Sunday, September 14, 2014

Marriage Commitment Challenge

In light of the viral “Ice Bucket Challenge” that has significantly raised both awareness and money in the battle against the terrible disease of ALS, I recently had an idea for a different type of “challenge.” This is a challenge to stand up for the truth—to be seen and heard in the fight against another, much more devastating plague on our culture.

(See our YouTube description here as well as below.)

For years now, I and many others have detaileded the tragic effects of the breakdown of the traditional (biblical) family unit in our culture (see my archive of columns/articles on my “Marriage/Family/Sexuality” page; also search my site for “marriage and family” and the like). In addition to the devastating effects for children brought up in a home without a loving and married mother and father, as has often been chronicled, the breakdown of the family is linked to an increase in poverty, violence, crime, and a host of other social ills.

Divorce, out-of-wedlock births, promiscuity of every kind imaginable, prostitution, pornography, sexual exploitation of children, sex-trafficking, homosexuality, same-sex marriage—each of these once considered grossly immoral (“sin”) by most Americans—with some considered so gross as not even to warrant a discussion—are now not only considered acceptable in many circles, but some are even celebrated.

This is especially true of homosexuality. The federal government, the federal courts, state governments and state courts all across the U.S., school systems, corporations, Hollywood, the news media, the sports industries and media—virtually every realm of our culture has capitulated by some measure to the homosexual agenda.

Such acceptance and celebration has infected not only our secular culture, but the church as well. For the last decade we have watched as denomination after denomination, congregation after congregation, in the name of the fallacy that is today’s “tolerance,” compromise long-held biblical truths on marriage and sexuality.

Additionally, the movement to redefine marriage, which is being rabidly debated throughout the U.S., is not only seeking to shatter the foundation upon which all of our social institutions rest, it is seeking to legitimize—using, among other things, the full power of our legal system— homosexuality and all of its perverse variations, including transgenderism.

Bakers, florists, photographers, wedding hosts, and the like have suffered under our legal system due to their Christian views on marriage and homosexuality. This will certainly continue. As I noted a few months ago, and as Al Mohler recently pointed out, “We are in the midst of a massive revolution in morality.” Mohler adds that, “sexual morality is at the center of this revolution.” He refers directly to a “crossroads” and alludes to an unavoidable showdown that is looming within the evangelical church. However, I believe this is the case for our nation in general.

Given all of this, and as I mentioned at the beginning of this piece, the success of the “Ice Bucket Challenge,” I think it’s time for all who are concerned about where our nation is headed with marriage and sexuality to embrace a different type of challenge. This one involves no financial donation but could cost you plenty; there’s no ice-cold water involved, but it could be much more “chilling” for some. However, if this catches on and turns hearts and minds toward the truth, it will all be worth it.

What I propose is the following: Married couples—husbands and wives that is—as well as interested singles, would video a short (less than 1 minute) commitment statement on marriage and sexuality and post it online—Facebook, YouTube, etc.—for all the world to see. The statements I created (one for marrieds; one for singles) are below. You could use one of mine or create your own. It needs to be brief, so that people can view it quickly, but it needs to communicate clearly the truth on marriage and sexuality.

I propose that husbands and wives alternate reading sections, but do so in a manner that demonstrates unity: the type of unity that a Christian marriage is supposed to have. In other words, two are reading it as one. (My personal preference would be alternating the reading instead of reading it together, but others may reach a different conclusion.) Also, large groups such as Sunday school classes, church small groups, or even whole congregations could make the commitment together. Husbands and wives could make the commitment with their children present.

I especially challenge Christian leaders—pastors, elders, deacons, ministry heads, leaders of Christian colleges and universities, and the like—to make the marriage commitment and do so boldly. I also especially challenge Christians in high-profile parts of our culture—TV celebrities, movie celebrities, sports celebrities, news media celebrities, and the like—to make the marriage commitment.

However, the vast majority of us who make this marriage commitment will be those with a much smaller circle of influence. It will be this group that will convince most people that this commitment is the right thing to do. In other words, it will be the every-day Americans that will point the vast majority to the truth on marriage and sex.

As you challenge others to this commitment, I recommend that you do so in private. Some may not respond well to a public challenge on an issue such as this.

Yes, many of us who are in a Christian marriage have already said our vows before God and a crowd of witnesses. Yet, these drastic times call for more. The voices of deception are many. They need to be countered.

