Category Archives: News

In Ohio, faithful Jews and Christians can no longer serve as judges

Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign
Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign

For the past few decades, we have been able to see what happens when the Christian church decides that piety and feelings are more important than truth and evidence. Gradually, pastors decided to eliminate any discussion of apologetics as well as any integration between the Christian worldview and other areas of knowledge, e.g. – economics, politics, science. What were the consequences of this emotionalization of Christianity? Well, we basically handed the commanding heights of the culture to the secular left – including furnishing them with new soldiers from our own pious families.

Consider this article in The Stream about a recent decision by the Ohio Supreme Court.

It says:

The court’s Board of Professional Conduct was responding to a request submitted by several lawyers and judges, including C. Allen McConnell, a municipal court Judge whose predicament we addressedin “The ‘Soft’ Beginning of the Post-Obergefell Persecution.”

Judge McConnell said that as a Christian, he could not officiate at same-sex weddings. The Board of Professional Conduct of the Ohio Supreme Court said he must. In other words: Christians, check your faith at the bench or you may not serve as a judge in the state of Ohio.

It is helpful to go through the board’s opinion because it reveals how they will treat complaints filed against judges in the future. If a judge is the subject of a complaint filed by a lawyer, fellow judge or member of the public, the board reviews the complaint. They will apply the strained analysis of this opinion in determining whether to sanction, suspend or remove the judge from the bench.

In Ohio, judges are elected by the people, at every level, municipal, circuit court, appeals court or state Supreme Court. In many other states they are appointed. Where they are appointed there are growing efforts to weed out Christians. This advisory opinion presents a new way of removing Christians from the bench after the people have elected them to office.

In this seven-page opinion the Board claimed that there is a “self-evident principle that the personal, moral and religious beliefs of a judicial officer should never factor into the performance of any judicial duty.” In other words, Christians must check their faith at the bench if they serve as a judge in the state of Ohio.

So what we have now is a kind of “religious test” for judges. If you are a devout Christian or a devout Jew, then you can’t be a judge in Ohio. Only people reject the Judeo-Christian ethics that founded this country can be judges.

So, if we go back 50 years, what were the churches doing to stop this? Were they educating people in apologetics? Were they encouraging people to stay married? Were they educating people about feminism, the sexual revolution and no-fault divorce? Were they paying attention to cosmology and fine-tuning discoveries and making them known to the flock? Were they teaching people about how to think Christianly about economics, foreign policy, free enterprise, and so on? Were they steering young people towards areas that are related to apologetics? Were they steering young people towards careers that would place them in positions of influence? No. We had other priorities – making people feel good, and avoid controversy and conflict.

Brett Kunkle, who works for Stand to Reason, posted an interesting commentary that I tweeted earlier this week. He talks about grilling a bunch of Christian parents by pretending to be an atheist professor.

He writes this:

There was no surprise factor. The parents knew who I was and the Christian organization I represented. Indeed, I told the audience what I was about to do, turned my back on them for just a moment, and then turned round again in full atheist character. I jumped into my role and they jumped into theirs, attempting to defend the faith against atheist professor “Dr. Kunkle.” Sadly, they were ill-equipped to handle my challenges. I was glad to see their fighting spirit, but their responses were only vigorous in style, not substance. After half an hour, many parents were exasperated and I ended the role-play.

“How was that for you?” I asked. “Extremely frustrating,” was the immediate parental consensus.

“Why was it so frustrating?” I pressed. One mom blurted out, “Because I didn’t have any good answers.” As soon as the words left her mouth, tears began streaming down her cheeks. It was a painful recognition of her own inadequacy and she knew what was at stake. As I glanced around the room, other parents were nodding in agreement, eyes moist with their own tears.

Caught off guard, I began to tear up, too. I felt such compassion for these good-hearted yet unequipped parents. Quickly gathering my emotions, I looked that mom in the eyes and gently replied, “I know exactly how you feel. I felt that way, too, when Dr. David Lane was dismantling my Christianity in front of my peers, in my college philosophy class.” I told the parents my story and encouraged them to prepare themselves so, in turn, they can prepare their own kids.

Afterward, parent after parent thanked me. They expressed their deep appreciation for the wake-up call, despite the accompanying painful realizations. And the mom who burst into tears? She walked up and gave me a big hug. Then she shared how her 21-year-old son, a student at Duke University, had turned his back on Christ while at college. She was convicted to begin a dialogue with him, as well as with her second son, a junior at Village Academy. I encouraged her, shared some resources, and gave her my email address with an open invitation to contact me anytime.

Christian parents: we need to do what it takes so that OUR sons and daughters get on the Ohio Supreme Court. We need to be the ones making these decisions, not the people on the secular left. If you send your kid off to Duke University unprepared, you’re not doing a good job at parenting.

