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News

New study: Universe may be younger (or older) than scientists previously thought

The Associated Press headline read, "Study finds universe might be 2 billion years younger." While that wasn’t a complete come-to-creationism capitulation – even running with the new estimate would leave secular science more than 11 billion years off the biblical timescale – it seemed an encouraging development. Hey, they’re moving in the right direction! But it turns out the headline, while technically accurate, should have had the “might” underlined, italicized and bolded since there was quite the margin of error. Yes, Inh Jee and his team from the Max Plank Institute in Germany think the universe might be 11.4 billion years, which is down 2 billion from the conventionally held 13.7.  But her margin of error is so large that the upper range of her team’s estimate would actually make the universe even older. Shucks. What’s still noteworthy, though, is simply that the age of the universe is still being debated. Did you know that was happening? Secular science is represented in the press and classrooms as having it all figured out. But this is another instance in which they’ve been left looking for their erasers, readying themselves for another correction to their ever-changing textbooks. In contrast Christians can be grateful for, and confident in, the unchanging source of truth God has given us in his Word....

News

After politicians decline, "stones" start defending the unborn

Politically, the last two weeks have not been auspicious for the unborn. South of the border we saw Democratic presidential candidates compete for how callous they could be: Beto O’Rourke endorsed abortion right up to a child’s birthday, while Bernie Sanders sold killing the unborn as a way to fight global warming. Then in Canada, the two party leaders that pro-lifers are watching closest did their best to disappoint. The Conservative Party’s Andrew Scheer repeatedly promised his party wouldn’t bring forward legislation on divisive social issues, while the People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier stated that “up to 24, 25, 26 weeks…the fetus is not a child.” If this news has you despairing, then dig a bit deeper into your newspaper while considering Luke 19:40. In this verse Jesus, in response to the Pharisees trying to shut his disciples up, says, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” Over the last two weeks we’ve had something very much like that happen. Even as princes have disappointed (Ps. 146:3) we’ve had the unlikeliest of defenders crying out for the unborn. The first “stone” was Planned Parenthood (PP) itself. The abortion giant’s Sept. 1 Instagram post made the profound point that:  “The size of your body doesn’t define your worth!” PP wasn’t able to connect the dots, but the Twitterverse did, highlighting that this is exactly what pro-lifers say about the unborn. As that renowned philosopher Dr. Seuss once put it, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” There was also a second stone crying out.  On Aug. 26, Dave Chappelle’s new Netflix comedy special was released. In it the foul-mouthed Chappelle yanked his audience back and forth, first telling them, “I’m not for abortion” before assuring them, “I’m not for it, but I’m not against it either.” To calm them down further, he trotted out the standard pro-choice rhetoric that if you don’t have a uterus, you shouldn’t have an opinion. “Seriously! This is theirs; the right to choose is unequivocal right. Not only do I believe they have the right to choose, I believe that they shouldn’t have to consult anybody, except for a physician, about how they exercise that right. Gentlemen, that is fair. “ Then, once he had his pro-choice audience reassured, he took another sharp turn: “And ladies, to be fair to us, I also believe that if you decide to have the baby, a man should not have to pay. That’s fair. If you can kill this ********, I can at least abandon him. It’s my money, my choice.” If murder is a right, why can’t abandonment be too? Chappelle’s logic is sound, but it takes us to a place even abortion defenders don’t want to go. That’s when Chappelle concludes with a parting shot: “And if I’m wrong, then perhaps we’re wrong.” From the ready laughter it's clear his audience doesn’t understand what Chappelle has just hit them with. He’s telling them that if they know abandonment isn’t right, then they should understand murder isn’t either. The audience doesn’t get it yet, but they will. As for us, if we’re too anxious to speak God’s Truth publicly, and are mumbling out a half-hearted whisper now and again only because we feel we really have to, what we need to realize is, we don’t have to – God’s got the opposition doing it, so He really doesn’t need us. We don’t have to. But we do get to. If these “stones” can cause a ruckus speaking just a part of God’s Truth, imagine how He might use us, if God’s people were willing to open our mouths and cry out....

News

Hostility to Unplanned helps get its message out

Unplanned tells the true story of how Abby Johnson, a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic director, changed her mind and now fights for the unborn. Her story hit cinema screens in late March and had already made $18 million, or three times what the film cost to make. But that success has been hard won. Shows abortion isn't just another surgery First, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) announced they were giving Unplanned a restricted or “R rating” which meant the trailer could only run before other R-rated films and anyone under 17 would need to be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian to see it. That put a big dent into its potential audience. The rating was a controversial one because the film received no cautions for profanity, nudity, or sex. While the MPAA’s listed caution is for “disturbing/bloody images,” the only such scenes involve abortion. The film’s writers/directors Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman shared with MovieGuide.org how “ironically, the MPAA seems to be indirectly endorsing the pro-life position: namely that abortion is an act of violence.” The Washington Post’s Mark Thiessen echoed that thought: “They would not give it an ‘R’ if it depicted a tonsillectomy.” Can't see, but can do? Solomon and Konzelman went on to detail how the R rating was doubly ironic. “…many teenage women in this country who can legally obtain an actual abortion without parental permission will be prohibited from going to see our film containing simulated images of abortion, without obtaining parental permission.” A different sort of roadblock was used in Canada, where both major movie chains, Cineplex Odeon and Landmark, are refusing to show it. However, there is demand for the film, as was evident in mid-May when the film had a successful private showing in Edmonton for a crowd of almost 3,000. Turning evil to good A third irony? Even as the movie industry seems intent on preventing people from seeing Unplanned, their efforts are aiding in its publicity. Articles have appeared in The New York Times, Glamour, Hollywood Reporter, and Fortune (not to mention countless conservative and Christian sites) and they touch on more than just the controversial rating – many of them raise, and attempt to rebut, what the film says happens behind Planned Parenthood clinic doors. Hollywood may have stopped some people from seeing this film but God is using their efforts to get many more talking and learning about what abortion does to the unborn....

News

The leading cause of death in the world

The leading cause of death in 2018 was not heart disease or stroke or AIDS or cancer or traffic accidents. In a Dec. 31starticle, Brietbart.com’s Thomas D. Williams, reported that: There were more deaths from abortion in 2018 than all deaths from cancer, malaria, HIV/AIDS, smoking, alcohol, and traffic accidents combined. Williams, using numbers from the World Health Organization (WHO) and from Worldometers, reported that while 8 million people died from cancer, and 5 million from smoking, 41.9 million died from abortions. The fact-checking, and left-leaning website Snopes.com questioned Williams’ abortion numbers, but not in the way you might have expected. They noted his figure was probably much too low – in the most recent data they could find WHO reported an average of 56 million abortions annually. While there are government initiatives to reduce deaths by traffic accidents, and there are celebrity-led campaigns to fight AIDS and cancer, there is nothing comparable for abortion. In fact, instead of trying to lower the number of deaths via abortion, the world is now encouraging the celebration of those deaths. And yet when we look at WHO's 2016 list of the top ten causes of death, abortion kills more than all ten combined. So if fighting abortion deaths isn't a priority in the world it must be among Christians. Reformed blogger Samuel Sey made a similar point about Canada. In his November 9 post on his blog SlowToWrite.com he noted: 370, 000 Canadians die a year – 100,000 of them die from abortion....Every year, 100,000 babies in Canada are ripped apart, limb-by-limb, from their mother’s womb. Abortion is the most grotesque and widespread human rights violation of our time. Its the leading cause of death in Canada and America. And that won’t change unless Christians like you and me become the leading cause for its abolition....

Economics, News

The $33/hr minimum wage?

As of January 1, the minimum wage in New York City was boosted to $15 an hour, a more than doubling of the $7.25 minimum wage of just six years ago. Three days later The New York Times published a piece with the provocative title: The $15 Minimum Wage Is Here. Why We Need $33 an Hour. Author Ginia Bellafante didn’t exactly demand $33 as a new minimum wage or at least didn’t set a timetable to reach that number. She did argue that the new $15 minimum wouldn’t do much to meet New York City workers’ needs and “the war” for an adequate living wage had to continue. Bellafante cited a report by New York’s largest food bank, City Harvest, which calculated that a “single parent with two school-age children…would need to make nearly $69,427 a year” which works out “an hourly wage of just under $33.” But is need a good basis for a minimum wage? If a single mom needs $33, a married couple with two kids could get by with just half that. So maybe $15 is a good number after all? But then what of that single mom? And what if, instead of just two kids, she had four? Then she would need a lot more than just $33, so should we be looking at a $50 minimum wage, or even higher? If you see a problem with that idea, you’re recognizing something that many minimum wage proponents do not – that the basis for wages isn’t employees’ needs. Consider our own buying habits. We don’t buy a car from Ford because Ford needs the money – that’s not a consideration. When we head to Safeway and find out that a dozen bagels are on sale for $5 we might buy them. But not at $10 a dozen – they aren’t worth that to us. So whether we buy them or not depends on what value they return to us for the money we have to hand over. It’s no different when employers buy labor. They aren’t buying our labor out of a charitable impulse – they are looking to get good value for their money. And like us, if something is overpriced, they aren’t going to buy. That’s why a minimum wage of $50 would be disastrous. Many of us aren’t worth $100,000 a year to an employer so if $50 were the minimum wage, we would be out of work. We would be unemployed because our labor was overpriced by government mandate. While $15 is a lot lower than $50, not everyone is worth that either. Unskilled workers might not be able to produce $10 or even $5 an hour of value, or at least not until their employer trains them. If the law says they have to be paid $15/hr that makes them unemployable. It may not even be the unskilled worker who pays the price. Take as example a business that employed high school students at minimum wage, and also employed a single mom who made a bit more. When the owner needed help running the business he began training the single mom to become a manager, and increased her salary to go along with the new responsibilities. Then the minimum wage went up and the owner had to increase the pay of all his high school students. That money had to come from somewhere and the end result was that the owner had to let his manager-in-training go, because he had to use her wages to pay the students. This government-mandated increase, legislated as a means of helping the poor, didn’t help her. High schoolers who had already been happy with their wage got more, but a single mom lost a good job. The government might have meant well, but they didn’t do well. There is a Christian case to make against the minimum wage and any number of verses could be cited. Prov. 14:31 tells us to be kind to the poor, and while that is the professed intent of the minimum wage, that is not its effect on the least skilled. Just as relevant is Prov. 27:14 which tells us that mere good intentions are not enough – we actually have to be kind. In the online discussions of this article Luke 6:31 was raised: "Do to others as you would have them do to you," as in employers should pay their employees what they would think fair, were their positions reversed. True enough, but this verse is applicable the other direction too. Don't want your job banned? Then don't ban other people's jobs. There are any number of reasons why someone might be happy to work for wages below a government-mandated minimum. Someone might want to work for free as an intern instead of spending thousands learning the same skills in university. Low-skilled or no-skilled workers might want to get a foot in the door so they can work their way up to higher paying positions. Some low-paying jobs have fringe benefits, like a parking lot attendant I knew who could do his university homework during his shift. Mentally handicapped people who can't do as much as others might still enjoy work. Elderly folks who can't move as quickly as they once did might appreciate a job that doesn't demand a high output. And students might prioritize flexible hours over big bucks. Do these sound like positions that need to be banned? Should it be the government's job to make working for less than $15 a crime? God warns against arrogance (Daniel 4:30) but when a government makes minimum wage laws it is making decisions for millions and presuming it can price the value of people's labor better than they can themselves, and better than individual employers can. Our governments are trying to manage our economy in a hands-on way that requires them to be near all-knowing and have miraculous powers. But they are not God, and they can not make everyone worth $15/hr. by government decree. In humility, our governments need to recognize that their powers and knowledge are limited, and they are simply not up to that task of running an economy. Is it any wonder, then, that God never asks them to? This article has been expanded by a couple of paragraphs to answer some of the questions the original version prompted. ...

