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May 31, 2009

Breaking: Abortionist George Tiller murdered

The controversial late-term abortionist was shot to death this morning . . . in church, of all places. Details are few right now, but we'll update later when we find out more. (Thanks to Laura for the tip.)

I wanted to lose no time in emphatically denouncing the crime. This is not something that any of us here would have wished on Dr. Tiller. Despite his own acts of violence, we are not to take the law into our own hands. Better to leave his life in God's hands and let him have every chance to repent and turn from his sins before facing his Creator.

But now we can only pray, may God have mercy on his soul.

Update: A 51-year-old male suspect is in custody.

Update: The "person of interest" has been identified as Scott Roeder -- possibly the same Scott Roeder who, as a member of an anti-government group, was arrested in 1996 after being caught with a bomb-triggering device. Also, President Obama released a statement on the killing.

Update: The following people and organizations have also denounced the killing:

National Right to Life Committee

Tony Perkins, Family Research Council (scroll down)

Troy Newman, Operation Rescue

Father Frank Pavone, Priests for Life

Kansans for Life

Marjorie Dannenfelser, Susan B. Anthony List

Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University

Dr. Charmaine Yoest, Americans United for Life

Concerned Women for America

Jill Stanek

Gov. Sarah Palin

Shaun Kenney, American Life League

Dr. James Dobson, Focus on the Family

(Special thanks to Kathryn Lopez for much of this information.)

May 29, 2009

Daily roundup

Open book thread: Summer reading recommendations

Open book 2 'Tis the season for digging up some good books for vacation reading. Here at BreakPoint, we're working on our new book lists, which will be out about the middle of next week. But in the meantime, we'd like to hear your suggestions. What good books have you been reading lately that you'd like to recommend?

Re: ’American Idol’

Jason, I had heard something before about the Idol "culture war." I agree with Colleen Raezler, to whom you linked, who seems to suggest that it's a mistake to put the emphasis in a singing competition anywhere but on the singing. It's a mistake when liberals do it -- and it's a mistake when conservatives do it, too.

How much do we really know about the lives and beliefs of people on a TV competition? Anyone remember what happened with "churchgoing Baptist" and abstinence advocate Clay Aiken? I'm not saying that Aiken turned from Luke Skywalker into Darth Vader the moment he revealed his sexuality; I'm saying that people who bought his carefully cultivated image -- including people who voted on the basis of that image, if any did -- were in for a rude awakening. Human beings are not perfect, and more often than not, public images have tiny but significant cracks in them -- cracks that tend to widen over time. And every time we go around saying things like "Vote for the Christian reality-show candidate!" we face the very real possibility of ending up with egg on face and people taunting us with "Where's your Christian role model now?"

It's terribly tempting to latch on to anything or anyone that looks like a wholesome example of Christianity and morality nowadays, when they're getting so hard to find. I understand that. But let's be realistic about it and not be ready to fall for every attractive image that comes along, without having any idea what's really behind it. And let's remember that talent competitions are supposed to be about talent. If we get up in arms about people making an issue out of religious and political beliefs in the wrong context (Perez Hilton, call your office), then we shouldn't be doing the same thing.

Before He Was ’American Idol’

Last Wednesday night Kris Allen, a college student from Little Rock, Arkansas, was crowned this year's American Idol. Kris the underdog won over rocker and this season's frontrunner Adam Lambert. What was interesting about this year's season was the cultural war that much of the media made out of the American Idol finals. The musical battle between reportedly gay Lambert and evangelical Christian Allen was considered by many a valid debate on issues that are occupying America today.

Now that Kris Allen is getting lots of media attention, I found out recently that he is a worship leader in his church. Here's a YouTube clip of him singing a Chris Tomlin song. Listen to the lyrics of the song. Can you imagine him as the American Idol? How do you think he will do artistically and being a light in the music industry?

