A Psalm for Boko Haram

The past few weeks we’ve been hearing of wickedness of Boko Haram. The latest wave of evil committed by this group of militant Islamic radicals has been the kidnapping of 230 girls. CNN article on Nigeria abductions. Why were these girls abducted? Because they were seeking an education.

In my Bible reading today, I discovered an appropriate Psalm. God hates injustice; He abhors the oppression of the helpless. May the Lord fulfill Psalm 10, by vindicating His justice for His glory!

Why, O Lord, do you stand far away?

      Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor;

      let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.

For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul,

      and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord.

In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him;

      all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”

His ways prosper at all times;

      your judgments are on high, out of his sight;

      as for all his foes, he puffs at them.

He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved;

      throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.”

His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression;

      under his tongue are mischief and iniquity.

He sits in ambush in the villages;

      in hiding places he murders the innocent.

His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;

      he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket;

      he lurks that he may seize the poor;

      he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net.

The helpless are crushed, sink down,

      and fall by his might.

He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,

      he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”

Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;

      forget not the afflicted.

Why does the wicked renounce God

      and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?

But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation,

      that you may take it into your hands;

to you the helpless commits himself;

      you have been the helper of the fatherless.

Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer;

      call his wickedness to account till you find none.

The Lord is king forever and ever;

      the nations perish from his land.

Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;

      you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear

      to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,

      so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

 

(Psalm 10)

Life, Death, and Lies on the Campaign Trail

By Albert Mohler

“The controversy over comments made by U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock reveals the undeniable ugliness of American politics. At the same time, the media firestorm underscores the importance of getting the pro-life position right — and expressing it well.

Mourdock, the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in Indiana, was debating his opponent, Rep. Joe Donnelly, this past Tuesday night, when the issue of abortion emerged. Both candidates claimed to affirm that life begins at conception, but Mourdock called for the end of abortion on demand. He then extended his remarks with these words:

“This is that issue that every candidate for federal, or even state, office faces, and I too stand for life. I know there are some who disagree and I respect their point of view and I believe that life begins at conception. The only exception I have [for abortion] is in that case [where] the life of the mother [is threatened]. I struggled with it for a long time, but I came to realize that life is a gift from God. And I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it is something that God intended to happen.”

Immediately, Mourdock was charged with claiming that God intended a rape to happen. A spokesperson for the Obama campaign said that President Obama “felt those comments were outrageous and demeaning to women.” Democratic operatives and media voices denounced Mourdock as hateful, extremist, and worse, and even many of his fellow Republicans scattered and ran for cover. Some demanded that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney should pull an ad supportive of Mourdock.

A closer look at Mourdock’s comments reveals that the candidate was not in any true sense calling rape “something that God intended to happen.” Everything Mourdock said in that answer flowed from his stated presupposition that life begins at conception, and that every human life is a gift from God.

Nevertheless, the liberal media went into full apoplexy, painting Richard Mourdock as a woman-hating extremist with reprehensible views on an issue as serious as rape.

Almost none of those who quoted Mourdock in making these charges used the full quotation, much less the audio of its delivery in the debate. The full quote reveals that the candidate was affirming the full dignity of every human life, regardless of the circumstance of conception.

To their credit, some in the media saw through the controversy. Writing for The New Republic, Amy Sullivan made clear that she disagrees with Mourdock’s position, but she honestly explained his words, and she expressed disappointment in his treatment by many liberal commentators.

In her words:

“Despite the assertions of many liberal writers I read and otherwise admire, I don’t think that politicians like Mourdock oppose rape exceptions because they hate women or want to control women. I think they’re totally oblivious and insensitive and can’t for a moment place themselves in the shoes of a woman who becomes pregnant from a rape. I think most don’t particularly care that their policy decisions can impact what control a woman does or doesn’t have over her own body. But if Mourdock believes that God creates all life and that to end a life created by God is murder, then all abortion is murder, regardless of the circumstances in which a pregnancy came about.”

