Duke University bans Christian club for adhering to Christian principles

UVA students following their leftist masters
UVA students following their leftist masters

Duke University… I remember blogging about them before. The first time, they falsely accused members of their lacrosse team of rape. The second time, a gay Duke University employee was arrested for selling his adopted 5-year-old to other gay men for sex. So, not a very good university. And they’re going to be an even worse university after banning Christian clubs on campus.

Here’s the story from The College Fix:

The Christian student organization Young Life excludes two categories from leadership: “persons who engage in sexual misconduct or who practice a homosexual lifestyle.”

The latter is apparently a ban on practicing homosexuals, not Christians who identify as gay and believe their faith requires them to remain celibate.

The Duke Student Government Senate didn’t see a distinction, and used the organization’s orthodox Christian beliefs on sexuality to deny official recognition to a proposed Young Life chapter last week.

This isn’t the first time that something like this has happened to Christians on secular university campuses. Before Duke University, there was Tufts University and Vanderbilt University.

Tufts University:

Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, is the latest higher education facility to crack down on student-led religious groups. In a recent move, the school’s student government banned the Tufts Christian Fellowship (TCF), an evangelical organization. The decision was made because TCF, which is the campus’ chapter of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA, requires that those serving in leadership positions must embrace “basic biblical truths of Christianity.”

The group’s demand that leaders be Bible-believing Christians was found to be in violation of Tuft’s non-discrimination policy. Last month, the Judiciary recommended that the belief requirement be moved from the constitution’s bylaws to its mission statement; while the bylaws are legally-binding, the mission statement is not. TCF didn’t comply and, now, the group is officially unrecognized by the university.

Vanderbilt University:

Vanderbilt University has decided that Christian student groups that hold traditional Christian religious views are not welcome on campus. They will no longer be recognized as valid student organizations. Vanderbilt’s reason is that such groups require that their leaders be Christian—that is, that their leaders embrace certain core principles of Christianity and try to live according to these principles. In Vanderbilt’s view, religious beliefs and standards “discriminate” against those students who do not subscribe to them. Therefore, student religious groups with religious beliefs and standards are banned.

The situation would be unbelievable—were it not true. The issue came to a head this year when a student group at Vanderbilt Law School, the Christian Legal Society, submitted its “constitution” to the university. The constitution provided that the group’s leaders should believe in the Bible and in Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior; that they should be willing to lead members in worship, prayer, and Bible study; and that they should “strive to exemplify Christ-like qualities.” Vanderbilt’s Director of Religious Life, Reverend Gretchen Person, replied that such views were forbidden. Vanderbilt’s policies “do not allow” religious groups to have such an “expectation/qualification of officers,” she wrote. Last week, the administration officially declared the policy that Vanderbilt will exclude student religious groups that “impose faith-based or belief-based requirements for membership or leadership.”

It’s probably a good idea for Christian parents to do a thorough evaluation of universities before sending your children there. Not every university beliefs in basic human rights like free speech or freedom of association or freedom of religion. But they all believe in separating you from your money, which is why you need to be careful. By the way, I don’t recommend joining Young Life, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, Campus Crusade / CRU. The only good Christian club on campus is Ratio Christi. Make sure the university you pick has a chapter.

Two reasons why Christians and conservatives should not donate to United Way

Well, it’s that time of year again, when corporations bully their employees into donating to the United Way. This week, I’ve already been bullied by Human Resources, my manager, his manager, and several members of the United Way partner team inside the company. I’ve been ordered to fill out an online pledge form and ordered to attend the United Way events.

So, I thought it might be a good idea to take my revenge on my employer by urging all Bible-believing Christians to avoid donating to the United Way.  Please share this post if you agree with it!

Let’s start with abortion. The United Way gives TONS of money to fund abortion providers.

In 2008, United Way affiliates send $1.9 million to Planned Parenthood:

The national United Way does fund Planned Parenthood; their website states:

United Way funded programs through Planned Parenthood include community health maintenance, e.g. communicable disease prevention; medical care service; family planning; health education; public awareness services; and family preservation and strengthening services, e.g. counseling and family life education.

