Warren does the soft shoe for Muslims — again

Megapurposedrivel pastor Rick Warren spoke again to a major Islamic group last month, this time the Islamic Society of North America, an unindicted co-conspirator in a case involving an organization that funded the terrorist group Hamas. Warren called on Christians and Muslims around the world to work together for the better good. An enticing message; who doesn’t want to work for the “better good”? But does that mean surrendering our identity in Christ?

In this report, at least, there is again not a word from Warren about the eternal destiny of those who don’t confirm Christ as Lord and Savior.

Would you pay for public-option abortions?

Barack Obama denies that health care reform legislation as it stands would result in funding for abortions. But, for the sake of argument, let’s accept the contention of Douglas Johnson of National Right to Life Committee that it would cover abortions:

“The Obama-backed legislation makes it explicitly clear that no citizen would be allowed to enroll in the government plan unless he or she is willing to give the federal agency an extra amount calculated to cover the cost of all elective abortions — this would not be optional,” Johnson told LifeNews.com. “The abortionists would bill the federal government and would be paid by the federal government. These are public funds, and this is government funding of abortion.”

The Senate, as have the House committee’s considering the bill, have all rejected every amendment offered by pro-life advocates to stop any abortion funding or insurance mandates for abortions in the bill.

If the government plan in whatever form it exists covers abortion, what would you do if you were pro-life and that plan ended up being the one you had to join through your employer or through lack of any other plan (assuming an individual mandate were in place)? Do you join it or refuse to do so, thus going without coverage of any kind and having to pay the punitive tax?

UPDATE: Factcheck.org says Obama is wrong about funding abortion.

“Obama has said in the past that ‘reproductive services’ would be covered by his public plan, so it’s likely that any new federal insurance plan would cover abortion unless Congress expressly prohibits that,” FactCheck adds.

‘God’s partners’ in life and death

Barack Obama tells a group of rabbis that:

“We are God’s partners in matters of life and death.”

It’s believed that Obama’s reference was to a prayer from services for the upcoming holiday of Rosh Hashanah. Problem is, that prayer doesn’t say that “We are God’s partners in matters of life and death.” It says that who will live and who will die in the next year is determined by the Lord on Rosh Hashanah, but that the decree of an untimely death can be modified by repentance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).

Now, being God’s partner in something isn’t totally foreign to Jewish or even some Christian thought. Jews traditionally teach that we have been given the task of completing the creation of the world. Reform Jews, especially, would probably have no problem with Obama’s statement. I have a suspicion, though, that the more orthodox a Jew is, the more likely he would be to have a problem with Obama’s teaching. It’ll be interesting to see their response.

But, spoken in the context of a discussion on health care reform, the “partners in matters of life and death” is a bit disquieting and gives credence to Sarah Palin’s reference to a “death panel” under ObamaCare. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he meant it in the sense that providing health care to all people can mean the difference between life and death. Like always, though, Obama left himself wide open on this one.

But his activist view of man’s place in the world was known before this, which leads me to think that I shouldn’t give him the benefit of the doubt. In 2007, he said at a church appearance that:

“I am confident that we can create a Kingdom right here on Earth.”

Again, nothing original about a statement like this. Plenty of Christians and Jews believe that as well, but others believe the Messiah will need to return or appear for the first time for it to happen.

All in all, this seems like another Obama overreach and a sign of desperation to rally anyone he can to his health care efforts.

Ensign’s downplay of his adultery

It’s beyond obnoxious for Republican Sen. John Ensign to downplay his adultery with his friend’s wife by saying that at least he didn’t do anything “legally wrong.”

  1. He broke God’s Law in several ways, including adultery, bribery and deception.
  2. He has negatively affected many lives.
  3. He has, like so many others, embarrassed the Church.

There’s probably a lot more to be said. But it goes to show that gross sin isn’t the sole province of any political party or movement.

Ensign should, just as any of us do when we sin, admit our sin without downplaying it and humbly seek forgiveness.

By the same token, “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

The whole situation also shows how easy it is to live a Christian veneer while justifying sin in the rest of your life. Let each of us beware.

Winter reading

I’m starting to assemble my winter reading list (although thankfully we now have a standby generator, so I won’t have to read in the dark for four days after an ice storm). But I don’t have any specific titles, which is where all of my faithful readers (Hi, mom! Mom?) come in.

I’ll give you the general areas I’m wanting to read about, and you supply any quality titles you’re aware of? OK? OK! Hey, ho, let’s go!

  • Winston Churchill. Need a quality bio suggestion.
  • World War I. An overview.
  • Economics. (I’ve already read Thomas Sowell’s basic work.)
  • Charles Spurgeon bio.
  • Charles Lindbergh.

More on public education

Voddie Baucham posted this recently about public education (emphases mine):

Education is discipleship; whomever we allow to educate our children is discipling our children.  “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40 ESV). 

If I knew for a fact the school down the street could ensure better test scores for my children, I still wouldn’t give them my children!  I am commanded to bring my children up in the nurture and instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6:4), and to do so by teaching them God’s statutes when I sit in my house, when I lie down, when I rise up, and when I walk along the way (Deut. 6:7).  I am also admonished not to place myself, or by extension my children, under false teaching (Col. 2:8), or to expose them to teaching that undermines God’s Law (Matt. 5:17-20).  Instead, I must teach them to “take every thought captive” (2 Cor. 10:5), to refuse to be “conformed to the pattern of this world” (Rom. 12:2), and meditate on God’s Law day and night (Ps. 1:2). 

Yes, the academic argument is a potent one.  However, it pales in comparison to the biblical/theological argument for Christian discipleship through education.  Still, one wonders how any parent who truly loves his or her child and wants the ‘best’ for them could look at a study like this and still drop them off at the local government indoctrination center later this month.  But anyone who has been engaged in this discussion longer than a few days knows exactly what the answer to this charge will be… “OUR SCHOOLS ARE DIFFERENT!” (I even heard this argument from a woman in a school district in Georgia that had lost it’s accreditation!)

Parents do love their children.  Unfortunately, many parents are simply misinformed, and quite inert when it comes to the education question.  Prayerfully, studies like the “Progress Report” and updates like “The Continuing Collapse” will open a few more eyes.  In fact, I have met and/or corresponded with at least half a dozen families this summer who decided to leave government schools as a result of information they have received from these and other sources.  It seems there are some minds ready to “unplug from the Matrix” after all.

The study he refers to in the third paragraph is here.

Public schools

Here’s one good example of what’s involved in sending your child to a public school. And another.

Against School: How Public Education Cripples Our Kids and Why” is a good essay by John Taylor Gatto. Religion aside, it shows why helping the public school system as it exists today is a bad idea–period.

WCIC, should we help the ungodly?

A verse my pastor brought up during his sermon on Sabbath jumped out at me as being applicable to WCIC’s call for volunteers to staff School District 150’s registration this week.

The context is the return of Jeshoshaphat, king of Judah, from a battle in which he had joined with Ahab, king of Israel (2 Chronicles 18). Jehu, son of the prophet Hanani, confronts him:

But Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him and said to King Jehoshaphat, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD? Because of this, wrath has gone out against you from the LORD. (2 Chronicles 19:2 ESV)

And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD. (2 Chronicles 19:2 KJV)

Should we love those who hate the Lord? Should we help the ungodly?

That’s hard to hear. It doesn’t sit well with our culture. Yet we are also told by Messiah that we should love our enemies and do good to those who persecute us. The question is, do we go looking for a way to help them achieve their purpose if their purpose is ungodly? I don’t think the Master was suggesting that we enable drug users to further their habit by buying drugs for them. Or burglars by serving as lookouts. Or government schools that undermine biblical values by helping make sure children are able to attend them.

3 (or so) questions: Adam Gerik, a/k/a Gerik the Great

Note: This is a twin post from my new Q&A blog, 3 (or so) questions. From now on, I’ll just post notices that I have a new Q&A up over there. Yes, I know there are such things as RSS feeds, but, be honest — don’t you subscribe to enough blogs?

Adam Gerik

I’ve always been a little jealous of Adam Gerik. He’s a talented photographer, but also a consummate skinny nerd who is not ashamed of the fact. Adam, who is 27, describes himself as a “visual journalist” for the Peoria Journal Star daily newspaper. He’s been a photographer there for nearly four years and now oversees video production for pjstar.com, the paper’s Web presence. When I was religion editor at the JS, I was always grateful to work with him. He was able to capture images that complemented the story but still stood on their own. In fact, I became so impressed over the years by his work that I took to calling him “Gerik the Great.” It just seemed to work. And it just seemed right that he would be the first subject of  3 (or so) questions. — MM

1. Why do you ride trains instead of fly or drive?

Perhaps it’s my way of rebelling against my Kansas roots, where the pavement is king and trains only roll through in the middle of the night. I had never ridden Amtrak before moving to Illinois. In fact, I was so absolutely train naive that a smartass conductor told me the toilets were $3 and I reached for my wallet. (http://ofadam.com/2005/11/announcement-2/) Oddly enough, I had only flown as a little kid before making Peoria my home… and although flying as an adult seemed magical at first, it soon lost its appeal after I saw a video of cattle being led to pasture and I now avoid it if I can. Time is valuable, but I consider train time to be twice as valuable as plane time.

And if you’re an anachronistic fetishist, the rails win every time.

 2. What about video can never give you the satisfaction of still photography?

Well, video can’t stroke my ego like a still photo can (or at least not yet!). I’ll pretend that I’m kidding, but it’s nice jamming newsprint stained with my byline into a person’s face when meeting for the first time. I suppose I could haul my laptop everywhere, or actually use the YouTube application on my phone, but there’s something about paper that screams importance. We’ll have to get past that if there’s any hope for journalism surviving in a state we recognize.

I think we tend to remember events as photographs and not as moving images. Video presentation online leaves a lot to be desired, and if we keep improving the quality and size of the display, this may make me more satisfied in producing videos. I have my fingers crossed.

 3. How will photography suffer when daily print dies?

If you’d asked me this question a few years ago, I would have agreed with you. But sites like Boston’s Big Picture (http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/) really show that web presentation can equal or even exceed traditional print presentation models. We here in Peoria are fortunate to have a printing press that won a Top 50 color in the world award a few years ago, but we’re definitely in the minority… most communities suffer on printing presses designed for black and white, not color. It’s just a matter of getting newspaper editors to realize that running large photos online is just as worthwhile as doing it in the print editions.

What I am concerned about is the devaluing of content online. When everything is free, how can you pay people what they’re really worth?

 4. Why do men without shirts often pop up in your photos?

Is this an ambush interview?!

ofadam.com is Adam Gerik’s blog and includes many of his photos. adamgerik.com is more photo-heavy.