I’m under no illusions that the few words in these marriage commitments will, by themselves, elicit real change in our nation. Neither am I seeking merely a political solution. By and large, our politics are only a reflection of our culture. Real change will come as people live out the commitment and God uses His truth to bring repentance.

In other words, change will come when those deceived and those seeking the truth see millions of loving, committed, and fruitful marriages lived out before their eyes and God reveals to their hearts that this is the way that marriage was meant to be. Nevertheless, given where we are with marriage and sexuality in our nation, we need a large wake-up call and I believe that this “marriage commitment challenge” could be that call.

Dr. Mohler is right: sooner or later we’re all going to have to decide where we stand in these matters. We may as well start now. Is this “corny”? Perhaps, but certainly no more so than dumping a bucket of ice water on your head to help cure a disease—and look what that has accomplished.

Below are the commitments that I’ve written. Each one has been examined, and edited where necessary, by pastors and those involved in family ministry.

Married Couples:

As husband and wife we commit, before God and all who witness this, to remain faithful in all that the Bible reveals on the holy covenant of marriage.

Namely, we commit to remain faithful to one another and keep our marriage bed pure; and we commit to remain married until our earthly union is dissolved by death. Furthermore, as a union of one man and one woman, we commit to allow God to use our union as He sees fit to build His Kingdom.

Last, we commit to model and to teach others the truth on marriage and sexuality. Namely, that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life and that the only rightful place for sex is within marriage.




Singles:

I commit, before God and all who witness this, to remain faithful to all that the Bible reveals on the holy covenant of marriage.

Namely, I commit to keep myself sexually pure while unmarried and model and teach this behavior to those in my circle of influence. Furthermore, I commit to allow God to use me as a single person as He sees fit to build His Kingdom.

If I am ever married, I commit to remain faithful to my spouse, keep our marriage bed pure, and remain married until our earthly union is dissolved by death.


Last, whether married or single, I commit to model and to teach others the truth on marriage and sexuality. Namely, that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life and that the only rightful place for sex is within marriage.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

When Voting, Remember the Federal Judiciary (updated)

Near the top of the page on Drudge this evening is a link to the New York Times lead tomorrow (Sunday). The title of the piece is Building Legacy, Obama Reshapes Appellate Bench. The article notes the recent changes that have occurred within the federal judiciary. It begins:

"Democrats have reversed the partisan imbalance on the federal appeals courts that long favored conservatives, a little-noticed shift with far-reaching consequences for the law and President Obama’s legacy.

"For the first time in more than a decade, judges appointed by Democratic presidents considerably outnumber judges appointed by Republican presidents. The Democrats’ advantage has only grown since late last year when they stripped Republicans of their ability to filibuster the president’s nominees."

The piece notes that, of the 13 United States Courts of Appeals, Democratic appointees to these powerful federal benches now hold majorities in nine of them. The article further declares that, 

"The shift, one of the most significant but unheralded accomplishments of the Obama era, is likely to have ramifications for how the courts decide the legality of some of the president’s most controversial actions on health care, immigration and clean air. Since today’s Congress has been a graveyard for legislative accomplishment, these judicial confirmations are likely to be among its most enduring acts."

Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer is quoted noting that "This will affect America for a generation, long after the internecine battles on legislative issues are forgotten." Schumer is exactly, and tragically, correct. This was one of my biggest fears of an Obama presidency--especially a presidency that was accompanied by a Democratic majority in the Senate. 

As I noted in early 2008 when making my Case for McCain, "Whatever a conservative’s concerns with John McCain, and there are legitimate ones, the dual roles of Commander In Chief, and appointer of Federal Judges, should be enough to cause any reasonable conservative to give him some benefit of the doubt." 

Additionally, as I added a few months later (June) of 2008, "On judicial nominees the choice for conservatives in November is clear." If only more Americans had listened! Packing the federal judiciary with liberals is a disastrous consequence of electing liberals such as Obama and Schumer.

Of course such disastrous consequences are easily seen with the many federal rulings that seek to redefine marriage and legally force the legitimization of homosexual behavior upon the American people. Along with their homosexual agenda, liberals are using the courts to push their calamitous climate agenda along with their hideous healthcare agenda. Unlike legislation, as Roe v. Wade teaches us, such efforts by the courts are not so easily undone, Again, as Schumer points out, it could take generations before we see a reversal of these efforts by liberals, as one of the most enduring accomplishments of any presidency is his impact on the judiciary. 

