Category archives: Religion & Culture

In the Second Week of Advent, Newsweek Gave to Me…

by Michael Fragoso

December 8, 2008

Via the Corner, there is this profoundly misleading piece from Newsweek on marriage and the Bible.  In it, Lisa Miller attempts to go through the Bible bit by bit, showing how “Biblical” marriage is a ridiculous construct that no reasonable person would want-polygamy in the Old Testament, and Pauline prudishness in the New.  In the end, we should just adopt the Bible’s narrative of “inclusion” to be good Christians and accept same-sex marriage. 

Just to take one of her points: are self-described “Biblical” Christians bound to the polygamy of the Patriarchs?  Of course not.  In the 10th Century, Aelfric, Abbot of Eynsham, was asked to translate the first seven books of the Bible by his king into what is now known as Old English.  In his preface to the Book of Genesis he expresses his unease at such a task, worried that those who do not understand the canons of Scriptural Interpretation might misunderstand facts of the Old Testament.  Certain Biblical actions followed “the customs of the age” but were robustly condemned by the contemporary Church and had been since its inception, such as the polygamy of the Patriarchs or the attempted sacrifice of Isaac.  Aelfric notes that those who hear these stories should not be allowed to dwell on the literal actions of the Patriarchs, but rather on the educative functions: such as polygamy as representing the fecundity of the Church, or the sacrifice of Isaac prefiguring Christ on the cross.  Instead, he feared, any powerful Saxons who had this read to them by an unthinking priest-as the non-clerical classes were largely illiterate at the time-would see Genesis as a license to commit polygamy or engage in human sacrifices, against the expressed teachings of their Church, but with an apparent “Biblical” mandate. 

Likewise, all of Miller’s “novel” objections to St. Paul’s famous “It is better to marry than to burn” line* or questions about Christ’s evident chastity have been answered countless times throughout Christian history, but that doesn’t stop her from making them as if she’s done something terribly groundbreaking in the process.

Frankly, dealing any more with Miller’s specifics would not be at all fruitful.  She elides much of the New Testament, and her history is reliant on the quotably wrong Stephanie Coontz.  Where does one begin to answer imputations that King David was a homosexual?  How can one comprehend-let alone respond to-an argument that first apparently admits Christ’s virgin birth and then proceeds to equate the Holy Family to “Jesus has two (Immaculate) Mommies”?  The Bible is simply a weapon-at-hand for her preferred policy ends.  She’s the sort of person Aeflric was worried about. 

*It is worth noting that even here Miller’s translation betrays a prejudice.  She takes St. Paul to mean “burn with passion.”  Perhaps.  He also might mean “burn [in Hell].”  The early Fathers were divided on the issue, as were many prominent glossators.  It’s funny how the inconvenient, morally absolute reading-found in King James, among other translations-doesn’t get picked up by Miller. 

Judge: This land is your land…

by Suzanne Bowdey

October 20, 2008

It’s been five years since the Episcopal Church consecrated its first openly gay bishop, but the shockwaves are still rippling through the national church.  Across America, congregations have exploded in protest.  Despite pleas from many in the 2.2 million-member church, Episcopal leaders stubbornly refuse to back down from their liberal, pro-homosexual theology. 

After months of negotiations failed to bring the denomination back to its conservative teachings, a band of 11 Virginia churches took the unprecedented step to sever all ties and realign under the Anglican Church of Nigeria.  Together, these congregations made the courageous-and costly-decision to separate from a denomination whose American roots are more than 300 years deep. 

But the stand for Biblical truth has come at great price to the faithful in Virginia.  They face financial hardship, eviction from their property, and a multi-million dollar lawsuit from Episcopal headquarters. 

Since early 2007, the Diocese of Virginia has attacked the churches in a vicious suit that threatens to confiscate their church homes.  With almost no resources, the 11 churches banded together in defense of their land, resulting in the largest property dispute in the history of the Episcopal Church. 

At every stage of the Episcopal Church and Diocese of Virginia court battle (now four rounds old), Circuit Court Judge Randy Bellows has ruled in favor of the breakaway churches.  Last week, Judge Bellows rounded out this series of victories by ruling that Truro Church-the second largest parish-“could retain ownership of land sought by the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia.”  In a story of true David versus Goliath proportions, the news continues to stun the mainstream church.