Twitter Friday

Selected tweets from friends and followers of @BreakPointPFM:

@joshuasebastien: I didn't realize Pride & Prejudice was a Christian worldview book. Hmmm. AFA is always teaching me new things. Haha.
@sal4jc: reading Gideon's Torch (by Chuck Colson)... I forced myself to put it down and get to bed...which I am doing as soon as I finish this tweet
@Fat_Tony: Some interesting aritcles linked in the Daily Roundup via The Point blog
@freedom2Care: New video of healthcare professionals' testimonials + Chuck Colson commentary on conscience freedoms: http://www.freedom2care.org/newsroom/
@JacquiEdelmann: Just finished reading God & Government by Chuck Colson. Excellent book about spiritual power overcoming 'impossible' situations.
@mikewaters: "If Christianity is not the truth, it is nothing, and our faith mere sentimentality." Chuck Colson - The Faith
@Kevin_McDonald: I've been thinking and I would love to arrange a debate between Keith Olbermann and Chuck Colson. I would pay money to see that!!!
@GwennyThePooh: I was very much moved by Chuck Colson speech he is a hero as well as you.
@palintropos: Chuck Colson says torture justifiable in some cases as "higher obligation". Glad we asked him how to follow the law. http://bit.ly/WkGZ6
@ErikKoliser: watching "Frost/Nixon" & thinking of the great witness of grace & salvation in Jesus through the life of Chuck Colson.
@yoonlee: Prepping for tomorrow's book club at Gracepoint Fellowship Church...we're reading the Good Life by Chuck Colson.
@jfwalton: Home team tonight, so long as on-call doesn't interfere. Talking about The Faith by Chuck Colson.
@skimmertarget: Chuck Colson's Christian Prison Fellowship not wanted. Islamists/Jihadist welcome. Sounds like a good idea! Duh!
@sbcghostrecon: "We must remember the Kingdom of God is not going to arrive on Air Force One." - Charles Colson
@jeremydys: BreakPoint continues Colson's excellent commentary which is cross posted on our blog: http://bit.ly/9EKI2

Crichton’s View

Pelosi China As the Speaker of the House is in China drumming up concern about global warming -- and asserting that "Every aspect of our lives must be subjected to an inventory ... of how we are taking responsibility" -- this video of Michael Crichton (some profanity in comments) speaking on global warming is a breath of fresh air (hat tip to one of our Pointificators, Mike Snow).

P. S. Anyone else concerned about the possibility of Big Brother coming into our homes to determine if we're "green" enough? Of children being taught in schools to "tattle" on their environmentally wasteful parents?

(Image © Andy Wong for the AP)

The Point Radio: Are You Hiding Something?

You can run, but you can't hide....

Click play above to listen.

May 28, 2009

Daily roundup

Worst car review ever

In_Gear_556559a My friend Mike sent me Jeremy Clarkson's review of the new Honda Insight. I understand the article has been making the rounds lately, so you may have already seen it. For those of you who haven't, it's a must read.

Mike's favorite part was "It’s terrible. Biblically terrible. Possibly the worst new car money can buy. It’s the first car I’ve ever considered crashing into a tree, on purpose, so I didn’t have to drive it any more."

Me, I was rather partial to "The Honda’s petrol engine . . . makes a noise worse than someone else’s crying baby on an airliner. It’s worse than the sound of your parachute failing to open. Really, to get an idea of how awful it is, you’d have to sit a dog on a ham slicer."

But you have to read the whole thing to get the full (hilarious) effect.

(Image courtesy of the Times Online)

Marriage Is for Life

Milfords203 Frank and Anita Milford just celebrated their 81st wedding anniversary and are currently the longest married couple in the United Kingdom. What's their secret? They credit "a little argument every day."

Eighty-one years and still happy together. Congratulations, Frank and Anita!

(Image courtesy of the BBC)

Cheney vs. Obama

Obama and Cheney What do you think about the former vice-president taking on President Obama over the war on terror? This IBD article gives a clear edge to Cheney because he has a more mature grasp of both the pre- and post-9/11 world. Do you agree or disagree?