She is exactly right, and bravely so.  She continued:

“Take a look again at Mourdock’s words: “I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And…even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” The key word here is “it.” I think it’s pretty clear that Mourdock is referring to a life that is conceived by a rape. He is not arguing that rape is the something that God intended to happen.”

Amy Sullivan also acknowledged that Mourdock’s position is “a fairly common theological belief.” Her candor and honesty were refreshing exceptions to most of the coverage.

Similarly, Kevin Drum, writing in the liberal journal Mother Jones, also registered his disagreement with Mourdock’s argument. Nevertheless, he was bold to ask the obvious — “can’t we all acknowledge that this is just conventional Christian theology?” He added, “What I find occasionally odd is that so many conventional bits of theology like this are so controversial if someone actually mentions them in public.”

Both Drum and Sullivan described Mourdock’s argument as a form of theodicy, meaning a defense of God that points to good coming out of evil. They are certainly right to identify this argument as germane to the context of rape and pregnancy, but Mourdock did not actually go so far as to make the argument.

The controversy over his statements reveals the irresponsibility of so many in the media and the political arena. The characterizations and willful distortions of Mourdock’s words amount to nothing less than lies.

At the same time, Mr. Mourdock is responsible for giving the media and his political enemies the very ammunition for their distortions.

The debate question did not force Mourdock to garble his argument. The cause of defending the unborn is harmed when the argument for that defense is expressed badly and recklessly, and Mourdock’s answer was both reckless and catastrophically incomplete.

The issue of exceptions that might justify an abortion cannot be discussed carelessly. Furthermore, any reference to rape must start with a clear affirmation of the horrifying evil of rape and an equal affirmation of concern for any woman or girl victimized by a rapist. At this point, the defender of the unborn should point to the fact that every single human life is sacred at every point of its development and without regard to the context of that life’s conception. No one would deny that this is true of a six-year-old child conceived in the horror of a rape. Those who defend the unborn know that it was equally true when that child was in the womb.

No doubt, Mourdock meant to express this point, but his words fell far short of an adequate expression of the argument. In his political situation, that failure might be fatal. In terms of the cause of defending life, his garbled argument makes the task more difficult.

And yet, this controversy was really not about a failure of communication. Behind it all is the great chasm that separates those who defend the sanctity of life and those who defend abortion on demand. With that in mind, how should the defenders of life think about exceptions that might justify an abortion?

One truth must be transparently clear — a consistent defense of all human life means that there is no acceptable exception that would allow an intentional abortion. If every life is sacred, there is no exception.

The three exceptions most often proposed call for abortion to be allowed only in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. These are the exceptions currently affirmed by Mitt Romney in his presidential campaign. What should we think of these?

First, when speaking of saving the life of the mother, we should be clear that the abortion of her unborn child cannot be the intentional result. There can be no active intention to kill the baby. This does not mean that a mother might, in very rare and always tragic circumstances, require a medical procedure or treatment to save her life that would, as a secondary effect, terminate the life of her unborn child. This is clearly established in moral theory, and we must be thankful that such cases are very rare.

Next, when speaking of cases involving rape and incest, we must affirm the sinful tragedy of such acts and sympathize without reservation with the victims. We must then make the argument that the unborn child that has resulted from such a heinous act should not be added to the list of victims. That child possesses no less dignity than a child conceived in any other context.

How should we think of these questions in light of our current cultural and political context? We must contend for the full dignity and humanity of every single human life at every point of development and life from conception until natural death, and we cannot rest from this cause so long as the threat to the dignity and sanctity of any life remains.

In the meantime, we are informed by the fact that, as the Gallup organization affirmed just months ago, the vast majority of Americans are willing to support increased restrictions on abortion so long as those exceptions are allowed. We should gladly accept and eagerly support such laws and the candidates who support them, knowing that such a law would save the life of over a million unborn children in the nation each year.

Can we be satisfied with such a law? Of course not, and we cannot be disingenuous in our public statements. But we can eagerly support a law that would save the vast majority of unborn children now threatened by abortion, even as we seek to convince our fellow Americans that this is not enough.