Nationally in 2008, local United Ways distributed an estimated $1.9 million to Planned Parenthood agencies.

Any finances being donated to Planned Parenthood (even if not specifically for abortion services) will free up more of their money to be used toward abortion services.

In 2015, United Way sent $3 million to Planned Parenthood:

Last year, on the heels of shocking videos showing the Planned Parenthood abortion business selling the body parts of aborted babies, a new expose’ from a group that monitors corporations that finance the abortion giant reveals the United Way is a major donor. That expose found United Way agencies giving $2 million to the abortion giant.

A new expose’ released this week shows that figure has increased to $3 million.

In 2016, United Way sent $3 million to Planned Parenthood:

Analysis of the most recent IRS Form 990 filings and other documentation found 62 United Way affiliates sent $2,756,799 to Planned Parenthood abortion organizations in tax year 2016. 2ndVote’s latest findings indicate an increase of $168,806 from the $2,590,994 United Way funneled to Planned Parenthood in 2015.

We’re living in a time when abortion rights involves such issues as sex-selection abortions, race-selection abortions, covering up statutory rapists, Democrat support for infanticide, attacking Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, selling the body parts of unborn babies, etc. I don’t think we can count on United Way to come down on the right side of these issues. We’re already being forced to fund abortions with our tax dollars, thanks to Democrats. I don’t think we should give any more money to abortion providers and their secular leftist allies.

That’s abortion. What about gay rights? We’ve seen a lot of pressure on traditional values coming from the secular left lately. They redefined marriage AGAIN to deprive children of their biological mothers or fathers. They’re pushing for the Equality Act, which would have huge religious liberty repercussions for Christians.

Texas attorney Maria Martinez explains on the American Thinker:

The Equality Act is more draconian that any state or city conversion therapy ban to date because it takes away the traditional constitutional exemption for religious freedom.  The act specifically states that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) may not be invoked as a defense, marking the first time in history that Congress has limited the reach of RFRA.  This means that it could become illegal for Christian pastors, churches, schools, and ministries to communicate a message that sexual orientation or gender identity can change.  The Equality Act is unprecedented in its overreach, impacting even adults who are willingly seeking counseling.

By contrast, therapy of any kind that pushes a person toward same-sex attraction or gender transition is not impacted by the law at all.

Banning counseling isn’t the only thing the Equality Act will do:

  • Parents could lose custody of their children if they decline to assist in their gender transition.  Parents in Ohio recently lost custody of their female child because they would not give her testosterone supplements to help her “transition” to look like a male.

  • Doctors and hospitals could be subject to lawsuits for refusing to perform so-called “sex change” surgeries.  In California and New Jersey, Catholic hospitals are already being sued for discrimination for refusing to perform these surgeries.

  • Battered women’s shelters could be required to admit members of the opposite sex.  In Anchorage, Alaska, a male who was refused access to a shelter for abused and trafficked women sued the shelter for “gender identity discrimination.”

  • Faith-based adoption and foster care agencies that believe that children do best with both a mother and a father could be forced to shut down.  This has already occurred in at least six states in this country.

I wonder what United Way thinks about attacks on Bible-believing Christians by LGBT activists? All I could find on the Facebook page of the national organization was this:

United Way is pro-gay-rights anti-marriage anti-religious liberty
Where does United Way stands on gay rights vs religious liberty?

I don’t find that very encouraging, do you? And this is not the only pro-LGBT image I found on United Way Facebook pages. By the way, I saved a copy of their Facebook page, in case it disappears.

As a Bible-believing Christian, maybe I would be better off giving money to an organization that protects religious liberty, like Alliance Defending Freedom. I understand that many people who call themselves Christians think that the United Way’s positions are compatible with the Bible. But not everyone who calls herself a Christian actually takes the Bible seriously. Especially when it interferes with their career advancement and peer approval. This is especially true of people who work in Human Resources.

