Month Archives: February 2018

Andrew Sullivan on Opioids: Pointing Us Toward God

by Travis Weber

February 23, 2018

Andrew Sullivan wrote a lengthy and illuminating piece recently digging deeper into the opioid crisis, in part by examining the attraction of the drug itself. One interesting aspect of the article was his observation about why opioids have been such a draw through the ages—they help us escape from pain, from reality. As Sullivan notes, if we simply attack the symptoms on the surface, we are missing a “deeper American story. It is a story of pain and the search for an end to it.”

For millennia, humans have searched for answers to life and the difficulty it brings. Some of these answers have involved God, and others have not. It is certainly clear that right now, America’s families have been hit hard by the opioid crisis.

Yet while we need to go to God, we often don’t, and we reject his advances. Like God trying to rescue us, the police officers trying to rescue the addict by administering antidotes “are hated,” for “[t]hey ruined the high.”

Marx’s claim that religion is the “opiate of the people” is old-hat. As Sullivan points out: “Opiates are now the religion of the people.”

We must go to God in our pain, not try to escape it by our own means—whether through opioids or otherwise. It must be said that prescription opioids (along with other pain management tools) can be used properly (like for the alleviation of chronic severe pain) alongside going to God in our pain.

Near the end of the piece, Sullivan again observes:

To see this epidemic as simply a pharmaceutical or chemically addictive problem is to miss something: the despair that currently makes so many want to fly away. Opioids are just one of the ways Americans are trying to cope with an inhuman new world where everything is flat, where communication is virtual, and where those core elements of human happiness — faith, family, community — seem to elude so many. Until we resolve these deeper social, cultural, and psychological problems, until we discover a new meaning or reimagine our old religion or reinvent our way of life, the poppy will flourish.

Indeed, in searching for “new meaning,” I believe Sullivan is yearning for God here, and I would point him toward the Good News: Though we have all strayed from and are separated from God (and part of this separation is pain), Jesus has paid the price for us to be restored to God. We just must accept him, choose to follow him, and submit our lives to him. This restoration then becomes our new eternal reality, even if we don’t see all its benefits immediately.

Sullivan continues:

We have seen this story before — in America and elsewhere. The allure of opiates’ joys are filling a hole in the human heart and soul today as they have since the dawn of civilization.

I would agree with this diagnosis, but only add that the medicine involves a spiritual element, most specifically the Good News discussed above. This is something Billy Graham, who recently passed away, would want us to remember. While the issue in all its facets is undoubtedly complex, it is clear that we must not neglect the spiritual aspect of the cure.

We as a nation need God, and need him publicly. Graham’s recent passing also reminds us of that. Let us remind ourselves again, and let us not forget it.

Thank you, Billy Graham

by Patrina Mosley

February 22, 2018

I was young in the faith when I first saw Billy Graham on TV during one of his Crusade gatherings. I could tell it was an older clip because the colors were fuzzy and it seemed like everyone was wearing costumes… because no one wore clothes like that anymore.  As a newly maturing believer, I marveled at the fact that this man seemed to dedicate his life to preaching one single message: “That Jesus Christ came, he died on a cross, he rose again, and he asked us to repent of our sins and receive him by faith as Lord and Savior, and if we do, we have forgiveness of all of our sins.” 

You would think that would get old, right? How could one man preach the same message over and over again all over the country and continue to get people to actually respond? And in fact they did respond—in droves. You would think that if it were a big and charismatic personality out front with a trendy haircut, mellow on the sin, light on the scriptures, and heavy on the froth of entertainment, then maybe it would be easy to see how someone might get caught up in the moment and just want to maximize it to the fullest and think, “Nothing is stopping me from getting inches away from the coolest preacher I ever heard! Yeah!” But that wasn’t the case. It didn’t seem like there was anything particularly fancy about his message or appearance that would compel one to get out of their seat and inconvenience the many people in their row, then walk across a stadium before thousands to say a prayer.