Conservatives need to do more to educate our fellow Americans on this matter. This needs to be happening now as one-third of the U.S. Senate, which must confirm the president's judicial nominees, is up for reelection this November--less than two months from today.  

Copyright 2014, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Friday, September 12, 2014

Same-Sex Marriage ("Gay Marriage" for most liberals) Explained

This is a few years old (note than when this was made, Obama still "opposed" same-sex marriage), but still very good. Enjoy.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

God's Not That Concerned with Your Happiness

In We Have No ‘Right to Happiness’ from God in the Dock, C.S. Lewis noted that when his acquaintance “Clare” spoke of “happiness” she “simply and solely” meant “sexual happiness.” Because, as Lewis noted, “[W]omen like Clare never use the word ‘happiness’ in any other sense.” Additionally, Clare never spoke of the “right” to any other kind of happiness. She was, after all, “rather leftist in her politics, and would have been scandalized if anyone had defended the actions of a ruthless man-eating tycoon on the ground that his happiness consisted in making money and he was pursuing his happiness.”

We Have No ‘Right to Happiness’ was the last published article by Lewis before his death in 1963. Thus, almost certainly “Clare” was a product of the sexual revolution. The piece begins with Clare concluding that “Mr. A” and “Mrs. B,” who each divorced their spouses to marry one another, were justified because “they had a right to happiness.”

Many a trespass prospers these days in the name of someone’s “happiness.” (“Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth!”) Of course, today there are “Clares” all around us—millions of times over—peddling this “right to happiness” philosophy. And just like the early 1960s, this is especially true of things in the sexual realm.

Jay Bookman, liberal columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, recently wrote about conflicting rulings on same-sex marriage. (FINALLY, a federal judge with some backbone and sense!) A comment under his piece summed up perfectly the rationale for so many Americans when it comes to same-sex marriage: “For the life of me I can't understand WHY anyone would want to keep someone from marrying anyone they choose as long as they are of legal age and can give consent. Many states also allow 1st cousins to marry now. I just don't understand depriving anyone the right to be happy.”

Such juvenile thought has also invaded circles inhabited by those who should know better. As I pointed out last year, Republican Senator Rob Portman from Ohio, who, over the last several years, has been in the conversation as a candidate for the White House, reversed himself and became a supporter of same-sex marriage. (For which he is now rightly paying a political price.)

According to Portman’s own words, his conversion on this grave issue was due to the fact that, in 2011, his son Will announced that he was gay. Thus Senator Portman, not wanting to stand in the way of his son’s opportunity “to pursue happiness and fulfillment,” decided to join the “Happy Gang” on same-sex marriage.

The Happy Gang has corrupted more than marriage. Many have decided to capitulate on a wide range of homosexual-related issues because of the perceived “right to happiness.” Tragically, and in most cases to please the pro-homosexual crowd, just as with the perverse notion of modern-day tolerance, the “right to happiness” philosophy has invaded the church—even the (supposed) evangelical church.

Just days ago Victoria Osteen—wife of Joel Osteen, pastor of Lakewood Church, the largest Protestant church in the U.S.—was videoed boldly declaring, “I just want to encourage every one of us to realize when we obey God, we’re not doing it for God–I mean, that’s one way to look at it–we’re doing it for ourselves, because God takes pleasure when we are happy. . . . That’s the thing that gives Him the greatest joy. . . .”

She continued: “So, I want you to know this morning — Just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you to be happy. . . . When you come to church, when you worship him, you’re not doing it for God really. You’re doing it for yourself, because that’s what makes God happy. Amen?”

In other words, “Take up your happiness and follow Jesus!” Or, “My yoke is easy because I just want to make you happy.” Poor Mrs. Osteen has taken her lumps for this, so I don’t want to pile on. (It wouldn’t be very Christ-like anyway.) As Al Mohler deftly put it, “America deserves the Osteens.” Not only that, but America, along with much of the rest of the world, craves the Osteen’s brand of Christianity—or religion—or whatever you choose to call it.

It makes it so much easier to decide what’s right and wrong when all you have to ask is, “Does it make you happy?” Is there any wonder that we have become a culture virtually bereft of shame? Is there anyone in liberal America who knows sin for what it really is? Has it occurred to the Happy Gang to weigh the “happiness” of the beheading-butchers of ISIS, as they cut off the heads of “infidels,” before we decide to do anything about them?