Apologetics 101, News

Abortionist: “God performs way more abortions than I do…”

In a Dec. 29 tweet abortionist Leah Torres went viral by claiming: “God performs way more abortions than I do…” While pro-lifers were quick to respond, most failed to offer an effective reply. When we debate the world there can be a temptation to assume anything they say must not be true. That's what happened here, with many a Christian afraid to concede there was something to Torres’ claim, at least as far as it went. And because this uncomfortable truth was avoided, the rebuttals missed their target. The newsgroup LifeNews.com tweeted this reply: “But you believe in evolution. So it’s evolution’s fault, not God’s.” Maybe Torres does believe in unguided evolution, but the largely Catholic LifeNews presumably doesn’t. So why not offer a Catholic or Christian response, instead of this evasion? Faithwire.com thought another reply, a tweet by ToniMZ81, was worth sharing, but it also sidestepped the real issue. She wrote: “…most miscarriages are because of an issue with the pregnancy/ non viability & most abortions are viable pregnancies.” What this forgets is Who controls viability. There is a difference between an abortion and a miscarriage, but this tweet didn’t get to the heart of it. The difference is not that Torres takes life and God does not. The difference is that God is the Author of life and Torres is not. As the Source of life He has a right to take what He has given. Torres does not. This point was made by a few pro-lifers. Greg Schultz tweeted: There’s a difference… You Are Not God Taken to its logical end, Torres' argument justifies every sort of murder at any age because, after all, God has killed more people of that age, than any of us have. To highlight the incredible wickedness of this logic, Anthony Abides, in the most memorable tweet of them all, put Torres' self-justification in Hitler's mouth: “God killed more Jews than I do.”...

News

Miss Universe pageant decides gender is only skin deep

The annual Miss Universe beauty contest was held this past Sunday, and while the winner was Miss Philippines, most of the attention was on a contestant who didn’t make it past the preliminary round. Miss Spain, Angela Ponce, made history by being the pageant’s first transgender contestant – a man was now on stage with the women. In 2012, the Miss Universe organization eliminated its requirement that contestants had to be “naturally born” women, making Ponce’s appearance this year possible. But the pageant isn’t doing away with all their rules: women over 28 are still out, as are married or divorced women. In addition, the swimsuit/athletic wear requirement excludes women who find that style of dress immodest, eliminating much of the Muslim world, the Amish, and also Orthodox Jews. Finally, contestants can’t ever have been pregnant. Even as the media was celebrating the pageant’s historic inclusion of all sorts of “women” it was continuing to exclude all sorts of women, banning them on the basis of age, marital status, or religion (those modest Muslims and others). The pageant wasn't acting consistent with their professed “inclusive” values. But that the organizers aren't exactly deep thinkers shouldn’t surprise us; these are folks who evaluate a woman based on how she fills out a bikini. What’s funny is how far the pageant is willing to go to accommodate men. Consider their ban on contestants who’ve been pregnant. This actually tilts the field in favor of transgender contestants because it can only be applied against genuine women – Angela Ponce can’t ever get pregnant....

News, Politics

Backing away from Big Brother: government overreach doesn't just happen in China

Who should get to decide what information you see? And who would you trust with your own personal information? On the other side of the globe one government is taking on the dual role of data collector, and information gatekeeper. And while it is nowhere near that bad here at home, we do have reason for concern. Collecting and restricting information in China We've known for some time now that the Chinese government, via its "Great Firewall," restricts what information its citizens get to see. Social media giants like Facebook and Twitter have been blocked, as are many mainstream media sites like the National Post, New York Times and Wall Street Journal (though Reformed Perspective seems to have slipped past the censors' notice).  While search giant Google is also banned (as are their Gmail and Youtube properties) it's being reported that they are now willing to comply with the Chinese government's restrictions. Google plans: "to launch a censored version of its search engine in China that will blacklist websites and search terms about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest." The company that once had as its slogan "Don't be evil" is now siding with the government censor. In addition to restricting the access its citizens have to information, it's also being reported that the Chinese government is collecting personal information on its citizens so it can assign everyone a "social credit" rating – a three digit number – that would increase or decrease based on behavior both online and off. That "social credit" rating would then be used to determine what services a citizen would be allowed to receive. If you behave, you can book flights. But if, like journalist Liu Hu, you publish claims critical of the government, you may find yourself ground-bound. There is some dispute (even among writers appearing in the same magazine) about just how far along China is in developing this social credit system. It is a work in progress with the grand unveiling planned for 2020, even as local experiments are already taking place. But even in its unfinished state, there is interest from overseas. Venezuela is getting Chinese help to implement their own system and Reuters is reporting the information the Venezuelan government is collecting seems to include not only phone numbers and home addresses but "emails... participation at Socialist Party events and even whether a person owns a pet." Closer to home In the West we are still quite free, but even here the government's data collection is expanding. And the government also restricts our access to information. Starting in January, the Canadian government is planning to compel banks to give them the personal banking records of 500,000 citizens. It promises to use the information only to analyze overall trends, and not to look at any individuals. But it is doing so without the individuals' permission or knowledge. The same government asked businesses for information as to their position on abortion if they wanted to qualify for funding under the summer jobs program. And they only received the funding if they were pro-choice. When it comes to restricting information, the Ontario government tried to keep the province's abortion statistics secret, and it was only a successful 2017 court challenge that made that information available again. And whereas parental notification and consent is required for school field trips, in Canada and parts of the US abortionists don't need to tell parents when their underage children are getting an abortion. More recently, in Alberta the government has passed a bill banning schools from informing a child's parents that their child has joined a Gay/Straight Alliance club. That's information that the government has decided parents don't need to have. Bigger and bigger In China, the government manages every aspect of its citizens' lives, from where they might be allowed to live to how many children a couple is allowed to have. It's hardly surprising that a government that's already this intrusive doesn't recognize any limits on what it can do. Here in the West, our governments do less than the communist state, but perhaps more than we really realize. A partial list of what we expect from the government shows that in Canada, too, there is hardly an area of our lives untouched by the government. Canadians expect our government to: supplement our retirement income deliver our mail provide us with national radio and TV stations provide care for us when we are sick ensure there are affordable places to live when we are old create summer jobs for our teens verify the safety of our food build recreation centers and neighborhood playgrounds subsidize the creation of professional hockey arenas educate our children help provide daycare for them before school pay for abortion provide euthanasia Some of these responsibilities are small and some are enormous. It's hardly surprising, then, that Prime Minister Trudeau wants more information and defends his government's data grab by arguing government decisions need to be based on evidence. Can we really expect a government to mind its own business after we've invited it to take on some of the biggest responsibilities in our lives? It would seem our lives are their business. Backing away from Big Brother In China the government has taken on the role of Big Brother, dominating all of life...but that's not how it thinks of itself. Big Brother never thinks of itself as Big Brother - it looks in the mirror and sees a kind benevolent Nanny State whose only concern is the care of its citizens because, well, citizens aren't really capable of caring for themselves, are they? In the West we might think ours is still the kind and gentle Nanny State – we are grateful for its provision of free healthcare, and free education. But it is in those two roles - those two enormous roles - that our government is also doing its worst, providing the facilities or funding for the murder of one-quarter of its citizens. And that doesn't even include the murders it now manages of the elderly! The Alberta government wants to use its educational role to teach children that the State, not God, is supreme. That's a recent development, but for years now the government has been teaching our children the very opposite of God's Truth when it comes to sex, marriage, human worth, the environment, and much more. So if our Nanny State isn't already Big Brother, we can certainly see how natural the progression will be. What can we do about it? This is a massive problem, so there's any number of fronts on which we can take up this battle. But perhaps a useful first step is to consider the warning Samuel gives in 1 Samuel 8:10-22  against relying on the power of kings. If we demand that someone rule over us, rule they shall, but it's quite likely they will not rule as we hoped. When the government directed summer jobs funding to only pro-choice companies, Christians were outraged at the favoritism. But what few considered was, why were we expecting the government to fund summer job creation in the first place? To do it they have to take money from some companies – and doing so limits those companies' opportunities to create jobs – to give to other companies to fund their summer jobs. From the start, such a program involved the government rewarding some at the expense of others. And when we expect the government to pick winners and losers, why would we be surprised when it decides the winners need to think like they do? Lord Acton gave a warning that matches up well with Samuel's: "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." If we want a less arrogant government, it would help if we started asking for a much smaller one. This will appear in the November/December issue of the magazine POSTSCRIPT: A couple of points to ponder Q1: ARPA Canada and many other Christian groups protested the government's discriminatory summer job program requirements. If, as this article argues, the government shouldn't be expected to create summer jobs, was it misguided to protest the discriminatory nature of the program? Shouldn't the protest have targeted the program itself? A: When there are two wrongs to right, is it misguided to take them on one at a time? The discriminatory nature of the program was the far more topical issue and the more winnable one. It made good sense to take it on first. Q2: If we wanted a smaller government, where could we begin? Where could we ask it to do less? A: Two of the government's biggest expenditures are healthcare and education. Even if the government continued to fund both why do they need to provide both? If parents directed educational funding to the school of their choice that would put them back in charge of their children's education. That's a step in the right direction....

