It is said that justice is equality, and so it is, but not for all persons, only those who are equal.
In overturning the California voters' ban on gay marriage, the state's high court argued that homosexuals are a special class, somewhat similar to blacks and women, and deserve special judicial scrutiny for the protection of their rights. At the same time the court insisted that gay marriage must be allowed because gays deserve, no less than anyone else, the equal protection of the laws.
This argument is dubious on two counts. First, blackness and femininity are outwardly identifiable characteristics. Homosexuality generally is not. True, some homosexuals adopt exhibitionistic ways of walking and talking which perhaps serve as a kind of signal to others similarly inclined. But gays can "pass" for straight in a way that blacks can't typically pass for white or women for men. Moreover, blacks were slaves and suffered historical oppression in a way that neither women or gays can match. So the idea that these groups are the "new blacks" is an insult to blacks. Finally whether there is an innate disposition to homosexuality or not, it's hard to deny that homosexuality constitutes a choice and a lifestyle. Whatever the orientation, one still has to choose to act on it. By contrast, blacks and women don't have any choice because race and gender are not a lifestyle.
Now let's turn to the issue of equal protection. Clearly this means that people who are similarly situated should be treated in the same way. So men and women, blacks and whites, straight people and gays, all have the right to vote, the right to speak their mind, and the right to marry. But gays already have the right to marry, just like the others. They have the right to marry adult members of the opposite sex. What they want, however, is the right to marry members of the same sex. This, however, is not a right enjoyed by anyone else. In other words, gays are not asking to be treated the same as everyone else. They want special rights that no one else claims or enjoys. They want to rewrite the definition of marriage.
Put the matter another way. States, acting through their representatives and reflecting the values of the voters, have the constitutional authority to define what marriage is. Traditionally marriage requires: a) two persons b) both of them adults of legal age c) unrelated to each other and d) one male and the other female. Now here are some interesting possibilities. A 10 year old demands the right to marry, charging that the age requirement discriminates against him. Or a fellow wants to marry his sister, contending that the incest prohibition violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Or a Muslim seeks four wives, asking why polygamy among multiple "consenting adults" should not be allowed the same legal status as the traditional two-person arrangement. In more imaginative scenarios, a fellow might want to know why the marriage definition is so species-specific. This guy wants to marry his dog on the grounds that "I love my dog and my dog loves me." Why don't all these people have valid equal protection claims under the constitution?
The point here isn't that gay marriage is indistinguishable from polygamy or child-marriage. Rather, it is that gay activists want to dislodge one of the definitions of marriage but retain all the others. They want to move one of the goal posts but not the rest. But how can one part of the marriage definition be discriminatory under the laws while the other parts are not? If the male-female requirement violates the equal protection clause, so must the other requirements which also exclude classes of people. If gays are a special category, why aren't Muslims and Mormons also a special category? It seems that gay activists want a form of "equal protection" for themselves but not for other groups.
Neither equal protection nor antidiscrimination is a real issue here. Judicial tyranny is the issue. Isn't it interesting how even the most naked imposition of power must make the pretense of having justice on its side?
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
Friday, May 9, 2008
The Duggar family, who are featured on the Discovery Health Channel, are expecting their 18th child to be born around New Years Day. Mrs. Duggar has been pregnant for over 11 years of her life! Here is something you don't see everyday.
The Duggar's are Baptist Christians who hold to the Quiverfull movement, which does not believe or practice contraception or birth control. Although I disagree with them on this point, I celebrate their willingness to welcome life into the world, train them up in the admonition of the Lord, and fulfill their ministry as parents.
One might expect that we would celebrate such a milestone. We celebrate the willingness of foster parents who fill their houses with children who's parents abandoned them. We celebrate the homes of families who take in the sick, the needy, and the helpless. We celebrate those who work at orphanages and manors. Buy do we celebrate a family willing to faithfully raise a biological family of 18? Some don't.