(Image courtesy of the AP and the BBC)

Thought for the day

The very thought of the curse motif of the atonement gets some people angry.  That seems to be true in both classical liberal protestant circles, as well as, with some in the emergent church camp.

In the 1930s Yale Professor H. Richard Niebuhr offered a poignant description of liberal Protestantism’s message then, and I think the emergent church’s message now in his book, The Kingdom of God in America:

A God without wrath brought men without sin into a world without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.

God is not only is a God of love, but He is also is a God of wrath.  He is a God of justice, and He is a God who is true to His word.  Fortunately for us Jesus took God’s wrath and satisfied it so that we don’t have to face it.

Shane Vander Hart, "A Christ without a Cross Is Not Good News," Caffeinated Thoughts, May 28

The Point Radio: Will Work for Spending Money

How are you prepping your teen for success?...

Click play above to listen.

May 27, 2009

Daily roundup

Kim Jong Il: Crazier Than a Bedbug

Amd_jong-il So what do you do when you're 68, have suffered a recent stroke, and worry that any one of a number of your generals would like to assume your throne? Apparently, you throw some crockery against the wall and resume the Korean War.

That's what we appear to be dealing with in North Korea's "Dear Leader," Kim Jong Il. It's hard to take a man seriously who, in addition to starving huge numbers of his own people while he airlifts lobster and caviar, has enjoyed establishing 20 concentration camps for political dissenters. Also, Kim has taken a shine to making feature films and operas from his beloved father's writings. 

All this would be purely laughable except that Kim has the fifth largest standing army in the world and now nuclear capabilities. The capital of South Korea, Seoul, is very close to the North Korean border, making it at least possible for Kim to take down millions of people with him should he have a death wish of his own.

Christian worldview question: Is it ever appropriate to ask for God to remove a true tyrant from the scene?Well, while the "love your neighbor" ethic applies to everyone, not just saints, it also applies to all the individual souls whose unfortunate lot it is to be in the path of a human windstorm. Christian theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer finally accepted, after much spiritual wrestling, that having Hitler gone was the only way to save many other souls. 

Bonhoeffer doesn't strike me as merely utilitarian here. Kim needs to be stopped for his own soul's needs, too. He's obviously sick and needs to not have anymore innocent deaths on his record. Beyond anyone's concern for him is the plight of millions, on both sides of the 38th Parallel.

Whether Kim is hit by another stroke or by one of his generals, his removal from power seems necessary for the people of North Asia to have a sigh of relief. A crazy man with nukes and a large army may be one of history's oddities, but here we are. Let's pray that the Lord, who does work in mysterious ways, finds a peaceable way to remove Kim's finger from the nuclear button.

(Image courtesy of GettyImages)

Isn’t justice blind?

Nm_sotomayor_090526_mn Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama's pick for the Supreme Court, has some troubling views on that subject. From the New York Times:

In 2001, Sonia Sotomayor, an appeals court judge, gave a speech declaring that the ethnicity and sex of a judge “may and will make a difference in our judging.”

In her speech, Judge Sotomayor questioned the famous notion — often invoked by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her retired Supreme Court colleague, Sandra Day O’Connor — that a wise old man and a wise old woman would reach the same conclusion when deciding cases.

“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life,” said Judge Sotomayor. . . .

(Image © Win McNamee for GettyImages)

A patient God?

Rachel_06 When calamity lights on the world, the question is asked, “Why would a good God allow such a terrible thing to happen?” Often the best reply from believers in a good God is, “We don’t know.” That, at least, sounds better than “God is punishing someone.”

A thirty-seven-year-old wife and mother in Canada, however, unhesitatingly provides an answer:

Many have asked, "Why? Why is this happening to you?" ...I don't ask why, because I know the answer. And here it is. We live in a sinful world. Bad things happen. But it was not supposed to be this way, and it will not always be this way. God has a plan. He has made a way for sinful people...to be with him in a perfect world. The way is Jesus.... This is the way to know God and someday be free from this world of disease and pain....