News

Scottish minister charges police with hate for their hate crime campaign

The Scottish government and Scottish police have joined together under the banner "One Scotland" to campaign against hate crimes using videos and a variety of billboards. One billboard reads: Dear bigots, you can't spread your religious hate here. End of sermon. Yours, Scotland. Another, longer one, says: Dear bigots, division seems to be what you believe in. We don't want your religious hate on our buses, on our streets and in our communities. We don't want you spreading your intolerance. Or making people's lives a misery because of their religious dress. You may not have faith in respect and love, but we do. That's why if we see or hear your hate, we're reporting you.  End of sermon.  Yours, Scotland The minister at St Peters Free Church (and former moderator of the Free Church of Scotland) David Robertson, was quick to point out the problem with this campaign – the police have lumped hate crimes (crimes motivated by hate...as opposed to those motivated by love?) in with "hate incidents." Vague definitions mean that the police's hate crime campaign might well be violating their own definition of a hate incident. On his blog (theweeflea.com) Robertson shared a letter he had written to the police and government to report to them their own "hate incident" and began with their definition: “A hate incident is any incident that is not a criminal offence, but something which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by hate or prejudice.” On these incredibly vague grounds, he points out that on a day-to-day basis, he experiences a lot of anti-Christian "hate." He gives as examples, parishioners who have been bullied at work and in higher education. But he also quotes a number of emails that he regularly receives, such as: “Personally, as a secularist, I hate religion and feel I have every right to, despite attempts by the Scottish government to sneak a blasphemy law round the back door by making it an offence this year to hate religion.” He then points out that the inundation of billboards is in and of itself "hate incidents," promoting anger and hatred against religion, possibly resulting in vandalism against churches and worse. He also points out that the problem with the term "hate crime" is that it bears with it the threat of criminal prosecution. We can learn from Robertson's response to the officials in Scotland. With some wit, he points out the self-contradicting nature of their own propaganda, and then takes the time to ensure there is no doubt that he is against bullying and hatred...and also governments that exceed their proper limits. Hatred, as we know from Scripture, is a sin, but things such as murder and assault are sins as well as crimes. Sin must be repented of, and then forgiven in Christ. Crimes must be punished by the government, and it is difficult to judge something based on feelings in a court of law. At the end of the day, the irrationality of such a billboard campaign may be clear enough for even the culture at large to see. It is internally incoherent, as can be seen in their two fundamental principles: 1) Hatred is a crime 2) I hate haters One other Christian voice has chimed in with wit and humor to expose this campaign. A Christian think tank and advocacy group, Christian Concern, created three alternative posters copying the very same style. One read: Dear One Scotland, All people should be free to express their views, even if they offend other people. This is what freedom of speech means. How about promising to protect those whose views others might find offensive? This is how democracy works.  Love,  Some Christian friends And we'll leave them with the last word: Dear One Scotland, Do you really think that churches are teaching their members to be hateful towards others? Or to be violent towards people we disagree with? Why not pop into a church sometime and find out what we really think? Love, Some Christian friends...

News

Woman identifies as a man who identifies as a dog

Any journalist knows there's nothing newsworthy about a dog biting a man, but when a man bites a dog then you have headline material! So you can imagine the excitement at the Daily Mail when they discovered a woman who identifies as a man who identifies as a dog. The British tabloid's Oct. 12 headline read: "Transgender man identifies as a DOG..." The article goes on to detail how the woman, Tony McGinn, loves to play fetch, run around on all fours, and be told by her husband and "handler" that she is a "good boy." What's interesting is how the newspaper has only partially bought into the transgender philosophy that "thinking makes it so." When it came to McGinn telling them she was a man, the Daily Mail was happy to agree that, just because she thought she was a man, she must be one – they consistently described her as a he. But when she said she was a "human pup" they were willing to go only so far. The difference was evident even in the headline where they describe her as a transgender man but don't describe her as a dog – no, they note that this is how she "identifies." So which is it, Daily Mail; does thinking make it so? If a woman can become a man simply by thinking it, why can't she become a dog the same way? The newspaper isn't the only one confused here. Even the couple – Tony McGinn and her husband – switch between talking of Tony as a "real dog" and talking about this being a "fantasy" with her "pretending," "imagining" and "playing" at being a dog. Why the confusion? Because, at least for the moment, everyone knows that people are not dogs and can never become dogs. They understand that when it comes to species, thinking doesn't make it so. But when it comes to gender they draw a different conclusion. Why? At its root, this is about Man saying it is our thinking, not God's, that creates the world around us. And if that is what they insist, then we need to compare and contrast their confused claims with the clarity God's Word offers - "...in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them" (Gen. 1:27). God's thinking decides our species and gender. They say otherwise. But can they practice what they preach? Can they live it? As a witness to the world, Christians need to highlight their inconsistency and demand that they either renounce the idea that thinking makes it so, and stop saying people can switch genders... or they need to fully adopt this philosophy and everything that goes with it.  Then women can become dogs. And then we need to treat these new dogs the way we treat all others. If they are dogs, why would we treat them any differently than other dogs? This is what transgender people demand, after all – to be treated as if they are the gender they claim to be. So if people can become dogs then we should require them to get dog licenses, eat kibble, fly in the airplane luggage compartment, and, of course, stop driving cars, stop shopping online at Amazon, and stop using the toilet for anything other than a drinking bowl. And the next time a classroom of kindergarten students thinks two plus two equals five, we should expect the teacher to nod in agreement....

News

Adam Ford wants you to bypass social media

Adam Ford was a wildly successful Christian cartoonist (Adam4d.com) before he mostly gave that up to start a wildly successful Christian satire site (BabylonBee.com) that he has also mostly given up. So what’s next for Mr. Ford? He’s started a Christian news aggregator site (ChristianDailyReporter.com) with links to Christian perspectives on the most important news stories of the day. Only time will tell whether this too will be wildly successful. But it won’t be for lack of passion. As Ford explains in a “manifesto” he’s included on the site: The majority of people get their news from social networks. We rely on Facebook, Twitter, Google, Instagram, YouTube, etc. to such a degree that we allow them to decide what content we consume, what issues we consider important, what news is news, what is and is not allowed to be said, what's true and what's not. These companies shape the way our brains think by controlling what our eyes see every day…. Now they increasingly shut down content that they don't approve of. At their own discretion, by their own definitions and values….We have given them extreme power over the flow of information. For a few companies to have the power to control the way billions of people think is terrifying and dangerous. It is unacceptable. The control that Facebook has, is control we’ve given it. Consider Reformed Perspective as an example. As much as 90% of our website traffic comes via Facebook – almost no one goes directly to our website itself. That becomes a problem when Facebook won’t let us promote a post, which has been happening on a still rare, but increasing, rate. When it does happen, it means very few people will see the article show up in their Facebook feed, which means very few will read it on the website. In a very real way Facebook controls whether Reformed Perspective articles will get read. Ford wants to bypass these social media sites altogether by having folks come directly to ChristianDailyReporter.com each day. And we, of course, would love people to visit ReformedPerspective.ca directly too. It’s an old fashioned idea – typing websites into our browser’s address bar – but if we want our news from a Christian perspective, then we need to go directly to the source, and not let Facebook, Twitter, and others, act as a filter....

News

Alberta man says he is woman to save money on car insurance

When an Alberta man learned he would pay $1,100 less for car insurance if only he were a she, he saw a loophole he could use. Identified only as “David” by CBC, to protect his identity, the 24-year-old got a doctor’s note that declared him a woman, and used that to change his birth certificate and driver’s license. He shared his changed “gender” with his insurance company and now, instead of paying $4,517 a year, it will only cost him $3,423. While David assured CBC that, “I didn’t do it to criticize or ridicule transgender or LGBT rights” his stunt has gotten folks talking. Stephanie McLean, an NDP MLA, and Marie Little, the former chair of the Trans Alliance Society, have both attacked him for insincerely stating he identifies as a woman. But there’s another battleground here that isn’t being explored by the mainstream press. David has bought into the politically-correct notion that men and woman are not notably different. That’s why he was angered when he, as a man, was treated differently by the insurance company. He saw this as outrageous sexism. Meanwhile, transgender activists like Marie Little think there are real differences between the genders. If there weren’t, then what sense would it make for a man to say he felt like a woman? So, which of the two is right? Are men and women practically identical? Or are they fundamentally different? These two questions could get a ruckus going among the politically correct. And here’s a third: if, instead of insincerely identifying as a woman, David had in all sincerity identified as a safe driver, should his insurance company have concluded: “If that’s how he identifies, then that’s what he must be”?...

