Tag Archives: Tolerance

Gay marriage collides with freedom of conscience and religious liberty in the UK

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

It’s not just happening in Canada and the United States.

Here’s the UK Telegraph article.

It says:

The Christian bakers taken to court for refusing to make a cake promoting gay marriage say their experience is like living in a dystopian “science fiction” world where the state orders people to say things they do not believe.

[…]The family firm, based on Newtonabbey, near Belfast, found itself at the centre of an international storm in summer 2014 after cancelling an order for a cake featuring the Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie with the slogan “support gay marriage”.

[…]The McArthurs, who are evangelical Christians, said they could not in conscience make the cake because they believe same-sex marriage is against the teaching of the Bible.

[…]But Mr Lee, backed by the Equality Commission, a state-funded body which operates in Northern Ireland, said it amounted to discrimination under laws which ban refusing to provide services on grounds of religion, race or sexual orientation.

[…]Judge Isobel Brownlie ruled that refusing to produce a cake calling for the change did amount to discrimination against Mr Lee.

She said the McArthurs did not have the right to ‘manifest’ their belief in a commercial setting.

You don’t have a right to act like a Christian outside your church. When you are outside your church, you have to act like a progressive atheist. That’s “neutrality”. Progressive atheists have to act like progressive atheists in public, and  Bible-believing Christians have to act like progressive atheists in public. That’s “equality”, according to the taxpayer-funded “Equality Commission”. That’s their job, actually – converting the taxes collected by Christian taxpayers into witch-hunts against those same Christian taxpayers.

But look, there is more hope in the UK than there is here:

Speaking to The Telegraph, the couple said they had received hate mail and online abuse but had no regrets.

It came as Peter Tatchell, the veteran gay rights campaigner, emerged as a surprise supporter for the McArthurs’ appeal.

He said that, while he totally disagreed with their views on gay marriage, it is a basic “infringement of freedom” to force people to promote ideas to which they conscientiously object.

See? Now look here. I have no problem with gay people living how they want, signing contracts about wills and hospital visitation, and so on. But what I do object to is their desire to redefine marriage for all of us, so that people like me who have a different view of what marriage is have to be fired, pay fines and go to jail – all for disagreeing with their view. Well, excuse me, but I am allowed to have a different view.

At least one gay activist (Tatchell) has sense enough to be tolerant of those who disagree with him. That’s real tolerance, not like these secular leftist fascists in the UK government. I hope there are more like him.

Last point. How did the Christians feel about it?

Excerpt:

Speaking to The Telegraph, the couple said they had received hate mail and online abuse but had no regrets.

[…]Mr McArthur said he had been bewildered to find himself up against the courts and a state equality body for supporting what is currently the law.

[…]He insisted that, rather than discriminating against a gay customer, the family were themselves effectively suffering discrimination by being denied the right to refuse to endorse gay marriage.

“For us, I think it means you have to leave your Christianity at your house and in your church, once you go out the door in the morning you can forget about your Christian beliefs,” he said.

[…]but [our faith affects] every part of our lives.

“It is impossible for us not to bring it with us during the day.”

He added: “It is our human right to live according to those beliefs and we can’t do something that goes against those beliefs, we can’t be forced to do it.

“That is basically what the Equality Commission expect us to do, they expect us to go against our Christian beliefs despite how we feel.”

“It is like something out of a science fiction book: ‘you have to do this, there is no choice … you must do this, no matter what your conscience tells you, no matter how hard, never mind that you couldn’t do that, you have to do it we demand it of you’.”

So, UK taxpayers must pay taxes to the government that wants to silence and coerce them. I wonder that anyone who claims to be a Bible-believing Christian could support overreach by a bloated secular government. We need small, limited government where government is focused on its Constitutional responsibilities – not on using force to make us all think alike.

I don’t think that most people of other religions, except perhaps Orthodox Jews, really understand what is required of Bible-believing Christians. We are expected to honor God in everything we do, and acknowledge him in all of our thinking and decision-making, including decision-making about morality. Although most secular people think morality is illusory and that truth takes a backseat to hedonism, that is not the Christian view.

Jesus says this:

Matthew 10:32-33:

32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.

