Life's busy, read it when you're ready!

Create a free account to save articles for later, keep track of past articles you’ve read, and receive exclusive access to all RP resources.

Search thousands of RP articles

Articles, news, and reviews that celebrate God's truth.

Get Articles Delivered!

Articles, news, and reviews that celebrate God's truth. delivered direct to your Inbox!



News

Saturday Selections - Jan 20, 2018

Parents, your teens are being pressured to ‘sext.’ Even at Christian high schools.

Jonathon Van Maren asks parents to stop being naive – this is happening, even at Christian schools.

God's creation big and small

In this three-minute video we get a look at God’s creation on an unimaginably vast scale, and on an infinitesimally tiny scale too. Though the presentation is secular, it reveals His genius through and through.

The damsel and villain

The whole of history, in one 7-minute spoken word piece.

Hope for the frozen unchosen

What happens to the millions of babies who are created via IVF? As WORLD magazine reports, many (British numbers put it at more than half) never make it past conception – they are discarded as being abnormal. Some of the others will be implanted, but since the normal IVF practice involves conceiving many more embryos than will be implanted, "excess" children are discarded, or donated to science for medical experimentation, or, in most cases, left in a frozen state awaiting a yet undetermined fate. In the US there are somewhere between 600,000 and a million of these children frozen right now, and some Christians are working to provide these survivors a chance to be born.

Free e-book: Scott Klusendorf's The Case for Life

If you're willing to fill in a 10-minute survey on your Bible reading habits, Crossway books will give you a free e-book copy of Scott Klusendorf's fantastic pro-life "how-to" manual for defending the unborn.

There's no such thing as a free education

With the increasing push for free university education, the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics thinks it's important we understand how a free education's costs are considerable.