We must argue for the dignity, humanity, and right to life of every unborn child, regardless of the context of its conception, but we must argue well and make our arguments carefully. The use and deliberate abuse of Richard Mourdock’s comments should underline the risk of falling short in that task.”

“I am always glad to hear from readers. Write me at mail@albertmohler.com. Follow regular updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/albertmohler

Kevin Drum, “Richard Mourdock Gets in Trouble for His Extremely Conventional Religious Beliefs,” Mother Jones, Wednesday, October 24, 2012.

Amy Sullivan, “Why Liberals Are Misreading Mourdock,” The New Republic, Thursday, October 25, 2012.”

RELATED POSTS

-Albert Mohler, http://www.albertmohler.com/2012/10/26/the-mourdock-moment-life-death-and-lies-on-the-campaign-trail/

New Jersey Police Arrest Christians for Evangelizing in Public Park

By Heather Clark

“Police in New Jersey charged six Christians yesterday for evangelizing in a public park without government permission, and for causing some hearers to be upset with their Gospel message.

Robert Parker of Millstone, New Jersey told Christian News Network that he and several Christians from Bread of Life Fellowship in Wayne were all cited on Saturday as they witnessed to passersby in Journal Square in Jersey City. He stated that Richard Corniel of Paterson, a Marine who had served in Iraq, was preaching the Gospel when he was approached by Officer Chris Baker, who immediately shut down Corniel by asserting that a permit was required for his activities. Officer Baker also reportedly informed the Christians that they were in a “private park” and that they had to leave the city-owned property.

When Parker first spoke to the police, he stated that Officer Baker demanded identification from all of the Christians under the threat of arrest. Parker said that at first he declined, but police insinuated that if they provided identification, everything would be fine. However, that did not turn out to be the case.

“He told us, ‘That will cost you $250 a piece,’” Parker recalled the officer stating. “He said, ‘Anybody who is with them gets a ticket.’”

Parker explained that the police also confiscated the mobile phone of one of the Christians who was recording the incident, contending that it was against the law for them to record police, and that the officers were taking the phone as part of an investigation.

In addition to engaging in open-air preaching and one-on-one witnessing, the Christians were also distributing Gospel literature to those inside the park. However, Jersey City police told them that they were not permitted to hand out tracts in the entire city without government permission.

“He kept asking me, ‘Do you know where you’re at? Do you know where you’re at?” Parker outlined.

When the supervising officer arrived on the scene to assess the situation, he agreed with Baker. Parker said that at this point, there were five to six law enforcement officials surrounding them.

When contacted, the Jersey City Police Department stated that because members of the public were upset with the message being proclaimed, the officers had a right to prevent potential violence. They stated that in such cases, police protocol is to disperse the crowd and silence the speaker.

However, some legal experts have noted that the Supreme Court has ruled that heckler’s vetoes — the silencing of speech based upon the reaction of the hearer — are impermissible.

In the case of Terminiello v. Chicago (1949), which involved a man who was cited for “breach of the peace” due to the reactions of those who opposed his views, the court ruled:

“Accordingly a function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger. Speech is often provocative and challenging. It may strike at prejudices and preconceptions and have profound unsettling effects as it presses for acceptance of an idea. That is why freedom of speech, though not absolute, is nevertheless protected against censorship or punishment, unless shown likely to produce a clear and present danger of a serious substantive evil that rises far above public inconvenience, annoyance, or unrest.”

The Christians shut down in Jersey City yesterday were issued citations that stated that they were being charged with “breach of the peace” as well. Others cited besides Parker and Corniel include Patrick Colacicco of Iselin, Alexander Solis of Plainfield and Juan Luck of Piscataway. Police also informed Luis Zapata of Palisades Park that they would send his citation in the mail.

A hearing date has been set for November 23rd at the Jersey City Municipal Court. The Christians are not allowed to return without obtaining a permit for their activities.