33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

You may not believe that, but don’t push your views on us, using the power of government. Christians are not like you. We are not here to have a good time on Earth. Our religion is not a community activity that is engaged in for social cohesion of feelings of comfort. Bible-believing Christians think that Christianity is true – objectively true. You’re not just trying to get us to try a different flavor of ice cream when you push your different morality on us – you’re trying to get us to live a lie. And your “feeling offended” by our disagreement is not justification for using the government to coerce us (which is fascism, by the way). If we Christians are right, the worst thing that a non-Christian person can do is to discourage us from pursuing God in Christ. You do not want to face God if you are the person who causes a Christian to turn away from God. That is the worst thing you can do. And yet so many people on the secular left do exactly that… in the public schools, in the university, in the court rooms, in the media, in Hollywood, etc. Stop it.

Are Campus Crusade and IVCF still Christian? Or are they just leftists?

Eagle eggs are protected, unborn babies are not
Eagle eggs are protected, unborn babies are not

The latest news is about IVCF’s rejection of the pro-life cause.

Here is an article from Touchstone magazine.

It says:

Happy New Year, Everyone! Urbana 2015 ended on January 1, 2016. Urbana is a triennial major Christian (mostly Evangelical) student missions conference in St. Louis, Missouri, sponsored by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (“InterVarsity”), primarily for college and graduate students.

[…][O]ne of the speakers prominently featured at Urbana was the “Rev.” Michelle Higgins. “Rev.” Higgins is the director of Faith for Justice, an advocacy group in St. Louis (she also serves as worship director at South City Church). Ms. Higgins is active in the #BlackLivesMatter movement in the St. Louis area.

[…]“Rev.” Higgins… described the pro-life movement as merely “a big spectacle.” In her remarks, she said:

We could end the adoption crisis tomorrow. But we’re too busy arguing to have abortion banned. We’re too busy arguing to defund Planned Parenthood. We are too busy withholding mercy from the living so that we might display a big spectacle of how much we want mercy to be shown to the unborn. Where is your mercy? What is your goal and only doing activism that is comfortable?

[…]Government statistics estimate that more than 16 million black babies have been murdered in the womb since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision of 1973, a number quite a bit larger than the number of unarmed black men killed by police.

Not to mention the racist origins of Planned Parenthood, which was born out of the eugenics movement. Keep in mind that Christians are supposed to speak out against premarital sex, and for taking in unwanted children – that’s what the early church did. But at IVCF, we have women telling us that Planned Parenthood’s views on premarital sex and abortion are not to be challenged. The Bible is wrong, and Planned Parenthood is right. Because feelings.

Its often the case that the pro-abortion activists like to slander pro-lifers for not caring about women and not caring about children after they are born. But it’s not true of course, and you can read the reasons why in this Public Discourse post.

Campus Crusade, too

Previously, I wrote about how conservative professor Mike Adams is annoyed with Campus Crusade, let’s see why.

He wrote his first article to complain that campus clubs like Crusade don’t take stands on obvious moral issues like abortion.

He wrote:

Several years ago, a good friend of mine named Dave Sterrett gave a pro-life speech to a Campus Crusade chapter at a state university in North Texas. He was invited to speak by a student. During the middle of his speech, he was arguing that the unborn are fully human and have souls by quoting from the Gospel of Luke. His talk was clearly Biblical and not political in nature.

Nonetheless, when the Campus Crusade director arrived, he rudely shut the speech down.

The Campus Crusade director told Dave to come out in the hall after he shut down his talk. The Crusade leader then began to yell at Dave and told him, “I don’t know what your deal is talking about this issue. Get your books and get out of here.” He went even further calling the headquarters of Crusade, which then demanded an apology from Sterrett.

Shortly after I wrote about the incident, several members of Campus Crusade contacted me – but not to apologize for their mistreatment of Dave. They emailed to admonish me for writing about the incident – even though I did not call out the university or the chapter director by name. The fallout from the incident was revealing. It shows how far some campus ministries will go to avoid controversy – and that they often consider themselves to be above reproach.