News

Creationists: there's more of us than we knew!

Being a Christian, even in the “Christian” West, can sometimes feel a little lonely, and doubly so if you are a 6-day creationist-type Christian. But, like Elijah, who despaired that he was all alone only to find out that God had preserved thousands of others (1 Kings 19), we aren’t alone either. According to a YouGov survey from late 2017, 9% of Brits, and 15% of Canadians hold to a “creationist” position. That’s nearly 1 in 10 folks in the United Kingdom, and just about 1 in 6 here in Canada. Did you think it was anywhere near that high? It’s worth noting that this survey was conducted using a multiple-choice questionnaire, and the “creationist” answer they gave didn’t accurately describe the creationist position. They characterized creationism as believing “Humans and other living things were created by God and have always existed in their current forms.” This idea of a “fixity” or “immutability” of the species – that they never change – was widely held by Christians in the time of Darwin, but it isn’t a biblical idea, and creationists don’t hold to it today. The Bible does speaks of created “kinds” so we don’t believe a monkey could ever evolve into a man. But we do think a dog kind could change over time to become toy poodles, bulldogs, German Shepherds and mastiffs. In fact, creationists believe this change can happen quite quickly, not in millions, but in just a few thousand years time. So the 9% of Brits, and 15% of Canadians who chose this answer either held to a slightly mistaken understanding of creationism, or were simply choosing the closest answer they could find. Our true numbers may be greater still. Another 22% of Brits and 24% of Canadians picked: “Humans and other living things evolved over time, in a process guided by God.” While the word “evolved” makes this an answer most creationists would shy away from, if they understood it to mean only “change over time” some might have picked this as the closest corresponding answer to our beliefs – there may be some more creationists in the mix here. And, finally, there may be creationists tucked in a third answer picked by 10% of Brits and 11% of Canadians: “I have another view of the origins of species and development of life on Earth which isn’t included in this list.” That would be a logical choice for creationists unhappy with option number one and two. So, yes, we are a minority, but like Elijah, God has not left us alone!...

News

Venezuela’s inflation to hit 1 million percent?

An official with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is predicting that by the end of the year Venezuelan inflation will his 1,000,000 percent. What does that even mean? It would be like that $1 dollar soda you bought with your burger increasing in cost to $10,000 by year’s end. As recently as 2012 Venezuela was being touted by some as an example of socialist success. So what, over the space of just the last six years, has caused the sudden collapse of the Venezuelan economy? Oil prices are certainly a factor. Venezuela’s main export is oil and world prices for a barrel of crude fell from $100 (US) in 2014 to roughly $30 in 2016 before slowly rising to around $70 today. But many other oil-producing countries have been able to ride out this oil price drop. Another significant factor is surely the precipitous loss of economic freedom in the country. Since 1995 the Heritage Foundation has been ranking countries on their Index of Economic Freedom. The higher the score, the more individuals “are free to work, produce, consume, and invest in any way they please.” In 1995 Venezuela scored a 59.8, which gave them a “mostly unfree” rating but that was, at least, a couple points better than the world average. However, since then the Venezuelan government has taken over large parts of the economy by nationalizing everything from oil projects to glass manufacturing. The Heritage Foundation ranks countries who score under 50 as being “repressed” and Venezuela now comes in at just 25.2. (By way of comparison, the United States, Canada, and Australia score 75.7, 77.7, and 80.9, respectively.) The Index of Economic Freedom highlights many practical reasons why a loss of economic freedom leads to a loss of economic prosperity. If a business owner has to bribe officials to get his permits, or can't hire new workers because high taxes don't leave him money to pay for them, or he isn't sure whether he'll even own his business next year for fear the government might nationalize it, we can understand that this type of business environment is going to stifle initiative and innovation. Why start or expand a business – investing your sweat and yours savings – when the government is going to take most of the earnings via high taxes, or might take it from you completely via nationalization? But the practical argument against socialism is only the outworking of the theological argument. As Nancy Pearcey has noted, "biblical principles are not only true, but also work better in the grit and grime of the real world" and reverse is true too: what conflicts with biblical principles isn't going to work for long in that grit and grime. While socialism might seem admirable at first blush, as John Piper explains, it isn't biblical: "Socialism borrows the compassionate aims of Christianity in meeting people’s needs while rejecting the Christian expectation that this compassion not be coerced or forced. ....ll of the Bible, the Old Testament and the New Testament, assumes both the legitimacy — and, I think, the necessity — of personal ownership. 'Thou shalt not steal' makes no sense where no one has a right to keep what is his." Venezuela is just the latest example of how socialism fails everywhere it is tried. Will the world ever learn?...

News

The PCUSA and the need for more praise from the “mouth of babes”

This past June the largest Presbyterian denomination in the US – the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) – held their 223rd General Assembly. This is a denomination that already ordains sexually-active homosexuals so it's might not seem all that surprising when they make another departure from orthodoxy. But one observer, Dr. Mateen Elass, was surprised by just how comprehensive the departure has been. On his blog he shared the wording of a written prayer, handed out during the June 20 morning worship service at the Assembly: We praise you also for diverse faith among the peoples of the earth. You have bestowed your grace that Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Practitioners of traditional religions and others may celebrate your goodness, act upon your truth and demonstrate your righteousness. As an average person in the pew, many of us are intimidated about evangelizing. We think we have to know everything about God before we can tell anyone anything about Him. Might we think differently if we understood what understood just how desperate the need is, and how great the poverty. Inside this 1.5 million member, formerly Reformed, denomination they don’t understand that serving other gods is not praiseworthy, but rebellion. This is a truth that their 20,000 ministers don’t seem to understand, but that we all know. All our children understand it. And if even our children know more than their ministers, then what excuse do we have for being too intimidated to speak? We might even be mere babes compared to some of the wise and knowledgeable theologians out there, but if God has called forth praise “from the lips of children and infants” (Matt. 21:16) – and He has! – then we can do likewise. The world – including many professing Christians too – need to hear about God from you and me....

Media bias

Religious “ghosts” haunt the mainstream media

Back in 2004 a couple of Christian journalists were frustrated at how, in the words of William Schneider: “The press…doesn’t get religion.” So Terry Mattingly and Douglas LeBlanc started Get Religion, a daily news blog that would explore how the mainstream media was covering (and most often missing) the religious dimension behind the stories we were all reading. They called this missing element the “religious ghost” – it’s there in so many stories, but unseen by the media covering them. So, for example, a July 13 story on The Telegraph’s website reported on how: “a school in Leeds is attempting to tackle forced marriages by giving their pupils spoons to hide in their underwear to trigger airport metal detectors.” According to a spokesperson for the academy: “80% of UK forced marriages happened abroad during the summer holidays, making it a peak time for parents to take their daughters abroad to be married.”  The hope was, that if a girl was being taken against her will to be married abroad then, after this spoon set off the metal detector, it could create an opportunity for the girl “to raise the alarm with security staff privately.” A reporter is supposed to get to the 5Ws of a story, but here we see a couple of glaring omissions. Who are these parents forcing their daughters to marry abroad? And why are they doing it? This is described as “‘honor’-based abuse and forced marriage” and we’re told that these girls are “often conditioned from a very young age to consider arranged marriage to be normal.” But, again, who is doing the conditioning, and whose idea of “honor” is this”? Might there be an identifiable cultural or religious group linked to this, or has Britain always had this problem? There is a religious dimension to the story that’s left unexplored. But why? Can’t the reporter see it? Or is she deliberately looking away? Whatever the case, there is a huge “religious hole.” There probably isn’t anyone left who thinks the media is objective and unbiased. But do our children understand that this bias comes out, not just in what the press says and writes, but also in what they leave unsaid, and unwritten. When the media has no interest in the religious angle, they are treating God – who He is, and who He isn’t, what He thinks, and what He wants us to do – as unimportant. Daily doses of such perspective can have an impact, especially if we are caught unawares (1 Cor. 15:33). So let’s teach ourselves, and our children, to spot the “religious ghosts” that haunt so many front pages stories....

News

Entertainment industry stands strong for what's wrong

Veteran actor Robert De Niro made news on Sunday for a very short speech – just 17 words. His assignment, at the Tony Awards, was to introduce a performance by Bruce Springsteen. But before he did that, he decided to spend just a moment insulting Donald Trump. Standing in front of the Broadway theater community – many of whom are also stars in Hollywood – De Niro began: “I’m going to say one thing: ------ Trump!” This brought out the wild cheers, and got the crowd on its feet. After shaking his fists above his head De Niro continued: “"It's no longer down with Trump, it's ----- Trump!” Now there’s any number of reasons to disapprove of Trump: he owns casinos and has lobbied the government to use its eminent domain to drive people off their property so he could expand those casinos; he’s been featured on the cover of Playboy; he’s bragged about his many affairs including with married women; he’s run the Miss American pageant; he’s on his third marriage; his wife has posed nude; he often lies, even (maybe especially) about unimportant things; and he throws out his own petty insults. But is that why these entertainment elites were jeering him? How many of them are on their third wives, and have had multiple affairs? How many have appeared onscreen naked? How many gamble in those same casinos? So they aren’t protesting Trump’s moral failings. But then what are they protesting? We can guess but we don’t know because De Niro used expletives rather than explanations. Later, in his introduction to Bruce Springsteen, he did give reasons – he spoke of the need for “truth, transparency and integrity in government.” But that came afterwards. What Broadway was cheering here was not a position, but simply his use of the F-word – they were siding with boorish vulgarity, over against intelligent, civil, discussion. In related news, Major League Baseball, and the National Football League announced that they will join the National Hockey League, and the National Basketball Association at this year’s New York City Pride March. That means all four of North America’s most popular sports leagues will be using their influence and reach to promote a lifestyle that is in rebellion to God, and which is harmful to its participants. This leads to a question. As actors, and sports leagues too, seek to use their influence to oppose God and His standards, how much longer are we going to contribute to that influence by watching and discussing their movies, and following their sports franchises? If they want to thumb their nose at God, then they shouldn't hear our applause. Picture is a screenshot from CBS broadcast of the Tony Awards and used under fair use provisions....