I just didn’t get it. The picture of this looked so foolish that it convinced me it had to be the power of God at work—to pack stadiums across the country and the world full of people who were willing to hear a simple message, a message one could easily get at just about any Bible-teaching corner church in America, and yet hundreds of thousands of people came and gave their hearts to Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

As I got older and matured in my faith, I realized for myself the power of the Gospel in a personal way. I knew what my life could’ve been had I not given it to him at such an early age, and I knew what my peers’ lives were like who had not made that eternal decision yet. My heart was burdened for them. I longed for my friends and classmates to know the Lord as I did and to go through life being able to start over and know that the God of all creation was with them.

As my senior year of high school approached, we had to do a project on our future career, suffice to say it was not on what I’m doing now (hint: don’t plan your whole life in high school—it’s guaranteed to change), but I knew in my heart that whatever I was going to do I would use it as a tool for evangelism. At the time, I did not know what role the Lord would have for me, but I knew that I better get acquainted with evangelism, and who best to teach someone about that than the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. I heard they were coming to my hometown in 2006, and at the time it was Billy Graham’s son Franklin who was leading the efforts. I along with my mom decided to volunteer for the crusade coming to town, and I had the opportunity to participate in some pretty cool things and even got to share my testimony on video for their youth night.

Billy Graham’s life and ministry illustrated to me that it was truly the power of God that brings salvation and that he has no problem using people who we might consider the weak or the foolish of this world to confound the wise and do great and mighty things through them. Because of Billy Graham, I could see for myself that it was possible for God to take an ordinary existence mixed with humble faithfulness and cause supernatural results. I wasn’t sure where my life was going during that senior year, but I learned that I wanted it to be dedicated to the simple message “that Jesus Christ came, he died on a cross, he rose again, and he asked us to repent of our sins and receive him by faith as Lord and Savior, and if we do, we have forgiveness of all of our sins.” Thank you, Billy Graham.

Billy Graham’s Stand on Religious Liberty, Life, and Marriage and Family

by Family Research Council

February 21, 2018

Over the course of his 58 years in public ministry and well into his retirement years, Dr. Billy Graham, “America’s Pastor,” did not hesitate to stand up for religious liberty, life, and marriage and family.

Religious Liberty

  • In the founding era of our country, it was not organized religion but personal faith that brought focus and unified the early leadership—maybe an unspoken faith in God, and certain values that came with that faith. So in that sense, we cannot discount, in my judgment, religious faith in politics.” (Newsweek – Aug. 13, 2006)
  • Americans have always fought for freedom. This is why America was founded — to worship the one true God openly with no fear of tyranny. Our early fathers led our nation according to Biblical principles … Our country is turning away from what has made it so great, but far greater than the government knowing our every move that could lead to losing our freedom to worship God publicly, is to know that God knows our every thought; He knows our hearts need transformation.” (Newsmax – Oct. 5, 2013)

Life

  • I urge you to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life…” (Los Angeles Times – Oct. 21, 2012)

Marriage and Family

  • I believe the home and marriage is the foundation of our society and must be protected… The Bible is clear—God’s definition of marriage is between a man and a woman.” (USA Today – May 3, 2012)
  • The greatest career is being a mother … And if you’re interviewed sometime on television or Phil Donahue, say ‘I’m a housewife and a mother’ and be proud of it.” (The Oklahoman – Oct. 27, 1983)

  • Many people enter into a marriage without realizing this is for keeps. It’s to be permanent. The tension is normal, but it can result in strength if you take those [problems] to God.” (The Oklahoman – Oct. 27, 1983)

How Billy Graham’s Invitation Forever Changed My Life

by Peter Sprigg

February 21, 2018

To honor the life of Billy Graham, here is a personal testimony from Peter Sprigg, FRC’s Senior Fellow for Policy Studies. This article originally appeared in The Washington Times on June 15, 2016.

Prayer—my own, and that of others—has played a crucial role in my spiritual development.

My parents were missionaries before I was born. My father served as a pastor and a denominational executive while I was growing up. I am sure that my parents prayed for me, including for my spiritual life. Ironically, those prayers did not bear their fullest fruit until I was in my mid-20’s—my mother had died, my father was again serving overseas, and I was living alone.