News

Science politicized: when democracy doesn't suffice anymore

In the West most citizens take pride in their democratic institutions, pointing to how it’s through democracy that change can be peaceably pursued. Of course, not all change is positive. As Christians we understand that getting the government we deserve – the government that most of us have voted for – is not always a good thing. Why? Quite simply, the majority can be wrong. But that’s an insight available to us because we have an absolute standard – God’s Word – by which we can evaluate the “will of the people.” But for the secular West, which has rejected God and his Word as their ultimate standard, democracy has largely been the replacement standard, and government is said to get its legitimacy from being supported by the largest number of voters. So it is with some interest, then, that we can see the idea that the best governments are democratically selected has come under serious scrutiny from some in the international community of scientists, and a new ultimate standard is being proposed. Scientists vs. democracy? For the last couple of years the influential scientific journal Nature has touched on this topic repeatedly. In editorials and other articles it has been suggested that some voter choices are more legitimate than others. In other words, not all votes are equally valid. The new assertive stance of many scientists became evident during the April 22, 2017 “March for Science,” when tens of thousands of scientists marched in Washington and in at least 600 other cities around the world. A news item in Nature (April 27, 2017) said this event “may have been one of the largest-ever demonstrations in support of scientific research and evidence-based policymaking.” These objectives may sound quite harmless, but the rationale was that the scientific agenda is under threat and needs to be more forcefully promoted in the political arena. These people apparently believe that the recommendations of scientists are not making it into policy choices nearly often enough. Thus an editorial in Nature on May 11, 2017 declared: “…fears are increasing that anti-science forces are on the march. Indeed, on last month’s March for Science, a ‘war on science’ was frequently invoked as a reason for researchers to mobilize.” Obviously the conflict cited is not overt, such as one with guns and other weapons. But it is a power struggle and the scientists want to make sure that they win. So who are the others involved in this conflict? Commentary in Nature labels the other side as “idiots” (December 1, 2016) or “dissenters, doubters and right-wing jackals” (January 5, 2017). Those are strong words to describe political adversaries. But this battle is intense. Globalism vs. democracy? The scientific view, at least as it is articulated by activists in Nature, includes a desire for governments to move further towards international, or even global control. This would involve taking it out of the hands of democratically-elected representatives. For example, a trio of advocates declared that countries need to put scientifically-advocated programs and ideals ahead of national priorities (Nature, October 6/16 p. 29) But what does this mean? Consider the case of the province of Ontario. A news item in the Edmonton Journal (November 21/17) reported that electrical power exports from sources with nearly zero carbon emissions (for example solar and wind energy) resulted in a loss to the province of Ontario of between $732 million and $1.25 billion over a period of 21 months. This is happening at a time when consumers in Ontario are suffering from exceptionally high electricity costs. This is an example of placing international priorities for climate control ahead of local interests. The scientific community keeps promoting international agendas in other ways too. For example, a Belgian microbiologist declared in Nature (February 16, 2017): “To prevent further breakdown of the EU, scientists must shout from the rooftops that many of our problems today can be solved only at a European, or even a global, level. We must challenge time and again the current populist view that countries are better off trying to address the most pressing problems on their own.” Similarly, a Dutch sociologist from Utrecht declared that: “Academics also have a moral obligation to protect liberal democracy. By promoting social and political pluralism, the system produces the circumstances under which researchers can do their jobs and science can flourish” (December 15, 2016). The people who favor policies which protect the interests of the voters, are considered to be right wing, according to the scientific press. These people are also much less interested in “racial, gender and sexual identity politics” (Nature December 1, 2016) than are many in science and academia. An editorial in Nature (same date) declares that scientists and academics are rightly worried about allowing political discussion to include conservative and religious viewpoints. The scientists consider that this latter initiative would lead to “unacceptably broadening the limits of acceptable discourse – and freeing and normalizing people’s worst base instincts and a rhetoric of hate.” This editorial admits however that academics are often “tolerant,” but only of their own point of view. Liberal democracy vs. populist democracy? With recent electoral results that are the opposite of what left wing interests had hoped for, some scientists are warning about an increasing tension between populism and liberal democracy. Thus Matthijs Rooduijn, a Dutch sociologist, declared that there are two types of voters: those that support “liberal democracy” and those who support “populism” (Nature, December 15, 2016). Obviously liberal democracy sounds very appealing, but what about populism? This latter term is what many scientists have suddenly adopted as a way to portray in an unfavorable light the opinions they do not like. Thus voters who make political choices that many scientists do not like are described as populists. So what are populists? The implication seems to be that populists represent an ignorant mob (such as in the French revolution.) Alternatively a sympathetic definition in an editorial in the Edmonton Journal (November 10, 2017) stated: “A populist political culture is one that includes a widespread belief in the moral and intellectual capacities of the ‘common people’ and thus a strong reluctance to defer control over decision-making to the state or other elites.” Dutch sociologist Rooduijn elaborated on this point: “populists not only attack political and economic elites; they also target ‘snobby intellectuals’ in academia” (Nature, December 15, 2016). Well, fair enough. The Dutch sociologist nevertheless declares: “Academics also have a moral obligation to protect liberal democracy.” A lead editorial in Nature on April 20, 2017 echoed the above sentiments: “Social scientists rightly see this co-opting of far-right policies by mainstream parties as being as dangerous to liberal democracy as populist far-right parties themselves…” It should be noted that some people succumb to the temptation to label anything with which they disagree as “far-right.” Media and academic elites vs. democracy? It is evident that scientists applaud some voter preferences but suggest that others are to be discouraged. Matthijs Rooduijn rejected the idea that voter preferences (as declared in the ballot box) should in general be translated into government policy. Thus he declares: “Right wing politicians in the crop currently making headlines are populists in that they want the will of the people to be the point of departure for political decision-making. This ‘general will’ should, according to their populist message, be translated as directly as possible into actual political decisions” (Nature, December 15, 2016) But the scientific view is to reject such an approach. There are many reasons such as climate change considerations or human rights that might discourage implementation of voter preferences. Liberal democracy, according to views expressed recently in Nature and other scientific press, apparently promotes whatever the scientific community prefers: pluralism (many cultures all equal), internationalism, human rights that take priority over religious values, and a climate change agenda. Populism apparently represents the opposite. Sensible people, informed people, one hopes will not be discouraged by unflattering terms. Let the voters make their own choices without intimidation from the media and academic elites. Let us all be aware that “Science is only one of many factors and interests that a thoughtful politician needs to weigh when choosing a position on a complex topic” (Nature editorial May 11, 2017). Indeed that editorial ends on a high note, and so will we: “Name-calling and portraying the current political climate as a war between facts and ignorance simply sows division.” Dr. Margaret Helder is the author of No Christian Silence in Science, a book every Christian teen considering a career in Science should read before heading off to university....

News

Canadian couples may have had adoption/fostering nixed because of their Christianity

