Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for September, 2012

Identity matters.  Knowing whose we are and how to live accordingly makes a difference not just for us, but for those around us.

This in mind, I’m concerned that Barack Obama may be struggling with his identity.

Daniel Pipes is president of the Middle East Forum.  He is a specialist on Islam.  In recent commentaries, he writes that President Obama’s half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, has stated: “My whole family was Muslim.”  Pipes continues with a quote from Barack’s half-brother George Hussein Onyango Obama to an interviewer in March 2009.  George said, “He may be behaving differently due to the position he is in, but on the inside, Barack Obama is Muslim.”

Pipes also quotes from the American Muslim writer Asma Gull Hasan.  In My Muslim President Obama, Ms. Hasan writes, “. . . In a very unscientific oral poll, ranging from family  members to  Muslim acquaintances, many of us feel . . . that we have our first American Muslim president in Barack Hussein Obama . . . ”

“If Muslims get these vibes,” writes Pipes, “not surprisingly, so does the American public.  Pipes notes “an even split between those who say Mr. Obama is a Christian and those who do not.”

Openness and honesty is important for any candidate running for office.  But, writes Pipes, “Mr. Obama remains the mystery candidate with an autobiography full of gaps and even fabrications.” Pipes cites several examples.  “Mr. Obama claimed that he ‘was born in Kenya.’  He lied about never having been a member and candidate of the 1990s Chicago socialist New Party.  When Stanley Kurtz produced evidence to establish that he was a member, Mr. Obama’s flacks smeared and dismissed Mr. Kurtz.”  Pipes references many inaccuracies and falsehoods in Obama’s 1995 autobiography, Dreams From My Father.  But, what about Obama’s faith?

Here’s the account according to Pipes.  In March 2004, Obama was asked, “Have you always been a Christian?”  Obama replied, “I was raised more by my mother and my mother was a Christian.”  In December 2007, Obama gave a different answer.  “My mother was a Christian from Kansas. . . . I was raised by my mother.  So, I’ve always been a Christian.”  In February 2009, he offered, notes Pipes, a completely different answer: “I was not raised in a particularly religious household.  I had a father who was born a Muslim but became an atheist, grandparents who were non-practicing Methodists and Baptists, and a mother who was skeptical of organized religion.  I didn’t become a Christian until . . . I moved to the South Side of Chicago after college.”

When someone asks me, “Have you always been a Christian?,” my answer is consistently the same.  “Yes, I became a child of God through Christ at my Baptism.”

But, for some reason, our current President has difficulty sticking to the same story.  Pipes is curious.  “Mr. Obama appears to be hiding something.  Was he the religious child of irreligious parents?  Or was he always a Christian?  A Muslim?  Or was he, in fact, something of his own creation — a Christian Muslim?”

A person who sees himself capable of being my President should have nothing to hide.  Answers to questions — “From where do you come?  What do you believe?  Who are your mentors?  In what direction do you want to move this country? — should be consistent.  If he subscribes to a particular faith — be it Christianity or Islam or Mormonism or theism or atheism — he should claim it with confidence and be able to give reason why.

Obama, writes Pipes, says that he affirmed his “Christian faith” by answering an altar call at Trinity United Church of Christ on 95th Street in the Southside of Chicago.  But, explains Pipes, when his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, was asked by author Edward Klein in his book The Amateur (p. 40), “Did you convert Obama from Islam to Christianity?” Mr. Wright replied, “That’s hard to tell.”  Hard to tell?

Sure and certain identity matters.  It matters because knowing who we are affects what we do.

Quotes from Daniel Pipes: “Muslims believe Obama is one of them”
and “Despite his denials, the evidence is compelling,”
The Washington Times, Monday, Sept 17, 2012

Read Full Post »

Question: Where would society be if Christians stopped practicing charity and compassion outside the church walls?

Professor Alvin Schmidt has the answer.  His entire book, How Christianity Changed the World (Zondervan, 2001, 2004) is worthy of your read.  For now, I would like to provide you with excerpts from my friend’s book most appropriate for this discussion of the health care mandate.  Alvin is a very respected acquaintance of mine who has, over the years, been a popular pro-life workshop and keynote presenter.  He has been kind to encourage my speaking and writing.  Alvin is a retired professor of sociology, faithful Biblical Christian, and involved U.S. citizen.  Considering the times in which we find ourselves, I highly recommend your read of Professor Schmidt’s meticulous documentation of Christianity’s influence on the world.