My passion growing up was not for my faith, but for politics. After getting my degree in political science and economics, I got a job with my Congressman. When that job ended because he did not seek re-election, I decided to take the plunge and run for office myself. At 24, I ran for the School Committee in my home town in Massachusetts.

My dreams were dashed, however, by a decisive defeat. That loss started me on a period of soul-searching—first in terms of my career goals, but eventually in a more literal, spiritual sense. Over a period of several months, a number of key events led me to a turning point in my life.

One of those events took place at my church, where I remained a regular attender. One Sunday, two men did a dramatic reading about the Lord’s Prayer—the one taught by Jesus to his disciples. One repeated the memorized words—while the other, off-stage with a microphone, played the voice of God, actually answering. The man would say, “Our father, who art in heaven …”—and the voice answered, “Yes, what can I do for you?” Startled, the man continues, “Hallowed be thy name.” The voice asks, “What do you mean by that?”

Continuing in the same vein, this short, humorous reading made me realize how easy it is to go through the motions of religion without thinking about it. I went home from church that day and began to pray and read my Bible daily—disciplines I had never before adopted.

Another event came when my pastor invited me to a special gathering. The Billy Graham Crusade was coming to Boston, and his team was working to mobilize pastors and churches to support it. The pastor knew of my interest in politics, and invited me to an event where the guest speaker was someone with political experience—Charles Colson, the former aide to President Richard Nixon who had spent time in prison, had come to Christ, wrote his story in the book Born Again, and then founded the ministry Prison Fellowship after his release. At the time, I found his politics distasteful, but his testimony compelling.

At the same event, we were urged to pray, and were given something to help us. It was a small round sticker to place on your watch. The challenge was to “pray on the spot when you see the dot”—in other words, every time you look at your watch.

Thus, my relatively new habit of daily prayer became one of nearly constant prayer throughout the day. Sometimes I would pray for Billy Graham, sometimes for loved ones, and sometimes just, “Lord, be with me.” And He was—as I became increasingly aware.

All of this climaxed for me when I attended the Billy Graham Crusade with others from my church in June of 1982. Although I was hesitant about going forward—having already attended church all my life!—those doubts were eliminated by Rev. Graham’s invitation, which directly addressed people like me. I went forward, giving my life to Jesus Christ in a decision that has shaped the remainder of my life.

A year or two later, I got to visit an aunt and uncle who lived far across the country from me, and shared with them my testimony. It turned out that my aunt was a long-time supporter of Billy Graham’s ministry and subscriber to his Decision magazine. When she saw that a Crusade was scheduled for Boston, knowing my location (but not my spiritual state), she began praying for me.

I will always be grateful that her prayers—and mine—were answered. 

#MeToo Ignores an Obvious Source of Sexual Aggression: Porn

by David Krayden

February 19, 2018

Unless you have lived in a cave with no connection to the traditional or social media, it has been impossible to escape the chronic, provocative, and apparently unending reach of the #MeToo campaign. A day rarely goes by in the news cycle when a man, prominent in business, media, or entertainment, is not accused of some level of sexual misconduct, from suggestions of a grope at a party decades ago to the mind-boggling series of allegations that now define the life and career of former Hollywood mega-producer and liberal elite Harvey Weinstein. These revelations rarely, if ever, find their origin in the criminal justice system; the recipients of these charges are rarely formally charged with breaking any law and might never see the interior of a courtroom. 

Nonetheless, he will probably lose his job, his reputation, and perhaps his family in the process—innocent or guilty.

How are we to assess this steady stream of shameful revelations and the #MeToo movement as Christians? Should we be applauding the apparent exposure of these men as acts approaching righteous indignation? Should we be decrying the persistence of a male sexual aggression that clearly defies biblical morality?

I would suggest we should approach the allegations with caution. But we should also examine a pernicious source of sexual misanthropy in our sexually-charged society: the continued explosion of unrelenting pornography from a sordid industry that profits from the dehumanization of both men and women.