News

Possible evidence of life on Mars may have been discovered...perhaps. Or not.

When the Mars Rover’s latest findings – organic molecules – were reported in early June it unleashed the latest round of hype about the possibility of life on Mars. Stories on FoxNews.com, and in the New York Times ran the far too hopeful headline “Life on Mars?” but clarified further on in their articles that, no, this wasn’t actually proof. Of the three possible causes for these organic molecules, biology – life – was one of them, but there were two other less hype-worthy possibilities: geology and meteorites. Anyone who reads the newspaper science section regularly knows that life-on-Mars stories pop up repeatedly, with the previous round happening just a year ago. FoxNews.com ran this headline: “If you're hoping humans find evidence of life on Mars, scientists have some very good news.” That story talked about evidence of there being water and oxygen in Mars’ distant past. Water and oxygen are key elements that life might have needed “if it ever existed on Mars.” But this finding was akin to saying since cars need aluminum, if we were to find evidence of aluminum deposits this would be an exciting development in our search for evidence of cars on Mars. Perhaps the biggest “life on Mars” story of them all took place back in 1996 when all the newspapers covered a NASA team’s announcement that the Martian meteorite they were studying seemed to have evidence of microscopic life. It was billed as being possibly the greatest scientific discovery of the century. Except it wasn’t. Ten years later and scientists had found non-biological explanations for all the meteorite’s microscopic features. So why this ongoing hype about life on Mars, despite the less than encouraging findings to date? Because secular science needs to find life elsewhere. There is a problem with the evolutionary account, one that even evolutionists acknowledge – life’s origins. Selection and mutation need something to be already living – and self-replicating – before they can operate. In other words, evolution can’t begin until after life has begun. So how, then, did that first simple life form come to be? Just consider, even with thousands of brilliant minds, and billions of dollars worth of the most amazing tools and machinery, and we still can’t create life on purpose. How very far we are then, from explaining how it could happen by accident. But if we could find evidence of life on Mars, well wouldn’t that show life can just…happen? Finding life on Mars would make things a little less awkward for evolutionists. Thus the search continues....

News

Are young people the loneliest generation?

In our ever more connected age, somehow loneliness seems to be growing. Earlier this year the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, appointed a “minister of loneliness” to address the situation. And this past month a study on loneliness among Americans found loneliness a particular problem among youth – those aged 18 to 22 felt far more isolated than those aged 72 and over. On the study’s 80-point scale, anything at a 43 and up was considered lonely. Generation Z, 18 to 22 year olds, scored an overall average score of 48.3. This compared to a 38.6 for the “Greatest Generation” of 72 and over. So why would young people feel lonelier than their grandparents and great grandparents? Might it be due to social media, with young people perhaps making more Facebook “friends” than real friends? That could be a part of it. Heavy users of social media did score higher/were a bit lonelier than those who never used social media. But the difference was only 2 points, and not enough to explain the nearly 10-point gap between youth and their grandparents. Another possibility? The study found those who lacked regular “meaningful in-person social interactions” were far lonelier. So social media is part of the explanation, but perhaps some of it is also the constant stream of trivialities occupying youth (and many of their parents too): video game marathons, clip after YouTube clip, constant texting, endless sport commitments, Netflix-binging, and keeping up with the latest love interest of this musician or that actor/royal/celebrity famous for being famous. Constant, quick, shallow engagement doesn’t leave a lot of time for the slower, deeper, more meaningful exchanges. Loneliness happens in the Church too, and often times for the same reasons. We may have the opportunity for social interaction – there are a lot of people in our churches – but that doesn’t automatically mean those interactions are going to be of the meaningful sort. Christians also put on masks – for public viewing it’s tempting to play the part of the always-perfect parent, ever-supportive spouse, or trouble-free son or daughter. We’re good at shooting the breeze, talking sports and the weather. It’s easy to have a ten-minute conversation after church that’s about nothing at all. God has a prescription of sorts for a more meaningful conversation. He wants older men and women mentoring their younger counterparts (Titus 2). And He wants parents and grandparents to talk about how God has worked in their lives. David puts it this way: “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts” (Ps. 145:4). Of course, there’s a bad way this can be done. When we’re older, we sometimes find ourselves amazed when a young fellow or lass is willing to listen to what we have to say…so we try to squeeze every last bit of wisdom in that we can. And we don’t let them get a word in edge-wise. But relationships aren’t built via one-way communication – to be a help to the next generation we have to care enough about them to ask them about their interests, struggles and joys. Young people, you have a role in this too. God wants you seeking wisdom from your elders (Prov. 3:1). If they aren’t coming to you, it might be because they can’t imagine the younger generation really wanting to get to know them and learn from them. So, approach them after church. Introduce yourself. Ask yourself over for coffee sometime. Ask questions. Grab hold of that wisdom with both hands. There is more to relationships than simply sharing our joys, sharing the good God has done us. As David models in Psalm 3, 6, 25, and others, it also involves letting others know about our struggles. Finding a group of people you can trust and count on and “be real” with can be a hard. But is worth pursuing. God has given us the communion of saints for a reason – He knows what we need, and He has given us each other....

News

Donald Trump, G.K. Chesterton, and the 10,000 Commandments

During his campaign, Donald Trump promised he would get rid of two regulations for every one that he added. Why make such a pledge? Because regulations come with all sorts of compliance costs. How many lawyers and accountants does it take to help businesses comply with tax regulations? Safety regulations might require a business to buy bright yellow vests for their employees, and that’s a compliance cost too. Then there are also required certifications, and training, and it all adds up. In fact, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) – an American free market think tank – estimates federal regulations (this doesn’t even include state or city regulations) cost US taxpayers $1.9 trillion annually as of 2017. That works out to $15,000 each year for the average American household. In this year’s edition of their annual regulations report “Ten Thousand Commandments 2018” the CEI gave Trump credit for reducing some regulations. But they figured it amounted to bumping the metaphorical 10,000 in their title down to 9,999. This secular think tank has picked an intriguing title for their regulation report. “Ten Thousand Commandments” seems to be a reference to a very religious statement attributed to G.K. Chesterton: “If men will not be governed by the Ten Commandments, they shall be governed by the ten thousand commandments.” Chesterton’s point? When a culture rejects God and His call for self-control and self-regulation, the State steps in, trying to replace Him and his Law. But they do a muck of both. When everyone is looking out for number one, and isn’t trying to reflect God, or look out for his neighbor’s interests, then instead of compassion and care, we will have to have regulation and legislation. So how then should Christians view regulations in a godless culture? As a sometimes necessary evil. They are costly, but there is a reason for many of them. However, in the midst of 1,000-page healthcare bills and 500-page omnibus budgets, we can be sure they are sometimes a very unnecessary evil too. Whittling them down isn't going to impact the country's spiritual health – no matter how successful his efforts, Donald Trump isn't going to take the US from Ten Thousand to just Ten Commandments. But with this type of effort many countries could have a positive impact on their material wealth....

Music, News

U2 shows us how love can hurt

It’s been quite a week for U2. In the space of just four days, the Irish rock band took public stands in favor of homosexuality, transsexuality, and abortion. On May 1st the group tweeted their support for legalizing abortion in their native land. They told their 1.5 million Twitter followers that they wanted to “Repeal the 8th” which is the amendment to the Irish constitution that protects the unborn. Three days later they released the video to their song Love is bigger than anything in its way. More than three dozen people are shown, all in brief clips, and what’s most noticeable is the fashion choices made, particularly among the gentlemen. One man is wearing a bra, another a corset with thigh high boots. Many of these men have lipstick, pink shirts, pink pants, or a pink backpack. Among the women are some who look to be men dressed as women. Lest anyone think this all just a case of unique fashion choices, the video also includes shots of lesbian and gay couples kissing. We wouldn’t expect different from most any other rock band, but this is U2. The group has never publicly identified itself as Christian, but their songs contain dozens and dozens of biblical references, including 40, which is based on Psalm 40 and Psalm 6. And the lead singer, Bono, has professed to be a Christian, publicly talking about his family’s prayers, and noting that they regularly read Scripture. In an interview with music journalist Michka Assayas he gave a decent explanation of the atonement: “The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That's the point. It should keep us humbled. It's not our own good works that get us through the gates of heaven.” So it was to the surprise and disappointment of Christian fans that the band is ignoring God’s prohibitions against murder and homosexuality and is encouraging their fan-base to do likewise. Bono has often spoken of God as being love. Now it seems, he thinks love is God. What’s the difference? When we understand that God is love, then we are willing and even eager to submit to His wisdom and direction. Then we know that it isn’t loving to encourage behaviors He forbids. We understand that His restrictions protect us, in much the same way that a loving parent’s rules protect their children. Why does God forbid homosexuality (and abortion too)? Because as our Maker and our Father He knows this isn't good for us. But for Bono and his band, “love is bigger than anything in its way.” Are God’s commandments standing in the way of you and the same-sex partner you crave? Well, U2 wants you to know that love is bigger than God. But pursuing love while running from God isn’t going to bring anyone happiness. Oh, sure, rebellion can make us happy for a time. So can drugs, sex, and fame. But it doesn’t take long for the meaninglessness to become evident. In a strange turn, this brokenness is even evident in the video for U2’s latest song. More than three dozen lesbians, homosexuals, and transgender men and women dancing, hugging, and kissing. U2 is trying to tell us that this is love worth celebrating… so why does everyone look so miserable? Yes Bono, God is love. But love as a replacement for God? That’s going to be misery....