Don’t get me wrong, like Phil Robertson and the Duck Dynasty crowd, I love me some “happy, happy, happy.” However, as Lewis reminds us, when our founding fathers wrote of the right to the “pursuit of happiness,” that “august declaration” was tempered by the notion that our pursuits are limited by means sanctioned according to the eternal Law of Nature. In other words, we are not to seek happiness simply according to our own whims and desires.

Also, though I believe that God enjoys us being happy, that is certainly not His main concern—even when our pursuits are noble. As my lovely wife wisely put it, He’s much more concerned with our holiness than our happiness. This is accomplished only through the redemptive work of Jesus.

To get us to see this, to see the only path to holiness (“the Way” as Jesus put it), and hopefully choose that path, is God’s main concern. Whether we’re rich or poor, hungry or fed, clothed or naked, sick or well, happy or sad, we should seek this path. Some of us will follow this path though our family will forsake us as a result; for others we follow this path “even unto death,” because we know that, in spite of what we may face in this world, one day there will be no more sadness, and not just happiness, but perfect joy.

(See this column on American Thinker.)

Copyright 2014, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Why Mark Richt is Better than Nick Saban, Les Miles, and Steve Spurrier

I know it was only the first weekend of the 2014 college football season, but there was one distinct and noticeable difference among the coaches of several of the best teams in the best conference in college football. This difference, I believe, sets the University of Georgia's head coach Mark Richt apart from his excellent counterparts at Alabama, LSU, and South Carolina.

In many sports, sometimes it is the intangible things that make the difference. This is certainly true in college football. This distinctive difference just might be the reason that Georgia goes all the way this year. The photos below clearly reveal what I'm talking about:

                                     

As you can clearly see, unlike Nick Saban, Les Miles, and Steve Spurrier, Georgia's head coach Mark Richt does not color his hair. Richt is easily the youngest of these deans of the SEC. Saban is 62, Miles is 60, and those chestnut colored locks of Steve Spurrier are 69. Mark Richt is only 54 and has more gray than the other three combined!

Each of these men has made tens-of-millions of dollars coaching football and certainly can afford to do whatever they want with their hair. However, what kind of message does it send to young men playing the most physical sport in America that, once one starts experiencing a little adversity with one's manly mane, that it's time to go the way of Donald Trump?!

Who knows, maybe Richt's natural-do was the reason Georgia backs ran so hard against Clemson. However, there is one thing that the three other coaches have that Mark Richt is still chasing: a national championship. Now I don't know if the coloring preceded the championships or not, but I suppose us die-hard UGA fans now face a bit of a dilemma: do we want our "au naturale" head coach to go the way of these divas if it means a national championship? 

Copyright 2014, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Forget the Facts in Ferguson--Libs Want an Indictment

The liberal media is already laying the groundwork for the next round of riots in Ferguson, Missouri, now that a grand jury has been convened. The game is to continue to perpetuate racial conflict in America, write stories, organize protests, and remind Americans why they need to vote for Democrats. But since the grand jury in Ferguson consists of nine whites and three blacks, many liberals have decided that true justice can’t possibly be served.

Case in point would be the recent musings of progressive commentator Sally Kohn. Her recent piece in the Daily Beast concludes that, given the racial make-up of the Ferguson grand jury, an “obvious question” has been raised: “Can whites empathize with Michael Brown and the larger grievances Ferguson’s black community has with police?” Because, you know, when weighing whether to change a man with murder, it’s always important that grand juries “empathize” with the community at large. After all, isn’t the word “empathy” prominently featured in the Fifth Amendment?

Given such progressive nonsense when it comes to our legal system, it’s no wonder that Texas liberals were able to indict Rick Perry. Such thinking is pervasive and long-standing with liberals when comes to the U.S. legal system. It’s one of the reasons why federal courts are falling all over themselves to legalize same-sex marriage. Since more Americans than ever are “empathetic” towards homosexuality, it’s only just that our courts find “rights” for homosexuals that have eluded us for well over 200 years.

Kohn also asks: “[C]an America more broadly value the experiences and concerns of black America enough to address them rather than dismiss them?” In other words, forget the facts; forget what grand juries are supposed to do; the Ferguson grand jury better indict or what we just witnessed in the St. Louis suburb will look like a bad weekend at Freaknik.

(See this post at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2014, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Monday, August 18, 2014

America: I Wish She Were "Hot or Cold"

I live in the northeast Georgia area. I’ve spoken often—to God and man—of how blessed and thankful I am to have been born in the greatest nation the world has ever known. Not only that, but I’ve also been extremely blessed to have grown up in one of the most conservative and one of the most Christ-influenced areas in the United States.