Editor’s Note: Those wishing to express concerns about the matter may contact Mayor Jerramiah Healy at 201-547-5200 or email mayorhealy@jcnj.org, District Attorney Gaetano Gregory at 201-795-6400 or email hcpo@hcpo.org and Newark FBI Special Agent In Charge Michael Ward at 973-792-3000 or email newark@ic.fbi.gov “

-Heather Clark,  http://christiannews.net/2012/10/07/new-jersey-police-charge-six-christians-for-evangelizing-in-public-park/

Christians Arrested for Preaching; Police Vow to Target Churches Next

By Heather Clark, (Posted 09-15-12)

“A pastor and five members of his ministry team were arrested Friday night in New Orleans, Louisiana for preaching on Bourbon Street after sunset.

Pastor Troy Bohn of RAVEN Ministries (Restoring a Vision and Evangelizing Nations) and his ministry associates were taken into custody as they were sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ after 10:00 p.m. with the many men and women who had gathered on the infamous street.

Bourbon Street is located in the French Quarter, and is most known for its preponderance of bars and strip clubs. It is the center of night life in the city and also a tourist attraction during events like Mardis Gras and the Southern Decadence Festival, which are known for featuring lewd acts in the streets. Bohn called the area his “mission field” as he has been preaching in the city since 1996. He said that he engages in evangelistic activity in New Orleans at least three times a week.

“Jesus saw the multitudes and was moved with compassion for them. … [Similarly], he’s given us a love for the city and the people here,” Bohn stated. “Would I be willing to go through somebody tossing beer in my face or cursing me out to reach somebody? Yes.”

He outlined that last night was typical of most nights as the group began sharing Christ with the crowds.

“We had our cross set up, and one young man that works with us [named Logan] was sharing the Gospel,” he explained to Christian News Network. “Some of the girls were talking to others.”

Bohn said that as the preaching went forth, a sergeant with the New Orleans Police Department approached, and so Bohn asked him what was the matter.

“[He said,] there’s an ordinance against aggressive solicitation and you are under arrest,” he recounted. “They began to handcuff Logan and they said, ‘We’re going to cuff you guys so you can’t take off.’”

Bohn said that as the incident unfolded, he heard the sergeant give the order, “Be sure to find out what church they are with because we are going to start going after these churches.”

“It kind of chilled me,” he stated. “Are we the threat preaching Jesus? No, I kind of like to think that we are holding back the darkness.”

Bohn explained that one of the women that was arrested, named Kelsey, was saved during their outreach at Voodoo Fest last October, and now goes out with the group to share Christ with others.

“A young lady had come by [one night] who was working at one of the strip clubs,” he recounted. “Something spoke to her that said, ‘Get out of there,’ and then she saw the cross and gave her heart to Jesus that night. … She’s just a totally changed person.”

Pastor Troy Bohn prays with a man that he had been sharing the Gospel with on Bourbon Street.

“There’s a lot of Kelsey’s out there that are just looking for somebody in a dark place,” Bohn added. “So many of the girls are hooked on drugs, abusive situations and backyard prostitution.”

After the ministry team was placed under arrest, they were all marched down to the precinct house where they were held for one hour. Bohn and two others were charged with violating the ordinance; the others, including both women, were not processed.

As he was being held, Bohn confronted the sergeant about his comments, who stated that he was just following orders, although he did not agree with them. Bohn said that he asked the officer what he would do if the mere mention of Christ on the streets became illegal.

“I’m a Christian and I used to be a youth minister,” he remembered the sergeant responding. “And one day, I will have to cross that line.”

The sergeant then asked Bohn if the group planned on returning to Bourbon Street the following night. Bohn indicated that they were — ordinance or not.

“Well, I may be out there with you because I’m off tomorrow,” Bohn said that the sergeant replied.

The group was then released and returned home at approximately 2 a.m.

Last October, the City of New Orleans ratified the “Aggressive Solicitation” ordinance in an effort to not only curb the forceful solicitation of donations in the popular section of the French Quarter, but to also place limitations on political and religious speech. Former mayoral candidate Leo Watermeier recently advised that he has complained to officials that police are not enforcing the ordinance with consistency, noting that Christians are still gathering on the street after dark to speak out against homosexual practices. He believes that the law was crafted in part due to the significant number of religious “protesters” that are known to be on the street in the evening.