News

South Korean babies: going, going….

Last year South Korea had the lowest number of babies born since their statistics agency started tracking this back in 1970. The decline has been enormous: in 1970, just over one million children were born, while in 2017, the number had dropped to a third of that, at just 357,000. Back in 1970 women were, on average, having about 4.5 children each. Last year that number dropped to 1.05, or half the 2.1 number needed to keep the population stable. South Korea is facing a demographic crisis – as The Globe and Mail’s John Ibbitson reported, Statistics Korea says that by 2060 the population will have declined as much as a third, from the 51 million it has today, to somewhere between 34-44 million. Why has the South Korean baby become such a rarity? The same reason babies are becoming a rarity all over the developed world: having children is seen as a hindrance to personal fulfillment and career advancement. So, for example, the South Korean government’s Family Minister Chung Hyun-Back – the official tasked with addressing her country’s population crisis – is herself a childless 64-year-old woman who chose to remain single so she could pursue her career goals. She sees the problem as being one of discrimination and excessive work demands. Women who take maternity leave are often pressured to resign, rather than return, because companies find it problematic to accommodate their time away. And, when women have children and a career the statistics show that their husbands are not carrying the same load at home as they are. Thus women feel pressured to choose either a career or children. And more and more are choosing careers. Chung’s solution is to increase the accommodations companies make for mothers, and to push for more help at home from husbands and fathers. She doesn’t want women making a different choice – to choose children as a more important priority than career – but wants them to be able to do both. But is this realistic? In the real world we have only so many hours in the day. We recognize this limitation means that if the CEO of Apple also wanted to be the CEO of Microsoft – if he knew he had the talents and interest needed – time simply wouldn’t permit him to hold two full-time careers at once. So why do many think that time allows for both a committed career outside the home, and committed parenting inside it? It's only because the world has so belittled the importance of parenting that we've come to believe it can be done on a part-time basis, or handed off to daycare workers and schoolteachers. But deep down, even the world knows a choice is involved, because justice simply can’t be done to both roles. If both mom and dad are at the office or on their way to and from it for 9-10 hours a day, who’s caring for little Timmy after school? And when mom and dad get home, which parent is going to have the energy to listen patiently, correct lovingly, and seize teaching opportunities enthusiastically in those short hours that remain before the children head to bed? Maybe some do have that energy reserve, but for most of us this is why doing both isn't an option – not if we understand how important the parenting role is. That means that if South Korea and the West want to address their coming demographic crisis, then they need to stop pushing the impossibility of both. Instead the world needs to elevate the role of parenting, honoring it as a task worthy of our energies, our intellect, and our passion. It is challenge to take on that demands much but offers its rewards too. Christians also need to remember that raising children is no part-time gig, and no trivial pursuit. God has given parents the task of being our child’s primary educator, their disciplinarian, and their example of godly living. Raising them up in the ways of the Lord is quite the challenge but also quite the opportunity. Finances don’t always allow for one parent to stay at home. Divorce and death sometimes take one parent away. And when our kids head to school, then there might be time for parents to take on additional roles. But if we recognize parenting as the God-given calling it is, then we’ll understand that having a parent readily available to meet our children’s needs is an ideal worth pursuing....

News, Sexuality

When a gay couple wants you to help them celebrate sin

Back in 2012, an American couple that rented out their barn for weddings ran into trouble when two ladies wanted to reserve it for a gay “marriage” ceremony. Cynthia and Robert Gifford, both Catholic, refused – they didn’t want their farm used to celebrate what God condemns. The lesbian couple lodged an official complaint, and the New York Division of Human Rights ruled in their favor, fining the Giffords a total of $13,000 for their refusal. Two years later New York’s Supreme Court Appellate Division upheld the ruling. The appeals judge, Karen Peters, said that the Giffords could “profess their religious beliefs that same-sex couples should not marry,” but as long as they allowed heterosexual couples to use their farm, they had to let same-sex couples do so too. The “perfect solution”? So what could the Giffords do? A March 23 Faithwire.com article detailed the couple’s response. They are continuing to rent out their barn and farm, but on their website they’ve announced that a portion of the proceeds from any wedding will be donated to support traditional marriage. The notice reads: At Liberty Ridge Farm, our deeply held religious belief is that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, and the Farm is operated with the purpose of strengthening and promoting marriage. In furtherance of this purpose and to honor and promote our moral and religious beliefs, we donate a portion of our business proceeds to organizations that promote strong marriages such as the Family Research Council. The couple’s response got a couple of media outlets quite excited, with Faithwire’s Will Maule suggesting they “may have just solved the gay marriage dilemma” and The DailyWire’s Hank Berrien describing it as the “perfect solution.” This, they thought, was the way forward for Christian wedding cake bakers, and wedding photographers, and wedding venue owners. By declaring their support for traditional marriage, the Giffords are sure to dissuade many gay couples from even considering their farm. And the activist sorts who want to push the issue and rent it anyway? Well, if they know that using the Giffords' barn means, in effect, making a donation to the conservative Christian lobby group, the Family Research Council, that might just dissuade them too. This would seem an approach that Christian wedding photographers, and wedding cake makers, and more, could readily imitate. But it is it really the perfect solution? On the very same webpage the Giffords promise that all “couples legally permitted to marry in the state of New York are welcome to hold their wedding at Liberty Ridge Farm. We serve everyone equally.” This statement is probably a requirement from the judgment against them, but it would seem to concede too much. On the one hand the Giffords are speaking up for traditional marriage, but on the other, they are promising to host and help with same-sex “marriages.” This is a muddled message. Still, is there something that we can be inspired by here, and perhaps improve on? Shrewd and innocent In Matthew 10:16 Jesus told his disciples that in their dealings with the world, they should be shrewd and innocent: I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. The Giffords’ approach is certainly shrewd. It seems sure to decrease and maybe even eliminate the requests they might otherwise get from homosexual couples. What might be missing in the Giffords’ approach is the “innocent as doves” part. When Christians oppose gay “marriage” we’re not going to be portrayed as innocent doves, but as bullying bigots – we’re going to be accused of simply hating those who are different. That’s why it’s important we explain ourselves. And it’s just as important that our motivations be truly godly. We can applaud the Giffords for their desire to stand up for traditional marriage but if we’re going to build on what they’ve done, we shouldn’t overlook where there is room for improvement. In their explanation, they speak of honoring and promoting their “moral and religious beliefs.” They also speak of traditional marriage as being a “deeply held religious belief.” Something is missing here. Or, rather, Someone. We don’t oppose gay “marriage” because of our deeply held religious beliefs. We oppose it because God made us male and female (Gen. 1:27), and because a man is to leave his mother and father and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh (Gen. 2:24). We oppose gay “marriage” because that is not how God intended marriage to be. We oppose it because we know that homosexuality is a sin, and that unrepentant sin separates a person from God. We oppose it, because if we love our gay neighbor then we want them to know that a commitment to continuing to live this sinful lifestyle “until death do us part” is a commitment to rebellion against God. It sets them on the road to hell. That’s why we can’t help them celebrate. Out of concern for the couple themselves, we don’t want any part in these ceremonies – we know it’s going to harm them! Of course, a reporter from the 6 o’clock news isn’t going to give us the time and space to communicate our concerns. But when it comes to our own websites, we have all the time and space we might need, so let’s spell it out there, with clarity and love. “Ewww!” is not an option To be clear, this isn’t simply about finding the right words, so we can say just the right thing. This is about living out the love God calls us to. If we’re saying we oppose gay “marriage” out of concern for the salvation of homosexuals, but we don’t actually feel that in our hearts, it’s going to come out. We can’t be a light to the world, if we’re faking it. So if we’re not feeling concern for them, then, before anything else, we need to ask God to work on our hearts, and to help us better love our neighbor as ourselves. Conclusion While the Giffords’ approach is shrewd, it’s also more than a little confusing. That’s in large part because, even as they are conceding they will host gay “marriages” but don’t want to, they don’t make it clear why they are opposed. Christians still have the freedom to speak our beliefs, including what we know to be true about marriage and homosexuality. What would happen if all the Christian wedding cake bakers, and wedding photographers, and wedding venue owners did so? What would happen if we all stated our concerns that these sinful commitments separate the couple from God? And what if we stated that, if a gay couple uses the law to compel us to be a part of their ceremony, then we are going to donate all funds to homosexual outreach so we can express these concerns to many more? Is that a stance we can, in good conscience, take? Or does it concede too much? Might there be another better way for us to be both clever and clear? If it’s not clear just yet what exactly the “perfect solution” is, this much is clear: Christians need to explain our opposition to gay “marriage” with clarity and charity. Our opposition isn’t first and foremost because it undermines traditional marriage, or because it offends our “deeply held religious beliefs.” We oppose gay “marriage” because it is a commitment to life-long rebellion against the one true and holy God, and if the couple keeps to that commitment, then they are going to hell. That’s the clarity. And the charity is in expressing that in all sincerity, and with genuine concern....