The original incident was also revealing. The censored speech was not political so the problem cannot be that Campus Crusade is not a “politically-based” organization. The speech was morally and Biblically based. Does the rejection of the speech mean that Campus Crusade is not a “morally-based” organization? Or does it mean they are not a “Biblically-based” organization?

Of course it doesn’t. The incident merely shows that Campus Crusade has become a “comfort-based” organization. In other words, an over-riding priority is avoiding topics that might make people feel uncomfortable.

Here is the second article. He writes about how Crusade made a deal to remove Christian elements from a gathering in order to get government funding, then writes about this lady who stood up for free speech:

Subsequently, at the very school where Campus Crusade traded its religious freedom for student government funding, there was a lawsuit over a campus speech code. One of the plaintiffs was a fine Christian woman who fought to overturn a speech code that was being used to suppress conservative speech and which also posed a grave threat to religious organizations.

After she sued, homosexual groups erupted in anger – falsely claiming that she was defending “hate speech” by opposing the speech code. They defamed her, physically threatened her, and verbally abused her –all in the name of tolerance and diversity.

This time, Campus Crusade did not remain neutral. They weighed in. But, unbelievably, they weighed in against the Christian woman and in favor of those defending the speech codes.

This is the part I really think is important:

Right after these unfortunate events unfolded I became embroiled in my own First Amendment lawsuit. In part, because I stood in unity with Christians and defended them against illegal policies, I was denied a promotion at my school.

With the support of numerous Christian organizations, I eventually won the seven-year legal battle. Two Christian legal firms paid my legal bills and countless other Christian ministry and policy groups publicly backed me. But one Christian organization remained conspicuously silent. Of course, I am speaking of… the Crusade formerly named after Christ.

For seven long years I heard not a single word of public support from a single member of Campus Crusade. When I won the case, I was deluged with calls and emails and handwritten letters from Christian leaders all across America.

But I heard not a word from Campus Crusade for months in the wake of the verdict.

Then, in mid-July, the final terms of my settlement were reached. It was reported in the local news that I would get a raise and a check for back pay while may attorneys would get a sum of $615,000. On August 1, 2014, I received the check from the State of North Carolina. On August 2, just 24 hours later, one of the local directors for Campus Crusade wrote me the following:

“Hey Mike. I hope your summer is going well. Would you be interested in having coffee with me next week so I could talk to you about joining my ministry support team?”

After I received that audacious email, I searched through my archives and read every single email correspondence I had received from that director over the course of seven years. There was no offer of prayer support in any of those emails. Nor was there any mention of the legal ordeal I was going through. He simply ignored the suit until the terms of the settlement became public.

In other words, your ministry and its leaders were never interested in unity. They never offered support in public or even in private. They only sought to profit financially from those who win battles Campus Crusade chooses to avoid.

The reason I am linking to this is because I experienced this kind of behavior from IVCF and Campus Crusade as an undergraduate and later as a graduate student. They opposed the introduction of apologetics at every point, and they were both anxious to embrace the secular left, especially radical feminism, global warming alarmism, gay rights and socialism. It was depressing. If I were a student today, I’d head straight for the College Republicans and Ratio Christi if I wanted to get anything useful done. In fact, I started this blog partly as a way of discussing issues from a Christian point of view because I could not get anything done in IVCF and Campus Crusade.

I would not give money to IVCF or Crusade or any Christian missionary / relief organization  right now. I would only give to individual chapters of Ratio Christi, and then only for specific lectures or debates. You have to watch your money like a hawk, because a lot of these leftist Christian do-gooder organizations have no Christian worldview based in the Bible.

Pro-gay web site tells real story of the Matthew Shepard murder

I have a key that will unlock a puzzling mystery
I have a key that will unlock a puzzling mystery

A fascinating article from the pro-gay The Advocate.

Excerpt:

What if nearly everything you thought you knew about Matthew Shepard’s murder was wrong? What if our most fiercely held convictions about the circumstances of that fatal night of October 6, 1998, have obscured other, more critical, aspects of the case? How do people sold on one version of history react to being told that facts are slippery — that thinking of Shepard’s murder as a hate crime does not mean it was a hate crime? And how does it color our understanding of such a crime if the perpetrator and victim not only knew each other but also had sex together, bought drugs from one another, and partied together?