From the earliest years of Christianity to the ninth century, charity needs in the West were regularly provided for by the church.  Church-dispensed charity declined sharply after the death of Charlemagne in 814.  Feudal lords were to take care of the poor on their lands, but they did so inadequately.  By the sixteenth century, charity had become largely secularized.  By the twentieth century, state welfare payments replaced much of the churches’ charity.  Today, millions who receive state welfare payments in the Western world probably know little or nothing about the fact that the payments they receive are largely the result of Christianity’s influence.

Modern state welfare grew out of the Christian practice of charity, but it’s important to note that government programs, welfare, and even health care cannot be equated with Christian charity.  State programs operate on the basis of coercion; funds are involuntarily gathered by means of enforced taxation.  This violates the spirit and method of true Christian charity.  Christian-based charities and organizations serve others by using funds that are donated or freely given as love-offerings.

Government welfare programs are at odds with Christian charity because they often produce unintended harmful effects by unintentionally encouraging the loss of individual responsibility and even rewarding it.  One such effect has been the continued rise in the rates of children born out of wedlock, a trend that has steadily increased from the mid-1960s to present day.  In 1960 the out-of-wedlock birth rate was 5.3 percent of all births in the U.S., while in 1998 it was 33 percent (an increase of nearly 600 percent).  Another consequence of government welfare has been the rewarding of the indolent, which nullifies the Christian admonition: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat” (2 Thess. 3:10).  Imprudent charity is not a good thing.  Another effect of government welfare programs at odds with Christian charity is that they often foster political demagoguery by pandering to the voters who are recipients of social welfare.  Political demagoguery, or appealing to the emotions of a certain group of people, clearly violates Christian charity, not only because it uses deception, but also because it benefits the selfish interests of the demagogues or leaders who reap political gain by presenting themselves as advocates of welfare.  This is Roman liberalitis, not Christian caritas.

Christian charity fosters freedom from all forms of slavery.  Government welfare tends to create a permanently dependent class.  The essence of slavery is being dependent on someone or some entity for one’s livelihood.  This demoralizes human beings.

Government welfare induces many people to think that government should pay for their needs that they feel they cannot afford.  Apparently when the government pays for people’s needs, it does not appear as though others are paying for them. Such thinking forgets that the government has no funds except those taken by means of compulsory taxation.  And that is what distinguishes state welfare programs from Christian charity.  Remember Christ’s example of the Good Samaritan?  He gave, not because he was coerced, but because he had a heartfelt, voluntary desire to help someone in need.

Finally, government programs are different from Christian charity because Christ said that His followers were to give “a cup of water in My name” (Mark 9:41.  Government welfare is not offered in the name of Jesus Christ.

Note: The second printing of How Christianity Changed the World
includes a Bible study for personal or group use.

THANK YOU PROFESSOR SCHMIDT!

Read Full Post »

Testifying before U.S. Congress, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) President Matthew Harrison said: “Religious people determine what violates their consciences, not the federal government.”  That perspective will be tested in several courtrooms.

If the Health and Human Services (HHS) health care mandate is not overturned, our children and grandchildren will have less religious freedom than their parents and grandparents did.  The stakes could not be higher for Lutheran Christians privileged to live in the United States of America.

The LCMS is seriously concerned.  The health care legislation allows the government to define not only what a church is but also what a church is free to do, or not to do.  You see, the free exercise of religion as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights is more than the freedom to gather with others for worship.  It is more correctly the freedom to live and speak our faith out in the community.  With the health care mandate, government is infringing on our religious freedom and rights of conscience.  It falsely defines Christian charity as limited only to work within our own church walls.  (Read more about “Charity and Compassion Outside the Church” in the next post.)

The HHS mandate directs many religious groups and institutions to offer their employees coverage for contraception and drugs that result in the death of a preborn child regardless of whether or not that religious group believes abortion or sterilization is obedient to God as the Creator of life.  This is a direct violation of our religious liberties and our rights of conscience guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.