An Alberta couple filed a lawsuit in November, accusing provincial authorities of discrimination after their application to adopt a child was rejected. The suit claims that Alberta Child and Family Services disqualified the couple based on their personal belief that homosexuality is wrong. According to the filing documents “The casework supervisor explained that our religious beliefs regarding sexuality were incompatible with the adoption process.... The casework supervisor said this stance was the 'official position of the Alberta government.'" The case, is expected to be heard in Fall 2018 This isn’t the first Christian couple to make the news this year after running into trouble with Canadian child welfare authorities. In April, Derek and Frances Baars filed a lawsuit against the Hamilton Children’s Aid Society. The Baars, in their suit, claimed a child support worker demanded the couple tell two girls in their care, aged three and four, that the Easter Bunny was real, despite the couple’s belief that lying is wrong. The children were abruptly removed from their home, even after the Baars attempted to negotiate an acceptable alternative. It is unclear when their case will be decided, but the Baars have insisted that the caseworkers viewed them as poor candidates because of their religious convictions. It’s important to acknowledge, as Dominic Verticchio, executive director of the Hamilton Children’s Aid Society, did, that there are two sides to every story and in both of these cases we’ve only heard one. That said, when asked if the Easter Bunny was real, Verticchio replied, “It depends who you ask.” Time will tell if these high-profile cases having an impact on the future of adoption and foster parenting in Canada. It’s worth noting that using a faith-based adoption agency may not help head off these kind of confrontations – the Alberta couple went through Catholic Social Services. However, if legal roadblocks do occur, one option may be to contact the Calgary-based Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which is representing both couples. Their website is www.jccf.ca. As discouraging as these stories can be, Christians must never let them have a chilling effect on their interest in taking in children. There is an acknowledged need for parents willing to adopt and foster, and the secular dogma that committed Christians aren’t up to the task must never be dignified. Rather, Christians should focus their concern on loving children who so often get forgotten in the smoke of social and political correctness....

News

Outraged all the time: why Christians can't be

When the weekend edition of the Daily Mail reported that British schools were swapping out BC and AD for BCE and CE to avoid offending non-Christians, other papers quickly followed their lead. As the stories explained, BC stands for “before Christ” and AD is an abbreviation of “anno Domini,” Latin for “year of the Lord.” BCE and CE cover the exact same time periods, but BCE (before Common Era) and CE (Common Era) deliberately avoid mention of Christ. So this seemed a deliberate rejection of Britain’s Christian heritage. Some of the headlines read: • Daily Star: “Schools scrap ‘BC’ and ‘AD’ to avoid offending non-Christians” • Express: “PC gone mad: Schools scrap BC and AD to avoid offending non-Christians” • Telegraph: “To BCE or not to BCE? Common era of BC and AD appears to be over” Soon after, Christian and conservative new sites like TheChristians.com, The Christian Post, Premier.org and The Daily Wire also picked up the story. But in midst of all this hullabaloo there was a problem. The story that started it all – the Daily Mail piece that the other newspapers and blogs referenced (if they had references at all) – didn’t have a lot of substance to it. The headline made it sound like this was happening everywhere: "Now schools are ditching AD and BC in RE lessons to avoid offending non-Christians... but critics blast the 'capitulation to political correctness'" But when it came to specifics, only three (out of 48) English counties were mentioned. And only one was said to have made a change to their syllabus, while the other two had, to this point, only been “urged” by "local authority committees" to make the change – it’s not clear if any actual change had been made. In other words, a small percentage of English schools – anywhere from 2 to 6 percent – may be considering changing from BC to BCE. Is that the sort of story that should get picked up by one newspaper after another, and make its way to North America too? No, not really. So why did it? Because, as the Daily Mail and the many media outlets that followed their lead understand, there is an appetite for outrage. So the Mail crafted a story out of very little and, to the unwary reader, it seemed a much bigger thing. Christians need to guard against swallowing and sharing this sort of fake news for two reasons. First, on a gut level, we all understand “whiners aren’t winners.” Whatever the sport, isn’t it the losing side that always gripes to the ref about all the ticky-tack fouls and missed calls? Thus, when we whine, we’re misrepresenting our side. If God’s people really believe what we say we believe - if we're sure of God’s victory – then we won't get stressed when this or that doesn’t go our way. Then we won't act defeated, because we know Christ has already won. Second, if we jump in and also make big of little, it has the effect of belittling what’s big. There are real outrages occurring; Christians are being threatened with loss of livelihood and even loss of life. If we’re busy getting upset about schools switching up from one set of terms that acknowledges Christ as the pivot point of history, to another set of terms that, in sticking with the same time periods, unavoidably still acknowledges Christ’s birth, then we’re wasting our outrage. That's something to keep in mind in the coming month, when we start seeing articles about the annual “War on Christmas.” We need to understand God isn’t threatened by it, and his sense of humor is even evident in it, as it turns out the term “Xmas” is Christian shorthand for Christmas. Instead of frustration, we can enjoy events like this, marveling at how very often God will arrange things so, even in the midst of their rebellion, the other side can’t help but acknowledge Him....