After giving birth to their 16th child, Mark Morfod wrote an article in the San Fransico Gate regarding this family. He ridicules the family in an article that is full of more hate than one could imagine a tolerant liberal secularist could muster:
...this might be the most disquieting photo you see all year, this bizarre
Duggar family of 18 spotless white hyperreligious interchangeable people with alarmingly bad hair, the kids ranging in ages from 1 to 17, worse than those nuked Smurfs in that UNICEF commercial and worse than all the horrific rubble in Pakistan and worse than the cluster-bomb nightmare that is Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise having a child as they suck the skin from each other's Scientological faces and even worse than that huge 13-foot python which ate that six-foot alligator and then exploded...
...if you study the above photo (or the even more disturbing family Web site) too closely you will become rashy and depressed and you will crave large quantities of alcohol and loud aggressive music to deflect the creeping feeling that this planet is devolving faster than you can suck the contents from a large bong?
I have a friend who used to co-babysit (yes, it required two sitters) for a family of 10 kids, and she reports that they were, almost without fail, manic and hyper and bewildered and attention deprived in the worst way, half of them addicted to prescription meds to calm their neglected nerves and the other half bound for years of therapy due to complete loss of having the slightest clue as to who they actually were, lost in the family crowd, just another blank, needy face at the table. Is this the guaranteed affliction for every child of very large families? Of course not. But I'm guessing it's more common than you imagine.
I think it is safe to say that Morford's isn't too excited about this family. First of all, however, it needs to be pointed out that such language in a newspaper is anything but journalistic integrity. The language, the vitriol, and the utter stupidity fills this article. Morford sees such a trend alarming, not because he necessarily hates children, but because he doesn't see how each child will receive the necessary attention that a child needs. But one must wonder, prior to modern psychology and pharmaceutical drugs like Ritalin, how did people in past generation manage to raise such a large family. Mordord acts as if the Duggars are the first in history to experience such a large family.
But fear that each child won't get their needed attention is not the root behind Morford's vitriol. Being that he writes in a San Franscico newspaper should be a large enough hint. Morford is haunted by the thought that 16, now 18, children are being raised to be homophobic, intolerant Christian bigots. He writes:
Perhaps the point is this: Why does this sort of bizarre hyperbreeding only seem to afflict antiseptic megareligious families from the Midwest? In other words -- assuming Michelle and Jim Bob and their massive brood of cookie-cutter Christian kidbots will all be, as the charming photo suggests, never allowed near a decent pair of designer jeans or a tolerable haircut from a recent decade, and assuming that they will all be tragically encoded with the values of the homophobic asexual Christian right -- where are the forces that shall help neutralize their effect on the culture? Where is the counterbalance, to offset the damage?
I believe the counterbalance is society at large full of intolerant bigots like Mr. Morford. And people accuse Christians of closed mindedness. Here is where the left have lost their minds. They see children as a burden, and a family like the Duggars that believes in having many children are only adding to the disease. Morford doesn't just fear psychological damage due to the lack of attention to each child, but rather about an entire "baseball team" growing up to be the persons that he hates the most. Talk about the lack tolerance and open mindedness. Maybe persons like Morford should practice what they preach!
But Morford hasn't completely lost his marbles. What lies even deeper under this hateful article isn't just about politics, psychology, or religion, but about the greater cultural war. Morford has to stop and ask himself what will happen if Christians continue to have growing families? What will happen if secularist and liberals in America refuse children while at the same time, Christians continue to fill their quiver? Morford realizes, that America will become Europe all over again. But instead of becoming Islamic, it will become Christian. He writes:
Where is, in other words, the funky tattooed intellectual poetess who, along with her genius anarchist husband, is popping out 16 funky progressive intellectually curious fashion-forward pagan offspring to answer the Duggar's squad of über-white future Wal-Mart shoppers? Where is the liberal, spiritualized, pro-sex flip side? Verily I say unto thee, it ain't lookin' good.
Evangelism is two-fold. First, personal evangelism. This involves reaching out to your neighbor or co-worker and sharing the gospel with them in hopes that they will covert. The other is simply raising a godly family. And Morford realizes that such a trend can radically change a culture in a very short time. All one has to do, is look at Europe and see a once great secular society quickly become the next Islamic state.
