Traditional Marriage weakened by SCOTUS ruling

English: Rally for Prop 8 in Fresno, Californi...

English: Rally for Prop 8 in Fresno, California Español: Manifestación por Prop 8 en Fresno, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m disappointed that the Supreme Court partially ruled against traditional marriage in their decision today. Thankfully they didn’t make a wholesale ruling in favor of so-called same-sex marriage. They still allowed for states to define marriage for themselves.

As far as California’s Prop 8 is concerned, the Court dismissed the appeal. This seems somewhat ambiguous. Prop 8 was a majority vote for an amendment to the California state constitution in favor of traditional marriage between only one man and one woman. A federal judge declared the amendment unconstitutional. The governor refused to appeal this ruling essentially thumbing their noses at the majority popular vote. Conservative groups appealed the federal lower court ruling to the Supreme Court. This appeal was dismissed.

The basis for appealing the dismissal was lack of precedent. Apparently SCOTUS hasn’t before entertained appeals of state laws that were not being defended by the state itself.

So on one hand, SCOTUS has affirmed states to determine a definition of marriage as the state sees fit. On the other hand, the Court didn’t slap down a lower federal court for dictating to California what sort of definition of marriage would be considered constitutional… Ambivalence? I would say somewhat biased toward the redefinition of marriage side.

Hopefully this decision will galvanize further action to strengthen traditional marriage. One way to do this is to sign the Manhattan Declaration.

 

Tipping Points

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Debating Poverty

Congressman Poe and Governor Mitt Romney

Congressman Poe and Governor Mitt Romney (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the 10/15/2012 presidential debate I thought that both candidates reached out to their bases and showed up with their debate faces on. I cannot say that either candidate was a clear winner, but Romney did a good job of keeping the his focus on setting out his plan and making the President answer for his record.

One of the most important points was made close to the end of the debate. Romney brought up the connection between poverty, education, the failing health of our nation, and marriage. Mitt Romney pointed out that a very high number of children are born to unwed mothers today. He mentioned that changing this trend would help improve life for women. Here are a couple more points I wish he had mentioned: This trend can find its roots in the “sexual revolution” of the 60s. We need to move away from that hedonistic, moral relativistic mindset. The majority of our prison populations come from fatherless homes. The majority of these young mothers quickly fall below the poverty line leaving their children living in poverty. Those mothers and children constitute a heavy weight on the American economy because so many of them end up on the welfare rolls.
What we really need here in America is a return to biblical values and commitment to marriage and righteousness in our personal lives. What we need is young men and women who are willing to deny their urges for selfishness, immoral sexual fulfillment, and useless distraction. We need young people who are strong in character that will choose to live a responsible life, marry, and lead families under God.

Restoring Love

Downtown Dallas in the background with the Tri...

Downtown Dallas in the background with the Trinity River in the foreground. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Restoring Love event in Dallas, Texas is another example of Christians taking a stand and showing what is good and attractive about being a Christian and following God’s ways. Restoring Love is an example of how Christian service, charity, and compassion can and should meet all the needs that the government attempts to fill with welfare programs. Volunteers will distribute food to the hungry, repair houses of the elderly, take part in community clean up efforts and so much more.

The catch for us Christians is that if we are not willing to step up and be the church with acts of Christian love and charity, we have no business demanding that the government get out of that area. If we in Christian love will live out our faith and put feet on our worldview, that will be a sweet and inviting fragrance to the lost. And just in case it isn’t, as in the case of people like the Freedom From Religion Foundation, lawyers from the Alliance Defense Fund are on call to defend our place in the public square.

Teavangelicals: Taking Back America

David Brody’s new book The Teavangelicals: the Inside Story of how Conservative Evangelicals and the Tea Party are Taking Back America describes the high degree of support between conservative evangelicals and Tea Party groups. In fact, Mr. Brody states that Tea Party organizations are made up of about 60% conservative evangelicals.

The shared goals between libertarian fiscal conservatives and conservative evangelicals make sense to me. While liberal nanny state programs seem to help the poor on the surface, welfare actually has a dis-incentivizing effect, hurting the poor in the long run. Making citizens dependent on government only overburdens the economy. These fiscal policies are not moral. Our nation is being overwhelmed by debt and obligations which our economy cannot supply. We’ve taken on trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities from  promises politicians made but had no funding source. Of course, over 50 million taxpayers murdered in the name of women’s choice hasn’t helped matters much either.