News

Survey: the US is a nation of heretics

A survey conducted last year by LifeWay Research and commissioned by Ligonier Ministries has found that most core Christian beliefs are lost on Americans in general. The survey of 3,000 Americans found that the belief in the Trinity and in the dual nature of Christ (divine and human) were the only basic doctrines that clear majorities still affirm. The rest, according to a compilation from LifeWay writer Bob Smietana, is abysmal: More than half believe Jesus is “the first and greatest being created by God.” 64% believe God accepts the worship of all religions 65% say that though everyone sins a little, most people are good by nature 74% believe the “smallest sins” don’t earn eternal damnation 60% believe that “everyone eventually goes to heaven”...although half of those still affirm that belief in Jesus is the only means of salvation Things weren’t much better among evangelical Christians. The survey identified as evangelical only those who affirmed that the Bible as their highest authority, personal evangelism is important, and trusting in Jesus’ death on the cross is the only way of salvation. Nearly half of this group still believes that God accepts the worship of all religions. Evangelicals are also more likely than others to say heaven is a place where all people will ultimately be reunited with their loved ones. Shane Morris analyzed the results at TheFederalist.com and concluded that the leavening power of the Christian faith is all but gone when the specifics of its claims are rejected or no longer even known. “Jesus told us knowing the truth sets us free. Believing lies enslaves people….Christ also told us the greatest commandment includes loving God with our minds. That means dusting off grandpa’s Bible, and revisiting a catechism or confession.” Morris is correct. The de-emphasis on pure doctrine and the preaching and authority of Scripture will, over the course of a few generations, lead to overt paganism. One or two generations may still retain all of the language and forms of their cultural faith. But inevitably, a succeeding generation will view the empty forms of religion and ask “why?” Then the answer will be a deafening silence. ...

News

Destruction only destroys - the "broken window fallacy"

We are halfway into the 2017 hurricane season and tropical mega-storms in the Atlantic basin have already broken several records. Hurricane Irma has sustained its destructive power longer than any super-storm ever recorded (and our data goes as far back as the 1970s). At the time of writing, the expected damage caused is upwards of $250 billion US. In the midst of this destruction, some are speaking of an economic “silver lining” – that the incoming hurricanes might in fact be good for the economy. For example, William Dudley, from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, argues that, “the long-run effect of natural disasters is that it actually lifts economic activity.” The reasoning is that after the initial harmful effect on human and economic resources, the inevitable rebuilding efforts will stimulate local economic activity. It will also increase demand for labor, driving up wages and ultimately making people wealthier. And if we consider the way economic activity is most often measured – via Gross Domestic Product (or GDP) – reconstruction efforts might seem to cause an increase in the economy. Unfortunately, this is not true. Simply put: destruction does not benefit the economy. In the case of Hurricane Irma, the GDP figure will show the value of reconstruction efforts, but not the value of what was destroyed. It is true that the reconstruction of infrastructure and housing spurs on economic activity. However, this argument ignores the opportunity cost – it ignores what could have been done with that money if it didn’t have to be spent on reconstruction. This observation was first made by the French economist Frederic Bastiat. He illustrated the concept that destruction does not benefit the economy through the example of a broken window. Replacing the window may improve the economic position of the repairman, but it means that the owner of the window has lower disposal income to spend on anything else. If the window hadn’t broken he could have had a window and a pair of news shoes. Now he can only afford to replace the window. Similarly, the destruction caused by the hurricane requires the government to spend money on reconstruction and aid, at the expense of what it might otherwise have done with that money. The government has to use resources to rebuild something, as opposed to using the resources to build something new. As Christians, we need to be sensitive to this fallacy in the measurement of economic activity. The task of stewardship of God’s creation is not only about the utilization of the resources within it. It is also about considering the destructive impact we have on creation through our activities. Far too often do we only consider the value that was generated through our activities, but we forget to properly count the cost of our activities, whether it be environmental or socioeconomic. May the Lord be a refuge and strength to those affected by the destructive power of the ongoing natural disasters across the world....