But first to the issue of guilt. The #MeToo movement relies almost exclusively on social media gossip. The allegations may well be true, but of course we often will never know for certain because there is no neutral forum to verify the information—the media reports that follow the initial tweets on Twitter or posts on Facebook are generally mere rewrites of the initial reports. Of course a denial of guilt from the accused might be inserted into the story, but what does this really mean when we have become accustomed to ignoring such disclaimers? Careers, reputations, and families are being destroyed in this process of communicating these allegations—careers and lives that may never be fully restored or completely rehabilitated even if the stories eventually are proven to be false.

That being said, the rash of sexual misconduct reports have forced us all to recognize the pervasiveness of sexual aggression in our society, and yet we are apparently no closer to examining, assessing, or condemning an obvious culprit in the proliferation of that sexual aggression: pornography.

So many of the sexual assault scenarios that have been described in the media sound like scenes out of pornographic films, where, of course, this kind of behavior is not defined as assault but normalcy. This is precisely the fundamental problem with porn: it not only over-sexualizes our world, it also attempts to convince us that our world is one where overt sexual aggression is not only tolerated but encouraged. Pornography not only debases both its purveyors and the consumers, it also preaches a sexual narrative that is not only unhealthy but dangerously at odds with reality. When men are seduced into believing the pornographic lie—that the spontaneous expression of any sexual whim is acceptable—they are acting out an illusion that in reality is abusive and in fact often illegal.

Pornography long ago ceased to be mere entertainment—albeit entertainment of the most destructive and base sort. Pornography is a political and philosophical message emitted from the lowest echelons of disordered desires: it tells us to satisfy any sexual craving—no matter how strange, how sick, or how unhealthy—because there will be no consequences. It is a message that is so ubiquitous in this internet age that it is difficult to ignore. Pornographic culture is now invading our popular culture, infecting so much of our television viewing, reading material, and advertising. If we just focus on television, mainstream dramas often include relatively graphic depictions of sexual activity that would have been considered fit only for a “stag” film in decades past. The internet has made pornography far more accessible and more anonymous than it ever was in the magazine and X-rated film age of yesteryear. What’s more, pornographic “values” have now become such a big part of mainstream entertainment and sexual mores that it is no longer something perverts have to seek out—even the morally upright have to guard against being inadvertently exposed to porn from a miss-typed word in a Google search or a graphic sex scene inserted into an otherwise decent movie.

If we are to honestly examine physical sexual abuse in our society, we need to acknowledge the most blatant and obvious form of virtual sexual abuse: unrestricted, unrelenting pornography that dehumanizes men and women and leads to an increase in sexually aggressive behavior.

David Krayden is the Ottawa Bureau Chief for The Daily Caller. He is a former Air Force public affairs officer and communications specialist for the Canadian Parliament.

Social Conservative Review - February 15, 2018

by Daniel Hart

February 15, 2018

Dear Friends,

The other day, I walked into an Asian stir-fry eatery and was met with a row of touchscreens lined up in front of the kitchen area where employees were preparing the food. The normal conversation one would usually hear between customers and the person behind the counter was strangely absent. Instead, I found myself and two or three millennial-types silently staring down at the touchscreens and ordering our food with a series of finger taps. We even swiped our own credit cards on a little console that also printed out our receipts. Similarly, instead of going to the bank with a check to deposit and having a friendly interaction with the bank teller, we can now deposit our checks ourselves with the cameras on our phones.

All of this technology has certainly made our lives more convenient in certain ways, but it also has a weird way of making everyday life seem robotic. We aren’t being “old-fashioned” when we feel that something vital is missing from our lives when the opportunities for friendly chit-chat are systematically removed from commonplace societal activities.

The desire for genuine human contact isn’t merely a “nicety” that some of us choose to do from time to time. This desire was placed in all human hearts by our Creator. Think of how Jesus interacted with those around him. He didn’t sit on pedestal and heal people from afar—rather, he did not hesitate in holding children in his lap, touching lepers, and even spitting on a blind man’s eyes to heal them. This is the kind of God we have, one whose deepest desire is to reach out and touch us. We in turn desire to give and receive genuine touch. Never underestimate the power that a warm handshake or a friendly pat on the back can have. A sincere embrace of someone who is struggling can have an enormous impact. Even something as seemingly insignificant as a smile and a friendly “hello” has the power to immediately lift our spirits.

It’s particularly important to not miss an opportunity to be both verbally and physically affectionate with our spouses and children, which strengthens the bond of our family units. Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family.

Sincerely,

Dan Hart
Managing Editor for Publications
Family Research Council

 

FRC Articles

New Brochure: How to Respond to the LGBT Movement – Peter Sprigg

The SPLC’s Incursion into Education

With vote against Brownback, Democrats abandon religious freedom – Travis Weber

President is keeping his promises – Tony Perkins

Fact-Checking Jimmy Kimmel on Christian Bakers: Two Big Errors, But Props for Trying – Travis Weber

Generation Z – Seeking Answers to Good and Evil – Travis Weber

An Ode to the Lincoln Memorial – Brynne Krispin

Pain-Capable Senate Vote: The One Percenters’ Club – Jay Sappington

4 Unforgettable Thoughts On Marriage – Dan Hart

With Cecile Richards’ Resignation, It’s Time for Planned Parenthood to Come Clean – Jay Sappington

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

Judge Rules Bakeshop Owner Doesn’t Have to Bake Wedding Cake for Gay Couple – Grace Carr, The Daily Signal

North Carolina Settles With Magistrate It Forced Out for Not Doing Gay Marriages – Ken McIntyre, The Daily Signal

Michigan Pastor Facing Death Threats for Offering Workshops to Teens Struggling with Homosexuality – Charlene Aaron, CBN News

Governor Cuomo Signs Executive Order Banning State Agencies From Doing Business With Companies That Promote, Tolerate Discrimination – LongIsland.com

California Moves To Force Public Universities To Administer Abortion Pills – Kristan Hawkins, The Federalist

Maryland city to church: Stop worship services or leave – Alliance Defending Freedom

Ohio high school rallies around prayer after outside group tries to ban it at events – Caleb Parke and Michelle Chavez, Fox News

International Religious Freedom

16,000 Christians Dead in Less Than 3 Years: Report Reveals Extent of Violence in Nigeria – Stoyan Zaimov, The Christian Post

Impressions of persecution – June Cheng, WORLD

Sudan government demolishes church just hours after service – J-P Mauro, Aleteia

Religious Discrimination in Canada – Derek Ross, Public Discourse

US Pastor Andrew Brunson Writes Heartbreaking Message to Wife From Turkish Prison – Stoyan Zaimov, The Christian Post

Open Doors Rebuilds Nearly 700 Christian Homes Destroyed by ISIS in Nineveh Plains – Samuel Smith, The Christian Post

 

Life

Abortion

Beyond Roe: A Global Roadmap for the Pro-Life Movement – Stefano Gennarini, Public Discourse

Brother of woman who died from abortion at Planned Parenthood: Abortion is not a safe procedure – Live Action

Only Pro-Lifers Address Abortion’s Core Moral Question – Mene Ukueberuwa, National Review

The Emerging Pro-Life Majority – Rob Schwarzwalder, The Stream

Fetal heartbeat’ abortion bill advances in Iowa Senate after contentious hearing – William Petroski, Des Moines Register

Missouri House Passes Pro-Life Bill Requiring Parental Notification Before a Teen’s Abortion – Micaiah Bilger, LifeNews

Adoption

Five Reasons Adoption Shouldn’t be a Backup Plan – John Prather, The Stream

Pro-Life Advocates Celebrate: Lawmakers Pass Funding for Florida Pregnancy Support Network – Leon Aprile, Orlando Political Observer

Bioethics

Euthanizing The Mentally Ill Just Lets Their Illness WinA.D.P. Efferson, The Federalist

 

Family

Economics/Education

Tax Revenues Up Big After GOP Tax Cut – James Barrett, The Daily Wire

Sorry, NYT: For Child Poverty, Family Structure Still Matters – W. Bradford Wilcox, Family Studies

The Left Is Conditioning College Students To Hate Free Speech – John Daniel Davidson, The Federalist

Campus Madness: Amid Uproar, Princeton’s Class on Free Speech Issues Has Been Canceled – Guy Benson, Townhall

Marriage

The Profound Spiritual Truth of Marriage – Dorothy Greco, Relevant

How To Prepare For Marriage And Make It Good Once You Get There – Melissa Langsam Braunstein, The Federalist

She Was Repulsed by Her Husband – Lisa Lakey, Family Life

Jordan Peterson’s Radical Take on Marriage – Ashley McGuire, Family Studies

The Eschatological Hope of Bearing Children – Ian Caveny, First Things

The Lost Decade – Mary May Larmoyeux, Family Life

The Long-Term Benefits of Marriage: Evidence from the UK – Harry Benson, Family Studies

No Matter How Anyone Tries To Glam It Up Or Brush It Off, Divorce Is Never ‘Over Easy’The Federalist

We Lost Our Baby, but We Didn’t Want to Lose Our Marriage – Tanisha Garnier, Christianity Today

How to Restore a Marriage Norm – Lawrence M. Mead, Family Studies

Rankin finally pulls the plug on gay marriage – Jonathan Bell, The Royal Gazette

Faith/Character/Culture

Raising Gentlemen in a #MeToo World: Advice for Fathers – Patrick Fagan, Family Studies

Why ‘Progressives’ Cannot Abide Dissent – Trevin Wax, The Gospel Coalition

The Burdensome Myth of Romantic Love – David C. Dollahite and Betsy VanDenBerghe, First Things

Is Life Ultimately Pointless? – Matt Nelson, Word On Fire

Human Sexuality

Is America Running Out of Patience with LGBT Activism? – Glenn Stanton, Public Discourse

Nine Decades of Promiscuity – Nicholas H. Wolfinger, Family Studies

Walgreens now allows bathroom use corresponding with gender identity – Rebecca Savransky, The Hill

Staggering Statistic Reveals How Many High Schoolers Now Identify as Transgender – Jason Hopkins, The Western Journal

Five Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution, Part I – Mary Eberstadt, The Catholic Thing

Dirty Dozen’ List Sheds Light on Sexualized Corporate CultureCBN News

Human Trafficking

510 Arrested in Sex Trafficking Sting; 56 Victims Rescued – Donald Kaufman, truthdig

Pornography

Let’s Ban Porn – Ross Douthat, The New York Times

Ammunition for the Fight Against Porn – Dieudonné Tamfu, Desiring God

5 Ways Intimacy Will Suffer if You Watch Porn Together – Mary Rose Somarriba, Verily

How One Family Is Taking A Stand Against Pornography and Sexual Exploitation in America’s Schools – Robin Paterson, National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Fact-Checking Jimmy Kimmel on Christian Bakers: Two Big Errors, But Props for Trying

by Travis Weber

February 13, 2018

The other day, Jimmy Kimmel responded to a California Court ruling affirming Christian baker Cathy Miller’s First Amendment right to not be compelled to create a cake celebrating a same-sex wedding.

Here is a response to Jimmy Kimmel’s response, which I also presented on Facebook Live with our own Brynne Krispin (below).

First, I commend Kimmel for trying to tackle the issue, and for acknowledging the judge’s ruling in favor of the baker “sounded reasonable.” That’s a start.

But Kimmel then goes off track when trying to portray what happened.

In his skit, he plays a waiter who quizzes customers at his hypothetical restaurant, asking after they sat down but before serving them: “Are any of you gay?” After one woman says yes, he informs her his chef can’t make her a salad because he “believes homosexuality is a sin” (while offering her a salad made yesterday before “he knew you were gay”)—wrongly implying that the California baker did the exact same thing.

ERROR #1: Kimmel wrongly portrays business owners as refusing to serve people because they identify as LGBT

This is simply false. How many times do we have to say it?

What Kimmel portrayed is exactly what is NOT happening in the California case, Jack Phillips’ case, or any other.

Neither Cathy Miller nor any of the other Christians being dragged into court over this issue is quizzing customers to see who identifies as LGBT or not, and sending them on their way if they say they are gay. They are only drawing the line at creating items and sending messages which violate their conscience.

Nor is the issue when the item was baked; Jack Phillips and others are happy to sell a person identifying as LGBT cookies, cakes, brownies, etc.—whether made yesterday or today. Rather, the issue is whether the person of faith is being conscripted into using their talents in service of a proclamation against their will.

Indeed, in his brief to the Supreme Court, Jack Phillips clearly stated that he “would decline to create a wedding cake celebrating a same-sex marriage regardless of whether the customer is a same-sex couple or a heterosexual parent purchasing the cake” (emphasis mine). Yet at the same time, he “would celebrate a marriage between a man and a woman even if one or both spouses identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual” (emphasis mine).

In other words: this is not about the person; it’s about the message.

ERROR #2: Kimmel tells the story of the potential customers, but not the business owners of faith.

In doing this, Kimmel missed a big opportunity to tell the stories of business owners of faith like Jack Phillips and Cathy Miller—and how they are being harassed by government agencies and dragged into court over this issue right now.

So what should Kimmel’s skit have shown?

The waiter should have played the government and the customer could have played the wedding vendor, and it would have been largely on-point. Jack Phillips and others are simply seeking to stay in the marketplace (the table), yet the government is coming to them and telling them to get out unless they modify their Christian beliefs. This is also happening at the hands of the ACLU in Michigan, where Christian adoption providers have a seat at the table along with pro-LGBT providers. Yet the ACLU is suing the state to force the Christian groups to leave because of their beliefs.

Kimmel’s own skit helps show this. Near the end, he referenced a Hindu chef who didn’t want to prepare a steak for a potential customer because of his religious beliefs. Now, just imagine if that Hindu chef’s job had been to simply prepare vegetable side dishes, and then one day all of a sudden his boss tells him to start preparing steaks—or be fired. Cathy Miller’s story is like this chef’s, and it is a story that needs to be told. If Jimmy Kimmel doesn’t tell it, we gladly will.

Generation Z – Seeking Answers to Good and Evil

by Travis Weber

February 13, 2018

Generation X and Millennials are old news; we are now turning our attention to Generation Z, the youngest generation of all. One research outfit recently conducted a groundbreaking study of the way this group sees the world, including ultimate matters of life—faith, meaning, and the existence of God. (Though Gen Z is defined as those born between 1999 to 2015, for the purpose of this study only those between ages of 13 and 18 were included.)

When looking at differences between Christian and non-Christian members of Gen Z, the study’s authors report one of their major findings to be that “the problem of evil is a major barrier to faith” for 29 percent of non-Christian members of Gen Z.

While this finding is in a new study, the objection raised by Gen Z has been around much longer. Decades ago, British author and scholar C.S. Lewis, who was a non-believer for years during his youth, dealt with the problem of evil in his book The Problem of Pain. In its introduction, Lewis writes: “I never noticed that the very strength and facility of the pessimists’ case at once poses us a problem. If the universe is so bad, or even half so bad, how on earth did human beings ever come to attribute it to the activity of a wise and good Creator?”

Indeed, the reality that human beings are able to recognize evil at all shows us that we are comparing it to something else—that which is good. And if we acknowledge that we recognize we have a moral compass, we should ask where its reference point is.

By appealing to God (or against God) to correct those things which our moral compass tells us are off course, don’t we already recognize him as the source? And if he is the source, he exists indeed.

This may seem counterintuitive, but the fact that members of Gen Z are struggling over the problem of evil is actually a hopeful sign. In raising this objection, as Lewis once did, they show they are at least on the road to faith—as Lewis was as a young man. Let us pray and seek out opportunities to help them arrive at their destination.

An Ode to the Lincoln Memorial

by Brynne Krispin

February 12, 2018

A poem in honor of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.

An Ode to the Lincoln Memorial

In this temple,
As in the hearts of the people
For whom he saved the Union,
The memory of Abraham Lincoln
Is enshrined forever.”

Seated at the top of a hill,
A blanket of white stone surrounds him.
Wise but weary eyes
Face the world below.
A shame, he did not know
How the world in front of him 

Would grow.

In the reflection of his eyes,
The battle not yet won.
The blood-stained fields
Drenched with sacrifice, 

And the world remained blind.