The largest historical question for my church body, the LCMS, is this: Does the federal government have the power to impose a heavy fine or tax on those religious groups who refuse to provide for their employees services that violate their moral and religious principles?  (Source: President Matthew Harrison on Youtube, and Timothy S. Goeglein in The Lutheran Witness, 9/2012)

The LCMS believes this matter is so crucial that it has set up a special website with the goal of providing Christian citizens of the United States with helpful resources.  Please take the time to visit www.lcms.org/freetobefaithful Listen to President Harrison express his grave concerns.  Then, respond by speaking up to your legislators, writing letters-to-the-editor, and talking to your family and neighbors.

Read Full Post »

Some people I know are saying, “I don’t like either Obama or Romney, so I’m not going to vote.”  Others are saying, “I can’t vote for a Mormon, so I guess I’ll vote for the one who says he is a Christian.”

This year’s presidential election is not about electing a Christian.  It is about electing an American.

To those of you who follow this blog, I ask one thing: Please inform yourselves about both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.  Get to know their mentors.  Learn who influenced them through life and shaped their worldview.  Then ask yourself: Which man more closely shares your vision of the United States of America?

I do not believe that Mormons are Christians.  However, I would rather be ruled by a loyal defender of this American republic than by a man who wants to remake America in another image.

Dr. Paul Kengor is the author of The Communist, subtitled “Frank Marshall Davis: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor.”  The media doesn’t seem interested in Kengor’s book, although it is “meticulously documented and fair,” observes Sheila Liaugminas (Sheila Reports, MercatorNet).  Kengor writes, “It is scandalous that so little attention has been paid to Frank Marshall Davis and his influence on our president . . . Frank Marshall Davis’s political antics were so radical that the FBI placed him on the federal government’s Security Index, which meant that he could be immediately detained or arrested in the event of a national emergency, such as a war breaking out between the United States and the USSR.

“Obama’s memoirs feature twenty-two direct references to “Frank” by name, and far more via pronouns and other forms of reference.  Frank is a consistent theme throughout [Obama’s book] . . . He is part of Obama’s life and mind, by Obama’s own extended recounting, from Hawaii – the site of visits and late evenings together – to Los Angeles to Chicago to Germany to Africa, from adolescence to college to community organizing.  Frank is always one of the few (and first) names mentioned by Obama in each mile marker upon his historic path from Hawaii to Washington.”

Kengor writes that Davis worked diligently to “trash the Democratic Party.”  Then, “like many American communists,” [Davis] decided to join the Democrats” because he had “nowhere else to go.”  Communists, like Davis, patiently sought “alliances with Democrats much closer to their collectivist thinking.”  Kengor’s detailed documentation reveals that Davis has a 600-page FBI file.  In that file is an April 1950 report stating that “members of the subversive element in Honolulu were concentrating their efforts on infiltration of the Democratic Party through control of Precinct Clubs and organizations.”  These communist subversives, said the report, were pushing “their candidates in these Precinct Club elections.”  Kengor explains that it was a “long march to transform the Democratic Party from the party of Truman and JFK to the party of Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama.”  He continues, saying, “[I]n a quite fascinating twist of history, Frank Marshall Davis, as a ‘Democrat,’ would go on to influence today’s Democratic Party standard-bearer: Barack Obama.”

I wonder.  Did the Democratic National Convention meeting in Charlotte appear to conclude that it is government – not God – who takes care of the people?

It has been said: We become like the company we keep.  The mentors in our life matter.  The people we let influence us matter.  I want to know what makes the next leader of the free world tick.  I want to know who has influenced the next Commander in Chief.  I want to know what has shaped the man who will sit in the People’s House.  Don’t you?  So, it’s a fair question: If you seek to open the life story of each candidate, what will you find?  What is their worldview… and why?

Please.  Take note of how Obama and Romney each see the proper size and role of government.  Take note of how Obama and Romney listen — or do not listen — to Catholics, Missouri Synod Lutherans, Southern Baptists and other believers on the Lord Jesus Christ.  Take note of where they stand on the sanctity of life, marriage, and personal/religious freedom.  Take note of how they view Shariah Law vs. U.S. Constitutional Law.

Take note… then vote as if the lives of your children and grandchildren depend on it.

Read Full Post »

Thanks, Alicia, for reminding me of The Word that stands… no matter what.

“Lord Jesus Christ, with us abide, for round us falls the eventide. O let Your Word, that saving light, shine forth undimmed into the night.