News

Canadian colonialism dressed up as aid

Red tomatoes and purple onions pile in front of her. Behind is sugar, bagged by the kilo. Bottles of Fanta and 7-Up stand on a white shelf in this small, road-side kiosk, one of many in sub-Saharan Africa. In the midst of it she stands, a smiling woman in a blue shirt and white head wrap. Her smile adorns the official website of the UN’s Family Planning Summit, which met on July 11 in London, UK, to decide what to do with her. The website reads like a sales pitch: “Family planning is a best-buy in global development.” The Canadian government stood out as a champion of reproductive health at the Summit, part of its Feminist International Assistance Policy. Policymakers, donors and leaders have solved the life problem of the smiling African woman. But have they asked for her opinion? Chrystia Freeland, Canadian Minster of International Trade, told the House of Commons that our national values “includes sexual reproductive rights and the right to safe and accessible abortions. These rights are at the core of our foreign policy.” This statement profoundly concerned the Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops, which argued in an open letter that abortion advocacy cannot be the core of Canadian foreign policy when it is “not only legally contentious but completely contrary to the deeply held convictions of many both within and beyond Canada’s borders.” The numbers underscore their concern: $119 million in international aid will go to famine relief and $650 million to abortion and sexual reproduction rights. Fifty percent of the latter is dedicated to sub-Saharan Africa, including countries where abortion is illegal except to save a mother’s life. An African proverb says, “the absent are always wrong.” The same donors who are so eager to end poverty are proving deaf to the voices of those they claim to help. A different view of procreation I have lived in East Africa since the age of three. Congolese mothers often counted their children to me, including those who died as babies. Mama Rebecca, a gentle old woman, cried over her five children, each of whom died tragically and far from her. In Africa, children – all children – are carefully remembered. To speak of Africa is to speak of an immense continent with 54 nations and many unique tribes, each with their own culture. Yet commonalities do exist. Father Bonaventure Turyomumazima of Uganda wrote that generally traditional African cultures are centered in life. Procreation completes marriage. Children are the continuation of a physical line, important both for the living and the dead. It is commonly expected for the entire community to raise the child. That means there are few unwanted children or “orphans.” Elaborate taboos and rituals preserve the lives of mother and child. Faith Kasiva, author of the report "Robbed by Choice," explains, “We live in an African cultural setting where having a child or motherhood is glorified in a way that probably it’s not in other societies.” Telling a woman in such a cultural setting to not have children is almost like telling a Canadian woman to empty all her bank accounts, quit her job and publicly defame herself on all social media, just to avoid poverty. It doesn’t make sense, given the social construct. “Unwanted pregnancies” are not the problem as much as unwanted wars, unwanted famines, unwanted rape, unwanted incest and unwanted displacement. Mama Rebecca didn’t weep because her children ought not to have been born. She wept because they ought not to have died. A strange irony plays out here: the world’s first feminist policy warring against a culture that glorifies mothers! But do Minister Freeland and the Family Planning Summit tell the whole truth? The dark side of depopulation Often, benevolent NGOs hold out family planning with one hand. The other is behind their back, shut tight on hundreds of statistics linking abortion and family breakdown, psychological health, increased poverty, community disintegration and isolation. The contraceptive Norplant is one example of this. Designed to keep a woman infertile for five years, Norplant has suffered tens of thousands of lawsuits in America for its side-effects. Now Norplant is exported to developing countries as “aid.” It’s an old story. Norplant is even harder on the bodies of malnourished women. The consequences are often not fully explained. When faced with unexpected complications, life-long sterility and even death by hemorrhage, these women are without health support. More than that, long-term barrenness can ruin marriages and isolate women from communities. Family planning as the West understands it will not end poverty. Tying aid money to such an agenda prompted Nigerian activist Obianuju Ekeocha to hail Canada as the new “number one colonial master of the world.”  New face, old story Over a hundred years ago during the rubber trade in Belgian Congo, the colonial army raided the village of a woman named Ilanga. As the chained villagers were marched from their burning homes, soldiers forced Ilanga’s baby from her, tossing it aside so she could carry their looted pot. The agony of such men and women being “civilized” bleeds into one of their songs: “We are tired of living under this tyranny/ We cannot endure that our women and children are taken away/ and dealt with by the white savages.” Today, the Canadian Prime Minister can use the force of the dollar to tell millions of women in Africa – “Drop the baby. Carry the pot of civilization. We know what is best. Your child would never have a good life. You may as well kill it now.” At least, this is what is heard on the other end. According to a writer in the Lusaka Times in Zambia, “Abortion is one way of saying ‘do not multiply anymore.’ Our multiplying is disturbing the depopulation plans.. . . These NGOs in Zambia came in the name of ‘helping’ suffering Zambians; on the surface they do good things, but in the background, they start their main program.” Canada is the first donor country to call its foreign policy a feminist one. An “ism” denotes a belief system. Emil Hagamu of Tanzania writes, “In African communities, the death of a child is no small matter . . . . Expanded legalization of abortion is being forced upon us by the traditional colonizing powers of the West.” Ekeocha, founder of Culture for Life, told Catholic News Service that Western funds are used to bribe African politicians to accept abortion, “The polls show overwhelmingly that Africans hate abortion . . . . By ignoring the will of the people, this is spitting in the face of the very type of democracy we are supposed to have in African countries.” ‘Tired of tyranny’ The Democratic Republic of Congo, the giant heart of the African continent, is targeted by Canada to the tune of $97 million. Minister Bibeau told the Globe and Mail that the aid would be “subtle,” working to provide adolescents with extensive sex education and to push abortion in a country where it is illegal. The Democratic Republic of Congo is a deeply troubled nation. Her children already suffer because of greed-based violence. Instead of helping living children, Canada will prevent the birth of more. Maybe that musical country will sing again the old song, “We are tired of living under this tyranny/ We cannot endure that our women and children are taken away/ and dealt with by the white savages.” If Canada does not consider the true situation of the woman in her road-side shop or listen to the bereaved grandmothers, then Canada’s aid is just colonialization in a new outfit. The colonizing powers of Africa-past were confident in their superiority. They were sure their agendas were right. But blood and tears mark those pages. Canada is currently writing a colonization of Africa-present. This too, history will remember. This article was originally published August 28, 2017 in Christian Courier (www.christiancourier.ca). Trudeau picture credit: Shutterstock.com...

