Thursday, December 5, 2013

All Around the Web - December 5, 2013

Denny Burk - Is Hobby Lobby “forcing religion” onto employees? Hardly.
The Supreme Court has decided to hear Hobby Lobby’s appeal for protection against Obamacare’s coercive abortion mandate. As I noted yesterday, Obamacare imposes crippling fines on employers who will not purchase insurance plans that cover contraceptives and abortifacient drugs. Hobby Lobby is run by a Christian family, and they have said that paying for chemical abortions violates their most deeply held beliefs. And so the owners have made an appeal to the courts for protection from Obamacare’s coercive violation of their religious liberty.

A day after the announcement, it is clear that many people simply do not understand what this case is about. And there are many who seem to be perpetrating an outright misrepresentation. The misrepresentation goes something like this. “Hobby Lobby is trying to deny women access to contraceptives. Hobby Lobby is trying to force their religious beliefs on their employees.” Neither of these claims is true.

But that hasn’t kept high-ranking officials in the Obama administration from spreading the lie. In a piece for The Huffington Post yesterday, senior adviser to President Obama Valerie Jarrett wrote this:

Eric Metaxas - Immutable Ideology
As we’ve previously pointed out here on BreakPoint, not only is so-called “reparative therapy” controversial, its efficacy remains unproven. While there are people who have successively made the transition from same-sex relationships to heterosexual ones, there are many who, despite their best intentions, have not. For them, the call to chastity is a call to celibacy and singleness.

But none of this remotely justifies the approach that New Jersey and California have taken. Christians are often accused of allowing their beliefs and ideology to run roughshod over science. Well, pot meet kettle.

To understand why, it helps to examine the unproven assumptions that form the “justification” for the California and New Jersey laws. The first is that sexual orientation is always fixed and immutable in the way that race and ethnicity are. Which is why Gov. Christie, when he signed the Garden State bill, said that people are “born gay.”

According to this view, the distress felt by teens like “John Doe” is the result of what’s been called “internalized homophobia.” The supposed “cure” for their distress is to accept who they are.

Viewed this way, “talk therapies that reduce the level of same-sex attraction in minors,” even when the minors desire such therapy or reduction, does more harm than good.

Liberate - Where Does Faith Come From?

The Scriptorium - First Lines of Theology Books
Joan Didion once said that the first line of a book is the decisive part. “What’s so hard about that first sentence is that you’re stuck with it. Everything else is going to flow out of that sentence. And by the time you’ve laid down the first two sentences, your options are all gone.”

Didion was talking about essays, I think, but others (Hemingway?) have made the same claim about fiction. It got me thinking about theology books: what’s the best opening line of a theology book? The worst? As I wondered, I reached out and pulled down from the shelves the best-known texts I could see from my desk. Here’s what I came up with. Comments are open: if you know an especially good or especially bad first line, feel free to share.

Gizmodo - 7 Things You Had No Idea the World Is Running Out Of
Goat Cheese

Son of God trailer

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