None of this is idle speculation; it’s the fruit of years of dogged investigation by journalist Stephen Jimenez, himself gay. In the course of his reporting, Jimenez interviewed over 100 subjects, including friends of Shepard and of his convicted killers, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, as well as the killers themselves (though by the book’s end you may have more questions than answers about the extent of Henderson’s complicity).  In the process, he amassed enough anecdotal evidence to build a persuasive case that Shepard’s sexuality was, if not incidental, certainly less central than popular consensus has lead us to believe.

And here are the details:

But in what circumstances does someone slam a seven-inch gun barrel into their victim’s head so violently as to crush his brain stem? That’s not just flipping out, that’s psychotic — literally psychotic, to anyone familiar with the long-term effects of methamphetamine. In court, both the prosecutor and the plaintiffs had compelling reasons to ignore this thread, but for Jimenez it is the central context for understanding not only the brutality of the crime but the milieu in which both Shepard and McKinney lived and operated.

By several accounts, McKinney had been on a meth bender for five days prior to the murder, and spent much of October 6 trying to find more drugs. By the evening he was so wound up that he attacked three other men in addition to Shepard. Even Cal Rerucha, the prosecutor who had pushed for the death sentence for McKinney and Henderson, would later concede on ABC’s 20/20 that “it was a murder that was driven by drugs.”
No one was talking much about meth abuse in 1998, though it was rapidly establishing itself in small-town America, as well as in metropolitan gay clubs, where it would leave a catastrophic legacy. In Wyoming in the late 1990s, eighth graders were using meth at a higher rate than 12th graders nationwide. It’s hardly surprising to learn from Jimenez that Shepard was also a routine drug user, and — according to some of his friends — an experienced dealer. (Although there is no real evidence for supposing that Shepard was using drugs himself on the night of his murder).

Despite the many interviews, Jimenez does not entirely resolve the true nature of McKinney’s relationship to Shepard, partly because of his unreliable chief witness. McKinney presents himself as a “straight hustler” turning tricks for money or drugs, but others characterize him as bisexual. A former lover of Shepard’s confirms that Shepard and McKinney had sex while doing drugs in the back of a limo owned by a shady Laramie figure, Doc O’Connor. Another subject, Elaine Baker, tells Jimenez that Shepard and McKinney were friends who had been in sexual threesome with O’Connor. A manager of a gay bar in Denver recalls seeing photos of McKinney and Henderson in the papers and recognizing them as patrons of his bar. He recounts his shock at realizing “these guys who killed that kid came from inside our own community.”

Not everyone is interested in hearing these alternative theories. When 20/20 engaged Jimenez to work on a segment revisiting the case in 2004, GLAAD bridled at what the organization saw as an attempt to undermine the notion that anti-gay bias was a factor; Moises Kaufman, the director and co-writer of The Laramie Project, denounced it as “terrible journalism,” though the segment went on to win an award from the Writers Guild of America for best news analysis of the year.

There are valuable reasons for telling certain stories in a certain way at pivotal times, but that doesn’t mean we have to hold on to them once they’ve outlived their usefulness. In his book, Flagrant Conduct, Dale Carpenter, a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, similarly unpicks the notorious case of Lawrence v. Texas, in which the arrest of two men for having sex in their own bedroom became a vehicle for affirming the right of gay couples to have consensual sex in private. Except that the two men were not having sex, and were not even a couple. Yet this non-story, carefully edited and taken all the way to the Supreme Court, changed America.

In different ways, the Shepard story we’ve come to embrace was just as necessary for shaping the history of gay rights as Lawrence v. Texas; it galvanized a generation of LGBT youth and stung lawmakers into action. President Obama, who signed the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, named for Shepard and James Byrd Jr., into law on October 28, 2009, credited Judy Shepard for making him “passionate” about LGBT equality.

I think that it’s good that The Advocate posted this correction to the story. I admire them for being willing to tell the truth about the story. However, note that the author is not sorry that a fake version of the case was used to push the gay agenda forward. Now what if the same willingness to twist the truth was shared by the gay activists who are redefining the issues in the culture as a whole? What if the people who are pushing the gay agenda in schools, in the media, in the workplace, and elsewhere, had the same willingness to twist the truth in order to advance their cause?

It’s also helpful to understand the media bias angle of this story. Are they really interested in telling the truth? Or is there something else going on there? How much of a story was the attack on the Family Research Council building by a gun-wielding gay activist compared to the Matthew Shepard story? How much of a story is the persecution of Christians in the Middle East compared to the Matthew Shepard story? How much of a story is the loss of basic human rights like free speech and religious liberty here at home when compared to the Matthew Shepard story?

Breitbart has more about what really happened to Matthew Shepard.

Self-refuting statements defined and some common examples

A conflict of worldviews
A conflict of worldviews

A fine article by Aaron, who writes at Apologetics Junkie.

Excerpt:

A self-defeating (or self-refuting) statement is one that fails to meet its own standard. In other words, it is a statement that cannot live up to its own criteria. Imagine if I were to say,

I cannot speak a word in English.

You intuitively see a problem here. I told you in English that I cannot speak a word in English. This statement is self-refuting. It does not meet its own standard or criteria. It self-destructs.

The important thing to remember with self-defeating statements is that they are necessarily false. In other words, there is no possible way for them to be true. This is because they violate a very fundamental law of logic, the law of non-contradiction. This law states that A and non-A cannot both be true at the same time and in the same sense. For example, it is not possible for God to exist and not exist at the same time and in the same sense. This would violate the law of non-contradiction. So if I were to say, “God told me He doesn’t exist” you would see intuitively the obvious self-refuting nature of this statement.

Aaron goes on to explain how to deal with self-refuting statements in the article.

Here are 20 examples of self-refutation, just to encourage you to click through and read it:

1. There is no truth.

2. You can’t know truth.

3. No one has the truth.

4. All truth is relative.

5. It’s true for you but not for me.

6. There are no absolutes.

7. No one can know any truth about religion.

8. You can’t know anything for sure.

9. You should doubt everything.

10. Only science can give us truth.

11. You can only know truth through experience.

12. All truth depends on your perspective.

13. You shouldn’t judge.

14. You shouldn’t force your morality on people.

15. You should live and let live.

16. God doesn’t take sides.

17. You shouldn’t try to convert people.

18. That’s just your view.

19. You should be tolerant of all views.

20. It is arrogant to claim to have the truth.

Aaron explains how to respond to each of those! Read them all – it’s important to know, because you hear these all the time.

Add yours in the comments!

Tad Hopp accumulates six figures of college debt, wants taxpayer bailout

Brain vs Heart, from: theawkwardyeti.com
Brain vs Heart, from: theawkwardyeti.com

Here’s an interesting editorial from a “Christian” left blog. (H/T Acton Institute via Lindsay)

The author, Tad Hopp is graduating a PCUSA seminary – an extremely liberal, left-wing denomination.

He writes:

I graduated college in 2007.

[…] I majored in English, not exactly what most people consider a ‘marketable’ or ‘practical’ degree…

[…]I went to a somewhat expensive private school…

[…]I did what many students in their last year of high school do: I went to the school where I felt I was being called…

[…]I do not regret my four years at my undergraduate institution one bit.

[….]When I graduated college, I owed nearly $50,000 in student loan debt and was unemployed for almost six months before I finally found a low-paying office job.

[…]“Can’t find a job? Well, you should have majored in something more ‘practical’, like economics or business or medicine.” Yeah, that would be great…if those were the subjects where my skills and passions lie. They’re not.

[…]I felt called to go to seminary.

[…]I will graduate seminary with close to six figures worth of student loan debt.

Let’s take stock of what he’s said so far:

  • he studied English, a language that he already spoke, which has one of the lowest employment rates
  • he was warned by people who knew something about earning and saving money not to study English
  • he went to a school he couldn’t afford to go to, and he graduated with $50,000 in debt
  • he went to seminary, another subject that doesn’t pay, and added another $50,000 or so of debt
  • he says that he doesn’t have to study subjects that lead to a career because he isn’t “passionate” about them
  • he “followed his heart” by going to the school that he had mystical, emotional, intuitions about = “calling”

My advice to Tad at this point would be for him to take the Bible seriously when it says this:

2 Thessalonians 3:10:

10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.

And 1 Timothy 5:8:

8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Now, for a Bible-believing Christian, these are inerrant and cannot be denied. But we have to go outside the Bible and learn how the world really works in order to figure out how to achieve those stated goals. Why should anyone hire us? What is working really about?

But even before looking at economics, Tad needs to push away all his friends who tell him to “follow his heart” and stick close by his friends who understand economics, who have jobs already, who have savings already, and so on. Don’t look for advice from dreamers, you look to advice from doers – people who can read the times, run the numbers and who have demonstrated the ability to create plans that work to achieve results that please God. When it comes to planning about the future, look at the past accomplishments. Weaving a happy narrative sounds nice, but judge future predictions based on past performance.

I would recommend that Tad read an economist like Thomas Sowell, especially on work, prices, etc., and realize that work means providing value to others. It then follows that he is obligated by the Bible to NOT “follow his heart”, but to instead do something that offers value to his fellow man. Prices are a way of determining what is most valued by your fellow man. And we know what careers have the highest starting salaries and mid-career salaries:

Starting and Mid-Career salaries by profession (click for larger image)
Starting and Mid-Career salaries by profession (click for larger image)

(Source)

Keep in mind that you also have to check to see what the unemployment rate for these fields is, but I think they are all very much in demand, hence the salaries.

I don’t mind if a woman studies English and seminary, but Tad is a man – he has the Biblical obligation to be the primary provider, as we saw in the verses above.

More Tad:

Is the PCUSA doing anything to address this crisis?

[…]What has our government done to address this issue?

[…]I, like so many in my generation, voted for Obama…

[…]It seems to me that we’ve bought into the lie that student loan debt is brought on by the individual person…

[…]You know what I think might stimulate the economy? Automatically cancelling every single outstanding student loan!

[…]If we can spend $640 billion dollars on defense spending, why can’t we find the money to better support public education?

It’s important to understand that an English degree and a seminary degree do not prepare a person to make statements on economics and government. Tad has never studied these things, has no experience in them. He cannot state what the impact of his suggestions would be to all groups, i.e. – he cannot answer “and then what happens?” for every impacted group. Thinking economically is a valuable skill, but as Tad’s personal life shows, it’s not an area he is really knowledgeable about. But he wants to shift money from defense spending (which he knows nothing about) so that he can have a personal bailout. I personally doubt that taxpayers would be better served by paying for his English degree and liberal seminary degree than they would be if a peace-loving democracy could project power abroad to deter aggression from countries like North Korea, Iran, Russia, China and Syria.

Here is the solution to Tad’s problems:

  • we need to put Tad to work in a minimum wage job and confiscate his entire salary, until his loans are paid off.
  • we need to put Tad on a watch list such that he is never allowed to borrow money from anyone ever again.
  • once Tad’s loans are paid off, he should be taxed on his future earnings at the top tax rate for the rest of his life. The money we tax from him can fund education – that’s what he said he wanted.
  • Tad and his household should all be barred from collecting any money for unemployment, welfare or other social programs.

That’s the only bailout Tad should get. It would actually be in his best interest that he encounter real life as quickly as possible, because the longer he waits, the harder it’s going to be for him to recover to independence. He needs to stop his crazy retreat from adult responsibilities, and start working and saving now. I would say that at this point, marriage and parenting is out of the question for him (in another post, he comes out as gay, so that also complicates things). And he can thank the politics of the secular left for marriage and family being less affordable now, thanks to laws like Obamacare, which raised the cost of health care by thousands of dollars. I found it interesting that he actually did work at some point but he mocked the job as a “dead-end job” – as if it was beneath him.

I know some of you will be thinking, “but God called him things and so of course God is going to bail him out with $100,000 for his student loans”. But the thing is, God doesn’t usually work like that. First, I don’t accept that he is a Christian at all. Second, just because you have feelings that your plan will work, that isn’t a calling. The truth is that you certainly can assess the feasibility of things that you feel “called” to do, and if the plan looks crazy, then don’t do it. If you find yourself at odds with wise, practical people when explaining your calling to them, then you’re probably doing it wrong.