News

Restaurant chain won't compromise on the 4th Commandment

The Chick-fil-A restaurant in the brand-new stadium of the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons is going to be closed on all but one of the team’s home games…because they are played on Sundays. The restaurant chain is known both for their good-guy sense of customer service (one Virginia location recently offered its space to a local church that had been suddenly displaced from its worship location) and conservative stand on social issues. The Christian owners of Chick-fil-A have also held a strict line against doing business on Sunday. ESPN commentators bemoaned the decision in August once it came to light, with Bill Plaschke going so far as to call it a “complete shame and a sham.” With its headquarters in Atlanta, Chick-fil-A has long been a part of the food scene at sports venues in the city. Likewise, the Falcons aren’t the only sports team planning to play games in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which was built right next to the soon-to-be-demolished Georgia Dome. However, with the vast majority of NFL games, including the Super Bowl, being played on Sundays, it takes a strong commitment to a principle to leave that much profit on the table in Chick-fil-A’s own hometown. It’s always refreshing to see the Sabbath honored publicly, especially when the day is no longer holy even in the eyes of many believers. Let’s recommit ourselves to being “called out” of the world and use our Sabbaths to look forward to the eternal one. Also, remember the Sabbath has been a blessing to mankind wherever it has been honored -- we love our neighbor best when we encourage a Sabbath rest....

News

Media bias and Australia's marriage debate

This month and next Australians are being given the opportunity to have their say on same-sex “marriage.” The Liberal-National (LNP) coalition ran their election campaign last year with a promise to hold a plebiscite on the issue. Like regular elections, this plebiscite would have been compulsory, with every eligible voter required to cast a ballot. However, the LNP does not have a majority in the Senate, and that resulted in the legislation for the plebiscite being blocked (twice) by the other parties. Finally, the LNP decided to undertake a voluntary postal survey – no one is required to vote – and the results are not binding on the government. Ballots have been mailed out with one question: "“Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry? Yes or No." Results are expected to be announced on November 15. The campaigns for both “Yes” and “No” are now fully underway. Much of the Australian news media is unabashedly promoting the “Yes” campaign. Not only are there the usual editorials and opinion pieces, but much of the news reported on the postal survey is slanted towards influencing the “Yes” vote. However, some news outlets have gone further. Following a post on social media of an offensive poster against SSM, some Australian news outlets were reporting that this poster had been "plastered" all over Melbourne. Broadcaster Channel 10 went out in search of the alleged poster, but came up empty. However, they needed a visual for their news story. So they got creative. They took a stock news photo of a European bus shelter and photo-shopped the poster in (see original, and as doctored for Channel 10, in the picture to the right). After being exposed, Channel 10 released a statement in which they stated, “This was not a deliberate attempt to mislead our audience, but a creative error which we regret.” This was followed by less than truthful reporting on a “No” campaign meeting at a Roman Catholic Church in Brisbane. “Yes” campaigners gathered outside the church and succeeded in preventing the meeting from even happening. As a few of the “No” crowd drove away in their vehicles, the “Yes” side tried to block them. Some news reports spoke of a rowdy clash between the sides. Other news reports mentioned a vehicle driving “at nearly full-speed” into the protestors. Queensland Police later confirmed that these reports were completely false. This debate reflects not just differing views on marriage, but a clash between utterly opposite worldviews. In one worldview, truth is something that exists outside of ourselves as public, objective reality. In the other worldview, truth is a subjective thing which can and must be manipulated for your own agenda. The latter is fantasy, the former fact. Christians should be encouraged: the former that will ultimately prevail, no matter the outcome of the postal vote. Dr. Bredenhof blogs at Yinkahdinay and Creation Without Compromise. BOLT: If there's one thing that could make Australians vote against same-sex marriage, it is the bullying. Live now on @SkyNewsAust pic.twitter.com/D4CwkTryu0 — The Bolt Report (@theboltreport) August 28, 2017 ...

News

Have the MTV Awards set the stage for a transgender/feminist throw down?

