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Monday, June 29, 2009

Adultery and the Christian Conservative

As I wrote back in March, first and foremost I am a Christian. My relationship with my Heavenly Father takes precedence over all other relationships, or it is supposed to. The next most important relationship that I have is with my wife. In fact, as I have also written before, I believe that after the relationship we have (or don’t have) with our Creator, the most important relationship in the universe is the bond between husband and wife.  

This is why adultery is so tragic. The family, as given to us by our Creator, is the foundation of every social institution the world has ever known. Families form communities, churches, schools, corporations, governments, and so on. Therefore the attack on the family—through divorce, redefinition of marriage, etc.—is devastating in ways that many folks never imagine.

When conservative Christian politicians, pastors, etc. who have stood for and preached biblical family values commit adultery, the consequences are even more devastating. The damage done to their political/professional careers pales in comparison to what is done to those betrayed by their selfish deeds—spouse, children, friends, family, etc. However, the damage done politically bears serious weight as well.

When leading political conservatives, such as Nevada Senator, John Ensign and South Carolina Governor, Mark Sanford, commit adultery, it deals a blow to the conservative brand unlike what happens to the liberal cause when they (John Edwards, Jim McGreevey, Eliot Spitzer, Tim Mahoney, Paul Patton) are caught doing the same.

The mainstream media bias against conservatives notwithstanding, as a liberal blogger recently implied, the use of a politician’s personal life as setting some sort of standard for how they will govern is a conservative’s moral issue, not a liberal’s. Thus, conservatives, especially Christian conservatives, will always be held to a higher standard.

As C.S. Lewis put it, “When we Christians behave badly, or fail to behave well, we are making Christianity unbelievable to the outside world. The wartime (W.W. II) posters told us that Careless Talk cost Lives. It is equally true that Careless Lives cost Talk. Our careless lives set the outer world talking; and we give them grounds for talking in a way that throws doubt on the truth of Christianity itself.” Substitute conservative and conservatism for Christian and Christianity and you get the political equivalent of what Lewis is saying.

Let me say right here that any of us, Christian or not, is capable of adultery (or any other sin). We’ve all made mistakes, or as the Bible teaches, “We’ve all sinned.” In fact, looking at this from a spiritual perspective, I believe that those of us who are Christians have a bit of a larger target on us when it comes to temptation. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to be vigilant and accountable when dealing with temptation and sin.

If temptation ever becomes sin, one thing always to consider is how the offender responds after the light has shown into his darkness. Is he repentant? Does he properly admit his sin? Is he as King David was after the prophet Nathan chastised him for his adultery with Bathsheba? After Nathan’s rebuke David replied, “I have sinned against the Lord (2 Sam. 12:13).” According to Scripture, as a consequence of his adultery and murder, David’s son born to Bathsheba died. David pleaded with God for his son, but God did not relent and David accepted the dire consequences for his sin.

There will indeed be consequences for Governor Sanford and Senator Ensign, not the least of which will be a significant hit on their political careers. Let us remember to prayerfully lift up these two men and their families. Let us especially pray that God can restore their marriages and bring healing as only He can.

Copyright 2009, 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, June 21, 2009

What if Sotomayor is Pro-Life?

Oh, the irony. What if, after all the “empathetic” editorializing by liberals in Washington and the media, Sonia Sotomayor turns out to be on the “right” side of the abortion issue?

This question was posed recently by Rush Limbaugh on his radio program. Among other things, having declared that he thinks Sotomayor is a “racist,” Limbaugh also said that he may have to “look past” her various shortcomings and support her “if I could be convinced that she does have a sensibility toward life in a legal sense, (and) of course, in a real sense.”

Rush has also stated that, “I have to say that there's a better than 50-50 shot she's pro-life.” USA Today recently declared that there were “many questions for Sotomayor on (the) abortion issue.” They note that, “During her 17 years on the federal bench, Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor has left no clear footprints revealing where she stands on the right to abortion.”

Here is a sampling of the liberal spin on Sotomayor following Obama’s announcement of her as Souter’s replacement. The New York Times said, “President Obama seems to have made an inspired choice in picking Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court. She has an impressive judicial record, a stellar academic background and a compelling life story… She is an accomplished lawyer and judge, who could become an extraordinary Supreme Court justice.”

New York Daily News: “Obama made a great choice in picking Sotomayor for high court… She richly deserves the honor.” The Boston Globe: “Sotomayor's professional record is notable less for its iconoclasm than for its steadiness and solidity… she also has the experience to make an excellent Supreme Court justice.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called Sotomayor “the total package,” adding, “We could not have anyone better qualified.” Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin said, “President Obama has made an outstanding and historic choice in his selection of New York Judge Sonia Sotomayor to serve.” He concluded, “I hope and expect she will receive quick confirmation in the United States Senate.”

Now, all of this is well and good, but what if real questions arise among liberals about Sotomayor’s position on abortion? I predict that their ringing endorsements of her will quickly quiet to hushed nervousness. If genuine doubt arises on this one issue, she likely will be forced to withdraw from her nomination, and once again it would be revealed how much of a grip the abortion industry has on the Democrat Party.