So I’m thankful we seem to forming a kind of coalition. Some people feel strongly that we need conservative fiscal policy and smaller government to turn our country around. Others feel the same way while being concerned that the moral fabric of our society is frayed with the push for so-called same-sex marriage and the prolongation of the abortion killing fields.

The Republican National Committee’s campaign literature for Romney almost exclusively discusses fiscal issues. My wife and I wanted to find a group that has a broader conservative approach. I am supporting Romney now as the conservative candidate to beat Obama in November. At the same time, I want more air time from our side on the moral and religious battles our nation is facing.  One example of a group that spans this gap is The Faith and Freedom Coalition. In our home we’re contributing to this organization because they are pushing for socially conservative as well as fiscally conservative policies. You might want to check them out as well.

Traditional Marriage on the Ballot in Minnesota

John Piper (theologian)

John Piper (theologian) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The people of Minnesota are voting on an amendment to their state constitution defining marriage as  “Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota.” Sound familiar California? We had a similar vote about four years ago. It passed, but an activist judge struck it down. Our battle is somewhere in the appeals stage. I hope your vote goes the way it has for every state where the people have had a chance to vote. In other words, I hope traditional marriage wins out.

A sermon by John Piper of Bethlehem Baptist in Minneapolis came to my attention this week. While he didn’t come outright in favor of the proposed marriage amendment, Dr. Piper preached a sermon directly on the Biblical basis for marriage and laid out a number of Biblical principles to help his flock think through this issue. I will include the main points of his sermon here because he sums up quite succinctly some of the best thinking on this battle of our culture war.

1. Marriage is created and defined by God in the Scriptures as the sexual and covenantal union of a man and a woman in life-long allegiance to each other alone, as husband and wife, with a view to displaying Christ’s covenant relationship to his blood-bought church.

2. There is no such thing as so-called same-sex marriage, and it would be wise not to call it that.

3. Same sex desires and same sex orientation are part of our broken and disordered sexuality owing to God’s subjection of the created order to futility because of man’s sin.

4. Therefore, same-sex intercourse, not same-sex desire is the focus of Paul’s condemnation when he threatens exclusion from the kingdom of God.

5. Therefore, it would contradict love and contradict the gospel of Jesus to approve homosexual practice, whether by silence, or by endorsing so-called same-sex marriage, or by affirming the Christian ordination of practicing homosexuals.

6. The good news of Jesus is that God saves heterosexual sinners and homosexual sinners who trust Jesus, by counting them righteous because of Christ, and by helping them through his Spirit to live lives pleasing to him in their disordered brokenness.

7. Deciding what actions will be made legal or illegal through civil law is a moral activity aiming at the public good and informed by the worldview of each participant.

8. Don’t press the organization of the church or her pastors into political activism. Pray that the church and her ministers would feed the flock of God with the word of God centered on the gospel of Christ crucified and risen. Expect from your shepherds not that they would rally you behind political candidates or legislative initiatives, but they would point you over and over again to God and to his word, and to the cross.

Main Points of Sermon, “‘Let Marriage be Held in Honor’ Thinking Biblically about So-called Same-sex Marriage”, John Piper, June 16, 2012.

Even though Dr. Piper says not press the church or her pastors into political activism, if more pastors would simply lay out the Biblical framework as he did, Christians would be much better informed in their values and voting. This is much closer to the Black Robed Regiment that David Barton talks about than what I hear on Sunday. If you have a chance to read or listen to the sermon, I recommend looking over point number 7 carefully. Dr. Piper puts the issue of codifying traditional marriage into very clear terms.

What do you think of John Piper’s stance? Are there other points he should cover?

The Jefferson Lies

Jefferson bible

Jefferson bible (Photo credit: naypinya)

Thomas Jefferson has been upheld as a leading founding father who was liberal and secular, advocated the strict separation of church and state, questioned the Bible, wrote his own version of the Bible, slept with his slave and fathered illegitimate children. David Barton’s new book The Jefferson Lies brings these reports about Jefferson to the table and examines them in light of Jefferson’s own writings and historical evidence. The results are eye-opening. I would like to share a brief description of these here in my blog if you would like a more detailed description I recommend purchasing the book The Jefferson Lies. You can also catch Barton’s discussion of his new book on WallBuilders Live! from the second week of May (2012).