At this year’s MTV Movie and TV Awards, actress Emma Watson was the proud recipient of what she called the “first acting award in history that doesn’t separate nominees based on their sex.” Instead of the usual best actor and best actress divisions, MTV decided to have one mixed-gender category. This seemed to be a response to the actions of actress Asia Kate Dilon, who self-identifies as “non-binary” – she claims to be neither male nor female. She made headlines when she was considered for an Emmy award, and didn’t want to be placed in either the actress or actor category…though she eventually settled on actor, noting that “actor” can mean male or female. When MTV decided to do away with their own gendered acting categories, they asked Asia Kate Dilon to make the award presentation for their new, supposedly more inclusive, award. Her presence on stage underscored that MTV’s change was done for the wrong reasons – this was intended as a fist, shaken at God and his binary creation. But just as no one is perfect, not even MTV can manage to always be wrong. Even in the midst of their rebellion they may have hit on something sensible. Why do we need separate acting categories for men and women? It makes sense in sports, where gender-based differences in muscle mass mean men competing against women wouldn't be a fair competition. But as Arnold Schwarzenegger has shown throughout his cinematic career, more muscles don't make you a better actor. So why the separate acting categories? The Oscars have "non-acting" categories like Best Director and Best Cinematography that aren't divided by gender. And even before MTV did it, another group, the Television Critics Association (TCA), already handed out acting awards without gendered categories. But here's where the problems pop up. Asia Kate Dilon is attacking the binary nature of gender. Feminists, however, believe the two genders do exist, and the difference matters. While feminists don't acknowledged gender-based differences in abilities, or interests, or in roles they do believe the two genders differ in how they are treated. Feminists believe that the only accounting for why there are fewer female than male engineers, or fewer female than male Best Director winners is oppression. So every year again, when the Oscar nominations come out, a story will be done about how only one of the 91 Best Director Oscars has gone to a woman. An Atlantic article on the MTV awards noted that of the 20 drama acting awards given out by the Television Critics Association 15 have gone to men. And 13 out of 20 comedy acting awards have also gone to men. Feminists are keeping track. So what happens when feminists who demand equal outcomes for the two genders run up against transgender activists like Asia Kate Dilon, who want to dismantle the two gender? Which oppressed minority gets the win? Sure, this year they managed to get along. But what if, instead of Emma Watson, a man had won the MTV Awards' "first acting award in history that doesn’t separate nominees based on their sex”? Would it have still been seen as a triumph of inclusivity? Or would it be seen as evidence of gender-based discrimination? The truce can't last.   Picture credit: JStone/Shutterstock ...

News

Why euthanasia restrictions fail - "safeguards” become “barriers to access”

Canada’s doctor-assisted suicide law is barely a year old, and already the safeguards in it are being challenged. The most recent challenge was this June when two Montrealers – Jean Truchon, 49, and Nicole Gladu, 71 – who have degenerative diseases but don’t seem anywhere near death, went to the courts to ask that euthanasia no longer be limited to only those for whom death is “reasonably foreseeable.” As Mercatornet’s Aubert Martin noted, their lawyer is arguing that this safeguard is actually a “barrier to access.” Does that terminology strike you? One man's safeguard is another's barrier to access?  Here is our country's problem in a nutshell: our government no longer views death as an enemy to be fought, but rather a treatment to be offered. So we can talk safeguards all we want, but if assisted suicide is mercy, why would we withhold mercy from some? Why would we set up these "barriers to access"? In turning our back on God’s law and his unchanging, fixed standards, we are not only rejecting what's eternal, but leaving ourselves with only the ephemeral. Instead of absolutes, our law is now based on opinions. And opinions can be changed. So yes, right now minors can’t request assisted suicide. But how long before some 16 or 17-year-old, or maybe even a 5-year-old asks why we’ve put up barriers to his access? If death can be merciful for an 18-year-old, why would we deny that mercy to a 5-year-old? Another “safeguard” is that a person needs to be “capable and consenting.” But this excludes anyone with Alzheimer’s, and will the public stand firm when they're asked: “Why are you withholding this treatment – why are you putting up barriers to access – for these poor people?” The warning cry Christians need to share with the world is this: it’s either God’s way, or chaos. Either we recognize that all life is valuable or we won’t be able to find a good, fixed, unchallengeable, reason to stop anyone from committing suicide....

News

What if speeding tickets were paid to charities?

