Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

Are Christians in the GOP a Problem?

October 27th, 2005 Viewed 1547 times
Senator John C. Danforth, the sponsor of the C...

Senator John C. Danforth, the sponsor of the Cable Television Protection and Competition Act (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Senator John Danforth certainly thinks so:

The influence of evangelical Christians in the Republican Party hurts the organization and divides the country, former U.S. Sen. John Danforth said during a visit to the Bill Clinton School of Public Service on Wednesday.

Danforth, a former Republican senator from Missouri and an Episcopal priest, met with students during a seminar and held a luncheon talk at the graduate school.

“I think that the Republican Party fairly recently has been taken over by the Christian conservatives, by the Christian right,” he said in an interview after his talks. “I don’t think that this is a permanent condition but I think this has happened, and that it’s divisive for the country.”

He also said the evangelical Christian influence would be bad for the party in the long run.

People of faith have an obligation to be in politics, he said.

“I think the question arises when a political party becomes identified with one particular sectarian position and when religious people believe that they have the one answer, that they understand God’s truth and they embody it politically,” he said.

“Nothing is more dangerous than religion in politics and government when it becomes divisive,” he said. “I’ll give you examples: Iraq. Northern Ireland. Palestine.”

I love how it’s ok to have opinions, but please don’t think you’re right. You can’t have the “right” answer, because, I guess, there’s no “right” answer. Are the problems in Iraq, Northern Ireland and Palestine all about religion in politics, or are they about how two groups of people interact? Actually, I think more of the problem is in politicians and other leaders trying to use religion to control people.

Harriet Miers Withdraws

October 27th, 2005 Viewed 1350 times
Harriet Miers.

Harriet Miers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the Chicago Tribune:

Harriet Miers withdraws

Associated Press
Published October 27, 2005, 7:59 AM CDT

WASHINGTON — Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination to be a Supreme Court justice today in the face of stiff opposition and mounting criticism about her qualifications.Details to come.

*** Update ***

From FoxNews:

WASHINGTON — Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination to be a Supreme Court justice Thursday in the face of stiff opposition and mounting criticism about her qualifications.

Bush said he reluctantly accepted her decision to withdraw, after weeks of insisting that he did not want her to step down. He blamed her withdrawal on calls in the Senate for the release of internal White House documents that the administration has insisted were protected by executive privilege.

“It is clear that senators would not be satisfied until they gained access to internal documents concerning advice provided during her tenure at the White House — disclosures that would undermine a president’s ability to receive candid counsel,” Bush said. “Harriet Miers’ decision demonstrates her deep respect for this essential aspect of the constitutional separation of powers — and confirms my deep respect and admiration for her.”

Designer Babies, Coming to a State Near You

October 27th, 2005 Viewed 1571 times, 1 so far today

From the Guardian:

A clinical trial into the effects of allowing couples to choose the sex of their babies has been given the go-ahead at a US fertility clinic. The controversial study was given the green light by an ethics committee after nine years of consultation. The purpose of the study is to find out how cultural notions, family values and gender issues feed into a couple’s desire to choose the gender of their child.

Fertility clinics already use a technique called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis to select healthy embryos if a child has a high risk of inheriting a genetic disease, but the technique can also be used to select the sex of embryos for couples having IVF treatment. In many countries, including Britain, using PGD for family balancing is banned.

Fertility specialists at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas have already received 50 inquiries from couples about joining the trial, according to the journal Nature today. Only couples who have already had one child and want another of the opposite sex are eligible. As well as assessing the factors that contribute to a couple’s decision to select the sex of their next baby, doctors will monitor the health of the children and any social issues that arise in their families as they grow up.

The article goes on to make the argument both ways. However, they make the argument against from a PC point of view– that selection for social purposes makes one gender “better” than the other. The opposing side says that they’ll just use it for balancing.

Why do I not believe the balancing argument? Could it be because the first country to use a selective process (albiet abortion) is currently having a female population crisis because boys are prefered? (I speak of China.) Again, we’re just one step farther into the camp that children are not gifts from God, but things we can buy, alter, and have control of. We can never know what the baby that was weeded out and killed would have been like. We can never know what the family that opted for the girl would have been like with the boy.

When Sex Becomes Ho-Hum

October 25th, 2005 Viewed 2297 times

Young Couple Kissing in the GrassJeff Jacoby over at the Boston Globe takes a look into the latest account of underage sex at Brookline High School and the reaction of the parents, students, and principal.