So God is being patient, patient so that everyone has the opportunity to repent and to make things right with him. That is why there is evil and suffering in the world, because when he does return to bring judgment there will be no second chances.

Rachel Barkey is qualified to speak so boldly. Last January she was told her cancer had returned and was terminal. Astonishingly, she has used her final days not only to make memories with her family but also to share her profound and resolute faith in a good God publicly: 

I am dying. But so are you. Neither of us knows if he will even see tomorrow. And perhaps the reason that I am suffering now, the reason that God is waiting to bring judgment against all the evil in this world, is because he is waiting for you, for you to acknowledge your sin and to turn to him for forgiveness. Maybe you are the one we are waiting for.

Jesus suffered. God did not spare him. Why would he spare me, if my suffering would result in good for you? If my suffering is the means God would use to bring even one person to himself, it is an honor for me to suffer.

(Thanks to Tim Challies for the link; image © Anastasia Chomlack.)

Don’t teach my kid THAT!

If you think the cross isn't an offense, just wait until the Gideons show up at school. 

One Texas school district is hearing complaints from parents because the Gideons were allowed to leave a stack of Bibles on a table in the school's office where literature and brochures from numerous community organizations was available for students to take. Never mind that the school district was following the law in this matter.

As for the Gideons, I think this is what Jesus would call being "as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves."

The Point Radio: Text Ed

Who's guiding your kids?...

Click play above to listen.

May 26, 2009

Handling Temptation

In his book Conformed to His Image, Ken Boa writes about using our identity in Christ to help us resist temptation:

Who we are in Christ is not shaped by what we do but by what he did on the cross and continues to do in our lives. Our performance does not determine our identity; instead, our new identity in Jesus becomes the basis for what we do.... In him, we have been granted great dignity, security, forgiveness, unconditional love and acceptance, hope, purpose, righteousness, wholeness, and peace with God. We may not feel that these things are so, yet Scripture does not command us to feel the truth but to believe it....

When we are tempted to covet, lust, lie, become envious, or succumb to any other work of the flesh, we should say "That is no longer who I am." While we are on this earth, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life will be constant snares, but we are more than conquerors when we remember that our deepest identity is in Christ and invite him to rule and live through us.

If there’s a graduate in your life

Cap diploma . . . I recommend passing along this hard-hitting advice from Jon Acuff.

The proof is in the penitent

Brotherston When Billy Barclay's mother saw her son's killer on TV singing praise songs, the only thing she could find in her heart was disgust. Apparently, convicted killer Garry Brotherston became a Christian in prison and is now openly discussing his conversion on Christian TV. But, for Billy's mom, it doesn't sit right.

“There is nothing that he can say that will convince me he’s a Christian," she told the Clydebank Post.

If we believe anything at Prison Fellowship, it's that people can change--that bank robbers can become philanthropists, that drug dealers can become pillars of society, and that murderers can become peacemakers. But ... it must start with repentance. And that means not simply repenting before God, but also repenting before those one has most grievously injured--in this man's case, to the family of his victim.

Brotherston's transformation might indeed be sincere, but the proof lies in actions of remorse and repentance. In an interview, Brotherston claimed to think of his victim's family every day. But has there been a letter of apology? Nada. Has there been any attempt at communication? Zip.

In Catherine's As We Forgive, we learn of a man named John who waits more than 10 years to seek forgiveness from a woman whose father he had murdered during the Rwandan genocide. At first, the woman--Chantal--rebukes him in her anger, accusing him of false repentance. But John doesn't leave the apology there--he follows up by visiting Chantal to help her cultivate her land, demonstrating by his actions that his remorse is linked to his soul. Over time, Chantal finds the strength to extend forgiveness to John, and she, herself, is transformed by the freedom it brings.