And so, persons like Morford see this family as more than an interesting story. Rather, he sees it as a threat to liberal secularism. He condemns the Duggars because they are living out everything he stands against. Children are not only a nuisance, to him, especially those bred and raised to be homophobic bits like the Duggars, but they are also harming the planet (he writes: "Maybe the scales are tipping...because [Christians] tend not to give much of a damn for the ramifications of wanton breeding and environmental destruction").
Morford doesn't see families like the Duggars as misguided, he sees such large families as wrong. He concludes his article by saying:
Ah, but this is America, yes? People should be allowed to do whatever the hell they want with their families if they can afford it and if it's within the law and so long as they aren't gay or deviant or happily flouting Good Christian Values, right? Shouldn't they? Hell, gay couples still can't openly adopt a baby in most states (they either lie, or one adopts and the other must apply as "co-parent"), but Michelle Duggar can pop out 16 kids and no one says, oh my freaking God, stop it, stop it now, you thoughtless, selfish, baby-drunk people.
No, no one says that. That would be mean.
As Christians, it is critical that we recover a Biblical understanding of marriage and family. In America, persons are getting married at a much older age (the average America doesn't get married until their lat 20's), and are falling for the European trend of not having children. I believe in using contraception, but as Christians, we must eventually, sooner rather than later, welcome children.
A society that has lost a right view of children, like Morford, is a society that is selfish and has lost it's moral compass. In our culture, children are a burden, not a blessing. It is sad that such a story like the Duggars is newsworthy. Decades ago, everybody were had 10 kids (maybe not 18!, but you get the point). And now, we have become so egotistic, that the thought of having one child is dreadful and usually an accident.
Therefore, as a society, we must first grow up. As a youth pastor, there is no greater burden on me. Parents expect their youth to act like children. And they expect their college students to act like youth. People simply do not grow up anymore. Do we not realize that Jesus when He was 12 and in the Temple debating with the doctors of theology, He would have been considered an adult?! Mary would have been a middle schooler when she became pregnant with Jesus. Who would have thought that God would trust a teenager with such a responsibility!
Today, persons are in their 30's before they settle down and get married. And by the age 40, they're working on their second or third spouse. It is time for us to grow up, stop thinking about ourselves, and do things God's way.
Secondly, we need to recover a more Biblical understanding of marriage and family. Marriage is more than a certificate, it is a covenant. Family and children brings glory to God, not burdens to society. We must encourage the raising of children, and raise our children to be godly persons, not selfish individuals like the rest of the culture.
And finally, we must celebrate life rather than regret it. A child born handicap is still made in the image of God. God's glory is seen in the smiling faces of little ones and in the teaching hands of their parents. We as a society, as families, and as individuals need to live to God's glory and not our own. For if we don't, the traditions we love and hold will be lost and judgment will fall upon us. In Europe we are seeing a change in identify right before our very eyes. Do we want to face the same future? I think not. And the radical views of persons like Morford must be avoided and challenged.
Perhaps it is time to admit that God was right all along after all. And the nucleus of the family is the right plan because it is God's plan. Perhaps we should return to His vision because obvilusly we have screwed up society by living out our own.
In a society that honors the murder of children, it is refreshing to see a family that welcomes and celebrate them.
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! -Psalm 127:3-5a
My wife and I are expecting our first child in late October. In light of this story about the Duggars, I guess that means 1 down...17 more to go! :o)
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Several years ago now, I was appearing on a national network interview program and found myself discussing capital punishment with a woman who, during a commercial break, indicated that she had recently seen a combine going through a wheat field. She was horrified. The wheat was being cut down by thousands of stalks a second. She felt grief for the wheat, she revealed.
No one person on the panel knew what to do with that off-hand statement. I think it is safe to say that none of us had ever grieved over the intentional harvesting of vegetation.
Now, ethicist Wesley J. Smith indicates that an ethics panel in Switzerland has decided that "the arbitrary killing of flora is morally wrong." Writing in the current edition of The Weekly Standard, Smith explains that the idea of "plant rights" is now a matter of serious consideration among the Swiss.
The background to the current panel is a constitutional clause adopted years ago in Switzerland that demands Swiss citizens to recognize "the dignity of creation when handling animals, plants and other organisms." Until just recently, no one seems to have expected that this would lead to a plants rights movement.