Obama administration retaliates against Kansas for defunding Planned Parenthood

Barack Obama speaking to Planned Parenthood
Barack Obama speaking to Planned Parenthood

Typical immature behavior from our petulant child-President.

This is from Life News.

Excerpt:

The Obama administration has punished the state of Kansas for cutting taxpayer funds for the Planned Parenthood abortion business by cutting its federal Medicaid funding by the same amount.The moves comes at the same time the abortion giant is facing intense criticism over its sales of aborted babies and their body parts.

In 2011, pro-life Governor Sam Brownback signed a bill signed into law a bill that would shift funding away from the Planned Parenthood abortion business and stops abortion funding in health insurance programs. The Kansas Senate passed the measure on a 28-10 vote and the state House followed suit with an 86-30 vote.

The measure has the state budget directing over $300,000  in Title 10 money to local full-service health clinics instead of Planed Parenthood and it places $300,000 into the Stan Clark grant-matched fund for pregnancy support and adoption counseling.

The funding cuts eventually resulted in the Planned Parenthood abortion business closing one of its centers.

Now, the Obama administration, in the wake of additional states cutting Planned Parenthood funding following the massive scandal, is going after one state that already cut tax-funding to the abortion company. According to an AP report: “The federal government reduced its Title X funding to the state by about the $370,000 annually in Title X money that two Planned Parenthood facilities in Wichita and Hays and an unaffiliated clinic in Dodge City had been receiving.”

While Kansas revoked taxpayer dollars for an abortion business, the Obama administration’s decision hurts women’s health and deprives them of legitimate medical and health care.

As AP reports, “Medical providers say that means low-income patients are finding it harder to access birth control, cancer screenings and other reproductive health care services.

“People have fewer places to go, and for those with limited means that may make utilizing those services even more difficult,” said J’Vonnah Maryman, director for public health at the Sedgwick County Health Department.

It’s not that the Democrats care about just allowing women to abort the children they conceive after freely choosing to have irresponsible sex. It’s that they want pro-life taxpayers to pay for it. If pro-life taxpayers don’t “share the blame” with the people having the abortions, then they need to be punished some other way. And if the punishment falls on other women seeking non-abortion health care, then that’s just too bad for them, Obama has decided.

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New study: belief in free will linked to ability to behave morally and to help others

J. Warner Wallace: God's Crime Scene
J. Warner Wallace: God’s Crime Scene

So, Monday night I finally finished “reading” God’s Crime Scene, the new book by J. Warner Wallace. I was listening to the audio book, because it is hard to speed along with the top down and read at the same time. For now, here’s my one line review: this is a book for people who like evidence – he has collected a ton of evidence on everything people should be puzzling about, and sometimes on surprising topics. Anyway, I wanted to post something about some studies he mentioned in Chapter 6, on free will. This is one of the places where he found evidence in a surprising area.

Wallace says that free will makes more sense if theism is true, because we have non-material souls that interact with our bodies, but are not causally determined by them. On atheism, only matter exists, and you can’t get free will (or consciousness) from matter. So atheists like Sam Harris and Alex Rosenberg, for example, deny free will, because they are materialists and atheists.

Anyway, here’s what he writes on p. 256:

In 2008, researchers from the University of Minnesota and the University of British Columbia conducted experiments highlighting the relationship between a belief in determinism and immoral behavior. They found students who were exposed to deterministic literature prior to taking a test were more likely to cheat on the test than students who were not exposed to literature advocating determinism. The researchers concluded those who deny free will are more inclined to believe their efforts to act morally are futile and are, therefore, less likely to do so.

In addition, a study conducted by researchers from Florida State University and the University of Kentucky found participants who were exposed to deterministic literature were more likely to act aggressively and less likely to be helpful toward others.” Even determinist Michael Gazzaniga conceded: “It seems that not only do we believe we control our actions, but it is good for everyone to believe it.”” The existence of free will is a common characteristic of our experience, and when we deny we have this sort of free agency, there are detrimental consequences.

I decided to look up these studies.

Here’s the abstract for first study: (2008)

Does moral behavior draw on a belief in free will? Two experiments examined whether inducing participants to believe that human behavior is predetermined would encourage cheating. In Experiment 1, participants read either text that encouraged a belief in determinism (i.e., that portrayed behavior as the consequence of environmental and genetic factors) or neutral text. Exposure to the deterministic message increased cheating on a task in which participants could passively allow a flawed computer program to reveal answers to mathematical problems that they had been instructed to solve themselves. Moreover, increased cheating behavior was mediated by decreased belief in free will. In Experiment 2, participants who read deterministic statements cheated by overpaying themselves for performance on a cognitive task; participants who read statements endorsing free will did not. These findings suggest that the debate over free will has societal, as well as scientific and theoretical, implications.