My political district is the Georgia ninth. According to the Cook Partisan Voting Index, Georgia’s ninth is currently the third most republican district in the U.S. Yes, republican doesn’t always imply conservative (and certainly doesn’t imply Christian), but of course, conservative—especially conservative Christian—almost always equals strongly republican. Thus, whatever political madness America must endure, I can usually take solace in the fact that my area of the country will be somewhat shielded from the fallout. Thank God and the Founders for the vertical separation of powers!

Of course, such “political madness” is especially prevalent when the realms of politics and faith collide. A recent case in point involves a public high school, Chestatee High School (CHS) in Hall County Georgia, which is about 15 minutes from my home. Along with writing and maintaining a website, I currently teach mathematics at another high school within the same district. Thus I became very curious when my lovely wife approached me the evening of August 12 with the news of the spiritual and potential legal conflict that was brewing at CHS.

Just after we got our four children to bed, Michelle informed me that Hall County School district, due to prayers and references to Scripture involving the football program at CHS, was under threat of a lawsuit by the American Humanist Association. My reply: “Good!”

As lawsuit after lawsuit results in courts across America tossing out the marriage amendments passed (usually overwhelmingly) by dozens of states; as nudists seek to exercise their “right” to be naked; as San Francisco politicians export their home-grown perversions (warning: graphic) to other parts of the country; as corporation after corporation pays homage to the (tiny) homosexual community; as self-identifying “Christians” kill unborn children “in the name of Jesus;” as so-called “evangelical” pastors “come out” in support of homosexuality; more and more Americans, whether they like it or not, are being forced to make difficult moral decisions. In other words, many Americans, who would prefer to remain on the sidelines as we continue to debate the moral issues in America, are being forced to declare with whom they stand.

As Screwtape cautioned Wormwood, just as warfare with bullets and bombs renders one of the best weapons of Satan (“contented worldliness”) useless, the mounting moral conflicts in America are pushing many of us out of a contented and willful ignorance and complacence and into a place that the enemy of all mankind really doesn’t want us to go: a place where we are forced to confront the social, political, and spiritual consequences of our beliefs and behaviors; a place where we also must examine why we believe what we believe—and, determine if what we believe is really the truth.

This is why I say….let’s have it out. As I noted on the Redskins nonsense, let’s debate the morality and the justness of all these matters. Let us each loudly and clearly cast our moral standards before the American people, the courts, and most importantly, the Creator and see where we stand. This is certainly not to imply that, at least when it comes to the American people and the courts, such a confrontation will produce results that you or I will like. However, as Christ warned the Church at Laodicea, let us not be “lukewarm!”

If America is to stem her descent into a spiritual and moral winter, then Christians across the country must do their best to ignite fires of faith in their families, churches, communities, schools, places of work, and so on, and be the light we are called to be. We do not need Christians who see compromise (with Scripture) as the way forward. Neither do we need Christian monasteries or compounds where biblical values and truths are hoarded and hidden from our nation.

What we need are communities full of faithful families led by fathers and mothers who want to work hard, raise children, attend church, and pass on their biblical values to the next generation, and the next, and so on. As Psalm 78 implores the rebellious nation of Israel: fathers teach your children, so that they will in turn teach their children—so it should be with every nation that wants to walk in the truth.

Such communities need to be “cities on a hill,” welcoming all those who want to join, so that the American people can clearly contrast the ways of those who are “lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” with those who seek to live the “godly life in Christ Jesus.” Thus Americans can clearly choose whether to be part of, as Augustine put it, the “City of God” or the “City of Man.”

And we need more communities to react like the Hall County community did once word of the lawsuit became public knowledge. On Friday, August 15, The Gainesville Times reported that after the Hall County School system received the threat from the atheist group, “at least three prayer events were organized on school (CHS) grounds.” In addition, a Facebook page—to facilitate and encourage the prayer groups—was started that received over 11,000 “likes” in just over a day. Other high schools in Hall County, including my own, Johnson High, joined the prayer movement.

Perhaps most encouraging, as Todd Starnes noted in his piece on the issue, was the response of Hall County School superintendent Will Schofield. “Unfortunately when school systems get letters like this and people start rattling sabers, usually the first reaction by a lot of school districts is, ‘Oh my goodness, we don’t want to be in the news. We don’t want to be sued, so we better stop doing whatever we are doing,’” Schofield said. He added, “I don’t think that will be the first reaction of the Hall County School Board.”