The section of the ordinance that Bohn and his team are being charged with violating states, “It shall be prohibited for any person or group of persons to loiter or congregate on Bourbon Street for the purpose of disseminating any social, political or religious message between the hours of sunset and sunrise.”

Evangelist Tony Miano, a 20-year law enforcement veteran who was once named “Deputy of the Year” by the City of Santa Clarita, California, says that the ordinance is problematic.

“I agree that this law is ridiculous,” he told Christian News Network. “I suspect that once rightly challenged, it will be overturned. … On its face it seems patently unconstitutional.”

Miano said that he believes the city is attempting to justify its actions by restricting free speech of any kind on Bourbon Street after dark.

“They think the language is such that as long as [they] silence everybody, then its okay to silence anybody,” he explained.

Miano stated that if he were currently serving as an officer and were faced with enforcing such a law, he would approach his superiors and attempt to find an alternate way to handle the matter.

Peter Fox, former 17-year Virginia deputy sheriff and patrol officer, who now serves as pastor of Safe Harbor Church and Community Center in Akutan, Alaska, agreed.

“We’ve all taken an oath to uphold the Constitution,” he said. “When you have someone who’s using freedom of speech, it’s our duty as law enforcement to let that speech take place.”

As previously reported, last month, a group of nine men not affiliated with Bohn’s ministry were also arrested for engaging in free speech on Bourbon Street after sundown. They had been speaking during the Southern Decadence Festival, a homosexual event that is marked by public drunkenness and open sex acts.

“I know it won’t end on Bourbon Street,” Bohn stated. “It’ll go to your street. It’ll go to my street.”

Penalties for violations of the “Aggressive Solicitation” ordinance include a $500 fine and a maximum of six months imprisonment.

Police were not available for comment at press time.

Editor’s Note: Those wishing to express concern may call the New Orleans FBI at 504-816-3000 and email Neworleans@ic.fbi.gov Complaints may also be lodged to the Department of Justice at 202-514-2151 and via email at tom.perez@usdoj.gov “

-By Heather Clark, http://christiannews.net/2012/09/15/christians-arrested-for-preaching-in-new-orleans-after-sunset-police-vow-to-target-churches-next/

Why We Lie

“We like to believe that a few bad apples spoil the virtuous bunch. But research shows that everyone cheats a little—right up to the point where they lose their sense of integrity.”

“Not too long ago, one of my students, named Peter, told me a story that captures rather nicely our society’s misguided efforts to deal with dishonesty. One day, Peter locked himself out of his house. After a spell, the locksmith pulled up in his truck and picked the lock in about a minute.

“I was amazed at how quickly and easily this guy was able to open the door,” Peter said. The locksmith told him that locks are on doors only to keep honest people honest. One percent of people will always be honest and never steal. Another 1% will always be dishonest and always try to pick your lock and steal your television; locks won’t do much to protect you from the hardened thieves, who can get into your house if they really want to. The purpose of locks, the locksmith said, is to protect you from the 98% of mostly honest people who might be tempted to try your door if it had no lock.

We tend to think that people are either honest or dishonest. In the age of Bernie Madoff and Mark McGwire, James Frey and John Edwards, we like to believe that most people are virtuous, but a few bad apples spoil the bunch. If this were true, society might easily remedy its problems with cheating and dishonesty. Human-resources departments could screen for cheaters when hiring. Dishonest financial advisers or building contractors could be flagged quickly and shunned. Cheaters in sports and other arenas would be easy to spot before they rose to the tops of their professions.

But that is not how dishonesty works. Over the past decade or so, my colleagues and I have taken a close look at why people cheat, using a variety of experiments and looking at a panoply of unique data sets—from insurance claims to employment histories to the treatment records of doctors and dentists. What we have found, in a nutshell: Everybody has the capacity to be dishonest, and almost everybody cheats—just by a little. Except for a few outliers at the top and bottom, the behavior of almost everyone is driven by two opposing motivations. On the one hand, we want to benefit from cheating and get as much money and glory as possible; on the other hand, we want to view ourselves as honest, honorable people. Sadly, it is this kind of small-scale mass cheating, not the high-profile cases, that is most corrosive to society….”