In these last days of great distress grant us, dear Lord, true steadfastness that we keep pure till life is spent, Your holy Word and Sacrament.

To hope grown dim, to hearts turned cold, speak tongues of fire and make us bold to shine Your Word of saving grace into each dark and loveless place.

May glorious truths that we have heard, the bright sword of Your mighty Word, spurn Satan that Your Church be strong, bold, unified in act and song.

Restrain, O Lord, the human pride that seeks to thrust Your truth aside or with some man-made thoughts or things would dim the words Your Spirit sings.

Stay with us, Lord, and keep us true; preserve our faith our whole life through – Your Word alone our heart’s defense, The Church’s glorious confidence.”

Lutheran Service Book, 585

Read Full Post »

I’m not a Catholic, but I encourage you to view a TV ad created by the Catholic Church.  It speaks to this period in our nation’s history.  It speaks to every citizen who values their freedom of religion (not to be confused with the freedom to worship).

I care very much about this country and the direction it chooses to go.  I care because I’ve been blessed to be an American.  I would like for my grandchildren to enjoy such blessings as well.

I’m not impressed with party politics — Democrat or Republican.  Like George Washington, a candidate should be chosen because of what he stands for.  Like Washington, he should be tested by fire.  Washington didn’t want to be president, but he knew much was at stake.  Things like life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (definition: the desire to do right things).  The White House is the people’s house.  Anyone taking up short-term residency should fall on their knees under the sheer weight of responsibility.  They should do what they’re called to do as if their life depends on it, then return to real families, neighborhoods, school districts, and congregations.  Oh, and a real wage for honest labor.

At stake this election year is the very foundation of America as we know it.  A foundation forged by fire.  Would you please take a moment to watch?  Then, vote as if the liberties you prize depend on it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=D9vQt6IXXaM&hd

Read Full Post »

Clothing — or lack of it — remains a lively topic wherever I go.  Age doesn’t matter.  Both younger and older women argue that it’s a woman’s right to dress however she pleases.  Calling oneself a Christian doesn’t seem to matter, either.  I am always encouraged, however, when someone in the secular world views women and their clothing in a sane and sensible way.

The results of a Princeton study found that when men were shown images of women dressed in bikinis, the region of the brain associated with analyzing a person’s thoughts and feelings was deactivated, and the part associated with objects of use (like “tool”) lit up.  In the minds of these test subjects, the women were quite literally objectified and dehumanized.  (Source: Verilymag)

“Well, ” a woman might respond, “that’s not my problem.”  Another might ask, “But, what about the male responsibility?”  The answers, from my Biblical perspective, are these: 1) We live in community, therefore, the choices we make invariably affect those around us, and 2) Men do bear the responsibility of practicing self-control, but so do women.   A woman can deny reality all she wants, but the truth is that she is always helping a man one way or another — for good or for bad.

Janet Sahm, writing in Tiger Print, also references the Princeton study.  She praises one-piece swimsuits and modest clothing in general.  She does so “in recognition and understanding of a reality about human nature.”  Men and women are attracted to one another, but most often view each other in different ways.  “Would anyone doubt,” Sahm asks, “that, in general, men tend to be more visually stimulated than women and are susceptible to using and viewing women as objects?”

Some of my gender want attention.  They want to be the object of a man’s desire.  Others become temptresses of men because they are naive about the different ways male and female brains are wired.  Sahm makes a strong statement to both, be they women of faith or women of the world.  “Let’s not forget that, as people, we’re all susceptible to using one another for our own gratification.  For a man, it may be to solely focus on a woman’s sexual values, leaving the rest of who she is fade into the background.  For a woman, it may be to fantasize about a man she’s just met, crafting a romanticized imaginary future that’s sorely in need of a reality check.  We’re in this struggle together.”

Yes, we are.  So, here’s a fair question for all of us women: In the midst of life’s struggle, how do we choose to help?

Within each of us is the beauty of personhood that grows more lovely with time.  Character attracts attention in a way that the flesh never can.

“Without saying a word,” writes Sahm, “what you wear influences how people respond to your beauty.  Perhaps it’s not that bikinis reveal to much, but too little.”

Appreciation to Tiger Print, a blog of MercatorNet, 7 Sep 2012

Read Full Post »

Monday, September 17, is the anniversary of the adoption of the U.S. Constitution.  ParentalRights.org urges us to visit the offices of our senators.  Why?