Conversion must be punctuated by remorse. I don't blame Billy's mom for her skepticism. I'd probably doubt the man's sincerity too.

(Image courtesy of the Clydesdale Post)

The State of Public Education

Could reading, writing, and arithmetic lessons possibly be eliminated from public school curricula? In The Weekly Standard, Charlotte Allen gives an eye-opening report on her attendance at the American Education Research Association's annual meeting. (Note: Article contains sexual themes.)

Besides allowing homegrown terrorist Bill Ayers a platform at which to speak, other "progressive" educators promoted the harebrained idea of allowing little Billy or Sally to "decide" what material they preferred to study. It spreads ripples of terror to think of how many children are constructing their own universe. 

If it were not so darned serious, the session on mathematics would be a hoot to read. A professor from Virginia Commonwealth University suggested that teaching students the rules of mathematics is wrong.  

[Gabriel] Reich was trying to explain to me why it was presumptuous for professional mathematicians (and many parents) to be up in arms about the currently fashionable constructivist idea that instead of explaining to youngsters, say, how to do long division, teachers should let them count, subtract, make an educated guess, or otherwise figure out their own ways to solve division problems. College math professors may complain that young people taught the constructivist way arrive in their classrooms unable to perform the basic operations necessary to move on to calculus, but so what? "Why should we privilege professional mathematicians?" Reich asked. Long division, multiplication--"those are just algorithms, and a calculator can do them faster than we can. Most of the people here at this meeting don't think of themselves as good at math, and they don't think math is creative. [The constructivist approach] is a way to make math creative for many people who never thought of it that way."

With ideas like this being sold by institutions like VCU to impressionable young future public teachers, parents with young children might want to consider living in a hut in order to send their little ones to private schools.

But before parents choose this alternative, they should note that Allen's piece isn't entirely devoid of all hope for public education. Read it to find out why.

BioLogos: Integrating Faith and Science

Tothesource alerts readers to Francis Collins's new organization, BioLogos, where he makes an effort to integrate science and religion.   

Of course, not everyone is happy with Collins's new venture. Evolutionary geneticist Jerry Coynes is protesting that anyone who has religious beliefs should be barred from influencing scientists or from working in the science fields. Coynes rants, "By seeking union with religious people, and emphasizing that there is no genuine conflict between faith and science, they are making accommodationism not just a tactical position, but a philosophical one…By consorting with scientists and philosophers who incorporate supernaturalism into their view of evolution, they erode the naturalism that underpins modern evolutionary theory."  

The Point Radio: Vanity’s Price Tag

What will self-absorption cost? A lot....

Click play above to listen.

May 25, 2009

Take time to remember

Memorial Day This Memorial Day, columnist Diane Evans reminds us of the point of the holiday: "Take time from whatever you're doing to remember those who went before you, without whom you wouldn't have the opportunities you have today." And she suggests some good reading to help us do just that.

Have a blessed Memorial Day, and make sure to take time to remember.

The Point Radio: A Worthy Tradition

Here's a tradition worth adding to your Memorial Day....

Click play above to listen.

May 22, 2009

Daily roundup

Posting will be light Monday because of Memorial Day.

How to Pray for Your Pastor

I imagine that most of our churchgoing Pointificators recognize that their pastors carry an enormous burden on our behalf, as they seek to lead us into a deeper experience of God and Christ. They have so many demands on their time and energy that they can use all the prayer support they can get. To that end, here are some great day-by-day guidelines for how to lift up your pastor in prayer each week.

The Problem of Power and Snake-Oil Salesmen

Winfrey Somers Last week, Catherine asked a legitimate question about Oprah Winfrey's power: "Now is it just me, or is anyone else just a little freaked out about how powerful Oprah is?" 