By Dan Ariely

Keep Reading: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304840904577422090013997320.html

Walking While Black

“I still remember the first time it happened. I was dropping off my 17-year-old cousin at a friend’s house in the wealthy, whiteMassachusettssuburb in which I lived and where my father is still a professor. We knocked on the wrong door. Minutes later, I was pulled over by the police. Slight, young and scared, I was interrogated about my activities, whether I was delivering drugs and what I was up to.

I remembered. My parents had sat me down months before when I got my license. It doesn’t matter that you are an honors student. It doesn’t matter that you’ve never been in trouble a day in your life. It doesn’t matter that you are leaving to start attending Stanford this fall. When most of these police officers see you, all they will see is a young black girl and that can be dangerous. So, when you are harassed, and you will be, try to stay calm. Try not to be afraid and call us as soon as you can. A black teenager’s right of passage.

Since then I, a minivan-driving soccer mom of three, have been stopped because I “looked suspicious.” My husband, a partner in aDallaslaw firm, has watched white women clutch their purses in the elevator out of fear of him because he “looked suspicious.” One of my best friends from college, a Wall Street banker, was stopped last year after leaving a midweek choir rehearsal at his church and arrested for “looking suspicious” in his own tinyWestchestersuburb, and was forced to spend the night in jail. And my 26-year-old brother-in-law, a Princeton honors graduate, an ordained minister and a Habitat for Humanity staff member living in Harlem, was stopped and questioned while walking home from work by four white police officers just a six weeks ago because they thought “he looked suspicious — like he was looking into a van.” Thank God none of us were shot out of “self-defense” since our brown skin made us look so “suspicious.”

I am scared. It is not a new fear, but one that has never gone away, and is heightened as I look at my three beautiful boys. These precious ones, for whom my husband and I have lovingly and willingly sacrificed much; with whom I have stayed up countless nights, wiping noses and reading bedtime stories; for whom I have visited dozens of schools and spent hours of research, trying to find the right school; in short, the sons for whom I have given my life could find themselves in danger through no fault of their own.

Now they are growing up from babies into fine young men. And that should be nothing but pure joy. Yet, in our society, that also means new danger for them. Not just from the random violence that can touch any life, but due to the particular violence that is visited upon black boys — especially as they begin to look like young men.

We have to prepare them for what they will encounter because of someone else’s perception of who they are, based on media images that portray black boys and men as predators, pimps and thugs — even though my sons have no personal reference for this. No, the black men in their lives are loving, responsible and hard-working fathers, uncles, teachers and friends, who model courage and conviction, values and virtue, and family and faith.

So, how could it not be the case that the tragic killing of Trayvon Martin inFloridalast month breaks my heart, troubles my soul and compels me to action. How can it be that, a month later, his shooter has not even been charged with a crime? How can it be that we live in a country that we fight to defend, but where the taking of our sons’ lives does not even warrant their killers’ arrest? How can it be that this child’s life was taken simply because he was walking while black? How can this be theAmericathat I love? Sadly, so little has changed.

My well-meaning white friends have no idea why so many African-Americans distrust or fear the police who have vowed to protect and serve. And they have no idea what it is like for black parents to have to prepare their children to deal with a public that often still judges them by the color of their skin. These friends are so committed to the idea that we live in a color-blind society that it is hard for them even to perceive, let alone to help change, the reality that impacts our lives and the lives of our children daily.

I learned in law school, and it is still true today, that it is the color of the victim, not the perpetrator, that is the one of the greatest determinants in criminal sentencing. The harshest penalties are given for crimes against white women and the least harsh, even for the same crimes, are meted out when the victim is “only” black.

