Monday, August 12, 2013

A Pulpit for Bullies

Here is a powerfully written argument concerning an altercation that occurred at a public school and the court's ruling about it.

It's a shame that a school teacher is able to get away with this and an even greater shame that the court brought upon itself in its verdict.
To campaign against the bullying of LGBT people as if disagreement with the gay lifestyle were an evil is itself a form of bullying.

On June 19, the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan ruled in favor of a high school student named Daniel Glowacki, who had charged that his high school teacher, Jay McDowell, had violated his constitutional right to freedom of speech. He was granted one dollar in compensation. The court’s verdict, in vulgar terms, was that the pig had the right to say what he said.
The facts, according to the court’s judgment, are these.

On October 20, 2011, the Gay Straight Alliance at Howell High School planned to take part in a national “campaign aimed at raising awareness of the bullying of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered youth.” The court acknowledges that the day is also called “Spirit Day,” which, the plaintiffs contended, is so-called to foster acceptance in the public schools of the homosexual lifestyle. The Gay Straight Alliance made up flyers to be posted all around the school, urging students to wear purple on that day as a sign of their solidarity with homosexual teenagers. The principal approved the flyer.

Wendy Hiller, one of the teachers, printed a batch of purple T-shirts, reading “Tyler’s Army” on the front and “Fighting Evil with Kindness” on the back. She had, in the past, worn a black shirt reading “Tyler’s Army.” The name refers to Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers who took his own life after his roommate had secretly filmed him in a homosexual encounter. Hiller, says the court, in evident agreement, did not believe that the shirts would be controversial, since the topic was bullying and not homosexuality. Hiller sold some of the shirts to other teachers at cost.

Jay McDowell, an economics teacher, bought one of those shirts and wore it in class that day. McDowell then showed his students a video about a gay teenager who committed suicide, and devoted the rest of the class period to discussion.

Daniel entered McDowell’s classroom for the sixth period that day. McDowell noticed that one of the girls in class was wearing a belt buckle with the Confederate flag. He ordered her to take it off, because it offended him. Daniel then asked the obvious question. Why should it be all right for so many students and teachers to wear the purple T-shirts, but not all right for the girl to wear the belt buckle?
 Read the rest at Public Discourse.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Depraved New World

Stumbled on this piece that is said to be from Gene Edward Veith, though the blog that this piece comes from does not cite where Veith may have written this. Regardless, the conciseness and accuracy by which this article describes our current state is very well-crafted, and should drive us all to repentance to realize its truths.

From The First Premise:

Sexual immorality is nothing new, of course, as we can tell from the Bible’s warnings against it. What is new is that sexual immorality now has cultural approval.

Men and women who had sex without being married to each other once felt ashamed and practiced their fornication in secret. Now, having sex outside of marriage is taken for granted as part of the single life and has become the rule, not the exception. Young women who became pregnant out of wedlock once dropped out of sight to go to special homes where they could have their baby out of the public eye. Now, they either get an abortion or openly embrace their identity as single mothers. Among teenagers, sex used to be reserved for marriage, then for “being in love,” but now even dating has become obsolete, replaced with an impersonal, one-night-only “hooking-up” with someone they do not even know. Instead of waiting until marriage to have sex, couples live together — having not only sex but sometimes children together — with marriage being reduced to an optional ritual, with no real consequence in itself.

A taste for pornography used to be an embarrassing vice, to be satisfied in out-of-the-way, “dirty” movie houses and book stores. Now, porn is sold in reputable hotel chains and as pay-per-view TV. Homosexuality used to be a vice committed in secret. Now, homosexuals have not only come out of the closet, our popular culture insists “nothing is wrong with it,” and the cultural elite is demanding that homosexuals should have the right of marrying each other.

Other cultures have been tolerant of sexual immorality, but even these stopped short of seeing sexual immorality as a good thing. In ancient Greece, prostitution was commonplace, but not for young women of respectable families, who valued virginity and for whom promiscuity would be anathema. Homosexuality was rampant, especially for young men in the military, but no one ever so much as suggested that homosexuals should marry each other. (What happened is that men who indulged in this vice in the army then married a woman as soon as their service was over and had normal families, showing that homosexuality is not innate but culturally constructed.)

Contrary to those who insist that the prohibitions of such sexual immorality in the New Testament are merely “cultural,” it is clear that Paul and the other inspired authors were being counter-cultural, since the vices they condemned were quite acceptable in the Greco-Roman world. And yet, even the immoral Greeks saw the necessity of protecting the institution of the family.

Those who complain that moralists focus too much on sex, to the exclusion of more important moral problems in the culture (such as poverty, the environment, and health care) are staggeringly na├»ve. Sex is the most foundational issue in culture, determining whether there even is a culture.

This is because, as all anthropologists agree, the basic unit of any culture is the family. And families come into being because of sex. A man and a woman are brought together by sexual desire for each other and so get married. Their sexual activity engenders children. The parents care for those children, protect them, and teach them how to grow up to form families of their own.

Sex is a “family value.” But when sex is divorced from marriage and having children, the family and thus the culture as a whole are put in serious danger.

So what caused this dramatic, unprecedented shift in our culture’s attitude towards sex?

Hunter S. Thompson

First was the decline of the cultural authority of Christianity after the Enlightenment. Beginning in the eighteenth century and accelerating into the twenty-first, the biblical view that moral absolutes have the status of objective truth has been fading from people’s understanding. This was the necessary loss of foundation that made what would happen later possible.

At first, the alternative moralities continued to agree with the Christian absolutes, just getting there via a different philosophical route. The approach to ethics that was most fitting to the post-Enlightenment Age of Reason was “utilitarianism.” Under a utilitarian ethic, which could be comprehended by reason and scientific evidence, something is good if it is useful, if it “works.” That is, an action that contributes to the smooth running and the practical benefit of society is considered morally good. (Of course, this is philosophically very weak, since “benefit” implies a prior objective good.)