Like you, Catherine, I too am freaked out by Ms. Winfrey's power. When I think of it, the famous observation that Lord Acton made is always at the back of my mind: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

In fact, Winfrey seems to be getting away with hosting modern-day snake-oil salesmen who use her sensationalistic show to promote their potentially deadly schemes. In a recent edition of Salon, Dr. Rahul Parikh sounded an alarm over a recent episode where actress Suzanne Somers peddled her hormone replacement therapy, which just might kill more than a few desperate and incautious women. 

Parikh reasonably points out that the Somers incident is “not the first time Winfrey's advice on health issues has raised concern. In the past, the media mogul has been criticized for promoting cosmetic therapies that were untested and later deemed dangerous.”

In a litigiously explosive society such as ours, I have to ask, where have all the lawyers gone? Is it her power, or does her use of the phrase "just might" keep her from being sued over stamping her imprimatur on dangerous therapies like the one Somers is advocating?

(Image © The Oprah Winfrey Show)

Duty or Choice?

Rethinking word usage just might make a huge difference when talking about weighty matters like life and liberty. Mike Metzger says that political speeches used to be filled with the word "duty," and the word "choice" was rarely used. It seems that American evangelicals helped regulate "duty" to the closet and have helped further the pro-abortion campaign by embracing the word "choice."  

Words matter!  

Who said they were ’anti-sex’?

2009_0519_meghan_mccain I'll be the first to acknowledge that the Republican party needs to make some changes, but I don't think this is the way to go about it. (Note: sexual themes.)

(Image © Comedy Central)

Banjo workout

Today's fun Friday video comes courtesy of the Blog Dad, who lives, eats, sleeps, and breathes bluegrass. Maybe it'll serve as inspiration for all of us who need to exercise more.

The Point Radio: Reach Out and Touch Someone

Are you out of touch?...

Click play above to listen.

May 21, 2009

Daily roundup

Government Health Care and Your Health

As President Obama is promoting government-run health care, we Americans might want to think twice about it. In a recent issue of World magazine, in the Quick Takes section, is a blurb titled "Vision Quest" (subscribers only) that represents shades of things to come if Obama gets his way.

In real estate, it's location, location, location. Vision care in the United Kingdom apparently works the same way. Lesley Fletcher says the NHS, the government's socialized health-care service, is refusing to pay for medicine that will prevent her from going blind—just because of where she lives. Most local trusts will provide British citizens with Lucentis with a prescription, but Fletcher's local NHS trust west of Leeds is an exception. At $1,200 per treatment, her local NHS trust has deemed the treatment too expensive to be cost effective. And unless Fletcher can convince higher-ups in the bureaucracy to change their policy, her myopic macular degeneration will likely lead to sight loss.

I don't know about you, but I don't want the government involved in my health care.

Pictures from the Hubble Telescope

Omega-swan Awe-inspiring pictures from the Hubble telescope sometimes leave me at a loss to understand people who can see this and tenaciously continue cling to a belief in a materialistic view of life. Enjoy the pictures, but before you leave this post, first read a beautiful poem about stars by Madison Cawein.

The Stars

These--the bright symbols of man's hope and fame,
In which he reads his blessing or his curse--
Are syllables with which God speaks His name
In the vast utterance of the universe.

Image © NASA/Associated Press)

On Leadership

I've been doing some research lately on leadership, and I ran across this very useful website called The Teal Trust. Among its many pages is one containing quotations on leadership. Here are three of my favorites:

"Charisma becomes the undoing of leaders. It makes them inflexible, convinced of their own infallibility, unable to change." -- Peter Drucker

"Leadership is a combination of strategy and character. If you must be without one, be without the strategy." -- Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf

"I am certainly not one of those who need to be prodded. In fact, if anything, I am the prod." -- Sir Winston Churchill

What are some of your favorite sayings about leadership?

IVF and the Technological Society

Thanks to Michael Cook at BioEdge for alerting readers to the legal conundrum that is being caused by IVF procedure. 

