I agree with gay websites that suggest that the changed language of Proposition 8 make it more likely to fail.
The original wording read that Proposition 8, "Amends the California Constitution to provide that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."
The new reading says Proposition 8, "Changes the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry."
I suspect people are less likely to vote for a proposition that removes a right than merely amends the constitution even if this "right" will only have existed for five months.
The question, though, isn't whether eliminating a right sounds bad or not. It's whether same-sex couples have the right – a just claim – to marry in the first place. Is their claim just? No, but that's not likely to be thought through carefully by many voters.
Now, supporters of the proposition are filing a suit to block the linguistic shift. We’ll see where this goes.
Some terminally ill patients in Oregon who turned to their state for health care were denied treatment and offered doctor-assisted suicide instead, a proposal some experts have called a "chilling" corruption of medical ethics.
Since the spread of his prostate cancer, 53-year-old Randy Stroup of Dexter, Ore., has been in a fight for his life. Uninsured and unable to pay for expensive chemotherapy, he applied to Oregon's state-run health plan for help.
Lane Individual Practice Association (LIPA), which administers the Oregon Health Plan in Lane County, responded to Stroup's request with a letter saying the state would not cover Stroup's pricey treatment, but would pay for the cost of physician-assisted suicide. [Emphasis added.]
Fox News is airing an hour-long investigation Saturday about honor killings in America. I'm sure that most Americans are unaware that this heinous twisting of the virtue of honor to justify murdering family members has occurred in western countries, much less here at home. I deeply hope that this won't somehow be ignored in the name of relativistic religious pluralism. Sadly, much that seems absurd becomes actual these days. And this is why it's so critical that we engage the bad thinking that erodes values and morality. Ideas have real life consequences.
"At many times in history, Christians reacted against academic versions of theology that deaden life. Examples like the Great Awakenings, the rise of Pietism, Kierkegaard's rejection of state Lutheranism, and the charismatic renewals come to mind. Too often, evangelicals today replace dead orthodoxy with anti-intellectual activism or moralism rather than with theologically vital spirituality. The model of piety valued most among evangelicals typically stresses inward moral holiness and outward Christian service set in opposition to reflective thought.
"...Indeed, the church cannot avoid theology in seeking to fulfill its mission. Though some think they can suspend theology, avoid the academic stratosphere, and achieve practical relevance, they succeed only in replacing a well-considered theology with a hodgepodge of theological scraps randomly interlaced with cultural ideas." - David Clark, To Know and Love God: Method for Theology, pp. 208-209.
The notion of embracing doubt seems to becoming a popular antidote to what is considered inappropriate dogma and certainty in Christianity by those of us who think we have knowledge of true things about God, true beliefs. Truth. Doubt keeps the mystery and awe of "faith." It maintains humility, supposedly.
I'm getting tired of hearing it, as though doubt is more profound than knowledge. Doubt purposely preserves vagueness. Familiarity, knowledge, builds respect, love, admiration....That's how it works in our human relationships. How profound would it be if you nurtured doubt about your spouse, rather than growing in your knowledge of her?
To claim knowledge of something, including God, doesn't imply mastery or exhaustive knowledge, or even superiority over others. Fostering doubt isn't the antidote to the perceived problem.
Dr. House, the offensive TV doctor who is religiously antagonistic, said something apropos to a magician he was pestering for the secrets to his tricks, who wanted to preserve the mystery:
It's not a mystery if it stops being a mystery once it's known.
Mystery and knowledge are quite compatible. Claiming to know true things isn't a claim of exhaustive knowledge or superiority. In fact, when learning about a being as awesome as God, the more we learn about Him, the more we recognize how superior He is to us, the more we realize He ultimately is fathomless. We can truly marvel at how vast and deep knowing God is when we study and contemplate on the meaning of His attributes. And that turns to worship and humility before Him.
We don't have to give up on knowledge to preserve mystery. We can delve deep for knowledge, pursue truth, strain to understand as much as we can, stretch our minds, come to beautiful conclusions about God - and still be in awe.
The legalization of same-sex marriage will usher in a new era where religious liberties will increasingly become restricted.
In the last year, the state of New Jersey revoked the tax exemption status of a church property because it refused to allow a lesbian couple to perform a civil union on its grounds.
The attorney representing the lesbian couple argued that the church discriminated against his clients and "could no more refuse to accommodate the lesbians than a restaurant owner could refuse to serve a black man." And the court agreed. This is just a hint of what is to come in California.
There’s one word that explains why this will happen: Consistency.
In order for California to be consistent with its new legislation on same-sex marriage, it must restrict the religious liberties of Christians, Jews, and any other group that upholds a one-man-one-woman view of marriage. These groups enjoy privileges and protections given by the state, which now also endorses same-sex marriage. Since the law supports both same-sex marriage and groups who oppose the new legislation, it’s only a matter of time before pro-gay lawyers exploit the inconsistency.