As Smith explains, the Swiss panel came up with a radical conclusion based in a radical worldview:
A "clear majority" of the panel adopted what it called a "biocentric" moral view, meaning that "living organisms should be considered morally for their own sake because they are alive." Thus, the panel determined that we cannot claim "absolute ownership" over plants and, moreover, that "individual plants have an inherent worth." This means that "we may not use them just as we please, even if the plant community is not in danger, or if our actions do not endanger the species, or if we are not acting arbitrarily."
Smith rightly points to this kind of logic as "a symptom of a cultural disease that has infected Western civilization, causing us to lose the ability to think critically and distinguish serious from frivolous ethical concerns."
The very idea of "plants rights" indicates a loss of cultural sanity. Until now, this cultural confusion has been most evident in the animal rights movement -- a movement that presents some legitimate ethical concerns but pushes its ideology beyond sanity. The failure to distinguish between human beings and the larger animal world is a hallmark of a post-Christian culture. The extension of this ideology to vegetation is a frightening sign of mass delusion.
Wesley Smith gets it just right:
Why is this happening? Our accelerating rejection of the Judeo-Christian world view, which upholds the unique dignity and moral worth of human beings, is driving us crazy. Once we knocked our species off its pedestal, it was only logical that we would come to see fauna and flora as entitled to rights.
So, now Swiss ethicists are working up protocols on "plant dignity" and determining scenarios that might qualify as a violation of "plant rights." The Swiss panel's report, "The Dignity of Living Beings with Regard to Plants," is a wake-up call. The adoption of a "biocentric" worldview is a leap into irrationality. Good arguments can be made for responsible agricultural practices that honor God by demonstrating care for creation. But the ideology of "plant rights" and the suggestion of something like an inherent "right to life" for vegetation is beyond all reason.
The most tragic dimension of all this is that a culture increasingly ready to euthanize the old, infanticize the young, and adamant about a "right" to abort unborn human beings, will now contend for the inherent dignity of plants. Can any culture recover from this?
Saturday, May 3, 2008
The purpose of the movie is t show the shrinking freedom in academia. To Darwinist, those who disagree with them have no right to speak. Those who hold to Intelligent Design are written off as Christian fanactics who are trying to put Christianity into science. When, in fact, that isn't the case at all. Stein shows the incredible credibility of these scientist who hold to some form of intelligent design.
Rather, Stein argues that those who hold to Intelligent Design are just as qualified as Darwinist. Furthermore, he shows that if either side of the debate has a worldview driving it, it is the Darwinist whose atheitic, nonsupernatural worldview blinds them from looking at the evidence from a purely objectable point of view. That is the same accusation that they make about proponents of ID. Stein exposes this worldview and reveals where it can lead.
One of the things that Stein reveals is quick shocking about evolution. It doesn't answer the question it makes people assume it answers. The question is simple, how did life begin? In other words, how did the unorganic become organic? How did we go from nonliving organisms to living organisms? Evolutionist sugests that they know the answer, but repeatedly in this movie, Stein reveals that they don't know. They only have guesses.
And Stein shows it. He interviews persons like Dawkins and others who simply give an "I don't know," to the question. Dawkins doesn't know? Isn't this the guy who claims that evolution disproves God? Why? Because evolution explains how life began. And yet even Dawkins admits he doesn't know how life began in the first place.
Stein interviews other Darwinist who don't know the answer to this question. My favorite is the scientist, Michael Ruse, that claims that life began "off the backs of crystals." Prior to his answer Stein warns his audience that the scientist was being serious in answering the question this way. It is a humorous scene, but an important one. The utter lunacy behind such an idea is apparent. But to those who are bent on rejecting the notion of God, this makes sense.
Another suggestion pointed out in the movie, as an answer to this critical queston, is that aliens brought life to this earth. This is the suggestion held by scientist such as the Nobel Prize winner, Francis Crick. But lets say that Crick is correct. Doesn't this view mean that life began here on earth by an intelligent being? Isn't that the basic argument of ID? Sure, most persons holding to ID argue for a more supernatural being, but the very suggestion of alien lifeforms bringing life here on earth is an argument for Intelligence.