Please, don’t give money to the United Way

You don’t HAVE to give money to the United Way, just because the godless progressives in your office try to bully you into it. Instead, why not send the money to the Life Training Institute, or Ratio Christi, or Alliance Defending Freedom? These are groups do operate on Bible-based principles. I do think that Christians need to be careful about who they donate their money to. It doesn’t make sense for Christians to get up and go to work and earn money, and then give it away to anti-Christian groups who want Christianity to disappear from American life. Paul talks about how God rewards those who give gifts to partner for the gospel in Philippians. Make sure that you are not wasting your money on anything less.

New York Times forced to correct smear of Justice Brett Kavanaugh

Why do people think that CNN are biased leftist clowns?
Why do people think that the mainstream news media is biased?

It’s very troubling to me that people in my office who are on the left still think that mainstream news organizations and “fact checkers” are unbiased and reliable. When the mainstream news media or “fact checkers” are caught in a mistake, my co-workers never seem to become aware of it. They live in a bubble, consuming “news” that confirms what they already want to believe about the world.

Here’s an example where the New York Times printed smears against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and then had to issue a correction.

The Daily Wire reports:

The New York Times was forced to correct a smear article on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh after it was revealed that they excluded exculpatory evidence from their report.

“An earlier version of this article, which was adapted from a forthcoming book, did not include one element of the book’s account regarding an assertion by a Yale classmate that friends of Brett Kavanaugh pushed his penis into the hand of a female student at a drunken dorm party,” The Times wrote in a correction. “The book reports that the female student declined to be interviewed and friends say that she does not recall the incident. That information has been added to the article.”

So, they printed an entire article about an alleged assault against this female student, and the actual female student declined to be interviewed and did not recall the incident.

According to John McCormack of National Review:

“Omitting this fact from the New York Times story is one of the worst cases of journalistic malpractice in recent memory.”

That’s mainstream news media, in a nutshell. In cases of fake news, the fake news story is always trumpeted on the front page. The correction gets printed days later, somewhere further back in the newspaper. If a correction is printed at all.

But what about the fact-checkers? Surely they must be more reliable about checking facts, before printing fake news, right?

What about Snopes?

Well, let’s consider Snopes, a famous fact-checker used by all the Big Tech companies to independently fact-check conservative web sites.

Here’s Snopes claiming that AOC DID NOT say that photos of the 9/11/01 terrorist attack were “triggering”.

Snopes says this claim about AOC is false
Snopes says AOC did not say it

But their own story says that AOC DID say that photos of the 9/11/01 terrorist attack were “triggering”:

Snopes says this claim about AOC is true
Snopes says AOC did say it, in their own article

Well, that’s just Snopes. Maybe other fact-checkers are different.

What about Politifact?

Politifact screwed up a fact-check during the Arizona 2018 Senate race.

The Daily Caller explains:

PolitiFact incorrectly labeled it “mostly false” that Democratic Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema “protested troops in a pink tutu” during its live fact-check of the Arizona Senate debate Monday night.

It’s an established fact that Sinema, a former Green Party activist who co-founded an anti-war group, wore a pink tutu at one of the multiple anti-war protests she attended in 2003.

Here’s their Politifact’s evaluation of McSally’s claim:

Who are you going to believe? Politifact, or your own eyes?
Who are you going to believe? Politifact, or your own eyes?

And here’s the photo of Kyrsten Sinema, protesting the troops, in a pink tutu:

Anti-war Democrat Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema
Anti-war Democrat Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema in a pink tutu

The Daily Caller notes:

A 2003 Arizona State University news article at the time described Sinema wearing “something resembling a pink tutu” at one of the protests.

The mainstream media, e.g. – the New York Times, and the major fact-checkers, e.g. Snopes and Politifact, are constantly making mistakes likes this. People need to understand that the major fact-checkers are not specially-trained investigators. They’re mostly just journalists – and journalists are known to donate overwhelmingly to Democrat candidates. I’ve blogged before about peer-reviewed studies showing the far-left bias of mainstream media journalists.

I’m not saying that journalists are just a bunch of uneducated losers who ran up student loan debt while getting drunk, getting high and being promiscuous in college. I’m just saying that journalism is not engineering. Engineers are accountable to reality. They have to solve problems in reality. Journalists often have very little education in reality based fields like math, science and engineering. They often haven’t learned to think critically. They are often swayed by feelings and peer pressure. You couldn’t trust these people to do anything useful for you, like fix your car, give you anesthetic,  or program a computer, etc. They don’t have reality-based skills that produce useful results. Their product is feelings – they allow a certain segment of society to persist in their feelings-based delusions. Their customers pay journalists for comfortable lies that affirm their moral superiority over their political enemies.