Such should be the reaction, not only on matters concerning public expressions of faith, but on the definition of marriage, on abortion, on sexual perversions, on the breakdown of the family, on postings of the Ten Commandments, and on each and every moral issue that we face. In other words, America is in the midst of a battle for her soul and it’s time that more Christians started acting like it.

See this column on American Thinker.

Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt-Free Living in a Debt-Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Ferguson, MO: More Tragic Fruit of Liberalism

After a day of calm, upon the release of the surveillance video that purportedly shows Michael Brown, the young man whose death sparked the violence in Ferguson, MO, robbing a convenience store, the protests and looting erupted again. According to St Louis news reports, as the looting occurred, "police dressed in riot gear mainly stood and watched, apparently under orders not to engage."

The Obama justice department did not want the video released, because, you know, when more facts and information to a crime become available, that's always a reason for more looting and violence. Missouri's Democratic governor, Jay Nixon, has now announced a curfew in Ferguson. Many feared that a curfew would just spark more confrontations with law enforcement.

But not to worry, Captain Ronald Johnson, the state Highway Patrol officer now in charge of Ferguson security, is going to treat curfew breakers like they are now treating looters. "We won’t enforce it with trucks, we won’t enforce it with tear gas, we will enforce it with communication," Captain Johnson said. "We will be telling people, 'It’s time to go home.'" After all, a good talking to is what those breaking the law in Ferguson have needed all along.

Patricia Bynes, a black Democratic committeewoman for Ferguson Township, on Saturday said, "I don’t know what the answer is, but there has to be [some] type of response because it’s only getting worse out there. People are fed up with police brutality and police harassment. There is still so much racism and discrimination in this region, ingrained in the business world and the communities. This is what happens when institutional racism continues." Imagine that!--A Democrat excusing criminal behavior with cries of "racism!" Of course, she is not alone. I won't bother you with links to prove such--just search the internet for "Ferguson and racism" and see for yourself.

We keep hearing about how, though Ferguson is about 70% black, only one out of seven city council members are black. Of course, we are supposed to believe that this is due to racism. Perhaps it's because the Democratic machine has yet to sufficiently corrupt the Ferguson election process. I wonder how the Ferguson vote went on the last two presidential elections. Wanna bet? St. Louis County (which does not contain the city of St. Louis), which contains Ferguson, was one of only three Missouri counties to go for Obama in the 2012 presidential election. 

The fact is that Ferguson is and has been somewhat of a mess for the very same reasons virtually every other urban area in America is a mess: liberalism. As I noted in April of this year, the political machine in most every large U.S. city is dominated by democrats. As Kevin Williamson of National Review pointed out a couple of days ago, "Ferguson was hardly a happy suburban garden spot [before] the shooting of Michael Brown."

Williamson also points out that 40% of the births in St. Louis County are out of wedlock. What do you think Michael Brown's home life was like? News reports identify his mother as Lesley McSpadden and his father as Michael Brown, Sr. Doesn't quite sound like a happily married couple does it?

As I noted, the unbridled liberalism present in many U.S. cities has been complicit in the destruction of the families in these cities. Not only that, as I've also noted, such liberalism has bred crime, violence, dependence, and poverty. 

Williamson adds, "The more progressive the city, the worse a place it is to be poor and/or black. The most pronounced economic inequality in the United States is not in some Republican redoubt in Texas but in San Francisco, an extraordinarily expensive city in which half of all black households make do with less than $25,000 a year. Blacks in San Francisco are arrested on drug felonies at ten times their share of the general population. At 6 percent of the population, they represent 40 percent of those arrested for homicides."

In other words, whether its the violence in Ferguson or drugs in San Francisco, liberals are reaping what they have sown. The sooner the citizens of such places realize this, the better off we will all be.

Copyright 2014, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Saturday, August 9, 2014

America's First "Great Awakening" (Another [unedited] excerpt from our next book)

Right in between the colonial and Revolutionary period of America came what historians have dubbed the (first) “Great Awakening.” One of the principle figures of this period of spiritual revival was the brilliant and pious Puritan minister Jonathan Edwards. Born in 1703—the same year as John Wesley—to the Reverend Timothy and Esther Edwards, Jonathan showed signs of an unusually keen mind early on. He entered Yale just before he turned 13. He began his ministry at 23 alongside his maternal grandfather in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Edwards was literally born into Christian ministry. As was noted, his father was a minister, a Congregationalist to be precise. Edwards’ mother, Esther Stoddard Edwards, was the daughter of renowned Massachusetts minister Solomon Stoddard. Stoddard succeeded Eleazer Mather as pastor of the Congregationalist Church in Northampton, MA. He was a firebrand of a preacher who abhorred alcohol and extravagance. Though his theology was in conflict with many contemporary Puritan leaders, Stoddard was an extremely influential religious leader in the New England area for several decades.