In 1973, then again in 1992, the Supreme Court conjured up new rights of privacy and liberty over one’s body regardless of the right to life of the other person involved. With the technological advancements in the fertility industry, some people are questioning the right to determine whether a person can control his or her genetic material. 

In the Southern California Law Review, I. Glenn Cohen suggests that we need to “unbundle” genetic parenthood from legal or gestational parenthood. We have the “Constitutional right not to procreate” (that is, to have an abortion), but once we’ve used IVF technology, we might lose the right to determine whether others can use our genetic material.    

Sadly, technology is busily turning the sacredness of life and parenthood into mere machine-like procedures, thereby making us redundant. In a lecture, “Technology and Technique: Master or Servant? Reflections on Reading Ellul, Huxley, and Lewis,” Dr. Joseph Gibes says, “The real danger [of technology] is that we as a society are moving ever closer to Subjectivism, we worship efficiency, and cannot say no to technology.” Human dignity and moral order are being sacrificed at the altar of technology.

So when Cohen writes of “unbundling” parenthood from procreation, what he’s doing is permitting technology to assume ultimate power over humanity -- and if left unchecked, technology's alluring power just might destroy us.

Same-sex marriage and religious liberty

An important update from New Hampshire (via The Corner).

The Point Radio: Facing Our Own Monsters

She's finally decided to share her story....

Click play above to listen.

May 20, 2009

Uncle Sam calling the ’shots’

Daniel Hauser A 13-year-old Minnesota boy, Daniel Hauser, has refused recommended treatment for a growing tumor in his chest and vows to kick and punch anyone who attempts to force chemotherapy upon him. For religious reasons, the young Hauser and his family determined that chemotherapy and radiation treatment would be inappropriate and instead sought alternative treatment to cure the disease. 

As reported by the Associated Press, “The Hausers are Roman Catholic and also believe in the ‘do no harm’ philosophy of the Nemenhah Band, a Missouri-based religious group that believes in natural healing methods advocated by some American Indians.”

Because doctors do not expect the boy to survive without the necessary treatment, a judge has ruled that the parents and the boy must move forward in getting an additional chest x-ray and select an oncologist. With chemotherapy he has a 95% chance of surviving, but the alternative treatment bears just a 5% likelihood of success. 

Having experienced chemotherapy as a 16 year old I feel sincere, heart-wrenching pain for this young man. Being diagnosed with cancer at a young age is a difficult situation to deal with, but the spiritual pain can be just as devastating. I guess you could say that I was fortunate that my faith didn’t object to chemotherapy, because my cancer had a high success rate of cure when treated with chemotherapy and surgery. 

Hauser has a similar prognosis with chemotherapy, but because of his religious belief, there is likely no comfortable solution as to what should be done.

Continue reading "Uncle Sam calling the ’shots’" »

The Ultimate in NIMBY

We've all become familiar with the concept of NIMBY (Not In My Backyard), though it usually comes up with issues like nuclear waste, garbage dumps, power lines, or new prisons. But now for the ultimate in NIMBY: It's time to find a new home for Guantanamo Bay detainees!

Representative Frank Wolf (R-Virginia), who represents many of the Northern Virginia suburbs where some 17 detainees might be relocated, is having none of it. This is a no-brainer position for any politician who wants to be popular in his district. Few enjoy the prospect of having someone who fought U.S. troops landing literally in their backyard in tony Fairfax.

But whatever happened to "love your neighbor," some may ask. Well, it's true that Jesus preached a gospel that demanded love beyond one's immediate circle of family and friends. However, he also said that we were to "love our neighbor as ourselves." Many in Frank Wolf's Congressional District, including Christians, might well discern that self-preservation is part of Jesus's admonition.

You aren't much good to anyone else if you're hacked to pieces by someone who hates your country.  

And They Wanted Him Dead

Armas My daughter, Rebecca, sent me that Gallup survey showing that Americans are becoming more pro-life than pro-death. Hurray for our country! (Here's a little heartwarming story: When Rebecca was a young teen we watched a show featuring a remarkable fetal surgery, and she became pro-life after watching the little guy's hands curl around the physician's fingers.)