I believe this hypothetical scenario begs the question, why are liberals, and thus the Democrat Party, so devoted to the practice of abortion? The reason that nearly all conservatives are against abortion is well established. For these conservatives, the issue of life is so fundamental, so entrenched in our hearts and minds as a matter of faith. Therefore, as we see it, most every debate on moral issues begins with life. Consequently, if you are on the wrong side of this issue, it doesn’t matter so much what moral stand you take in any other matter—it will likely be to no avail.

As Rush put it, “You can get past the racism and bigotry and other things, but life is a fundamental issue.  Once the nation—and some would say we're there—once the nation has thrown out the whole concept of the sanctity of life, then every other value and tenet of morality is weakened dramatically.”

As to why abortion is so important to liberals and most Democrats, I believe that the answer lies with the devotion to “self”—specifically the sexual satisfaction of “self” (which is also what drives the gay marriage debate, but I digress). Now, as Christianity teaches, it is in the basic nature of each of us to be selfish. That’s why Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, and to do to others as we would have them do to us.

Christ knew that it was in the hearts of each of us to think the most of ourselves. An abortion is a tragically selfish act, and many of those participating are deceived into thinking that they are truly making the best choice—for themselves. If Sotomayor can help turn the nation from this dreadful delusion, there is much about her that could be overlooked.

Copyright 2009, 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

Donte Stallworth Suspended

The suspension has finally come. With Stallworth pleading guilty and accepting his sentence (30 days in jail, lifetime suspension of driver's license, 1,000 hours of community service, 2 years of house arrest to be followed by 8 years of probation), the ball was finally in NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s court.

Unlike in the Vick case, where commissioner Goodell ordered the QB to stay away from his team while the NFL investigated, Goodell waited until Stallworth’s guilty plea before acting toward any suspension. On Thursday, June 18, Goodell suspended Stallworth indefinitely for his DUI manslaughter that occurred back in March of this year. Many are speculating on what the final suspension for Stallworth will be.

Also, many (as I have) are comparing Stallworth's case to Michael Vick’s case and the case of Rams' defensive end Leonard Little. Little was suspended 8 games for an offense very similar to Stallworth’s back in 1998. Little struck and killed Susan Gutweiler in St. LouisMO after leaving a birthday party drunk. After being convicted of involuntary manslaughter, Little received 90 days in jail, four years' probation and 1000 hours of community service. In 1999 the NFL suspended Little 8 games for his transgressions.

In 2004, with the involuntary manslaughter conviction wiped from his record, in the suburbs of St. Louis, Little was again arrested for drunk driving (and speeding). According to police, Little had bloodshot and watery eyes, smelled of alcohol, and failed three sobriety tests. Because of his 1999 guilty plea to involuntary manslaughter in his drunken-driving crash case, prosecutors charged him as a persistent offender. This made it a felony case. Little was acquitted of drunk driving, but was convicted of the misdemeanor speeding charge.

As far as I can determine, Little was never suspended by the NFL for this second offense. I suppose because he was convicted only of speeding, the league probably felt no suspension was necessary. Stallworth and his representatives have already invoked Leonard Little’s case and will almost certainly do so again when it comes to dealing with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Contrary to what many may believe, I have few problems with Stallworth’s sentence and I feel that his NFL suspension will probably be longer than it should. However, I do have a significant problem with the treatment of Michael Vick. I have a problem with his treatment by the media, the courts, the NFL, and the general public. I feel that what Vick did was unjust and deserved some scorn and punishment. However, both scorn and punishment were WAY out of proportion to his crimes.

For example, if Vick had been caught in a cock-fighting scandal, both funding and killing birds, his treatment would have been much less severe. In fact, he probably would have received his harshest treatment from the late-night comics and perhaps even received an endorsement deal from Kentucky Fried Chicken. (Not really, but this reminds me of a funny Jim Gaffigan line: Vegetarian: 'Do you know what they do to those chickens?!' Gaffigan: 'No, but it's delicious.')

I will not be surprised to see that Stallworth’s suspension is on par with Vick’s (a full season). This is assuming that Vick is immediately reinstated once his sentence is completed in July. If not—if Stallworth receives a suspension from the NFL far less than Vick’s—then I would not be surprised to see Vick consider suing the NFL for his treatment. I’m not sure if he would have a legal leg on which to stand, but if this scenario plays out, I would like to see him pursue it.

Copyright 2009, 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, June 16, 2009

Stallworth Gets 30 Days

Cleveland Browns' wide receiver Donte´ Stallworth has pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter in Florida. Along with 10 years of probation and 1,000 hours of community service, Stallworth is going to serve 30 days in jail after striking and killing a man while driving drunk back in March of this year. Also, to avoid a lawsuit, Stallworth reached a financial settlement with the family of the man he killed. 