And the abstract for the second study: (2009)

Laypersons’ belief in free will may foster a sense of thoughtful reflection and willingness to exert energy, thereby promoting helpfulness and reducing aggression, and so disbelief in free will may make behavior more reliant on selfish, automatic impulses and therefore less socially desirable. Three studies tested the hypothesis that disbelief in free will would be linked with decreased helping and increased aggression. In Experiment 1, induced disbelief in free will reduced willingness to help others. Experiment 2 showed that chronic disbelief in free will was associated with reduced helping behavior. In Experiment 3, participants induced disbelief in free will caused participants to act more aggressively than others. Although the findings do not speak to the existence of free will, the current results suggest that disbelief in free will reduces helping and increases aggression.

So what to make of this?

If you’re an atheist, then your worldview is telling you that what you are doing now is the result of genetic programming and sensory inputs. You’re not conscious. You can’t reason. You make no free choices, including moral choices. Naturally, someone who believes this is going to struggle with prescriptive morality, including self-sacrificial care and concern for others. Their worldview undermines the rationality of the moral point of view. You might find atheists acting morally for their own purposes, but their worldview doesn’t rationally ground it. This is a big problem for people who can see objective morality woven into the universe – and themselves – because they have the awareness of objective right and wrong.

I think what atheists like to say is “I can be moral, too”. That’s not interesting. What is interesting is whether it is rational for you to be moral when things start to get a bit uncomfortable. When I look at the adultery of Dawkins, the polyamory of Carrier, the divorces of Shermer and Atkins, etc. I am not seeing anything that really wows me. They all deny free will of course, and think that trying to resist temptation is a waste of time. What difference would it make if they did, anyway – there’s no afterlife on atheism.

Wallace explains how the awareness of free will and moral choices caused him to turn away from atheism, in this blog post.

He writes:

As an atheist, I chose to cling to naturalism, in spite of the fact that I lived each day as though I was capable of using my mind to make moral choices based on more than my own opinion. In addition, I sought meaning and purpose beyond my own hedonistic preferences, as though meaning was to be discovered, rather than created. I called myself a naturalist while embracing three characteristics of reality that simply cannot be explained by naturalism. As a Christian, I’m now able to acknowledge the “grounding” for these features of reality. My philosophical worldview is consistent with my practical experience of the world.

I think atheists who want to be honest about their own experience of first-person consciousness, free will, moral realism, etc. will do well to just accept that theism rationally grounds all of these things, and so you should accept theism. Theism is real. If you like morality, and want to be a virtuous person, then you should accept theism.

How well are Democrat Party economic policies working out in Venezuela?

I think that when we discuss economics, we should try to identify where specific policies have been tried and then we should observe the consequences to the people who tried them. Often, in college and university classrooms, one view of economics is sold to students by professors as the “nice” view. The professors, many of whom have never worked in the private sector in their entire lives, tell the students that socialism is the “nice” point of view, and anyone who disagrees is “mean”. Is that the right approach to teaching young people what to believe about economics?

Are Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez very different?
Are Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez very different?

Let’s take a look at this article from Yahoo News about socialist dictator Hugo Chavez’s country of Venezuela, a country much admired by people on the socialist left.

It says:

All the lady wanted was some chicken. But in shortage-plagued Venezuela, she waited in line five hours, only to go home empty-handed.

“I got here at 5:30 am and came away with nothing! It is just not fair that you have to work so hard — and then put up with these lines,” said an exasperated Lileana Diaz, a 49-year-old receptionist at a hospital emergency room.
Venezuelans have been enduring shortages of the most basic goods, such as toilet paper, for more than a year.

In Caracas, a cottage industry has emerged with people who will wait in line for you — at a price.

But things are even worse outside the capital.

The problems are staggering here in Valencia, an industrial city west of the capital of this oil-rich country.

Valencia has big factories that produce food and other essentials. Still, the list of goods in short supply is long.

It includes coffee, cooking oil, cornmeal, soap, detergent, you name it.

Chicken is one of the most coveted.

Frustrated shoppers like Diaz are legion.

One tells the story of people who climbed over a fence to get a good place in line outside a store, prompting police to intervene and stop scuffles that broke out.

Another lady shopper shows off a nasty bruise on her right leg, thanks to a fight she got into as she tried to buy disposable diapers.

In recent weeks, the lines of people waiting hopefully outside supermarkets and stores have grown longer in cities away from the coast, such as Maracaibo, Puerto Ordaz and Cumana.

Venezuelan media have reported situations of nerves running very, very high and shoppers coming close to looting.

At times it has gotten that bad, in fact. In late January, one person died and dozens were arrested in the chaos of a looting outbreak at stores in the town of San Felix in the southern state of Bolivar.

[…]In another supermarket in Valencia, a line 50 meters (yards) long snakes away from the entrance.