News

Glenn Beck on Stephen Hawking (1942-2018): When almost right is completely wrong

When renown theoretical-physicist and atheist Stephen Hawking, 76, passed away March 14, it made headlines around the world. He was probably the world’s best known scientist, his fame due in part to his 10-million copy bestseller A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes. He was also known for his decades-long battle with ALS that confined him to a wheelchair and took his ability to speak, forcing him to communicate via a distinct computer-generated voice. In a tribute to the man, radio talk show host Glenn Beck addressed how the world doesn’t properly value the disabled: “Stephen Hawking is a prime example that all life is precious and has meaning. How would Margret Sanger or George Bernard Shaw view Stephen Hawking? They would say he didn’t have any quality of life. They would say he was disabled and therefore a burden on society. They would say he was worthless. “All of those sentiments are untrue. The world is a better place because Stephen Hawking chose to live his life to the fullest despite his crippling disease. He leaves behind a loving wife, three children and a legacy unmatched by many. Agree with him or not, he challenged our perception of the universe. But more than that, he showed us that no one can define your life except you. You are the master of your own world.” As a Mormon, Beck speaks from a generally Judeo-Christian perspective, and thus often defends the disabled. But while his sentiments here are right, his argument is wrong. In its push for euthanasia and abortion, the world argues that life is worth living only so long as we can be productive. Thus they justify euthanasia as the best end to a person’s life who, due to age, has become infirm. Similarly, the world touts abortion as the best “treatment” for unborn children with Down syndrome; since their disability will limit what they can do, their lives are not valued. To put it in more formal terms the world argues: If you can’t do much then your life isn’t worth much, And the disabled can’t do much; Therefore their lives aren’t worth much. Beck counters this argument by disputing the second premise: yes, Hawking was severely disabled but look at all he was able to accomplish! Some disabled people can do amazing things! This point is true enough. But in attacking only the second premise, Beck gives credence to the first. He acts as if the world is right: our lives are valuable only if we can do, and achieve, and accomplish. In granting this point, Beck is (albeit inadvertently) attacking the worth of any who are so severely disabled they can’t do much. Yes, some disabled people can make notable accomplishments…but what of those who cannot make decisions for themselves, can’t define their own lives, and are not the masters of their own world? Beck has lost sight of where our worth comes from. It isn’t found in what we can do, but instead is found in Who made us. We are all made in God’s Image, from the smallest unborn baby, to the most aged and infirm adult – this is why all lives are valuable and should be respected. This is also the only way in which we are all equal, and thus the only basis for equality. Beck was half right – many disabled people are able to accomplish notable things. But this is an example of how being half right is sometimes the same as being horribly wrong....

News

Feminists vs. transgenders? Why the Left is turning on itself.

In Judges 7 Israel is faced with a fearsome foe, and God decides to use that foe's strength against it. Gideon and his 300 get to watch as "the Lord set the sword of one against another even throughout the whole army." Might God have something similar in mind for today's liberal Left? Consider the case of Gabrielle Bouchard. This past December, Bouchard made news, and drew the ire of a small number of vocal feminists, when he became head of Québec’s largest feminist group. Bouchard is a man who identifies as a woman, and the group he now heads, the Fédération des Femmes du Québec (FFQ) has the typical feminist stands: abortion is good, capitalism is exploitive, the patriarchy is evil. It's on this last point – men running too much of the world - that the FFQ is getting attacked. Diane Guilbault, the head of a rival feminist group, told the National Post that she doesn't appreciate a man being in charge of a feminist group because:  “the experience of a woman who is born a woman is completely different from the experience of a man who decides one day to present himself as a woman.” While the protest against Bouchard has been limited, it has garnered some favorable coverage from a mainstream press that isn’t sure which side they should pick when one leftwing group takes on another. A month earlier a similar sort of conflict occurred south of the border. An American white man, Ja Du, publicly identified as a Filipina woman and the mainstream press didn’t know how to handle that either. The liberal Huffington Post decided to accept he was a woman, but wasn’t yet ready to do the same for his transracial claims. Their headline read: “Filipinos aren’t happy with this white woman claiming to be a Filipina.” Their hesitancy is puzzling: once you grant a man can become a woman, what logic prevents us from acknowledging a white man can become an Asian woman? Why is that a bigger leap? Of course we knew it wasn't going to be long before "transracialism" was going to be embraced too, and this past week the National Post's Barbara Kay reported that the State of Delaware is going to allow students to self-identify not only their gender, but their race too. But the more the Left embraces this craziness, the sooner the infighting is going to get serious. The conflicts we see here – one feminist group vs. the transgender head of another, and the liberal media picking transgenders over transracials – might not seem to matter. But the problems these groups have with one another are only going to grow. Why? Because at their core, feminist, transgender, and transracial views contradict. And it's only a matter of time before these unnatural allies turn on one another. Are the differences real or not? The divide between feminists and transgenders comes down to how each answers this question: are the differences between the sexes real? The typical feminist is going to answer with a "no." They'll acknowledge reproductive differences only because those are impossible to overlook. But when asked why there are far fewer female CEOs, or why the overall average wage for women is lower than that for men, the standard feminist line attributes the difference to discrimination. It is most certainly not a result of men and women having different interests, or different strengths and capabilities – after all, anything a man can do a woman can do too! To put it another way, the predominant feminist take is that the differences between men and women are only outward and insignificant - we look different, but we aren't actually different. Meanwhile when a man like Gabrielle Bouchard claims that, despite how he looks, he feels like a woman then he is, unavoidably, attacking the feminist position. After all, he's implying that there is something, outside of the outward appearance, that makes a woman different than a man. In making his claim to be the other gender, Bouchard is acknowledging that there are differences between the genders that are both real and significant. What exactly those differences are, isn't generally discussed. That's where Christians need to press the issue and ask: what does it mean to feel like a woman? What does that feeling involve? Imagine if a man said he knew he was actually a woman because he felt more sensitive and emotional, liked dresses and the color pink, and felt so very nurturing. What would feminists think of that? It doesn't really matter what differences a transgender might point to, feminists are going to either deny the differences are real, or that they are important. So we can see the rupture already starting. We can tear it wide open if we press that question: what exactly does being female or male mean? Are the groups fixed or not? When it comes to transracialism, it might seem surprising that even a liberal-leaning publication like the Huffington Post is slow to embrace the idea. Why would any on the Left have a problem with accepting that a person can swap ethnic identities? Maybe it's because, on some level, the Left understands that transracialism (along with transgenderism) undermines identity politics: minority groups pressing for preferential treatment to compensate for past wrongs (real or supposed) done to their group. After all, what happens to identity politics when it becomes possible to switch groups? What happens to demands for preferential treatment when a white man can be acknowledged as black and female? What happens to hiring quotas when an applicant can choose to identify as whatever combination of special identities a company is looking to check off? It becomes hard to pit one group against another when the lines between them are being erased. The tipping point Christians might be discouraged at just how fast our culture is embracing ideas that, only a few short years ago, would have been dismissed as crazy by just about everyone. But there is a bright side to the speed at which the Left is adopting one incoherent idea after another: the more craziness they stack on their shaky foundation, the sooner the whole mess is going to tip over. We can hasten that tipping point by asking questions that highlight that incoherence, like: Are the differences between the genders real and significant? What does it mean to feel like a woman, or feel like a man? What does it mean to be of a different race? And if I can be a different race, can I be a different age? Or a different height? How about a different weight? Or socio-economic status? Why, or why not? We can also point our culture to the one worldview that's built on a firm foundation. We can begin by teaching them that God made us male and female, and that can't be changed (though our feelings about our gender can be). We can share that gender-based differences do exist and they are significant, but they aren't scary, and don't have to be ignored or diminished. We can explain that acknowledging men are physically stronger than women isn't an attack on women's worth, because our worth doesn't come from our muscle size, or any other ability. We can point out that there is only one way in which we are all equal, and so, only one basis for any claim to equality: we are all made in God's image. We can clarify that while there are all sorts of ethnicities and cultures, there is just one race – the human race – and the denial of that truth has led to untold discrimination and persecution. And we can explain that the reason this all makes sense in a way that their secular worldview just doesn't, is because it is God's truth, and it is trustworthy because He is. Ryan T. Anderson has a similar, longer take, titled "Transgender ideology is riddled with contradictions. Here are the big ones." available here....

News

26-year-old woman gives birth to 25-year-old girl

We start counting our age from the day of our birth, but if we think on that for a moment we realize that’s not, technically, accurate. Life begins at conception, not birth, so most of us are nine months older than we’ve been owning up to. But in the case of little Emma Gibson, the difference between conception and birth wasn't nine months, it was just over 24 years. When she was born this past November, she was already 25 years old because Emma had been conceived, via in vitro fertilization (IVF), back in 1992. And at that time her adoptive mother, Tina Gibson, was just 18 months old. Since 1992 Emma had been left in frozen storage. As WORLD magazine’s Jamie Dean reported, Emma isn’t the only child that’s been left waiting. At least 600,000 embryos sit frozen in storage facilities across the United States, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Some reproductive experts believe the number is closer to 1 million. Canadian estimates are hard to come by, but a 2014 CBC article put the number at 60,000. To the world, these hundreds of thousands of embryos are a legal headache. While they don’t acknowledge them as human, they do seem to recognize there is something special about them, which is why so many of these children are not being destroyed but being indefinitely stored, without plans as for what to do with them. Emma’s rescue underscores the opportunity Christian couples have to save embryonic children via what’s called “snowflake adoption" – a frozen embryo can be thawed, and if it survives that thawing, can then be implanted in its adopted mother’s womb and, hopefully, carried to term. But even as Christians are involved in rescuing children from this frozen state, what should we think about IVF for our own infertility treatments? When couples struggle with infertility, IVF is presented as a near miraculous means to help them get the baby they’ve been yearning for. IVF is all about babies, and we’re pro-life, so we’re all about babies too! On the face of it, IVF would seem a life-affirming medical procedure. But there is a reason hundreds of thousands of children are left frozen, waiting to be born. IVF, as it is commonly done, involves the intentional creation of “excess” embryos – the creation of more children than will be implanted in their mother’s womb. That’s not how it has to be done, but that’s how it is done most of the time for reasons of cost effectiveness. These embryos then face one of four fates: Any that seem abnormal are, as a rule, “discarded” – British numbers indicate that this happens to roughly half the children. Some are implanted in the mother. A small number are donated to science for experimentation (where they are killed). The rest are left in a frozen state, waiting to be born. But unless something dramatic happens – unless “snowflake adoptions" start happening by the hundreds of thousands – the most likely fate for these children is eventual death. Christian couples struggling with infertility need to understand that the IVF industry offers hope, but has a great darkness to it. We don’t think of IVF doctors as abortionists, but when we recognize that life begins at conception then it’s no slur to make the comparison. Abortionists kill half their patients and it seems the same, or worse, can be said about IVF doctors too. So, of course, to rescue babies like Emma, we’ll need help from this IVF industry – there is a right way that IVF can be done. But we mustn’t be naïve about the darkness underlying this industry, lest, in our ignorance, we get caught up in it....