As Kuyper said, “There is not one square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’" And that applies to photo radar too. ***** In Colorado efforts are underway to put a very unusual initiative on the ballot that, if passed, would require fines issued by the government no longer go to the government. Instead, if a citizen gets a speeding ticket, a parking ticket, or a fine for smoking, he would pay it by making a donation to any registered charity (though, presumably, he wouldn’t get a charitable receipt). That might have some charities excited, but that’s really beside the point. The ballot initiative’s organizers aren’t as concerned with where the money would go, as they are with where the money wouldn’t go anymore. To say it another way, the goal of the initiative is to take away any incentive the government has to, as FEE.org’s Jay Stooksberry put it, “fine and collect” rather than “serve and protect.” This initiative comes after the media reported some Colorado municipalities were funding a large part of their budget via fines. The most extreme example was the small town of Mountain View, population 518, whose 10 police officers issued 3,624 traffic tickets in 2014. In 2013 traffic fines raised over $600,000 for the town, which accounted for more than half the municipal budget. It’s hard to find such egregious examples in Canada, but here too this strange incentive is in place. So, for example, Edmonton’s Anthony Henday Drive is a ring road around the city with smooth wide lanes, and no stoplights. The speed limit is 100 kilometers per hour, but even the city’s police chief Rod Knecht thinks the limit could be raised to 110 km/h without any serious safety concerns. So why doesn’t the city do it? We can’t read minds so we don’t know. But the city does have a financial incentive not to raise the limit: the revenue from the thousands of photo radar speeding tickets issued on this stretch of road each year. Some might not see the problem. So what if the city makes a little money from the fines it issues? Do we really think they will be corrupted by such sums? There are two issues here: does such a system encourage corruption, and whether it does or not, how does the public perceive it? Consider what we would think if a judge received the money from all the fines he issued. Every time he found someone guilty, he’d make money, and the bigger the fine, the bigger the judge’s bank account. Would the public perceive such a judge as being impartial? Or would they question his every decision? The judge might still be impartial – such a system doesn’t require corruption, it only encourages it – but that’s not how he would be perceived. The man behind Colorado’s ballot initiative describes himself as a libertarian, and it’s not clear whether he is a Christian. But his proposal lines up well with what we see Paul doing in 2 Cor. 8:20-21. There, the apostle, when he was entrusted with money from the churches to Jerusalem, outlines steps he was taking to prevent even suspicions of wrongdoing. He wanted to ensure that there would be no way his actions could be misperceived. This ballot initiative is a great way of addressing the perception that photo radar, jay walking tickets, red light cameras, and other fines are simply “cash cows” for government. Law enforcement should be about protection and justice, and we should do all we can to ensure that it also perceived that way. That's why such an initiative would help foster respect for our officers and government. Of course, if you and your lead foot have just been caught exceeding the posted limit then there is a very different way you can foster respect for those in authority: you've done the crime so don't complain about the officer issuing the fine. Or, to put it in more biblical terms: you shouldn't concern yourself with any perceived speck in their eyes when you've got that log to deal with in your own....

News

Pregnant student banned from grad walk - did both sides get it half right, or, in other words, wrong?

Should a pregnant student be allowed to walk with her class at graduation? That wouldn’t even be a question in any secular school, but it became a matter of nationwide debate when a private Christian school in Hagerstown, Maryland – Heritage Academy – decided they wouldn’t allow 18-year-old, former head of the student council, and straight-A student Maddie Runkles to walk with the rest of her class because she had gotten pregnant outside of marriage, a violation of the student code of conduct. In an interview on CBS This Morning Maddie admitted that she knew there would be consequences, but she felt like the punishment was too harsh – she had already publicly confessed her sin to the school body. In another interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) Maddie said she didn't want the debate to become such a far-spread discussion. But she is ready to use this platform to help those going through the same struggles. The pro-life group Students for Life, has defended Maddie Runkles, and challenged the school for shaming a girl who made a courageous decision, saying it sends the wrong message to other students in a similar situation. Their concern is that if students are made to feel like they will be shamed for being pregnant, then they might take the “easier” way out, and secretly abort their children instead. Principal Hobbs responded to the media coverage with a letter stating: “Maddi is being disciplined, not because she’s pregnant, but because she was immoral.” He concluded: “The Board has listened to three appeals from the Runkles family and compromised all three times.” Of course, the board has maintained their decision that she is not allowed to walk at graduation, and this is the source for the fight. In an article she wrote for the Washington Post, Maddie described the how attention from the national media caused the situation to escalate. People who used to be supportive then started telling her to shut-up. Both sides begin to dig in their heels. Maddie seems oblivious to the fact that the journalists on the Washington Post don't really care about her or the school. When the media gives this much attention to a fight like this, they are only doing what the world loves to do: fostering dissension and disharmony among Christians. In this entire debate we see two major issues that need to get across. First, sexual immorality is serious. Second, we are all in need of grace. The school seems to be emphasizing the seriousness of sexual immorality at the expense of grace. Maddie Runkles seems to be emphasizing grace at the expense of the seriousness of sexual immorality. Maybe the school should rethink the way they respond to sexual immorality. They should think about how sin is cultivated among the students and challenge that culture. They could also be providing counseling and training on these issues. Maybe they should even rethink disciplinary methods, of course, without giving them up. Maddie should have accepted the discipline – not being allowed to walk is a big deal, but is it important enough to bring your school, and even your faith into disrepute on a national scale (1 Cor. 6:1-7)?...

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24