We need to have accurate views of the reliability of the mainstream media and the so-called fact-checkers, so we can be skeptical when we hear claims that sound far-fetched or made-up. Fake news is real, and it happens more often than you think.

Is the gospel of Mark early? Is it based on eyewitness testimony?

Investigation in progress
Investigation in progress

Sean McDowell tweeted this interesting article from BeThinking.org, written by New Testament historian Peter J. Williams. It contains reasons why Mark is early, eyewitness testimony. I want to focus on the criterion of embarrassment, which says that if a passage contains embarrassing information about the author or the author’s cause, then it’s likely to be historical.

Excerpt:

If it were not for Mark’s Gospel, Mark would be a very minor figure indeed in the beginnings of Christianity. He is certainly not someone you would ascribe Mark’s Gospel to in order to give it more authority, because according to the book of Acts (Acts 13:13 and 15:37) he abandoned Paul, one of the early Christian leaders, during a mission. We can take it therefore that the Gospel is ascribed to him because it genuinely is by him. If it is by him then it has to be written within the lifespan of someone who was an active adult in the 50s and 60s of the first century AD.

Yeah, if you’re going to make up a gospel, and you want people to believe it, then you pick an author who is more famous, like Peter.

More:

Though the Gospel makes extraordinary claims about Jesus’ miraculous activities, it seems to make no attempt to cover up the failures of the early Christian leaders. The disciples are said to misunderstand (8:14–217), argue about who is the greatest (9:34), get angry with two of the leading disciples (10:41), and ultimately abandon Jesus (14:50). The leading disciple, Peter, denied Jesus three times (14:66–72). The most unusual claim that it makes is that someone who underwent a shameful execution designed by the Romans to show that he was a loser, was in fact the Son of God.

It is not just the narrative which tells embarrassing stories, the things said by Jesus could also be profoundly embarrassing. According to 15:34 Jesus died asking why God had forsaken him. It is not likely that people would make up such a saying if it hadn’t really occurred. According to 7:27, Jesus told a non-Jewish woman (a Gentile) that it was not right to take that which belonged to the Jews and throw it to ‘dogs’, meaning Gentiles. This is not something you would make up if you were writing a Gospel and wanted gentiles to become Christians.

Although Williams is right to say that Mark is typically dated to the early 60s, the atheist historian James Crossley dates it 37-43 in his book about the gospel of Mark.

There is a podcast by J. Warner Wallace that has some more interesting information about the gospel of Mark.

The M4A file is here.

Details:

In this blast from the past, J. Warner examines the Gospel of Mark for signs of Peter’s influence. Papias, the early church bishop, claimed Mark’s Gospel was written as he sat at the feet of Peter in Rome. According to Papias, Mark scribed Peter’s sermons and created the narrative we now have in our Bible. In this audio podcast, J. Warner applies Forensic Statement Analysis to Mark’s text to see if Peter’s fingerprints are present.

You can also read a post on some of what is in the podcast, if you don’t want to listen to the podcast.

Here is the part I thought was most interesting:

The Omissions of the Gospel Are Consistent With Peter’s Influence

There are many details in the Gospel of Mark consistent with Peter’s special input and influence, including omissions related to events involving Peter. How can Mark be a memoir of Peter if, in fact, the book contains so many omissions of events involving Peter specifically? It’s important to evaluate the entire catalogue of omissions pertaining to Peter to understand the answer here. The vast majority of these omissions involve incidents in which Peter did or said something rash or embarrassing. It’s not surprising these details were omitted by the author who wanted to protect Peter’s standing in the Christian community. Mark was quite discreet in his retelling of the narrative (other Gospel writers who were present at the time do, however, provide details of Peters ‘indiscretions’ in their own accounts). Here are some examples of Petrine Omissions grounded in an effort to minimize embarrassment to Peter:

Peter’s shame at the “Miraculous Catch”
(Mark 1:16-120 compared to Luke 5:1-11)

Peter’s foolish statement at the crowded healing
(Mark 5:21-34 compared to Luke 8:42-48)

Peter’s lack of understanding related to the parable
(Mark 7:14-19 compared to Matthew 15:10-18 and Acts 10:9-16)

Peter’s lack of faith on the lake
(Mark 6:45 compared to Matthew 14:22-33)

Peter’s rash statement to Jesus
(Mark 8:31-33 compared to Matthew 16:21-23)

Peter’s statement related to money
(Mark 10:23-31 compared to Matthew 19:23-30)

Jesus’ prediction of Peter’s denial
(Mark 14:27-31 compared to Luke 22:31-34 and John 13:34-38)

Peter’s behavior at the foot-washing
(Mark 14:22-26 compared to John 13:2-9)

Peter’s denial and Jesus’ direct stare
(Mark 14:66-72 compared to Luke 22:54-62)

There are a number of places in the Gospel of Mark where details related specifically to the words and actions of Peter have been omitted in what appears to be an effort to protect Peter from embarrassment. This doesn’t mean Peter failed to talk about these things. He may very well have included them in his sermons and teachings. But Mark, his scribe and close friend, simply chose to omit these details related to Peter, either at Peter’s request or on his own initiative.

Mark doesn’t want to annoy his source, Peter, by calling him out for making mistakes. He has to include the embarrassing stories, but it’s less harsh than in other gospels.

Here’s another blog post from Cold Case Christianity on the same topic.

How to respond to an atheist who complains about slavery in the Bible

Lets take a closer look at a puzzle
Lets take a closer look at a puzzle

I often hear atheists going on and on about how the Bible has this evil and that evil. Their favorite one seems to be slavery. Here are three things I say to atheists when they push this objection.

The Bible and slavery

First, you should explain to them what the Bible actually says about slavery. And then tell them about the person responsible for stopping slavery in the UK: a devout evangelical named William Wilberforce.

Here’s an article that works.

Excerpt:

We should compare Hebrew debt-servanthood (many translations render this “slavery”) more fairly to apprentice-like positions to pay off debts — much like the indentured servitude during America’s founding when people worked for approximately 7 years to pay off the debt for their passage to the New World. Then they became free.

In most cases, servanthood was more like a live-inemployee, temporarily embedded within the employer’s household. Even today, teams trade sports players to another team that has an owner, and these players belong to a franchise. This language hardly suggests slavery, but rather a formal contractual agreement to be fulfilled — like in the Old Testament.3

Second, inform them that moral values are not rationally grounded on atheism. In an accidental universe, there is no way we ought to be. There is no design for humans that we have to comply with. There are no objective human rights, like the right to liberty (that would block slavery) or the right to life (that would block  abortion). Although you may find that most atheists act nicely, the ones who really understand what atheism means and live it out consistently are not so nice.

Atheism and moral judgments

Second, inform them that moral values are not rationally grounded on atheism. In an accidental universe, there is no way we ought to be. There is no design for humans that we have to comply with. There are no objective human rights, like the right to liberty (that would block slavery) or the right to life (that would block  abortion). Although you may find that most atheists act nicely, the ones who really understand what atheism means and live it out consistently are not so nice.

Dawkins has previously written this:

The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored. In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.

(“God’s Utility Function,” Scientific American, November, 1995, p. 85)

When people like Dawkins talk about morality, you have to understand that they are pretending. To them, morality is just about personal preferences and cultural conventions. They just think that questions of right and wrong are arbitrary. Things that are wrong in one time and place are right in another. Every view is as right as any other, depending on the time and place. That’s atheist morality.

What’s worse than slavery? Abortion!

Third, you should ask the atheist what he has done to oppose abortion. Abortion is worse than slavery, so if they are sincere in thinking that slavery is wrong, then they ought to think that abortion is wrong even more. So ask them what they’ve done to oppose the practice of abortion. That will tell you how sincere they are about slavery.

Here’s Richard Dawkins explaining what he’s done to stop abortion:

That’s right. The head atheist supports killing born children.

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

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