So, I can’t make nice. I can’t pretend. The killing of Trayvon Martin could be the killing of any black boy going to the store for iced tea and candy, including my sons. The clock is ticking, and justice has not been served. The clock is ticking, and my sons will be black young men soon. And my husband and I have to prepare to have the same talk with them that my parents had with me. You are bright. You are funny and smart and sometimes silly. Your laughter and smiles fill up the room when you enter. And your warmth and your hugs fill my heart with more happiness and joy than any one person has a right to expect in a lifetime. You are capable of being anything you want to be in this life — even President of theUnited Statesone day. But when you walk out of the safety, protection and loving arms of our home, you are walking while black, and only our prayers can protect you then.”

-Frances Cudjoe Waters, 03-21-2012, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frances-cudjoe-waters/trayvon-martin-black-boys-mothers_b_1369971.html

Open Letter to the Star Tribune

“Dear Editor,

Are you aware of the fact that the same day the Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved the unconditional permission to terminate the lives of 24-week-old fetuses, the neonatology unit at Abbot Northwestern was caring for a 22-and-a-half week-old (500 gram) preemie with good chances of healthy life?

Now that is news and calls for profound reflection. Instead, your lead editorial the morning after (Feb. 26) glossed over this critical issue and endorsed abortion because it is “one of the most personal decisions a woman can make” and because “the abortion decision is undeniably sensitive.” This level of reflection is unworthy of major editorials in good newspapers.

I assume you mean by “personal decision” not: having deep personal implications; but: having deep personal implications for only one person, the mother.

But abortion is emphatically not a “personal” decision in that limited sense. There is another person, namely, the unborn child. If you deny this, you must give an account of what that little preemie is at Abbot Northwestern. Abortion is a decision about competing human rights: the right not to be pregnant and the right not to be killed.

I assume you approve of the Committee’s action. But I also assume you would not approve of the mother’s right to strangle the preemie at Abbot before its 25th week of life. If so you owe your readers an explanation of your simple endorsement of abortion because it is “personal” and “sensitive”.

In fact I challenge you to publish two photographs side by side: one of this “child” outside the womb and another of a “fetus” inside the womb both at 23 or 24 weeks, with a caption that says something like: “We at the Star Tribune regard the termination of the preemie as manslaughter and the termination of the fetus as the personal choice of the mother.”

I have read in your pages how you disdain the use of pictures because abortion is too complex for simplistic solutions. But I also remember how you approved the possible televising of an execution as one of the most effective ways of turning the heart of America against capital punishment (a similarly complex issue).

We both know that if America watched repeated termination of 23-week-old fetuses on television (or saw the procedure truthfully documented in your paper), the sentiment of our society would profoundly change. (The Alan Guttmacher Institute estimated over 9,000 abortions after 21 weeks in 1987.)

Words fail to describe the barbarity of an unconditional right to take the life of a human being as fully developed as 23 weeks. You could never successfully defend it in the public presence of the act itself.

You can do so only in the moral fog of phrases like: Abortion must be left to the woman because it is “undeniably sensitive”. This is not compelling. There are many sensitive situations where the state prescribes limits for how we express our feelings where others are concerned. And there is another concerned. If you are willing, you may meet this “other person” face to face in dozens of hospitals around the country.

Sincerely yours,

John Piper”

March 2, 1992, Complements of:

http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/taste-see-articles/open-letter-to-the-star-tribune

The Death of Postmodernism

“No obituary appeared in The New York Times. Television newscasts offered no tribute. But make no mistake: postmodernism is dead. Even those who could foresee this end could do nothing to prevent its suicide. Demise was built into its very DNA.

If you’re a church leader, you probably missed this news. Many of our publishers, culture gurus, and so-called futurists have been touting postmodernism as the next big thing, an unstoppable force. Adapt or die, they told us for much of the last decade, neglecting 2,000 years of history when the church built by Jesus Christ has withstood nearly every imaginable assault. But next month you can attend the funeral for postmodernism at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. That’s when the art exhibit “Postmodernism—Style and Subversion 1970-1990” will open….”

Read the full article here:

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2011/08/23/postmodernism-dead-but-not-gone/

Coming Back

After a several month modified internet fast, I’m back to posting. Hoping to record the preaching of the word; the readiness in season and out of season; the reproving, rebuking, exhorting,  and instruction that many faithful disciples of Christ have left for those of us who come behind.