already known Mateen had made at least four phone calls in which he said he was motivated by a devotion to ISIS.
“The president, for whatever reason, will not acknowledge the true threat of radical Islamic terrorism,” Jeffress states.
When a veteran started offering traditional remarks at a military flag-folding ceremony, several uniformed airmen assaulted him, dragging him out of the room because his remarks mentioned God. Now First Liberty Institute lawyers representing retired Senior Master Sergeant Oscar Rodriguez are demanding that the U.S. Air Force apologize and punish those responsible or face a federal civil-rights lawsuit.
For countless years, service members have given the “flag-folding speech” at military and civic events, including retirement ceremonies. Traditionally, this speech explains the colors, symbols, and history of the flag.
The flag-folding speech also contains several religious references, including, “Let us pray that God will reflect with admiration the willingness of one nation in her attempts to rid the world of tyranny, oppression, and misery. It is this one nation under God that we call, with honor, the United States of America.”
The speech closes with, “God bless our flag. God bless our troops. God bless America.”
The New York Times claimed this week that the apostle Saint Paul commanded Christians to kill the homosexuals among them.
The New York Times’ sloppiness when reporting on Christianity is proverbial, but perhaps none of its prior errors equals its claim this week that the apostle Saint Paul commanded Christians to kill the homosexuals among them.
With remarkable insouciance, NYT writers Jeremy W. Peters and Lizette Alvarez blithely make reference to “a Bible verse from Romans that calls for the execution of gays,” meaning Saint Paul’s letter to the Romans 1:18-32.
As anyone who has ever read the New Testament knows, Saint Paul never permits that Christians should commit any violence whatsoever against homosexuals, but the Times editors apparently thought that fact-checking with the original text was superfluous or that readers were too ignorant to check for themselves.
The Times report, titled “After Orlando, a Political Divide on Gay Rights Still Stands,” follows on the fatal shooting of 49 people in the Pulse nightclub by a 29-year-old Muslim who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. In the wake of the attack, many have tried to compare Christian beliefs regarding the morality of homosexuality with those of Islam, in an apparent attempt to make Christians guilty by association.
The biblical passage in question actually speaks of God’s anger toward sinners who reject God despite the abundance of evidence for his existence in creation. It says that those who failed to honor God “became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened.”
Bible study extends far beyond surface reading of the Scriptures. You have to dig deeper or else vital truths and essential connections are missed, and strange beliefs take root.
The New Testament in particular is the constitution of Christ’s kingdom and we, the sons of God, are his ambassadors. We are privileged to know and obey his word; we are not, however, free to change its content, meaning or original intent.
Psalm 119:89 says, “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.” And in Revelation 22:18-19, there is a stern warning to neither add to nor remove from “the things which are written in this book.”
The serious Bible student must take great care to not superimpose one’s own belief system onto the scriptures (eisegesis); rather, one must draw truth from the scriptures (exegesis) and align one’s beliefs and deportment to the reveled word of God.
The following keys are offered to help better guide and undergird sound Bible interpretation and to promote informed obedience to God’s original intent of his word. This column is not exhaustive, but with genuine effort the student can dig into deeper, richer and more notable depths of biblical understanding.
No Matter the Cost
How different might our culture look if Christians were prepared to live out our lives as followers of Jesus Christ as if we really meant it?
In a fascinating essay in Education Forum, the magazine of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, Stephen Anderson tells a chilling story of a philosophy class he was teaching on ethics. Wanting an “attention getter” to shock his students into thinking morally, he displayed a photo of Bibi Aisha. She was a young Afghani girl who, at just fourteen, was forced into marriage with a Taliban fighter who proceeded to horribly abuse her. After suffering four years of violence, Aisha fled but was soon captured. Her husband and other family members then hacked off her nose and ears and left her to die in the mountains where she was later rescued by aid workers.
As Anderson told Aisha’s story and displayed the picture of her hauntingly beautiful but marred face, he was hoping his students would display strong moral outrage. But he was shocked to discover that nothing of the kind happened, rather there was a fear of saying anything that might appear critical or judgemental. “It’s just wrong to judge other cultures,” one student stated. Another timorously said: “Well, we might not like it, but maybe over there it’s okay.” Anderson went on to suggest that we have succeeded in raising a generation of students who have imbibed one key idea: “never judge, never criticize, never take a position.”
His findings are not unusual. A similar phenomenon was recounted by Kay Haugaard, who described how her class of literature students were discussing Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery,” in which each year the residents of a small, rural town choose one member of their community to stone to death to ensure the wellbeing of the community and the crops. In 1948 when the story was published, it provoked outrage. But Haugaard found her class responded with sentiments like “If it’s part of a person’s culture, it’s okay.” It was not that her students were unwilling to take a stand on their convictions; rather, they had no convictions at all.
WASHINGTON — Christian apologist Jason Jimenez argued Saturday that the church in America is “biblically illiterate” and Christians only have themselves to blame for being silenced in the political arena.
Jimenez, a pastor, author and apologist for Stand Strong Ministries and who tours the country teaching Christians how to stand up for their biblical views on marriage, abortion and other political issues, told attendees of a panel discussion at the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s 2016 “Road to Majority” conference that there is a troubling trend of Christians who don’t read the Bible and don’t stand up for Christian principles in the public square.
“The church in America, we are biblically illiterate. We revere the Bible. The average home in America owns four bibles, if you are not including the devices that we have. Yet, we don’t read the Bible,” Jimenez explained. “We can talk about all these issues and I am sure we will talk about some of them but the biggest issue is that we have a whole nation of Christians that are biblically illiterate.”
Why Are So Many Christians Bored with the Bible?
Unfortunately, many Christians love the idea of the Bible, but not really the Bible itself. We love having a Bible close by, even within reach, but don’t make time to open it on an average day. We talk about Bible reading like we talk about cutting calories or cleaning our house. We’re grateful for the results, but we don’t wake up dying to do it again. It sounds like a fine thing to do, until we have to choose what we won’t do in order to make time for it.
If that’s you, you probably also know a Christian who loves reading their Bible. They can’t get enough of it. As far as you know, they would just as likely go a whole day without food as without the Bible. Their happy discipline convicts and, if you’re honest, sometimes even annoys you. Who is it in your life who is most likely to pray like this?
“I enjoy reading the Bible more than the wealthy enjoy all their houses, cars, technology, and vacations. God, your word will be my first priority and focus each day. I will read and read the Bible, until I cannot forget it. Give me more grace, O God, and enable me to obey what I’ve read. Help me see more today than I’ve already seen before, even in these same pages. I only wish I had more time to read more of my Bible.”
By Jerry Newcombe , CP Op-Ed Contributor
Virtually a week does not go by without some headline of a Muslim attack somewhere in the world. The latest stories involves the alleged crucifixion of a Christian priest on Good Friday, as well as an Easter suicide bombing targeting Christians in Pakistan, which killed 71 at last count.
Some Muslims get disgusted with their fellow Muslims for such attacks. What is the ultimate solution to radical Islam? I believe Jesus is the solution to whatever ails the individual, family, society, the country, and nations.
We have freedom in the West because wise leaders of time past recognized that humanity is best off when religion is not forced on anyone. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in 1777 (passed, 1786). This gave freedom to all in that state, regardless of religion.
Jefferson argues that it violates the principles of Jesus (“the holy author of our religion”) to force anyone as to how they believe.