I remember I was a teenager at church camp the first time I heard that Thomas Jefferson had created his own version of the Bible by cutting out certain parts of Scripture. This has been a little gnawing factoid in the back of my mind for three decades. Are these reports true? What did he cut out? How can Jefferson be a Christian or even have a respect for the Bible if he would cut out part of the Scripture? This kind of concern has put Jefferson in the place of the most secular founding father. But let’s look at the facts.

Jefferson created two works which are both referred to as “the Jefferson Bible”, one in 1804, the other in 1820. The first work in 1804 Jefferson created in response to a suggestion from a missionary that said in order to evangelize the Native American tribes a short work embodying the key teachings of the Gospel should be assembled. This work would be much more likely to be read by someone who is interested in the Christian faith but not ready to work their way through a 2 1/2 inch thick book. Jefferson took two copies of the Bible and went through the four Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and cut and pasted together a chronological version of Jesus’ life. He took the accounts from all four Gospels and put them in timeline order and eliminated accounts that were told more than once by the different gospel narratives. Jefferson called this work An Abridgment of the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ. He did not call it the Jefferson Bible. He created it solely as a tool for sharing Christian teachings with Native American tribes. While some Christians might object to abridging the Scriptures, we cannot say that this was an act of offense against scriptural teaching. Rather it affirms that Jefferson believed the life and teachings of Jesus Christ to be worthy of spreading in teaching to others. This can also be supported by the fact that Jefferson on a number of occasions contributed money toward Bible societies: groups whose purpose and mission was to distribute copies of the Bible, the full Bible.
The 1820 work of Thomas Jefferson often referred to as the Jefferson Bible is actually the more common of the two. This collection of passages from the Bible distills the moral teachings of Jesus Christ into one short work that Jefferson put together based on his belief that of all the moral teachings through the centuries, the morals of Jesus Christ where the highest, best, and most likely to bring about a peaceful and prosperous society when properly adhered to. If only we would learn this lesson today.
All told, this way of treating the Bible is quite a bit different than what I was led to believe about Jefferson. I’m still inclined to believe that he was one of the more secular founding fathers. However, he seems to have had a great deal more respect for scripture than many Christians do today.
I’ll try to follow up on some of the other points about Jefferson in later posts. In regard to the Jefferson “Bible”: When did you first hear about it/them and what effect did it have on your opinion of Thomas Jefferson?

Obama Comes Out

Barack Obama

Barack Obama (Photo credit: jamesomalley)

On Thursday, 5/10/2012, ABC’s Good Morning America, Barack Obama has made history has the first US president to come out in favor of so-called same-sex marriage. President Obama made remarks that are probably an effort to sway uninformed Christians who aren’t grounded in their faith. President Obama affirmed his Christian beliefs while at the same time affirming so-called same-sex marriage. He said it’s only fair that people be allowed to marry someone of the same sex if that is what they truly want. Although he did specify that the issue should be worked out at the state level. It was funny to hear Robin Roberts insist that it was not being worked out at the state level. She listed the recent defeat of same sex legislation in North Carolina. What Roberts meant was: people are voting it down, working it out means that we get our way…

On the negative side here is the head of state of our country basically taking a stand for sin… calling evil good. At the same time, this stand that Obama has finally been willing to make publicly might give us an additional edge in the November election. The fact is that every time this issue has been put to a vote it has lost. The only time that same-sex marriage has been made law has been by the actions of a legislature, executive, or a judicial overruling of the people. That was the case here in our state of California.

With overwhelming bias in favor of homosexual mores in the media, our incumbent president has some advantages. But the leftist opposition media AKA the mainstream media has never really been critical or biased against Barack Obama because they  read from the same playbook.

Although Obama says he has evolved on this issue, I don’t really believe that. This is where his base has been from the beginning. I think he has kept it unspoken for political reasons. What do you think? Why would the president choose to reveal this belief at this time?