But despite how far the Virginia parishes have come, the Episcopal Church shows no sign of giving up.  Its national leaders have vowed to fight these decisions all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary.  In a press release, the Diocese says it “will continue to explore every legal option available” to seize these church homes.  Despite the mass exodus this month from parishes in Pittsburgh and San Joaquin (see George Will’s Sunday column “A Faith’s Dwindling Following”) and the impending rift in Fort Worth, the Episcopal Church leaves no doubt that the legal battle has just begun.  In fact, it could continue for years.  

If you’re interested helping the churches at “Ground Zero” in the Anglican crisis, please log on to Truro’s website  and consider standing with them for biblical truth.

Underage Drinking—Costs and Protective Factors

by Michael Leaser

August 19, 2008

Most people are well aware that underage drinking can exact a deadly toll, approximately 5,000 youths every year. What may prove even more disturbing is just how young underage drinkers can be. According to the National Institutes of Health, 11 percent of eighth grade students have engaged in binge drinking (blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher), and this percentage increases to 22 percent of tenth grade students and 29 percent of twelfth grade students.

Analyzing additional federal survey data, the latest Mapping America reports that one of the most significantly protective factors against abusive underage drinking is frequent religious attendance.

The 7th Circuit sends the Italian genius packing …for now

by Pat Fagan

August 7, 2008

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that The Freedom From Religion Foundation had no legal standing to sue the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for incorporating chaplain work into its veteran health care. What does this have to do with Gramshi, the Italian genius of soft communism?

To have the federal government expand its reach into virtually every corner of life (family, school, health, the economy) and simultaneously to push for a radical “wall of separation of church and state” is to ban religion from life. It is the perfect scenario for a slow but Sherman-like “march through the institutions” as Gramsci envisioned.

As Mapping America shows, the practice of religion is integral to superior outcomes in most dimensions of life, and medicine is no exception as reviews of the literature make clear.

The plaintiff in a case against Veterans Affairs for their support of chaplains’ work with ill patients, The Freedom From Religion Foundation, clearly falls among the ranks of those dedicated to a Gramsciite deconstruction of American society, not a building up of her strengths nor even of the care of her sick soldiers.

Close ties to Planned Parenthood = Common Ground?

by JP Duffy

May 2, 2008

One of the participants in this recent Pew Forum interview is Jennifer Butler - the Executive Director for Faith in Public Life.  You may remember that this group organized the Compassion Forum  early last month.  Faith in Public Life said they would discuss the abortion issue at the forum and issued this statement: “We hope to get to the heart of the issue and why it’s so divisive. We hope to try to pry the door open to potential common ground and ask if the political labels we use when it come to abortion really capture where Americans are on the issue.”

However, in this Pew Forum interview,  Ms. Butler proudly points to her strong connections with Planned Parenthood and her speaking engagement at the “Planned Parenthood prayer breakfast”:

BUTLER: Yeah, well, it is interesting you asked that. I am

speaking at the Planned Parenthood prayer breakfast tomorrow. And

we have worked very closely with some think-tanks in

town with Third Way and with Center for American Progress. Many of these groups

are also very interested in connecting more strongly with faith communities. And

I’d say there has been a resurgence in their interest, an intensification since

2004. So I think it is extremely important to build those bridges there…

…There has been some recent progress in that arena because it has

been a point of tension. I mentioned earlier our work with Third Way. And they

worked with leading evangelicals and progressives to outline a strategy for

approaching the abortion issue which, interestingly enough, did not involve

compromise. And they were very clear that they didn’t want a

watered-down solution to the problem, nor did they want

people having to compromise on their ideals…

Butler should explain how working “closely” with Planned Parenthood helps achieve

common ground” to solve the “problem” of abortion.

Straw Poll on the Issues

by Jared Bridges

October 23, 2007

The FRC Action Values Voter Straw Poll has been making lots of news, but one of the poll questions that hasn’t yet gained as much attention was question #3, which asked participants to rank the order of importance among a set of issues. Here are the results:

Please indicate which issue is the most important in determining your opinion of the candidate that you will most likely vote for?

Here’s the statistical breakdown:

ISSUE VOTES PERCENTAGE
Abortion 2398 41.52%
Same-sex “Marriage” 1141 19.76%
Tax Cuts 626 10.84%
Permanent tax relief for families 563 9.75%
Federal “hate crimes” legislation 331 5.73%
No vote on this question 181 3.13%
Taxpayer funding for abortions 151 2.61%
Prayer in schools 93 1.61%
Reinstatement of the “Fairness Doctrine” 88 1.52%
Public display of the Ten Commandments 57 0.99%
Enforced obscenity laws 54 0.94%
Embryonic stem cell experiments 48 0.83%
Voluntary, student-led prayer in schools 44 0.76%
Total 5,775 100%

Now that you’ve got the numbers, feel free to crunch away.

A Collar, a Headscarf, and a Circus of Misunderstanding

by Tony Perkins

June 26, 2007

Here’s today’s Washington Watch Daily commentary from FRC Radio:

Baseball humorist Yogi Berra once quipped, “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Well, one Seattle woman is taking Yogis advice to heart. Episcopal priest Rev. Ann Holmes Redding recently announced for the last 15 months shes been both a Christian and a Muslim. In Reddings mind, the distance between her cathedral and the mosque is not far. Says Redding, “I am both Muslim and Christian…I’m 100 percent both. At the most basic level, I understand the two religions to be compatible. That’s all I need.” Perhaps someone should inform Rev. Redding that the two faiths are anything but compatible. Even the president of the Islamic Center of Washington said, I don’t know how that works. Whats more disturbing is that Reddings bishop accepts her as both a priest and a Muslim, and finds the interfaith possibilities exciting. What her bishop finds exciting is another tragic example of the decay of truth in a culture that wants to have it both ways. Reddings misled desire to have it both ways makes a mockery of Christians throughout the world who endure extreme persecution when they leave Islam to embrace Christ.

To download this commentary as an MP3, follow this link. For an e-mail subscription to the Washington Watch Daily radio commentary, go here.

Waders Of The Lost Ark

by Tony Perkins

May 30, 2007

Here’s today’s Washington Watch Daily commentary from FRC Radio:

Some people have accused environmental crowd of going overboard on global warming. But this time, they mean it. In a massive publicity stunt, Greenpeace is rebuilding Noahs ark on Mount Ararat where the Bible said it landed after the flood. According to liberal theories, global warming is causing the seas to rise and envelop the earth. Theyre hoping this ark will serve as a warning of what could happen if mankind doesnt act quickly on climate change. But even if Greenpeace is rightand many scientists doubt they arethe ocean is only predicted to rise 20 feet, hardly enough to make the ark necessary. And of course, if Greenpeace had read biblical account from start to finish, theyd understand why the idea is so ironic. In Genesis, climate change didnt cause the floodmans wickedness did. And what saved Noah wasnt his boatbut Gods mercy. Unfortunately, Greenpeace is using the ark to call on man to save himself. But the reality is, without faith in God, there is no salvationnot from global warming, and certainly not from sin. Believing in anything else than the Lords benevolent rule is bound to leave people high and dry.

To download this commentary as an MP3, follow this link. For an e-mail subscription to the Washington Watch Daily radio commentary, go here.

A Tribute To Rev. Jerry Falwell

by Tony Perkins

May 22, 2007

Here’s today’s Washington Watch Daily commentary from FRC Radio:

American writer Walter Lippmann once said, The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and the will to carry on. For the Rev. Dr. Jerry Falwell, building a legacy of conviction started long before his death. It began more than 50 years ago with his burning desire to serve Jesus Christ. By founding a church of thousands and, in 1971, Liberty University, Dr. Falwell has helped generations learn and live for Christ. As a spiritual giant in the political world, Dr. Falwell stood for family, faith, and freedomeven when the stands he took were unpopular. While I was a student at Liberty, I met Dr. Falwell at a Wednesday night prayer service at Thomas Road Baptist Church. I asked him to pray with me because I believed God was calling me away from my law enforcement background and into politics. Im pleased to say that 20 years later, after serving in public office, I had the opportunity to thank Dr. Falwell for his friendship, his influence on my life, and his impact upon our nation. I hope youll join me and the entire staff here at the Family Research Council in praying for Dr. Falwells familyand thanking God for the powerful vision he left behind.

To download this commentary as an MP3, follow this link. For an e-mail subscription to the Washington Watch Daily radio commentary, go here.

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