”BROOKLINE HIGH teens face charges of statutory rape,” read the headline in Wednesday’s Boston Globe. The story below reported that two 17-year-old boys at Brookline High School — a celebrated institution whose graduates include former Governor Michael Dukakis, Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, and CBS newsman Mike Wallace — have been charged with statutory rape for having sex with a 15-year-old girl, a classmate who said the sex was consensual. This is the third time since February that students at the school have been accused of having sex with a minor.

”Scandals” is probably not the right word for them. Are you actually scandalized by news of high school kids having sex? Is anybody? Last month the National Center for Health Statistics reported that more than half of American teenagers 15 and older engage in oral sex; the story got a ton of coverage, but no one seemed terribly dismayed by the information. ”At 50 percent, we’re talking about a major social norm,” Claire Brindis, a professor of pediatrics at the University of California, told The Washington Post. ”It’s part of kids’ lives.”

Yes, this is 2005

October 24th, 2005 Viewed 1708 times

From The Australian:

SIX-YEAR-OLD Aisha loves the orange blouse and jeans given to her by the kind woman who rescued her from the chaos of the Kashmir earthquake. She snuggles up to the woman, trying to forget the devastation of her village home and the deaths of her parents 16 days ago.

What Aisha does not know is that the woman, Kausar, is a prostitute who has bought her from relatives for 50,000 rupees ($1500) and plans to put her to work in the sex trade as soon as she reaches puberty.

Aisha is not alone. According to welfare agencies, many of the hundreds of girls and boys orphaned by the October 8 earthquake are being targeted by gangs intent on turning them into prostitutes or street beggars.

Other children are being sold for adoption by their parents in acts prompted by the destruction of homes and livelihoods.

No official appears to have noticed when Aisha disappeared. After her home in a village called Arja was wrecked, she was taken to her grandmother’s house in the nearby city of Bagh. Kausar, her new “carer”, who claims the little girl is a distant relative, heard about her plight from family members.

“Her grandmother was too old to look after the girl. I went to Bagh on October 12 and I got her very cheap. A pimp from Lahore might have paid 100,000 rupees,” she said.

“I will provide a good education for her. I would not like her to be a cheap, third-class prostitute. I do care about the girl. I will take good care of her, and then reap the benefit. I’m providing for her protection and I don’t care what Allah thinks.”

She will auction the girl’s virginity when she reaches puberty and expects to get up to $4700 for that alone. “She could start work as soon as she has her first period,” Kausar said.

If Aisha refuses to work as a prostitute, she will be sold to a pimp. Kausar would not consider any intervention by journalists.

The article also states that it has gotten so bad that they have put armed gaurds at the hospitals, refusing to let children go to anyone but family– although this woman pretended to be family. Adoptions have been frozen.

If this doesn’t just turn your stomach, I don’t know what would.

Charges on Dad Dropped

October 21st, 2005 Viewed 1604 times

A follow-up:

A Massachusetts district attorney dropped its case today against a father arrested while attempting to secure a promise from school officials to notify parents before teaching about homosexuality in his son’s kindergarten class.

David Parker, who faced criminal prosecution by the town of Lexington, spent a night in jail in April and was charged with criminal trespassing after refusing to leave a scheduled meeting with officials at the Estabrook Elementary School.

But Middlesex County District Attorney Martha Coakley informed the court this morning her office decided not to pursue the criminal trespassing charge, reports Article 8 Alliance, a Massachusetts group battling same-sex marriage.

The jury trial had been scheduled to begin this morning in Concord District Court.

Judge Robert McKenna used a relatively unusual procedure to order the case delayed into administrative limbo, and it will be dropped completely after one year.

Parker has made no admission of guilt and the full presumption of his innocence officially continues, according to Article 8.

Parker’s lead attorney, Jeffrey Denner, said the procedure is different from the much more commonly used “continued without a finding,” in which a defendant admits sufficient facts exist to warrant a conviction and the case eventually is dropped.

Surprise– Divorces hurt Children

October 21st, 2005 Viewed 1190 times

I think this article from the Wall Street Journal is so good, I’m quoting it in its entirety:

The conventional wisdom on divorce is that while a breakup is hard on children, parents can minimize a lot of the damage with a “good divorce.” Or can they? A new book out this month presents compelling evidence that even a relatively amicable divorce cannot spare children from psychological trauma that affects their self-image and shapes their personalities into adulthood.

“Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce” by Elizabeth Marquardt (Crown), will not come as welcome news to parents who may be seeking a split on the theory that there is nothing worse for children than growing up amid marital discord or unhappiness. The book establishes that the separation of parents bifurcates children’s inner lives, forcing them to become navigators, conciliators and emotional caregivers at an early age, all of which leaves them with a sense of tentativeness and isolation even as adults. Most startling of all are the findings suggesting that children whose parents remain in somewhat unhappy, low-conflict marriages (more common than high-conflict unions involving physical fights or other abuse) fare better in certain crucial spheres than do children of divorce.

The book is based on research co-directed by Ms. Marquardt and Prof. Norval Glenn, a family scholar at the University of Texas at Austin. They estimate that one-quarter of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 are children of divorce. Their study included face-to-face interviews with 71 young adults and a national telephone survey of 1,500 others–half from divorced families and half from intact ones.

Many of the comparisons are stunning. Even after a “good” divorce, 52% of respondents say that family life was stressful (compared with 6% from happy marriages and 35% from unhappy but low-conflict marriages). Half report that even as children they “always felt like an adult” (compared with 36% and 39% in the intact-family groups).

According to the study, children of divorce feel less protected by their parents, less emotionally secure and less safe at home than do other children. Children of divorce are less likely to look to their parents for comfort and more likely to feel obliged to protect their parents emotionally. They tend to see their parents as polar opposites long after marital conflict ends. Twice as many children of divorce agreed that, while growing up, “I felt like a different person with each of my parents.”

It was responses like that which gave rise to the title of Ms. Marquardt’s book. “Marriage gives kids one world,” she told us, and divorce forces them to inhabit two, compelling many to become “early moral forgers” with a “divided self” as they try to fit into two, separate parental realms.

No one disputes that some marriages must be dissolved. What concerns Ms. Marquardt is that the “happy talk” about well-managed breakups lets adults dismiss and make light of children’s real experiences. While her book may help grown-up children make sense of those experiences, it also carries a strong message for parents who are deciding whether to end a marriage: There may be no such thing as a “good divorce.”

Worldly Word

October 14th, 2005 Viewed 1818 times

It has been said that Thomas Jefferson cut out of the Bible those things that he didn’t agree with– miracles, and the like. That’s nothing compared to what people are doing today to the Bible under the impression that we have to be politically correct:

As evangelicals debate the inclusive-language Today’s New International Version (TNIV), many liberal mainline churches have slipped far down the slippery slope in what they have done to the Bible.

In 1990, the National Council of Churches published the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), an inclusive-language rendition of the well-accepted Revised Standard Version (RSV). This translation keeps masculine references to God and to Jesus, but changes them for human beings, getting rid of the generic “man,” putting “brothers and sisters” where the original just has “brothers,” and using awkward plurals and repetitions to avoid the generic “he.” Never mind that the messianic title “Son of Man” is now “a human being.” What the NRSV did to the RSV is pretty much what the TNIV did to the NIV.

But that much inclusive language was not enough for many mainline churches. An Inclusive Language Lectionary, a rendition of Scripture texts read during the worship service, takes the next step of changing the gendered language for God. Today, the congregations who use this lectionary in Sunday worship pray to “our Father-Mother.” Jesus is not the Son of God, but the “child of God.” The pronoun “he” is not even used for the man Jesus, replaced with ungrammatical constructions: “Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us” becomes “Jesus Christ, who gave self for us” (Titus 2:13-14).

But that much tinkering proved not to be enough either. In 1995, Oxford University Press published the New Testament and Psalms: An Inclusive Version. This revision of the NRSV not only uses gender-inclusive language for God and Jesus (“God our father-mother”), it also eliminates, in the words of the introduction, “all pejorative references to race, color, or religion, and all identifications of persons by their physical disability.” In avoiding all “offensive language,” “darkness” is changed to “night,” lest it offend black people, and “the right hand of God” is changed to “the mighty hand of God,” lest it offend left-handed people.

But that does not go far enough. The liberal Catholic group Priests for Equality published in 2004 the Inclusive Bible. “Kingdom” is both sexist and authoritarian, so the priests made up a new word, “kindom.” Adam is not a “man,” he is an “earth creature.” And to avoid offending homosexuals or others in nontraditional relationships, the words “husband” and “wife” are changed to “partner.”

But since radical theology depends on demonizing the “patriarchy” of the Bible, the Inclusive Bible includes footnotes admitting that “the actual Hebrew is even more brutal” and chastising the apostle Paul for his retrograde attitudes. Then the translators just change the text to something more suitable.