Pro-life - Abortion

A person’s a person, no matter how small-hearted (or not so) pro-lifers might be

A new study, released in January by LifeWay Research is part of an effective rebuttal to a common pro-abortion argument. Pro-lifers are often accused of hypocrisy – we’re said to only be interested in life before birth, but that if we truly thought life was precious from conception onward, wouldn’t we do more to help children after they are born? Why, the question is asked, aren’t Christians adopting more children? It’s a question intended to shut pro-lifers up, so, for the sake of the unborn, it’s important we understand the two problems with this accusation: it’s beside the point it isn't true Why is this hypocrisy charge beside the point? Because in the abortion debate there is only one issue that matters: whether the unborn are human beings. If they are, then they deserve the same protection as all other human beings, and that isn't going to change no matter how caring or uncaring pro-lifers might be. Even if pro-lifers really are the nastiest sort of two-faced frauds, our personal failings don’t have the power to grant, or do away with, their humanity. It's not about us. In addition, the charge doesn't stick. In Lifeway Research's poll of 1,010 American Protestant and nondenominational churchgoers (people who went to church at least once a month) 40% of respondents said that over the last year someone in their church had been involved in foster care, or had adopted, or their church leaders were encouraging foster or adoption. Much more could be done – there is still a pressing need for more willing families – but these numbers show that Christian pro-lifers are concerned with children after birth too....

News

Chip and Joanna Gaines and global warming

When Fixer Upper’s Chip and Joanna Gaines announced earlier this month that they were pregnant with child number five, the congratulations rolled in. Thousands of encouraging messages flooded the home-improvement-show hosts’ Twitter and Facebook pages. But over at CBC.ca there was one voice of dissent, notable for the objection she raised. In her article “It shouldn’t be taboo to criticize parents for having too many kids” Kristen Pyszczyk characterized the Gaines’ decision to have baby #5 as “a choice that affects everyone who inhabits our planet.” Yes, she was making the case that, due to the threat of climate change, the Gaines’ newest little one shouldn’t be seen as a blessing: “Procreation is becoming a global public health concern, rather than a personal decision. So when people do irresponsible things like having five children, we absolutely need to be calling them out.” Pyszczyk gets some facts wrong – she claims that “populations are multiplying exponentially” and they simply aren’t. But Christians don’t need to know the latest statistics to see through her argument. We just need to know our Bibles. It’s there we find that procreation isn’t a “public heath concern” and large families aren’t a problem. Children are a blessing, not a curse (Ps. 113:9, Ps. 127:3-5, Deut. 7:13, Gen. 48:4, etc.) But what of the increasing numbers of mouths to feed that Pyszczyk is worried about? Well, her worldview blinds her to the full truth. Yes, children come with their own carbon footprint, and a mouth that needs filling, but they also come with two hands to work, and a brain to dream up innovations. And as Solomon teaches us, we can “sharpen” one another (Prov. 27:17). Why have we seen so many technological leaps this past century? Because we have more minds on the planet than ever before, and that means all the more opportunities for one to sharpen another. We are not just consumers but producers and innovators too. The reason this matters is because Pyszczyk’s short-sighted “children as a concern” narrative isn’t just a minor mistake. This perspective has been a major justification for abortion, which, over the last half century, has killed hundreds of millions. So it’s vital, then, that we teach the world to see children as God sees them. We can do that by congratulating families, like the Gaines, who are blessed with growing families, and we can do so by, when God allows, embracing that blessing ourselves....

News

The Mike Pence rule won’t save us…but can it help us?

In the spring of 2017 the Washington Post got mainstream media pundits chortling, when they revealed that US Vice President Mike Pence had a rule that he wouldn’t dine alone with any woman other than his wife. The media hated this “Mike Pence rule” mocking it as some combination of childish and prudish. It was said to be sexist, suppressing advancement opportunities for women since they wouldn’t be able to get the same alone time with the boss as the boys. A half year later the New Yorker ran an exposé on Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, accusing him of sexually harassing or assaulting 13 women. The publication of these accusations prompted dozens of other women to come forward with further accusations. This spawned a “#MeToo movement” with more and more women coming forward, alleging abuse at the hands of powerful men of all sorts, including US senator Al Franken, Today host Matt Lauer, storyteller Garrison Keillor, US senate candidate Roy Moore, actor Dustin Hoffman, and, just this week, the now former leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, Patrick Brown. And while most of the accused admitted to at least some sort of misconduct, others, like Brown, claim to be completely innocent. So in light of the #MeToo movement, and the enormous abuse of power it exposed among influential men of all sorts, is it time to revisit the Pence rule? Some say no, Christians among them. A month after the Weinstein allegations came out, Katelyn Beaty, an editor at Christianity Today wrote “A Christian case against the Pence Rule” for the New York Times. In it she gave this less than flattering assessment of the rule: “The Pence rule arises from a broken view of the sexes: Men are lustful beasts that must be contained, while women are objects of desire that must be hidden away. Offering the Pence rule as a solution to male predation is like saying, ‘I can’t meet with you one on one, otherwise I might eventually assault you.’ If that’s the case, we have far deeper problems around men and power than any personal conduct rule can solve.” This is quite the condemnation! And yet Beaty granted that the Pence rule – also known as the Billy Graham rule, as he adopted it long before the Vice President – has saved Pence from ever facing the same allegations that were leveled at Roy Moore, Patrick Brown and others. Beaty also grants that the “Bible says a lot about humans’ proclivity to sin.” In fact, she makes a good case for the rule before she then presents her case against: the Pence rule can be frustrating to women who know that alone time with the boss, and “the informal and strategic conversations” that can occur in that setting are “the stuff of workplace advancement.” There’s something to what she says – the Pence rule may make it harder for women to advance in some workplace settings…though a smart boss will be sure to create such opportunities other ways for valued female employees. But even if we grant the rule can cause such hindrances, so long as we live in an imperfect world, we need to acknowledge there are no perfect solutions, only tradeoffs. So then the issue is not, is the Mike Pence rule perfect? It is not. Instead we should ask, does it help more than it hinders, and is it better than the available alternatives? And in answer to that, consider: A large numbers of men have been accused of, and many have then admitted to, victimizing women. The harassment or assault often occurring when they got a woman alone. Other men have been accused of assault or harassment and deny it by women they spent time alone with. One man has a system by which he not only would never commit sexual sin, but could never even be accused of it. That man is mocked as a prude, Pharisee, fool, misogynist, etc. The Pence rule does more than shield women from male predation, so, no, it doesn't presume every man is a "lustful beast." It acknowledges that sexual temptation is real, and the workplace environment involves long hours of time spent together. This rule, then, also helps both men and women avoid workplace temptation. And it serves as an assurance to their spouses. Finally, it helps protect men from false accusations. There are downsides to this rule, but it also has quite the upside. It's important to note that, while there is a biblical basis to the Pence/Graham rule – it acknowledges the fallen nature of men and women and the powerful pull of sexual temptation – we aren’t going to find the rule itself in Scripture. That’s why we mustn’t treat it as something sacred or something every Christian business owner must be implementing. Maybe they have their own ways to combat sexual harassment, minimize temptation, and protect against false accusations. But there is a reason that Mike Pence and Billy Graham have never been tainted by sexual scandal, even as so many others in their positions have – there is wisdom to be found here. That said, we shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking this rule is going to save us. As Reformed blogger Tim Challies writes: Rules have their place, but they must never be separated from a prayerful determination to put sin to death. Picture is modified from file by Laurel L. Russwurm. It is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license....

News

Best pro-life signs at the US March for Life

This year's US March for Life took place on January 19 and marked the 45th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision, which struck down many of the country's restrictions on abortion. Canada also has a March for Life, but it takes place four months later, always on or around May 14, to mark the anniversary of Pierre Trudeau’s 1969 Omnibus bill, which first legalized abortion in Canada. Both are attended by tens of thousands. That means there are thousands of creative pro-life minds thinking through how best to communicate the truth about the unborn on thousands of signs, banners and t-shirts. And because the American event is months earlier, Canadians can be inspired by what we see south of the border! What follows is a dozen of the best signs and slogans as seen by yours truly, or shared by sites like The Daily Signal, LifeSiteNews.com and PJ media. Some are blunt, others are clever. One is simply an offer to help. May they serve to inspire! God planned parenthood I support a woman’s right to be born The strong must protect the weak I survived Roe vs. Wade. Roe vs. Wade will not survive me. Pretend I’m a tree. Save me. A person’s a person, no matter how small Me , Still me Abortion is murder Am I more valuable because of my size? You are not alone. We will help you. Already born? Check your privilege. The very best pro-life messaging I think I've ever seen wasn't at this year's March, and wasn't even on this continent. It came on a pair of t-shirts worn by a couple at last year's Romanian March for Life. The potbellied husband wore a shirt that read "This was from choice" while the obviously pregnant wife wore a shirt that read, "This was from God."...