Utilitarianism still affirmed sexual morality. Instead of citing revealed absolutes such as “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” utilitarians disapproved of adultery because sex outside of marriage weakens the family, and strong families are necessary for social stability. Sex outside of marriage is wrong, according to the utilitarians, because this practice will make for babies being born without a committed father and mother to take care of them. Neglected children are a burden for the mother and for the society, resulting in increased welfare expenses, poverty, and crime.

Christians can agree that moral truths have practical implications, but the utilitarian ethic is, by its nature, changeable. Get rid of the unfavorable consequence, and what once was immoral can be just fine.

On May 9, 1960, the birth control pill was approved by the FDA. Now one could have sex without having to worry about that side-effect of having children. There was no longer a utilitarian reason not to have sex outside of marriage.

What birth control technology did was to separate sex from procreation. This was at first within marriage, but then the contraceptive mentality made sex before marriage acceptable, as long as young couples know how to avoid pregnancy.

It is not necessary to take the Roman Catholic position that all birth control is wrong or to agree on all points with the Roman Catholic theology of natural law to recognize that separating sex from having children would have enormous cultural consequences.

Sex has been designed by God for His miraculous work of creating new human beings, each with an immortal soul. The physiology of sex in every detail works to engender new life. The emotions of sex exist to bring a man and a woman together to constitute a family. Yes, sexuality is distorted by the Fall, so that lust and fornication can work against God’s purposes and be tainted by sin, but God’s created order remains.

But now sex is reduced simply to a physical pleasure, with no necessary connection to its God-designed, family-making function. If it is merely a highly-pleasurable physical sensation, what difference does it make how that sensation is brought about?

If a man and a woman want to have the pleasure of sex without having children, why should they be married? If someone is sexually-stimulated by a person of the same sex, what could be wrong with that? After all, sex need have nothing to do with procreation, so why should the biological equipment of one’s partner make any difference? Conversely, if marriage is simply a sexual attachment, unconnected with having children, why shouldn’t homosexuals be able to get married too? If sex is just a pleasure to enjoy, why do we need any relationship at all? A person can just have sex with himself, aided by pornography.

In the shadow of the pill, the Sixties continued to unfold as a time of cultural revolution. The liberation movement; the touchy-feely romanticism of the hippies; the rebellion against traditions and institutions fomented by the times; the commercialization of sex in the entertainment industry; the apotheosis of the self — all of these played a role in the sexual revolution, and they remain powerful cultural forces today.

The next decade took the next step. On January 22, 1973, Roe v. Wade legalized abortion. Contraception never completely prevented sex from producing children. Now it became legal to kill children once conceived. To mere permissiveness was now added unspeakable cruelty, all in the service of the alleged right to have sex without engendering children.

Marriage is certainly no longer necessary to have children, to the point that some sub-cultures have all but dispensed with marriage altogether. But now we have come even further. Just as it is possible to have sex without children, it is possible to have children without sex.

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Babies can now be conceived sex-free, in Petri dishes. The egg and sperm can come from anonymous donors. But not even egg and sperm are necessary any more with the technology of cloning, in which one cell of any kind can be replicated until it constitutes a human being. When cloning is perfected, parenthood will be obsolete, since one’s child will really be one’s identical twin.

We will depend on technology both to prevent children being conceived and also to conceive them. The artificial womb is on the verge of development. Women will be freed from the pains of childbirth, and gender itself will be obsolete. Children will be manufactured, not born, engineered to be just as we want them. Abortion will take care of the mistakes and make possible a new much-heralded industry, conceiving babies in order to grind them up for their stem-cells to make medicine for adults.

All of this is not only possible, but, more ominously, it is thinkable. Our cultural elite does not even see anything wrong with this, and is lobbying to make it happen. In the absence of a biblical understanding of moral absolutes, the family will soon be obsolete, genuine culture — and genuine sex — will be impossible.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The "Trial Period"

To any readers who read my posts without linking from Facebook, this is a blog post worth checking out:

Pastoral Meanderings: The pursuit of fulfillment. . .

This is perhaps the biggest lie my fellow collegiate age adults have bought into. I will agree that we grow wiser over time, but we are never less sinful. Let the blessings of marriage and family be blessings and not be delayed, for as any happily married couple will tell you, their fulfillment isn't that they waited until it was the right time and they kept themselves from screwing up with one another by not rushing into marriage or parenthood by not being "ready," but rather their joy is that they kill their own desires on a constant basis for the sake of the other and their children, and nothing could be a greater blessing to one another, and no time is a better time than now.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

From Norman to Fort Wayne to the New Jerusalem

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."
Revelation 21:1-4
Nearly 5 years I've spent growing up in this town. Norman has seen my best and has seen my worst. It's provided me the highest of joys and the lowest of despairs. I am forever grateful for the people I've been given the opportunity to serve and love, who have been a blessing to me in so many ways. I'm grateful as well for those same people who I've failed in countless ways to love as myself, and who yet forgives me and continues to care and be there for me.

As I plan to move in the coming weeks, I think on how another city will now be the place where I will continue to be given people to serve and love, a task I will undoubtedly continue to fall well short of doing as well as I ought. This new city and the people and opportunities it will bring will take over the role of showing me my pride so that I may always see Jesus who took upon Himself my punishment that I deserve to the cross, and who has called me to be His own by His blood and righteousness, given to me freely as a gift.

Lord, have mercy, and may you continue to provide all that I need to lead me to my final move, to the New Jerusalem, where my worst will turn into only my best and all my despairs will turn into only joy.