Yesterday, I saw this article about that same little boy, whom many would have targeted for termination. I pray we're becoming a country where such advocacy would be unthinkable.

(Image © the Armas family)

Obama knows Catholics better than Catholics do!

When listening to the president's commencement speech before the graduating class of 2009 at Notre Dame, I didn't feel particularly offended. I don't expect much from liberals when it comes to "finding common ground," so as long as he didn't demonize Catholicism I wasn't going to lose much heart. 

That is, until I read George Weigel's recent posting on National Review Online. He lays out an interesting argument that the president decided to tell America what Catholicism is all about. He didn't stop at defining Catholicism. He seemingly went so far as to partition Catholics into two groups:  ObamaCatholics and "the others." ObamaCatholics are gentle, peaceful, unifying, and willing to accept liberal nonsense. 

Here is an excerpt from Weigel's argument:

What was surprising, and ought to be disturbing to anyone who cares about religious freedom in these United States, was the president’s decision to insert himself into the ongoing Catholic debate over the boundaries of Catholic identity and the applicability of settled Catholic conviction in the public square. Obama did this by suggesting, not altogether subtly, who the real Catholics in America are. The real Catholics, you see, are those like the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, who are “congenial and gentle” in persuasion, men and women who are “always trying to bring people together,” Catholics who are “always trying to find the common ground.” The fact that Cardinal Bernardin’s undoubted geniality and gentility in bringing people together to find the common ground invariably ended with a “consensus” that matched the liberal or progressive position of the moment went unremarked — because, for a good postmodern liberal like President Obama, that progressive “consensus” is so self-evidently true that one can afford to be generous in acknowledging that others, less enlightened but arguably sincere, have different views.

Whether Catholic or not, it's a scary idea to think that the leader of the political world is now telling one of the largest religious forces in the world what they believe and how they should believe it.

Continue reading "Obama knows Catholics better than Catholics do!" »

Matters of Faith

200px-Red-knobbed.starfish.arp It has become the default assumption among the smart set that there are two non-overlapping spheres of human understanding. One sphere is Nature, where starfish, starlets, and stars are reducible to elemental forms of matter and energy. Here, direct observation and the powers of reason and science make knowledge certain.

The other sphere is Supernature, populated by soul, spirits, God, and everything else originating from human imaginings, needs and yearnings. Beyond the reach of empirical examination, knowledge here is tenuous and uncertain.

The former is the realm of Facts, the latter the realm of Faith, and betwixt them, there is no connecting thoroughfare. Such was not always the case... Read more here.

(Image courtesy of Wikipedia)

The Point Radio: The Forgotten Art of Giving Anonymously

Does your left hand know what your right hand is doing?...

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May 19, 2009

Daily roundup

Foster Care Prayer Vigil

Boy 2 soft This week has been designated Foster Care Prayer Week by several Christian organizations, including our friends at Show Hope. More than half a million kids are in foster care in the U.S. on any given day.  Many are there because their homes were unsafe for them to remain in, while others wind up in foster care because their parents have been arrested and there were no relatives available to care for them.

I do hope you'll pray for kids in foster care this week, but there are other ways you can help these children. Becoming a foster parent is the obvious way. Kids in crisis need a stable, safe place to live, and if they can do this in the presence of a family that loves God and models His love to those children, what an impact that could have.

There's another way. I'm in training right now to be a volunteer Guardian ad Litem for kids in foster care, part of the nationwide effort to have an advocate assigned to every child in foster care in this country. You can read more about this effort at the web site for the National CASA ("Court Appointed Special Advocates") program. 

The web site for this year's Prayer Vigil is loaded with other ideas and resources, including a section on why this issue and these kids matter to God. Go check it out--and while you're praying for kids in foster care, pray about how you might get involved in helping them.

(Image © Cry of the Orphan)