Jonathan Edwards succeeded his grandfather as pastor of the church at Northampton. He would later repudiate some of his grandfather’s theological views. This cost him his pulpit as he was dismissed from the Northampton church in 1750. After this, Edwards accepted a role as pastor of a church in Stockbridge, MA. During this period Edwards was a missionary to the local Native American tribes.

Edwards was a vociferous writer as well and is recognized as one of the great intellectuals of his time. He produced such works as Freedom of the Will, The Great Christian Doctrine of Original Sin Defended, and The Life of David Brainerd which inspired countless missionaries of the nineteenth century. In 1758 Edwards became the president on the College of New Jersey (Princeton). He died weeks later from a smallpox inoculation. Edwards was the grandfather of Aaron Burr, third Vice President of the United States.

Jonathan Edwards loved the pulpit, and according to BJU Press, was more teacher and preacher than pastor. In late 1734 and early 1735, revival broke out in Northampton. By the Summer of 1735, it ended, but the seeds for something more lasting were planted. Enter the mighty George Whitefield.

Whitefield is generally considered the “Father of the Great Awakening.” Born in England, in 1714, Whitefield was an unruly child. He described himself as, “So brutish as to hate instruction and used purposely to shun all opportunities of receiving it. I soon gave pregnant proofs of an impudent temper. Lying, filthy talking, and foolish jesting, I was much addicted to, even when very young. Sometimes I used to curse, if not swear. Stealing from my mother I thought no theft at all, and used to make no scruple of taking money out of her pockets before she was up. I have frequently betrayed my trust, and have more than once spent money I took in the house in buying fruit, tarts, &c., to satisfy my sensual appetite. Numbers of Sabbaths have I broken, and generally used to behave myself very irreverently in God's sanctuary. Much money have I spent in plays, and in the common amusements of the age. Cards and reading romances were my heart's delight.”

Whitefield entered Pembroke College at Oxford at age 17. There he joined a group called the “Holy Club,” where he befriended John and Charles Wesley. John Wesley led the group, and as a result of their “methodical” ways, critics took to calling them “Methodists.” Of course, the name stuck.

Upon graduating and receiving his BA, Whitefield was ordained at 22. He began his preaching in the British towns of Bath, Bristol, and Gloucester. However, he felt the call to join General Oglethorpe’s colony in Georgia. In 1738 Whitefield left for North America. Not long after arriving in Georgia, noting the hard conditions, high death rate, and an abundance of children who had lost their parents, he conceived the idea of an orphanage.

For the rest of his life, Whitefield raised money for the orphanage. He also continued to preach. Whitefield’s message was one of salvation. This differed a bit from other Anglicans ministers at the time who emphasized religiosity and moral living. It was not long before most all of Georgia had heard of this young preacher with the booming voice and wild pulpit antics. News of Whitefield and his preaching soon spread throughout the colonies.

In 1739, after a brief return to England in hopes of securing land and funding for the orphanage in Georgia, Whitefield came back to America and would preach throughout the colonies. Jonathan Edwards invited Whitefield to preach in Northampton (Massachusetts). Whitefield’s message resonated with rich and poor, farmers and tradesmen, church-goers and sinners—virtually everyone within earshot of Whitefield (which, according to Ben Franklin, in open space, was 30,000 people!).

Whitefield was not alone. Along with Edwards, men like Isaac Backus, David Brainerd, Samuel Davies, Theodore Frelinghuysen, Jonathan Mayhew, Shubal Stearns, the Tennent brothers (Gilbert, John, William), and others implored Settlers and Indians alike to trust in Christ and Christ alone for salvation. Their message of repentance caught fire up and down the American East Coast. In the words of Brainerd, the ongoing revival was like an “irresistible force of a mighty torrent or swelling deluge.”

The fire of revival can spawn change that is felt world-wide. This was certainly the case with the first Great Awakening, for it was in the pulpits of American churches that the seeds of Revolution were sewn.