“We call these ‘holding out hope lines,’ because once you get inside, there is nothing on the shelves,” said Oscar Oroste, a 53-year-old chef.

Oroste said that until recently, people would wait in line knowing what was available to buy. “Now, people are in line but do not even know what they will be sold.”

Venezuelans go from supermarket to supermarket, and store to store, clamoring for basic necessities which have prices regulated by the leftist government.

But some buy just to resell at a handsome profit, and economists say that is another source of the shortages.

Egne Casano, a 28-year-old homemaker, said things are a bit better in Caracas. “I went there not long ago and saw that there is a better supply,” she said.

[…]In the long lines, people digest their woes with a mix of humor, resignation and anger.

At another supermarket in Valencia, a whopping 600 people stood in line under a blazing sun to buy powdered milk.

Graciela Duran, a retiree, got a kilo of it after waiting for four hours.

“I was lucky today, Sometimes I come and there is nothing,” she said.

“Waiting in huge lines is what we do all day, every day,” said Duran, shielding herself from the sun with an umbrella.

A dozen police were stationed at the entrance of the store and around the parking lot through which the queue moved.

A truck drove by and the driver shouted out sarcastically: “Homeland, homeland, beloved homeland.”

That comes from a song that late president Hugo Chavez used to sing and is heard often on government-run media and at official events.

If you’re interested in real statistics on Venezuela, I recommend this recent article from The Economist, which is as far left as Venezuela is, and endorsed Barack Obama.

In socialism, the main purpose of policies is to make the leftist leaders at the top receive applause. They say things that will get them applause from the people. The policies are not intended to lift people out of poverty, otherwise Zimbabwe, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, etc. would all be rich and prosperous. The policies are intended to make the leaders feel good about themselves. “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor”. “If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan”. It’s not true, it’s just meant to make economically-illiterate people applaud.

So why do we keep voting for socialism, when we know it doesn’t work?

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Eighth Planned Parenthood video: StemExpress working with nearly 100 abortion clinics

Hillary Clinton and Planned Parenthood
Hillary Clinton and Planned Parenthood

Here’s the latest video from the Center for Medical Progress:

And the story from Anika Smith writing for The Stream:

Today the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released video of an undercover lunch conversation with the CEO of fetal-tissue distributor StemExpress. This is the video footage that StemExpress tried to stop CMP from releasing by going to the courts in California. The temporary restraining order StemExpress filed against the Center for Medical Progress was dissolved on Friday, making this video one of the most anticipated — and possibly one of the most damaging.

The video contains several admissions by Cate Dyer, StemExpress CEO, that StemExpress gets intact fetuses from the abortion clinics they work with shipped to their laboratory. From the transcript:

Dyer: Realistically, if we were to do an agreement with you, what do we think you could get?
Buyer: Volume-wise?
Dyer: On specifically liver tissue, because that’s such an area of demand for us.
Buyer: So liver, and what about intact specimens, just—?
Dyer: Oh, yeah, I mean if you had intact cases, which we’ve done a lot, we sometimes ship those back to our lab in its entirety.
Buyer: Okay.
Dyer: So that would also be great if you guys have those.
Buyer: The entire case.
Dyer: Yeah, yeah. Because it’s just, and the procurement for us, I mean it can go really sideways, depending on the facility, and then our samples are destroyed, and we’re like, “Really?” This was all so much work, and then just to have them be destroyed is awful. I mean we have researchers wait forever, and they want certain things, you know, perfectly done, so we started bringing them back even to manage it from a procurement expert standpoint.

Another interesting admission in the video is that the baby parts have to be checked for bacteria, because some of the clinics that supply the baby parts are not sanitary. Staph infection is mentioned specifically. Dyer also mentions that Planned Parenthood is profiting from the sale of unborn baby parts.

Another article from The Stream has a breakdown of the admissions in the 8th video.

Here’s one more:

3) Cate Dyer estimates StemExpress is working with nearly 100 abortion clinics nationwide, and still can’t get enough fetal liver:

Buyer: What would make your lab happy? What would make your lab happy?
SE: Another fifty livers a week.
Buyer: Ok, so you can handle that?
SE: Yea. Just so you guys know, on the collection side for us, we’re also — as you see Megan out there in the clinic, we’re working with almost triple digit number clinics. So, it’s a lot on volume a little more than what we do. It’s a lot. So, I don’t think you’ll hit a capacity with us anytime in the next ten years. I think you’ll feel solid with that standpoint. So, I think, with that you’ll feel like doing an agreement with us. It will be consistent growth and our growth has been consistent, and it’s going to continue to grow from that standpoint.

Nearly 100 abortion clinics – this is not an isolated problem, it’s systemic. We need a massive federal investigation to find out what is really going on.

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