But the Inclusive Bible does not go far enough either. The Bible version Good as New: A Radical Retelling of the Scriptures uses what its introduction calls “cultural translation.” Not only is it inclusive, it translates ancient terms into their modern-day equivalent. Thus, “demon possession” becomes “mental illness.” Even names are changed: Peter, Nicodemus, and Bethsaida become “Rocky,” “Ray,” and “Fishtown.” Religious terminology is eliminated, as not being in accord with our culture: “Baptize” is changed to “dip”; “salvation” is changed to “completeness.”

The translation describes itself as “women, gay and sinner friendly.” Thus, when Paul says that it is better to marry than to burn, the Inclusive Bible says, “If you know you have strong needs, get yourself a partner. Better than being frustrated.” The Inclusive Bible follows the higher critics in leaving out the Pastoral Epistles and Revelation, and it follows The Da Vinci Code in including instead the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas. This translation is endorsed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and the evangelical leader Tony Campolo.

But does any of this matter, as long as people are exposed to the Bible? Yes, it does. The bisexual deity “Father-Mother” is not the true God, nor is this made-up religion Christianity. These translations are not the Word of God. Just the Word of Man.

Some At Princeton Get it Right!

October 14th, 2005 Viewed 1122 times

Some students at Princeton have created a Chastity Club to encourage saving sex until marriage:

The Princeton group is named after Elizabeth Anscombe, an English philosopher and staunch Roman Catholic who defended the church’s teachings on sex, and died in 2001.

People who want to take part in the society’s activities don’t have to sign a pledge or take an oath. Some members may have had sex in the past, and leaders say the group is open to everyone, even those who may just be interested in exploring the idea of chastity intellectually.

One of the main reasons the group was created was to let students who don’t want to have premarital sex know they’re not alone, organizers said. They knew beforehand that sex would be part of college life, but many were surprised at how prevalent it was.

“My freshman year … it was really distressing to me to see my peers going out, getting drunk, and having random sex,” said Clare Sully, 20, a senior originally from Princeton. “I hadn’t yet come to the conclusion that sex was only for marriage … (but) I was quite certain that sex was way too important to treat so casually.”

At the University of Colorado at Boulder, Jonathan Butler, 19, and five of his friends are starting the “College Coalition for Relationship Education,” a secular group designed to promote abstinence. They reached a similar conclusion.

“You don’t just have sex to have sex. You have to be emotionally ready,” said Butler.

The Princeton group brings in speakers who talk about issues related to sex and chastity. A recent talk titled “Real Sex: The Truth About Chastity” drew about 120 people. Another speaker from the University of Virginia focused on the effects of the sexual revolution on family and children.

Roofer Takes Break, Delivers Baby

October 13th, 2005 Viewed 1444 times

This is amazing and touching, all at the same time:

WESTON, Fla. – Marty Davis has been a roofer for 20 years. On Tuesday he saw something he had never seen before on the job. “When I came down I saw the little girl at the sliding door. She looked scared. I knew something was wrong,” he said.

Davis was working on a leaky roof at a home in Weston when he heard a child inside scream for help. When he walked into the house, he found Wiebke Broege on the kitchen floor in labor.

“My water had broken. That’s when it took off — the speed and pain,” Broege said.

Davis quickly got on the phone with a 911 operator, who told him what to do.

Luckily, Broege, who has two other children, was calm. “He cleaned his hands. He had tar on them,” Broege said.

Davis, who had previously only seen a baby delivered on television, grabbed a kitchen towel and went to work. The roofer said he had one concern.

“I was worried about getting tar on her floor,” Davis said. “I think they were telling me to be cool. I said, ‘I see the baby’s head.’ Another contraction and the baby’s head was out. I said, ‘It’s a girl.'”

Baby Ella was born at about 11:30 a.m., weighing 8 pounds and 2 ounces.

“I remember him saying, ‘Oh my God, I don’t want to drop her.’ I think the dispatcher was telling him not to drop the baby,” Broege said.

Seconds after Ella’s birth, paramedics arrived and so did Ella’s dad.

“I just handed him the baby and I faded into the background to go back to the repairs,” Davis said. “Just another day on the job.”

“He handled it beautifully, which I am sure it wasn’t easy,” Broege said.

Broege and Ella are doing well and should return to a home with a leak-free roof Thursday.


Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.