Copyright 2014, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Some Inconvenient (and Uncomfortable) Truths on Homosexuality

Earlier this year, as Ezra Klein’s Vox.com was launched, when describing why another news and politics site was necessary, Klein remarked that Vox would be “as good at explaining the world as it is at reporting on it.” It seems that is not the case when it comes to homosexuality.

Recently Vox reported on a new study from the Centers for Disease Control which revealed that from 2001 to 2011, annual diagnoses of HIV among men who have sex with men (MSM)—in the 13 to 24 age group—increased 132.5%. This is a much larger increase than the one among older homosexuals, and enormous compared to the nearly 33% drop in HIV diagnoses among the general population.

Even more striking, and left out of the Vox report, is the fact that, though male homosexuals are only about 2% of the U.S. population, they account for over half (56%) of all HIV infections in the U.S. In 2011, homosexual men accounted for 79% of new HIV infections among men. Male homosexuals are 60 times more likely to contract HIV than other men. A 2008 study showed that 1 in 5 gay men in the U.S. has HIV.

The World Health Organization, which Vox also "conveniently" ignored, is so concerned about the “exploding epidemic” of HIV that it recently recommended that all homosexual men consider antiretroviral medications “to help prevent HIV infection.” However, even more likely to contract HIV than gay men are “transgender women” (who are, of course, biologically male). They are 50 times more likely to be infected than the general population and are among the most at-risk groups to contract HIV.

And it’s not just HIV. In May of this year WebMD reported that, “Syphilis has returned with a vengeance to the gay community.” According to the CDC, among homosexual men, cases of syphilis have more than doubled since the year 2000. The CDC also revealed that, in 2008 “men who have sex with men” accounted for 63% of all new syphilis cases.

Additionally, the CDC reports that homosexuals are 15 times more likely than the general population to get Hepatitis B and 17 times more likely to get anal cancer.

Speaking of the anal region, homosexual men who are on the “receiving end” of a penis (using their anus like a vagina), are over 17 times more likely to contract HIV than women who engage in sexual activity as it was meant to be. Although Vox referenced this, even including a graphic, they left out other important information. Such as the fact that the vast majority of gay men, 75% according to author Steven Gregory Underwood, engage in anal sex.  One researcher referred to it as the “sine qua non of sex for many gay men.”

Yet, as the previous link points out, and as Vox again leaves out, “human physiology makes it clear that the body was not designed to accommodate this activity. The rectum is significantly different from the vagina with regard to suitability for penetration by a penis. The vagina has natural lubricants and is supported by a network of muscles. It is composed of a mucus membrane with a multi-layer stratified squamous epithelium that allows it to endure friction without damage and to resist the immunological actions caused by semen and sperm. In comparison, the anus is a delicate mechanism of small muscles that comprise an ‘exit-only’ passage.”

Anal intercourse, as Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, author of Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, points out, traumatizes the soft tissues of the rectal lining. “These tissues are meant to accommodate the relatively soft fecal mass…and are nowhere near as sturdy as vaginal tissues. As a consequence, the lining of the rectum is almost always traumatized to some degree by any act of anal intercourse. Even in the absence of major trauma, minor or microscopic tears in the rectal lining allow for immediate contamination and the entry of germs into the bloodstream.”

Vox also reports that “compared to young men who have sex with women, those who have sex with men are nearly 10 times as likely to have ever injected illegal drugs.” In 2007 the Los Angeles Times reported the frequency of methamphetamine use is 20 times greater among MSM than in the general population.

Such information, though graphic and uncomfortable even to read, is very necessary and should be widely discussed given where we are in this nation when it comes to homosexuality. With same-sex marriage, homosexuality, and transgenderism being hailed as normal— even the American Psychological Association deceptively declares that “Both heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality”— and is now welcomed and celebrated by politicians and pundits, courts and corporations, Hollywood and high schools alike, more than ever the American public is in dire need of “the whole truth” on these matters.

The truth is that homosexual behavior, especially male homosexual behavior, is very dangerous and unhealthy. And it is certainly not something that governments or organizations of any type should promote. Those dealing with homosexual desires deserve understanding and compassion, but they also deserve the truth.

However, as Vox again demonstrates, the liberal media will never present the whole truth on homosexuality. (Sadly, we can’t even trust many churches on homosexuality!) If you do happen to report the facts on this matter, you are at least accused of perpetuating “false stereotypes” of homosexuals, or, at worst, labeled a bigot and a homophobe in need of being “stamped out...ruthlessly.” For the sake of our nation, more people better start telling the truth.

Copyright 2014, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com