Proponents of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities (CRPD) are pushing for a September vote in the Senate.  This treaty, writes Michael Farris, is bad news for American sovereignty and American families.

Farris, president of ParentalRights.org suggests the following “talking points” should you write, call or visit your Senator:

  • Under Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, the CRPD will become the “supreme law of the land,” overriding anythin to the contrary in local, state, or federal law.
  • Parents of disabled children know better than anyone what it is like to have bureaucrats and officials second-guessing their every decision.  Article 7 of the CRPD will take away their right to be the ultimate decision makers for their child.
  • The Understandings adopted by the Senate are poorly worded and do not have the legal effect proponents claim they will.  The so-called “private action” understanding, for instance, does not uphold “current” U.S. law.  Omission of the word “current” means the U.S. will be obligated to make changes in our law in order to fulfill our commitment under the treaty.
  • Ratifying the CRPD would be the first time we have obligated our nation to recognize social, economic, and cultural entitlements and privileges as “rights” under domestic law.

For more information, visit Parentalrights.org

Read Full Post »

Do you believe that political leaders — red or blue — suffer from hearing loss?  Or is it worse?  Do they intentionally disregard the people’s voice because they have an agenda different from ours?

This You Tube was passed on to me.  Be patient through the commercial and stay tuned to “behind the scenes at the RNC and DNC conventions.”

Click HERE.

Read Full Post »

Open forum here.  Your thoughtful answers to my question are coveted.

What civilization would sexualize daughters and then provide free sterilization services?

People with opposing worldviews bemoan the fact that we are sexualizing American girls.  One group worries about the sexualization of girls but promotes more sex education as the answer.  The other group promotes abstinence but uses sex education to do it.

Is there a connection between sexualizing children — completely inundating them in school and culture with a steady stream of information on sex, sexuality and sensuousness — and a national health care mandate that covers contraception and sterilization for girls as young as twelve?

Is something foul afoot?  Does a power or principality despise new life?

A CNSNews reporter asked former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi a critical question: “One of the services that health care plans have to offer free of charge (under the HHS mandate) are sterilizations . . . do you agree with the federal government mandating . . .”

Congresswoman Pelosi cut the reporter off, saying, “You know what, I told you before, let’s go to church and talk about our religion.  Right here we’re talking about public policy as it affects women . . .”

Government-sponsored free sterilization services should set the pants of Biblical thinkers and people of faith on fire.  It should set the pants of every parent on fire.

Under the HHS mandate, every health plan except those held by houses of worship (what about the church-run school or organization?) conceivably must not only cover contraceptives, but sterilization for children as young as twelve.  But, it gets even more serious.  Many states require parental consent for the sterilization of a minor, but as CNSNews reported, some don’t.  In Oregon, for example, girls as young as fifteen can now undergo sterilization procedures without their parents or legal guardians knowing a thing.  All they have to do is sign a consent form.  (Source: www.breakpoint.org 9/6/12 and CNSNews.com 8/10/12)

On my library shelf is a book by Edwin Black entitled War Against the Weak.  He states, “I find it abhorrent that a 15-year-old girl who’s not old enough to consent to sexual activity, who’s not old enough to consent to buying a beer, who’s not old enough to drive herself to the hospital could possibly be considered old enough and mature enough to give informed consent for her own sterilization . . .”  Black is a student of history.  He has done his homework and connected the dots between population control, abortion, sterilization, and eugenics.  By the way, the subtitle to Black’s book is “Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race.”  Some of my fellow Lutherans and other believers on the Lord Jesus Christ have studied under men like Paul Popenoe, once a leader of California’s eugenics movement.  Here, I think, is a topic for another blog.

What civilization would sexualize its daughters and then provide easy access to abortion and free sterilization services?

What does this say about the sanctity of human life?  About our identity and purpose?  About being male or female?  About marriage?  About the act of sex?  About family and society?

Have Christians, too, been deceived?  Are we unintentionally dehumanizing sons and daughters by putting them in the same category as animals: “After all, we’re afraid they’re going to do it anyway”?

Have we enabled the divorce of sex from procreation?

Have we bought the lie that we are “sexual from birth” rather than the truth of God who tells us, “I have called you by name, you are Mine . . . You are set apart to be holy, even as I am holy”?

How do you answer?

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »