Author archives: Nathan Oppman

Taxpayers Shouldn’t Pay for Pornography

by Nathan Oppman

March 26, 2015

H.R. 5628, the Eliminating Pornography from Agencies Act, would prohibit government employees from accessing pornography on the job.  This Act passed out of committee this week and might seem unnecessary. 

Wouldn’t that kind of activity get you fired?  Not in the world of the Federal Government.  An EPA employee who watched as much as six hours a day of explicit content was still on the government payroll a year after being caught.  It is sad that our government has become so bloated that it can’t hold employees responsible for dereliction of their duties. 

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) sponsored the bill to fix this problem.  Taxpayers shouldn’t be on the dime for something so harmful to society.  Let’s hope Rep. Meadows’ bill reaches the President’s desk.  For more information on the effects of pornography, please see the work done by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.  

Measuring the Value of College

by Nathan Oppman

February 16, 2015

College education is sold today as a ticket to employment and the first step toward a high paying career. But there are many reasons that college may not be the right choice for everyone. A great test of the need for college is to look at those who have achieved great things without attending college. A recent USA Today article highlighting the career of college dropout Scott Walker illustrates the point that a college education is not always necessary to a successful life. Americans should remind one another that there are many factors in career and life success. Marriage and family, hard work and charity, and character and integrity are all things that should be highly esteemed. While college can be a great blessing, it is not necessary for a great life.

Christmas Joy and Divorce

by Nathan Oppman

December 9, 2014

Each Christmas my wife Joy and I set up our tree and relive the memories of past years. For every year of Joy’s life she has received an ornament commemorating a major life event. There is a baby crib for year one and a Crayon box for a few years later. There is an ornament for her first car and for her college graduation. There are many “Joy” ornaments as can be expected for someone with such a cheery Christmas name. And there is one of my favorites, the one that reminds us of our marriage. Sadly many couples do not spend Christmas together. Many more use the holiday, not for sharing sweet memories but for hurtful words and unkind actions. Others spend it shuttling the kids between their broken homes.

I consider my marriage to my wife to be precious as well as sacred. When we said our vows we both sincerely understood and meant “for better or for worse” and “‘til death do you part.” A recent article in First Things on the danger of no-fault divorce laws demonstrates the sad reality for many families harmed by recent American attitudes toward divorce. The article lists some casualties of no-fault divorce including “abandoned spouses, the institution of marriage, and American society itself.” No-fault divorce gives the false impression that there is an easy way out of the difficulties of marriage. Rather than seeking to understand one another, become more loving, and to get counseling when needed, many couples simply give up on marriage. But divorce is never that simple. It affects children, the couple, and the country. A society whose basic family unit is not functioning in harmony cannot expect its political institutions to function well. A society where the marriages are not accountable to God cannot expect its other institutions to be accountable to God.

Love in marriage is a difficult thing. One sees all of the faults of their spouse. It can be easy to become frustrated and discouraged. But marriage is not about one, it is about two who have become one. No fault divorce has caused many homes to become not a place of joy at Christmas but one of bitterness and broken hearts. We must work to change the no-fault divorce culture to a marriage-is-precious culture. So this Christmas if you are struggling, let your spouse know you believe your marriage is precious and seek help. If you are happily married then I recommend going home and, like me, giving your Joy a loving Christmas hug, it will do more good than you know.

ISIS: and the New Damascus Road

by Nathan Oppman

November 6, 2014

The New Testament book of Acts tells us that Saul’s persecutions scattered the church throughout Judea and Samaria. Saul later converted to Christianity, on his way to Damascus to eradicate Christians, and began planting churches throughout the Mediterranean region

Today a new scattering in the Middle East has begun and a new group of persecutors on the road to Damascus has risen up. The new so-called caliphate, ISIS, which has emerged in the Middle East is seeking to remove from its borders all those who claim allegiance to the Jesus Christ. The slaughter of Christians has been one of the most troubling aspects of the rise of ISIS among many horrific stories coming out of Iraq and Syria.

While persecution is not new to Christians in the Middle East, many communities which have existed for millennia are in danger of being eradicated. You can read some of the troubling news in a recent article published by the Gatestone Institute.

Christians can pray for the persecuted by asking for God’s protection of them and for their boldness in sharing the Gospel. We should also pray that the Lord would change the hearts of the persecutors like He changed the heart of Paul and in so doing stop their evil rampage. May God turn this wave of persecution into one that turns the heart of a great persecutor into the heart of a great missionary, and one that uses the scattering of the faithful to spread new hope in Christ wherever they are driven.

Yawning at Tigers

by Nathan Oppman

October 27, 2014

Have American Christians tamed God? Has the awesome God of the Bible been reduced to fit our limited human understanding? Drew Dyck’s insightful book Yawning at Tigers: You Can’t Tame God So Stop Trying answers these questions. The God of the Bible is one who is to be feared and reverenced. Dyck points out human responses to encounters with God in Scripture. Responses included prostration, awe, speechlessness, death, and intense emotions. He is holy. He is mighty. When He is encountered men are moved.

Dyck notes that in many of our most prominent churches God has been relegated to something we as humans can grasp. It is true that God has revealed Himself in ways we can understand, especially in the Incarnation of Jesus, but it is a limited revealing. To see the full unveiled glory of God is too much even for the Seraphim who cry “holy, holy, holy” before God, yet cover their faces with wings. Moses could only look fleetingly on part the glory of God. God is dangerous, He is not like us. Preaching a message of love and mercy while ignoring the wrath and power of God is to diminish the God of the Bible to a god of our own making. Yet this diminishing does not reduce Him it merely leaves us with a false god.

Like His holiness and wrath, God’s love can’t be minimized to fit with human understanding of justice. God is the ultimate lover and redeemer of the souls of mankind. His love reaches us in ways we can’t completely comprehend. God loved us while we were sinners. This profound concept is something that deserves our attention and awe.

Yawning at Tigers presents a God that is separate from His creation yet immanent. A God that is full of wrath yet abundant in mercy. These things are not mutually exclusive; they are a reflection of Truth that is more perfect that we can imagine this side of heaven. We must never stop preaching a God that is holy enough to turn His back on His own Son and loving enough to send Him to die for us. Dangerous. Wonderful. Separate. Immanent. this is the God Christians must never fail to preach in all of His awesome splendor.

The Importance of Christian Culture

by Nathan Oppman

September 23, 2014

When confronting groups like ISIS or Hamas, it is often difficult for the West to understand the grotesque violence and reckless hatred that these groups promote toward those with whom they disagree. These groups do not wish to negotiate or reason. They wish to conquer and rule. On the one hand, the West has seen the all-too familiar horrors of despotic regimes such as those in 20th century Russia and Germany. It has also witnessed the tight grip of control maintained in such places as North Korea and China. All of these places have been the locations of mass executions and violence against peaceful citizens. Since most of these atrocities occurred far from the U.S. it can be difficult to come to terms with the reality that so many innocent people were killed. It was difficult to grasp the horrific Holocaust against the Jews or to understand the rigor of the Soviet GULAG system until eyewitness accounts became widely available. The Islamists doing so much harm in Iraq are evil but not unique. In Sudan, Islamists threatened to kill a woman, Meriam Ibrahim, simply because she refused to renounce her Christian faith. The Islamist culture is one of fear and death. Liberating Western (Christian) beliefs such as the dignity of every person, freedom of religion, and the good of peace are all undermined in Islamist theology.

Western culture has a great many flaws but much of its underlying philosophy is still providing a foundation for peace and prosperity today. Pretending that all cultures are equal or that Western culture is no different than any other culture undermines observable truth. It is easy to sit at home and play armchair philosophical quarterback or to theorize that economic concerns are driving violence but the thousands who die in the name of Islam in the Middle East don’t have such a luxury. Sometimes, a wake-up call is needed. If you would like to see a woman who experienced the cruelty of Islam and is a clear demonstration of the difference between cultures, please plan to attend the Values Voter Summit Gala honoring Meriam Ibrahim. Her story reminds us that the truth is worth fighting for and that some evils can’t be ignored with political rhetoric. May this woman shock our sedated Western mindset with the reality that there is a battle for truth taking place in cultures around the world. One side battles for a culture where a woman and child are seen as a mortal enemy for their beliefs. The other fights for a culture where that same woman is honored for her beliefs. In this cultural war with the lives of so many at stake may truth win, may freedom reign.

Persecuted: Would You Remain Silent?

by Nathan Oppman

July 15, 2014

This week, a movie will be released about persecution coming to modern day America, the persecution of Christians. Not for failing to renounce a belief but for failing to go along with a pluralist law that asks all religion to set aside their differences under the guise of anti-terrorism. I encourage you to go see this movie and consider its implications for the future of America. (Note: it is not for children and includes some violent images). Here is a synopsis of the plot from the movie’s website:

The new movie Persecuted opening in July 2014 depicts evangelist John Luther as the last obstacle in the way of sweeping religious reform. When a Senator frames Luther for the murder of an innocent teenage girl, an unprecedented era of persecution is unleashed. An evangelist turned fugitive, Luther’s mission brings him face-to-face with the coming storm of persecution that will threaten the entire Christian community in America.

America has long had a tradition of religious freedom for individuals. It is difficult to imagine a world of persecution in America, such as what is being experienced regularly by Christians in the Middle East or by those in Communist dictatorships such as North Korea. Perhaps, we will never see such persecution. But that does not mean we won’t see persecution. The one thing that is hardly tolerated in America is stating that something is wrong. We must be politically correct.

Political correctness is not only annoying, it is dangerous. Orwell once said that “freedom was the ability to say that 2+2=4.” If a man can no longer speak the truth, he is no longer free. John Luther was told to stop speaking the truth or risk everything. When faced with such a choice, would you be silent?

Common Core Support Cools

by Nathan Oppman

June 26, 2014

Common Core support among those with school age kids is rapidly declining. Government bureaucrats have long made the argument that they can better educate children than parents can. It appears that parents in America disagree. Nearly everyone agrees that getting a quality education is important but there is a sharp disagreement between those who believe the state should direct educational activities and those who believe parents should direct the education of their children. Look for soon-to-be-released details on an upcoming Common Core event hosted by FRC and featuring some of the key players in this national discussion.

Values and Culture

by Nathan Oppman

June 2, 2014

Having a common culture is important for any nation. More importantly, having a culture with the right values is paramount to a nation’s success. Each year FRC highlights the importance of values at its annual Values Voter Summit.

Recent stories in of kidnapping in Nigeria and persecution of a mother and child Sudan remind us to be thankful that our cultural heritage is one of religious freedom and rule of law. But disturbing social trends such as promiscuous sexual behavior and a disregard for religious freedom threaten our historic moral culture. Many in America realize that to preserve our historic culture we must rededicate ourselves to the Judeo-Christian culture that has brought blessing.

If you are concerned about the threat to America’s culture and about our values as a nation please check sign up for FRC’s annual Values Voter Summit and check out the videos from the recent Watchmen on the Wall conference held in Washington D.C. and inspiring pastors from around the country to reclaim ground and restore righteousness in our nation.

Asking the Questions of Youth

by Nathan Oppman

May 22, 2014

Have you ever been around when a child was awkwardly honest? You know, when they say things like, “I need to go potty” in the middle of a church service, or when they ask why someone else’s child in the checkout line is “acting naughty?” Children are really good at stating the obvious.

For me, recently teaching a class of students ages 11-14 was an informative experience. I was reminded of the black-and-white way in which children ask questions. We were having a discussion about rights and a student began talking about the right to keep and bear arms. I asked the class a question that my college-aged interns and graduate students almost always fail to answer: What is the most important question when talking about gun rights and the Second Amendment?

One bright young lady piped up within seconds and asked, “What is a right?” I was impressed. She had asked the correct question.

In the many classes I have taught on public policy, almost no one can figure out the most basic questions. When I ask the question, “what is a right,” very few can answer. I am sometimes surprised at how often we talk about something we can’t define. The term “rights” is ubiquitous in American culture yet few can define what a right is. I have a simple one sentence definition of a right that I believe clearly explains it but I will save that for another time. Of greater concern to me is that we don’t bother to ask questions.

We have a culture that accepts and advocates for things it does not understand. If we are not trained in careful thinking we are prone to accept anything that comes along and sounds nice. When it comes to marriage too many have used the term “equality” not understanding what it means. When it comes to life to many have used the term “choice” not realizing what the choice is. When it comes to economics too many have shouted for “fairness” without ever defining the term. All of these terms require definition to have a discussion, yet try to ask anyone to define them and you will be filibustered or ignored in most cases. It would do us good to look to our youth and unashamedly ask the questions that we work so hard to avoid.

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