Consider that state law may force citizens to participate in gay marriage ceremonies. According to NBC News, the owner of an Oregon bakery must answer to the government why he refused to make a cake for a gay couple, after a complaint was filed against him to the state justice department. “I believe that marriage is a religious institution ordained by God,” said Aaron Klein, speaking to the media. “A man should leave his mother and father and cling to his wife … that to me is the beginning of marriage.” If the women prevail, Ortiz may have to set aside his constitutionally protected religious beliefs, and participate in a gay ceremony.
According to the Pew Research Center, one in five Americans is religiously unaffiliated. Popularly called “nones,” how is the church to reach them? I preached on this topic at my church this Sunday. The sermon can be found here: “The Rise of the ‘Nones’”. The Pew Research Center’s report can be found here.
Reports NBC News: “When [the men] became blind as well as deaf… they would not have been able to lead autonomous lives, and that with only a sense of touch they had no prospects of a future” (emphasis mine).
What sort of world are we engineering when such decisions can be made and sanctioned by a lawful government? Read the rest of the story –
Faced with blindness, deaf twins choose euthanasia
By Annabel Roberts, Correspondent, NBC News
A pair of adult identical twins in Belgium have been legally killed at their request, the men’s doctor told journalists.
The 45-years-old men, who were born deaf, spent their lives side-by-side — growing up together and then, as adults, sharing an apartment and working as cobblers together, according to Belgian media reports.
The men’s names have not been released but photographs of the identical twins from the Antwerp region have been made available to some media outlets.
Their doctor, David Dufour, told Belgium’s RTL Television over the weekend that the two men had been losing their eyesight for several years and soon would have been completely blind. The prospect of being blind as well as deaf was unbearable to them, he said.
“They were fully aware of their decision,” Dufour said.
After winning approval from the necessary authorities, the two men received lethal injections at a Belgian hospital in December.
Dufour described their last moments: “They had a last cup of coffee and everything was fine. They said goodbye to their parents and brother and all was serene. They waved — and that was that.”
From the BBC: Mass Paris rally against gay marriage in France
Hundreds of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Paris over plans to give gay couples in France the right to marry and adopt children.
Three big marches converged on the Champs de Mars, a large park next to the Eiffel Tower.
France’s Socialist government is planning to change the law this year.
But the demonstrators, backed by the Catholic Church and the right-wing opposition, argue it would undermine an essential building block of society.
The organisers put the number of marchers at 800,000, with demonstrators pouring into Paris by train and bus, carrying placards that read, “We don’t want your law, Francois” and “Don’t touch my civil code”.
Police said the figure was closer to 340,000 and one government minister said the turnout was lower than the organisers had predicted. A similar march in November attracted around 100,000 people.
The “Demo for all” event was being led by a charismatic comedian known as Frigide Barjot, who tweeted that the “crowd is immense” and told French TV that gay marriage “makes no sense” because a child should be born to a man and woman.
Having traveled to Central African Republic, and having made many friends there, I am gladdened by news that rebels have signed a formal ceasefire agreement with the government.
A headline at the Huffington Post reads, “Louie Giglio, Atlanta Pastor Giving Benediction At Inauguration, Under Fire For Anti-Gay Sermon” (link). Subsequently, NBC News announces that the administration has withdrawn Giglio from the program, purportedly “over anti-gay remarks” (link), noting further that the popular pastor is known for “homophobic preaching.”
Based on these reports, one is left believing that Giglio and Fred Phelps are confederates! — and I do not believe I am overstating the issue.
Strictly speaking, the prefix “anti” means against, but in today’s society the prefix connotes much more. To be “anti” anything is to be in the wrong party, to hold the wrong views, to avow morally inferior values. Thus, “anti-gay” has become a label of derision.
The administration and inaugural committee, apparently aware of this distinction, has issued a carefully crafted statement seemingly so as not to utterly alienate evangelicals. “We were not aware of Pastor Giglio’s past comments at the time of his selection and they don’t reflect our desire to celebrate the strength and diversity of our country at this Inaugural,” said Addie Whisenant, a spokesperson for the committee. “As we now work to select someone to deliver the benediction, we will ensure their beliefs reflect this administration’s vision of inclusion and acceptance for all Americans.”
Necessarily, however, the administration must exclude evangelicals.
Evangelicals need not apply
“Anti-gay” is a new expression — it was not in currency before the 1990s, and the media did not call pastors “homophobes” for preaching the biblical values. That liberals can see no distinction between Westboro Baptist Church and evangelical Christians is astonishing, and deliberate. By equating evangelicals to Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist Church, the media can marginalize Christianity.
The distinction between Westboro Baptist Church and religious conservatives should be apparent, but to some it is not. Perhaps a comparison of remarks would be helpful. Consider, for example, how Westboro interprets the Bible. In the FAQ section of its website, the group offers this response to the question, “Why do you hate?” –
Because the Bible preaches hate. For every one verse about God’s mercy, love, compassion, etc., there are two verses about His vengeance, hatred, wrath, etc. The maudlin, kissy-pooh, feel-good, touchy-feely preachers of today’s society are damning this nation and this world to hell. … What you need to hear is a little fire and brimstone preaching, like Jesus preached. What you don’t need to hear is that you’re okay just the way you are, and God accepts everyone without exception. Don’t listen to the money-grubbing heretic who stands at the front of your church. Listen to God. If you are one of His elect, you’ll hear (link).
And what did Pastor Louie Giglio say that constituted — in the mind of the media — “anti-gay” and “homophobic” remarks?
The “only way out of a homosexual lifestyle … is through the healing power of Jesus,” he says. “We’ve got to say to the homosexuals, the same thing that I say to you and that you would say to me … it’s not easy to change, but it is possible to change” (source: Huffington Post).
(Note: Readers can listen to the entire sermon here.)
If Giglio’s statement is homophobic, hateful, or anti-gay, then so too is the Bible, and so too are the majority of Americans who are religious. But Giglio’s statement is not hateful or anti-”anything.” It is a statement of truth, avowing morality, honor, and dignity. To deride Giglio as a homophobe is to deny the ultimate righteousness of the loving God whom he preaches, and exclusion of such men will only harm America.
NBC News broadcast:
That the fate of the nation was at stake in 1860 is no exaggeration. Five candidates from five parties ran for president of the United States, and victory of one nearly led to the defeat of all. Douglas R. Egerton’s Year of Meteors offers a compelling account of the presidential campaign.
In early 1860, pundits across America confidently predicted the election of Illinois senator Stephen A. Douglas in the coming presidential race. Douglas, after all, led the only party that bridged North and South. But the Democrats would split over the issue ofslavery, leading Southerners in the party to run their own presidential slate. This opened the door for the upstart Republicans, exclusively Northern, to steal the Oval Office. Dark horse Abraham Lincoln, not the first choice even of his own party, won the presidency with a record-low 39.8 percent of the popular vote.
Acclaimed scholar Douglas R. Egerton chronicles the contest with a historian’s keen insight and a veteran political reporter’s eye for detail. Vividly, Egerton re-creates the cascade of unforeseen events that confounded political bosses, set North and South on the road to disunion, and put not Stephen Douglas, but his greatest rival, in the White House.
We see Lincoln and his team outmaneuvering more prominent Republicans, like New York’s grandiose William Seward, while Democratic conventions collapse in confusion. And we see the gifted, flawed Douglas marking his finest hour in defeat, as he strives, and fails, to save the Union. Year of Meteors delivers a teeming cast of characters, minor and major, and a breakneck narrative of this most momentous year in American history.