That’s what happened in New Jersey. A tax exempt church refused to allow a same-sex civil union on their grounds and so it was argued that the state subsidized discrimination.
At stake are the tax benefits given by the state to churches, non-profit parachurch groups (e.g. STR) and clergy. But there are other examples with more at stake than tax benefits. And when religious beliefs clash with state laws that protect gay rights, can you guess who wins? Here’s a hint: It's not the party who’s found guilty of "discrimination."
Chuck Colson paints a stark prediction of what same-sex marriage will require of government, and consequently even citizens who dissent. Changing the definition of marriage is not about tolerance, but a radical redefinition and shift in goverment's power to define marriage.
As Seana Sugrue explains in The Meaning of Marriage, edited by Robert George and Jean Bethke Elshtain, marriage is a pre-political institution, rooted in biology and moral obligations. Sugrue writes, “The reality of sex differences between men and women, leading to the potential for offspring, is essential to the pre-political foundation of marriage.”
But marriage as a political form of social order, independent of the state, “is precisely what advocates of same-sex ‘marriage’ seek to change,” according to Sugrue. “Marriage rooted in procreation and sexual differences is to be replaced by marriage for the gratification of two consenting adults.”
But unlike traditional marriage, “same-sex marriage requires a condition of soft despotism to exist,” Sugrue warns.
“In claiming for homosexuals the right to marry,” she reasons, the “state also claims for itself the ability to declare what constitutes marriage . . . It transforms marriage from a pre-political obligation into its own creation.”
But as an artificial creation of the state, same-sex “marriage” is “an institution that needs to be coddled . . . Its very fragility demands a culture in which it is protected.” This means, as Sugrue argues, that “once marriage becomes a statist institution for the sake of consenting adults, the state will increasingly be called upon to create the social conditions to protect these unions.”
The need for coddling means the state will use public education for this end, and align itself against churches that refuse to recognize same-sex “marriage.”
So, the state has to use its power against two of society’s civil institutions: the family and the church.
Sugrue is right: We are already seeing the courts go after institutions and people who refuse to recognize the legitimacy of same-sex “marriage” where it is imposed. State-ordered gay “marriage” is an attack, not only on legitimate marriage, but upon religious freedom and the freedom not to have one’s children indoctrinated into alien ideas about marriage.
You need to understand the reasoning here so that we can present this argument in a winsome way to our neighbors.
Michael Novak pens a perceptive and incisive column in USA Today about the problem of evil - not an easy task in such a brief word count. It's the topic of his new book No One Sees God.
Novak contrasts the problem of evil and suffering in the Chrsitian worldview versus the atheistic worldview. both have to deal with it, but only Christianity has the resources to do it. Suffering is a reality in both, but for atheism it has no meaning or redemptive purpose. Suffering is senseless and this world is all there is.
This noble young woman's loss of faith did not lessen the poverty and pain of those she worked with. Besides, the reasons for the overwhelming poverty she encountered were not God-made but man-made. (After all, Haiti is by nature a very rich nation.) The secrets of how humans can create wealth have raised up the poor of many countries; somehow, the secrets passed Haiti by. One remedy the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did add, moreover, is to touch the heart of this compassionate young woman and many others like her, to bring remedial help and, in some cases, knowledge of how to produce economic transformation.
Rebellion against a suffering world and the God whose great work of art it is is very common. When very sorely tried, many Jews and Christians such as the Psalmist (who again and again lamented the long exile and humiliations endured by his people) and Job (whose faith God tested by adding one affliction after another) have also wanted to throw off God, but a counter-question kept nagging them: Would a conviction that our sufferings are meaningless, and due to blind chance, ease the pain of the poor and the unjustly tortured? Raging against the night seems to be an evasion of reality.
Sustained public conversation about these matters — long, intelligent conversation — can help to diminish mutual misconceptions about the terms of this argument. That conversation could be critical for the future of liberty on this planet. Whether our lives are meaningless, or not, is not a trivial question.
An unfortunate story in the Daily Mail today highlights another area of common ground between pro-life and pro-choice advocates: Women should not be given abortions without their knowledge and consent!
One question remains (one of the commenters raised it): How did this woman, who thought she was coming for an initial consult, end up taking the misoprostol pill? What was going through her mind? I'm guessing she simply thought the consultation process was very quick, that the nurse had determined that all she needed was this pill. She trusted her medical professional. Dangerous for the baby, and potentially dangerous for her. As I suggested on p. 65 of Common Ground, when women get abortions but later say they regret how uninformed they were at the time, this isn't because they were stupid or lazy. It's because they trust their doctors to tell them everything they need to know about "treatments" like abortion. (It's legal after all; why suspect it requires special attention?) Can't all of us agree that it is good for women to take it upon themselves to make sure they are informed rather than blindly trust their doctor or nurse? At the very least doctors and nurses should work hard to make sure women getting abortions are fully informed about what abortion is. They should encourage the woman to inform herself and not rush the process (as the nurse in the story accidentally did).