Had he seen the end
Of the fight for peace?
The end had only begun—
Discrimination to increase.
A nation torn, but strengthened 

With hope.

Lincoln’s leadership never to cease. 

Pain-Capable Senate Vote: The One Percenters’ Club

by Jay Sappington

February 9, 2018

How often does Congress have the chance to directly prevent, with a single legislative act, the certain infliction of extreme physical pain on thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of helpless and innocent victims?

Last week, the U.S. Senate missed an opportunity to do just that when 44 Democrats and two Republicans closed down debate on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The Act would have prohibited abortion after 20 weeks (five months) gestation, a stage at which unborn children can experience excruciating physical pain.

The science is so clear on this point that hospitals now give anesthesia to children at this age when they undergo surgery in utero. But not when they are aborted by dismemberment or by piercing their bodies with a large needle to inject poison that causes heart failure.

What would possess an individual, much less 46 members of Congress, to oppose legislation prohibiting this cruelty?

Only One Percent

Senator Angus King (I-Maine) is quoted in The Washington Post saying that he voted against the Pain-Capable bill because “ninety-nine percent of abortions take place before 20 weeks, so this is a solution in search of a problem.”

Really? Let’s take a look at his numbers.

An estimated one million abortions are performed annually in the U.S. If one percent of those abortions take place after the fifth month, then there are some 10,000 abortions in which unborn children are subjected to the extreme physical pain of dismemberment or lethal injection. Preventing cruelty to 10,000 pre-identified human victims is “a solution in search of a problem”?

King and his Senate colleagues are permitting the violent and cruel treatment of unborn children—behavior that we forbid against prisoners of war, that we strive to prevent in human trafficking, and that we prohibit in treatment of animals.

They’re about to die anyway,” some might argue. But we forbid this kind of treatment for death row inmates when they are being executed. Whatever you may think of the death penalty, at least efforts are made to protect its recipients from pain during execution. Not so for unborn children.

Another One Percent Argument

Senator Lisa Murkowski, (R-Alaska) tweeted that, though she opposes post-20-week abortion, she refused to support the Pain-Capable bill because it lacked “sufficient” exceptions for “victims of rape and incest and in cases where the life or physical health of the mother is threatened.”

Murkowski illustrates her concern this way: “For example, requiring a teenage girl who was raped by her father to report to law enforcement or a government agency prior to obtaining an abortion simply is not workable.”

Let’s take a look at her logic.

In Murkowski’s world, it is better for a teen to be subjected to a high-risk, late-term abortion and to then return to her home—where she is at high risk for further sexual abuse—than for the girl, or her doctor, to inform authorities of the crime that has been committed against her and protect her from ongoing danger.

And, in Murkowski’s thinking, ensuring that the girl can be placed in this physical double jeopardy is so important that it warrants leaving not only her unborn child and those of other rape victims unprotected from the extreme physical pain of abortion, but the 9,900 other five-month-old children, as well.

Where did that 9,900 figure come from? Some estimates of abortions obtained in cases of rape are as high as one percent. So, of the 10,000 post-five-month abortions performed in the U.S. annually, approximately 100 are performed on rape victims. In other words, Murkowski voted to permit the excruciatingly painful abortion of 10,000 late-term children because 100 of them may be children of rapists.

Senator King says one percent (10,000) is too small a number of victims to be worth protecting from the equivalent of torture. Senator Murkowski seems to think that most of them do deserve protection, but shouldn’t receive it because one percent (100) of them may have been conceived in rape. The logic itself is tortuous.

Rare, But Not Non-Existent

Opportunities to pass legislation with such immediate humanitarian impact are rare, but not as rare as you might think. Versions of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act have been passed by the House of Representatives not once, not twice, but three times (in 2013, 2015, and—the bill the Senate just nixed—in 2017). Each time, the Senate has voted in favor of continuing the cruelty.

How many times will it take before the Senate votes in line with science and basic humanitarianism?

Jay Sappington is a bioethicist, researcher, writer, educator, and policy advocate. He has worked with Heartbeat International and The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, among others.

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