I hate to keep beating a dead horse—excuse me—a dead dog, but compare this to Michael Vick’s punishment. After pleading guilty in December of 2007, Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison, which exceeded the 12 to 18 months that the prosecutors recommended. Vick was also fined $5,000 and given three years' probation for the crime of running a dog fighting operation. 

Michael Vick was also suspended by the NFL for the entire 2007 season—a suspension that went into effect before Vick admitted guilt to anything. Donte´ Stallworth has yet to hear anything from the NFL concerning a suspension. There have been no lawsuits against Vick in his sad story; however, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Vick incurred financial losses of approximately $142 million. This includes $71 million in salary from the Atlanta Falcons, $50 million in endorsement income, and $20 million in previously paid bonuses. 

In addition, according to Sports Illustrated, Vick agreed to pay more than $928,000 to care for dogs seized on his property. According to federal court documents filed in April of 2007, 53 pit bulls were seized on Vick’sVirginia property. That works out to more than $17,500 per dog! That’s several thousand dollars more than the ANNUAL average healthcare plan costs American families! 

It will be interesting to see what kind of suspension the NFL gives Stallworth. Perhaps at least the NFL will dish out proportional judgment to the man who drove drunk and killed another human vs. the man who fought and killed dogs. 

Copyright 2009, 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

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Moral High-Ground Proves to be a Slippery Slope for Pro-Abortionists

After abortionist George Tiller’s murder, the left-wing media (bloggers, commentators, etc.) went wild with calls of “domestic terrorism.”  The lustful dash by liberals to paint all pro-lifers and Christians with the same brush as Tiller’s killer, Scott Roeder, was pathetically predictable.

Just a sampling of the attacks: Christina Page of the Huffington Post called Tiller’s murder a “foreshadowing.” She added that if you think Tiller’s murder was an isolated incident, “You are wrong. The trend is clear and frightening.” Also on the Huffington Post, Shannyn Moore called Roeder’s act “Christian Fundamentalist Terrorism.” The president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, Nancy Keenan, said the killing was “not an isolated incident. It is part of an ongoing pattern of hateful rhetoric…”

The facts simply do not support this anti-Christian, anti-Pro-Life propaganda. According to the National Abortion Federation’s own statistics, there have been a total of eight abortionists murdered in the U.S. since 1977. Tiller’s was the only one in the last 11 years. There have been 17 instances of attempted murder since 1977 with only one occurring in the last 11 years.

Now, one murdered abortionist is too many, but it pales in comparison to the 50 million or so humans who have been killed in their mothers’ wombs since 1973. In fact, the pro-abortion lobby has done more to devalue human life than any other organization or individual in the history of our nation. After all, our culture has been taught for the last 40 years or so that life is a “choice.” Given this, should we be at all surprised when anyone decides to take the “choice” of life and death into his own hands, regardless the age of the victim?

But, as many pro-abortionists have so perceptibly noted, abortion is legal, while assassinating abortionists is not. However, prior to Roe v Wade in 1973, this was not the case. In most U.S. states abortionists and their assassins were both felons under the law. Just because something is now “legal” doesn’t make it moral.

Since Tiller’s death, “Another Pro-Life murder” has been a frequent sentiment on left-wing blogs. Conservatives, especially Christian conservatives, were called to task for fomenting the atmosphere of “hate” that supposedly led to Tiller’s murder. Many on the left shared the sentiments of Shannon Moore mentioned above: Tiller’s murder was a case of Christian domestic terrorism.

The Obama administration wasted little time weighing in on the matter. Obama himself said that he was “shocked and outraged” by Tiller’s murder, referring to it as “heinous acts of violence.” The Attorney General directedU.S. Marshals to protect abortionists all over the country. There were also many calls by liberals for pro-lifers to condemn the act.

Just a day later, a very similar incident played out that revealed the true position of liberals when it comes to “domestic terrorism.” On the day after Tiller’s murder, a radical Muslim convert, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, gunned down two U.S. soldiers at a military recruitment center, killing one of them. In the light of 9/11, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and numerous other Muslim attacks against the U.S. both at home and abroad, one would think that Muhammad’s attack would bring about significant condemnation from U.S. officials and the media. The silence was telling.

There was no denunciation from Obama or his administration; no calls for U.S. Marshals to help protect recruitment centers (not that they would need it); and no calls for Muslims to denounce the event. In fact, there was little coverage of the entire event.

Fox News did report that Muhammad had “political and religious motives.” It was also reported that Muhammad had recently traveled to Yemen and Somalia, both hotbeds for Islamic extremism.

It has since been revealed that Muhammad may not have acted alone and may have even been part of a larger plot to attack multiple U.S. military targets. This important information still was only enough to draw scant attention from the liberal media or liberal bloggers.

All of this goes to show the true motives of liberals when it comes to Tiller’s murder. It was simply a convenient opportunity for liberals to go after pro-lifers in general. It was an irresistible occasion, however brief, for liberals to stand on the high moral ground. It was a chance for the pro-abortionists—who readily support the killing of humans in the womb—to temporarily turn the tables. Perhaps the nearly 3700 abortions that take place today will bring them back to reality.

Copyright 2009, 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