But the question remains, how did the alien lifeforms go from the unorganic to the organic? Crick's suggestion remains unsolved. As one can see, evolution cannot answer the question it has claimed to answer since it's birth. This is why it is called a THEORY, and it is not a fact!
In the movie, Stein sits down with Dawkins and it is somewhat of a showdown between the creator of the movie and the infamous Darwinian atheist. When Stein proposes this question, Dawkins replies with "I don't know," and then begins to suggest the alien argument. Stein is quick to point out that even Dawkins seems to favor the intelligent argument.
This is why I love this movie so much. It isn't a movie attacking Darwinism for the sake of Christianity, for Stein isn't even a Christian! Rather, it is to expose the fraud of evolutionary scientist who are smothered freedom in the academia. They do not want debate, I believe, because they know that they will loose. Evolution has so many holes in it, that if it were put out to sea, it would sink in a heartbeat. And ID is threatening to be that sea.
Here is an article written by Dinesh D'Souza regarding the movie. I highly recommend your ead his argument. However, please note that I don't agree with everything D'Souza believes about origins. However, his ability to debate and defend ID and Christianity is phenominal. While your at it, go out and buy his book, "What's So Great About Christianity?"
In Ben Stein's new film "Expelled," there is a great scene where Richard Dawkins is going on about how evolution explains everything. This is part of Dawkins' grand claim, which echoes through several of his books, that evolution by itself has refuted the argument from design. The argument from design hold that the design of the universe and of life are most likely the product of an intelligent designer. Dawkins thinks that Darwin has disproven this argument.
So Stein puts to Dawkins a simple question, "How did life begin?" One would think that this is a question that could be easily answered. Dawkins, however, frankly admits that he has no idea. One might expect Dawkins to invoke evolution as the all-purpose explanation. Evolution, however, only explains transitions from one life form to another. Evolution has no explanation for how life got started in the first place. Darwin was very clear about this.
In order for evolution to take place, there had to be a living cell. The difficulty for atheists is that even this original cell is a work of labyrinthine complexity. Franklin Harold writes in The Way of the Cell that even the simplest cells are more ingeniously complicated than man's most elaborate inventions: the factory system or the computer. Moreover, Harold writes that the various components of the cell do not function like random widgets; rather, they work purposefully together, as if cooperating in a planned organized venture. Dawkins himself has described the cell as the kind of supercomputer, noting that it functions through an information system that resembles the software code.
Is it possible that living cells somehow assembled themselves from nonliving things by chance? The probabilities here are so infinitesimal that they approach zero.
Moreover, the earth has been around for some 4.5 billion years and the first traces of life have already been found at some 3.5 billion years ago. This is just what we have discovered: it's quite possible that life existed on earth even earlier. What this means is that, within the scope of evolutionary time, life appeared on earth very quickly after the earth itself was formed. Is it reasonable to posit that a chance combination of atoms and molecules, under those conditions, somehow generated a living thing? Could the random collision of molecules somehow produce a computer?
It is ridiculously implausible to think so. And the absurdity was recognized more than a decade ago by Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the DNA double helix. Yet Crick is a committed atheist. Unwilling to consider the possibility of divine or supernatural creation, Crick suggested that maybe aliens brought life to earth from another planet. And this is precisely the suggestion that Richard Dawkins makes in his response to Ben Stein. Perhaps, he notes, life was delivered to our planet by highly-evolved aliens. Let's call this the "ET" explanation.
Stein brilliantly responds that he had no idea Richard Dawkins believes in intelligent design! And indeed Dawkins does seem to be saying that alien intelligence is responsible for life arriving on earth. What are we to make of this? Basically Dawkins is surrendering on the claim that evolution can account for the origins of life. It can't. The issue now is simply whether a natural intelligence (ET) or a supernatural intelligence (God) created life. Dawkins can't bear the supernatural explanation and so he opts for ET. But doesn't it take as much, or more, faith to believe in extraterrestrial biology majors depositing life on earth than it does to believe in a transcendent creator?
To see a clip from the movie where Stein interviews Dawkins, watch this clip from the Glenn Beck show where he interviews Stein.
Here are some more videos from the movie: