Tag Archives: morals

Who is Undermining Our Western Civilization?

Recently Conrad Black wrote a “must read” opinion piece—which is fascinating for both its language and its conclusions.

Black argues that increasingly aggressive atheist banshees, who seized control over most of the Western world’s government, academic, and media institutions, are close to dangerously undermining the roots of the West’s Judeo-Christian civilization. The implications of this worldview shift that has taken place among our leaders will have profound implications for everyone.

Up until now, the Judeo-Christian tradition has had a remarkable influence on the course of our history —promoting the role of conscience, free will, freedom of religion, the practice of justice, mercy, and forgiveness, along with intellectual curiosity and personal initiative.  The conceptual roots from which our 21st Century understanding of rights, freedoms, and political constitutions emerged from the teachings of the Judeo-Christians Scriptures about love, covenant, justice, and equality in law.

Surprising, Black noted, even the most militant of atheists feel obliged to swaddle themselves in commendable precepts that are generally rip-offs of the Golden Rule about loving your neighbour as yourself—which is found in both Old and New Covenant scriptures!

It is ironic that while the unbelieving, hyperactive philistines vociferously denounce the Judeo-Christian values, they nonetheless seem perfectly content to enjoy the benefits of Judeo-Christian civilization even while hypocritically denying its basic tenets.

Black warns that the Judeo-Christian influence on Western society is fast weakening. He wonders if the moral relativism substituted for biblical morality—which has resulted in a massive erosion of social cohesion and backbone among those buying the so-called “progressive,” politically correct ideology— could rally sufficient moral confidence to confront what Conrad Black calls “sociopathic Islam.”

If Black sounds harsh, well, would you, a liberal Westerner who despises our Judeo-Christian heritage, like to migrate on a raft (or even just get on a plane) to  a Muslim majority country like Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia (which is 100% church and synagogue free), Iran, Iraq, Syria, or Libya because they’re such great places to live? Or even better yet, how about decamping to North Korea, which is an atheist’s paradise and totally free from any religious values, whether Judeo-Christian or even Muslim? I understand the North Koreans love to imprison “superstitious and subversive” Korean-Christian ministers who obviously threaten the state by providing a little material assistance to their starving neighbours. How despicable those with Judeo-Christian values! I jest!

Conrad Black, “I put this as simply as possible: Many atheists are excellent, but atheism itself is hurting the West,” Apr. 7, 2017; http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/conrad-black-i-put-this-as-simply-as-possible-many-atheists-are-excellent-but-atheism-itself-is-hurting-the-west

Is all “Love” Equal?

stop judicial tyrannyToday, in a 5 to 4 split decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the so-called “equal protection” amendment should be interpreted to mean that marriage cannot be restricted to only heterosexual couples since homosexual couples must also have equal rights to access marriage licenses. This  same amendment, which was enacted during the U.S. Civil War period some 150 years ago,  also was used by the court in 1973 to create via judicial reasoning a right to abortion. An explicit reading of the 14th amendment says absolutely nothing about either abortion or homosexual marriage. In fact the original drafters of the 14th Amendment could never have imagined in their wildest dreams that their work would later be interpreted in such a curious fashion.

Writing a dissenting opinion, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia argued that the court’s equalityruling majority of the justices are themselves “unrepresentative” of the American people. Further, Scalia asserts that what they are doing is a “threat to democracy”:

“Four of the nine are natives of New York City. Eight of them grew up in east- and west-coast States. Only one hails from the vast expanse in-between. Not a single evangelical Christian (a group that comprises about one quarter of Americans), or even a Protestant of any denomination… Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine  [unrepresentative] lawyers on the Supreme Court.

“This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.” 

Cited from: http://www.mediaite.com/online/scalia-dissent-scotus-gay-marriage-ruling-represents-threat-to-democracy/

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, including Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, harshly criticized the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling as a “tragic error” and noted how the court’s majority used the same flawed legal reasoning 42 years previously to create an abortion right–but that “neither decision is rooted in the truth”:

bishops“Jesus Christ with great love, taught unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman. As Catholic bishops, we follow our Lord and will continue to teach and to act according to this truth…. Today the Court is wrong again. It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.”

Cited from: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jun/26/bishops-blast-supreme-courts-same-sex-marriage-rul/

But President Obama insists that “love is love.” And as such whatever someone wants to call “love” is good and equal to whatever someone else also wants to call love.

The Apostle John insisted that it was the duty of a Christian to love. He wrote the Church:

Beloved, we should love one another because love is from God; and everyone who loves has been begotten by God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God because God is love (1 John 4:7-8, all Coulter trans.)

So would the Apostle approve of President Obama’s statement that “love is love,” that all love is equal? Again, it is written:

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar. For if he does not love his brother whom he has seen, how is he able to love God Whom he has not seen? (1 John 4:20)

So, how can a Christian–who professes that he loves God–not agree with the secular policy that extends equal rights to homosexuals and thus, also allows homosexuals to marry in the Church? Does standing against homosexual marriage within the Church constitute  hating one’s brother?

Well, since a Christian should not rely on secular, human reasoning, as the U.S. Supreme Court does, to determine right from wrong, but rather the Word of God, which is the actual truth throughout the Universe for all time (cf. John 17:17), how would the Scriptures answer the above question?

Well, the Apostle John does not leave the clarification of the Christian duty to “love” both God and neighbour to human whim, reason, or passion. The Scriptures are far more explicit than the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

And by this standard we know that we know Him [Jesus Christ]: if we keep His commandments. The one who say, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar and the truth is not in him. On the other hand, if anyone is keeping His Word, truly in this one the love of God is being perfected. By this means we know that we are in Him. Anyone who claims to dwell in Him is obligating himself also to walk even as He Himself walked [discipleship]….

By this standard we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God: that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome (1 John 2:3-6 & 5:2-3 Coulter trans.).

As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops correctly observed: “Jesus Christ with great love,God made them taught unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman.”

It is obligatory for any Christian who would see the glory of God to stand with Jesus Christ on this issue about whether there can be homosexual marriage within the Church of God. But it is not our obligation to judge those who are outside the Church. They can rely on the short-sighted wisdom of the Supremes if they so choose. But there will be consequences in the World Tomorrow and a price that we all may have to pay due to today’s decision. Today, indeed, may well be a turning point in the history of the United States.

 

 

 

 

 

A Duty to Kill upon Demand? An End to the Freedom of Conscience?

Back in early February 2015, the Canadian Supreme Court decriminalized physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia. The court insisted that to do otherwise would mean that citizens would have a duty to live. This current Supreme Court reversed its previous 1993 decision on this same subject, and instead launched a “right-to-die” revolution in Canada’s legal policy that involves: 1) abandoning the idea that every human life is always a good to be protected, 2) while substituting the concept suicide and euthanasia can be accepted as a social good and as a personal autonomy right, and 3) removing the law’s obligation to protect the weak and vulnerable.

http://news.nationalpost.com/2015/02/05/father-raymond-j-de-souza-our-euthanasia-point-of-no-return/

Immediately after this court ruling there was speculation that to enforce this new social policy the professional Canadian organizations regulating doctors and surgeons would hold that all health-care providers would henceforth have an obligatory “duty to care.” What a perverse euphemism! In plain-speak this means doctors would have a duty to kill upon demand (abortion, euthanasia, or professionally arrange for someone else to do it—called a referral).

The original Hippocratic oath, which was formerly taken by new doctors when they started suicide friendly caregivespracticing medicine during a more enlightened age, went something like this:

 “With regard to healing the sick, I will devise and order for them the best diet, according to my judgment and means; and I will take care that they suffer no hurt or damage.

Nor shall any man’s entreaty prevail upon me to administer poison to anyone; neither will I counsel any man to do so. Moreover, I will give no sort of medicine to any pregnant woman, with a view to destroy the child.

Further, I will comport myself and use my knowledge in a godly manner.”

Now, however, the Ontario and Saskatchewan colleges of doctor and surgeons are drafting policies to force physicians to kill on demand or to refer to be killed when so requested by a patient. Doctors who refuse to provide or refer abortion and euthanasia services are to be punished and perhaps barred from practicing medicine in those provinces.

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/the-current-for-march-25-2015-1.3008505/doctors-fight-for-their-right-to-refuse-care-over-religious-beliefs-1.3008524

What happened to an individual’s freedom of conscience? Well, I guess it only applies to those who want to kill themselves or their babies not to the doctors whom they want to force to do their dirty work. And some like to think that this is a “progressive” social policy?

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states that “everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

But, if you want to find out who REALLY has the authority to determine what is right or wrong in such issues, then please listen to my posted video blog on this subject by clicking on this link:

http://cogwebcast.com/sermons/video-archives/life-death-assisted-suicide-decides/

 

The West’s Legacy in Afghanistan: a Corrupt Narco State

The West’s Legacy in Afghanistan: a Corrupt Narco State As 2014 and the Afghanistan War ends, the longest overseas military intervention in U.S. history, winds down, we should reflect on what has been accomplished at what cost. Over $1 TRILLION has been spent fighting this war, including more than $100 BILLION spent on so-called Afghani “re-construction” projects— an amount, when adjusted for inflation, that is greater than all the money spent on the Marshall Plan that successfully re-built Western Europe’s economy following WWII—according to Joe Sopko, the U.S. government’s special inspector-general for Afghanistan. The cost in blood through 2014 to the Western military coalition has been 3,485 killed in action. So, after all this expenditure in blood and treasure what are the results? What kind of legacy will the U.S. and its western allies like Canada leave for the future? According to Matthieu Atkins, a Kabul-based Canadian journalist, the Western allies are leaving behind a corrupt, violent Narco state.*  Afghanistan now produces almost the entire world’s supply of opium, the raw material drug traffickers refine into the illegal, highly addictive heroin sold on our streets! In essence, an intervention that was designed to thwart the deadly impact of Islamic fundamentalism—which killed some 2,977 people in the USA during the 9/11 attacks of 2001—has left in its wake another tragedy. The U.S. and its allies have merely shifted the threat to another source. How so? Just consider that the annual body count from heroin overdoses in the USA alone is more than 4,000 people! Year in, year out more people are dying from the botched U.S. intervention in Afghanistan than died just once from the 9/11 al-Qaeda terrorists. How ironic! Instead of making the world a more peaceful, safe, and better place, our Western leaders have made it worse and even greatly compounded the problem by leaving Afghanistan as a corrupt Narco state, that is now complicit in the enslavement and destruction of the lives of millions through their drug trafficking. As the prophets wrote so long ago: For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7 KJV). Childish leaders oppress my people,
and creditors or usurers, rule over them.
 O my people, your leaders mislead you;
 they send you down the wrong road. (Isaiah 3:12 NLT). Links: http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/episode/2014/12/22/narco-state-matthieu-aikins/ and http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/14be0e0c-8255-11e4-ace7-00144feabdc0.html *CBC Radio One interview and a feature story in Rolling Stone Magazine Links: http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/episode/2014/12/22/narco-state-matthieu-aikins/ and http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/14be0e0c-8255-11e4-ace7-00144feabdc0.html

What disqualifies a person from leadership? And, can they be restored?

toronto signNow that they’ve taken their lumps—what is the best medicine that could be prescribed for Rob Ford, Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, and Patrick Brazeau?

What disqualifies a person from leadership? Can a fallen leader be restored?

It would seem this is the hot topic in Canada these days. The front pages of our two national newspapers, the National Post and the Globe & Mail, were completely taken up by a massive photo of Toronto’s mayor Rob Ford and stories about the mayor’s acknowledgement that he smoked crack cocaine while in a drunken stupor.

Of course, Rob Ford’s confession makes it obvious by his own acknowledgement that he told the public, his own family, and his closest political allies a pack of lies for a long time.

And then there is the case of the three Canadian Senators, Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, and Patrick duffy cartoonBrazeau, who were all suspended from the Canadian Senate for submitting falsified expense claims. As a direct consequence they have been tossed into seeming political oblivion. Their security passes, government credit cards, Blackberry phones were all immediately cut off and their personal office staff fired. The dishonesty of the three motivated the Senate to act swiftly in order to salvage something of that institution’s tattered reputation.

What disgrace! They are examples of leadership that failed the test. Sure, they disappointed many Canadians, although it must be said that there are many more people who cynically believe all politicians are corrupt, anywise, so what can you expect! Many today do take it for granted that our political wallin cartoonleaders are all crooks and liars. And, consequently, in a perverse sort of way we’re not too offended when we get what we expect. In fact I’ve heard that the popularity approval rating of Mayor Ford in the polls has risen since his dramatic confessions this week.

We all know that our leaders are subject to human frailties. But, really, is it beneficial to the wellbeing of our communities and our nation as a whole to set the bar of what we expect from our leaders so low? Do we really want our leaders “living down” to cynical expectations and so become self-fulfilling prophecies? I don’t think so.

In former times Canadians widely believed and would acknowledge that the Judeo-Christian scriptures set their expectations concerning their own personal behaviour as well as for those in leadership positions. That’s why the city of Toronto was formerly known as “Toronto the good” in years now long past. The bar of the public’s expectations concerning personal conduct was then set much higher.

rob ford foreheadIt is true that according to the teachings of the Bible, God DOES expect A LOT from both the leaders AND the led—from all those who pay Him lip service. Didn’t Rob Ford invoke God’s blessing on the people he’s supposed to be serving during one of his tumultuous press conferences this week?

Nevertheless, despite the blatant hypocrisy common to our secular 21st Century, many still expect senators playing cardsour leaders to carry out their service both faithfully and with dignity. Having the leader of Canada’s largest city confess before millions that he smoked crack while in a drunken stupor, while in the company of a bunch of druggies, is just plain embarrassing. We want our leaders whether in politics, sports, or business to at least put on a public veneer of a good example for our children even if we mostly do think they are all corrupt.

So, what’s the bottom line for our leaders with proven feet of clay? After falling so low, could and should Rob Ford, Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, and Patrick Brazeau still be forgiven and restored to positions of leadership? Could they once again regain our full confidence? It all depends.

King David of ancient Israel, who was himself no stranger to some stupendous moral lapses during the course of his leadership, came to understand this issue thoroughly. He learned what good leadership requires. His dying words are still relevant. David put his epitaph this way:

The Lord’s Spirit spoke through me,
and his word was on my tongue. The God of Israel spoke;
the Rock of Israel said to me: “Whoever rules ·fairly [justly; righteously] over people,
who rules ·with respect for God, is like the morning light at ·dawn,
like a morning without clouds.
He is like sunshine after a rain
that makes the grass ·of the earth sparkle and gleam”….

But all ·evil [worthless; godless] people [both leaders and the led] will be thrown away like thorns that cannot be held in a hand. No one can touch them
 except with a tool of iron or wood.  They will be ·thrown in [consumed by] the fire and burned where they lie (2 Samuel 23:2-4, 6-7 Expanded Version).

Such consequences are indeed far worse than mere public embarrassment and humiliation. Remember, vengeance ONLY belongs to God—something the Toronto city council and the Conservative Party of Canada would do well to remember.

So can such fallen leaders be restored? While public apologies are a good start, more is needed. A real leader like King Dave, for example, is one who learns from his or her mistakes, genuinely repents from the heart of what is morally and ethically wrong and then initiates thorough change in their personal behaviour—and so turns from black to white, death to life, political oblivion to productive leadership, spiritually speaking.  That’s how King David responded to one of the most famous moral lapses of all time when he failed to fulfill his leadership duties before God, his family and the whole nation. You can read about his “news conference,” tears and confessions in Psalm 51.

Perhaps it would be encouraging—or maybe just plain shocking—to realize that even if Rob Ford, Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, and Patrick Brazeau had committed both murder and adultery in the course of their duties, they could be forgiven by no less than God Himself and restored to their positions of leadership—if, and only if they would humbly, totally, and sincerely acknowledge their faults, repent of them all, and then completely change their corrupt behaviour. After all, we all have had feet of clay at one time or another during the course of our years. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is life.

Biblical repentance  means not just saying you’re sorry, but effecting a complete transformation of one’s attitudes and behaviour in those areas in which one committed a sin: i.e. smoking crack cocaine, abusing alcohol, lying, cheating on one’s expenses, threatening others, etc, etc.

Much has changed in the last 3,000 years since the days of King David. But it would appear that human nature is not one of them! Consequently, godly repentance is still the best medicine for the moral and ethical sicknesses that will periodically afflict our souls and the souls of our leaders.

 

Will the “right” man be elected as the new Pope?

So Pope Benedict XVI, born Joseph Ratzinger, is resigning at the end of this month due to old age. Papal spokesmen assure us, repeatedly, that the still living and kicking but soon-to-be former Pope will not participate in the cardinals conclave in March to select his successor at this second-oldest, on-going “Christian franchise,” the Roman Catholic Church (RCC). Ah yes, we hear from the authorized sources the strict observance of the explicit “letter of the law”—the RCC’s canon law—in public.

But how should we weigh the “spirit of the law” aspects of such a statement? After all, such pre-emptive assurance of Pope Benedict’s non-interest in handpicking his successor is being conveniently offered to us by the employees of the same man who long-ran that secretive multi-national church corporation’s Holy Office of the Inquisition (better known more recently as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) before becoming Pope!

Should we trust a church hierarchy that still officially denies that it systemically covered up and “managed” for hundreds and hundreds of years the fall-out arising from its numerous priestly pedophiles? Granted, however, that we must acknowledge that the RCC will now apologize publicly for their priests’ licentious behaviour and pay compensation to victims. But still, should we trust them?

Actually, I admire Pope Benedict for this pro-active initiative to assure an orderly succession to the top job at the RCC. By resigning now while his mind is still sharp he can make a strong effort to influence the outcome of the cardinals’ vote.  And it goes almost without saying that the “right” man to become the new Pope will be the one who will continue Pope Benedict’s conservative policies. Actually those policies are really just a continuation of those of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.

Conservative Catholics are probably relieved by Pope Benedict’s succession gambit. They, like their last two popes, are wary of the moral relativism that is dominating the Western world at this point in time. They don’t believe that all is just a matter of personal preference and opinion. They believe that Truth with a capital “T” really does exist.

Since they also believe that the Pope has the authority to define doctrine in their church, and to make definitive statements concerning truth and falsehood; it is essential, from their point of view, that the “right” man be elected as the next Pope.

I don’t fault them for their logic. After all, if a new Pope was elected who had a secret agenda to institute “reforms” allowing gay marriage, ordination of women, abortion, euthanasia, and easy divorce—well, all would be lost for those supporting conservative values in the RCC. And that’s the flaw in the Catholic tradition of Christianity.

Catholics believe that the Pope is the Vicar of Christ—that he rules as a substitute for Christ and has final authority. In essence, the RCC makes a man and that man’s opinions the arbiter of what is Truth or falsehood.

The gospel of Jesus Christ, however, teaches something else:

Sanctify them [that is to say: purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth. John 17:17 Amplified Bible

When Satan tried to tempt Jesus Christ to enact something, to follow a policy that would, in essence, make an accommodation to a personal preference or desire, Jesus rebutted the Adversary, making this statement on the real source of authority:

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, “People do not live by bread alone [by any material or human means alone], but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4 New Living Translation

The part of the Judeo-Christian scriptures that Jesus was quoting to Satan on this issue of the real authority to decide questions of Truth or falsehood is found in Deuteronomy 8:3. Godly authority to decide questions of church policy and all other questions of what is right or wrong is by Sola Scripture, which in Latin means by Scripture Alone. It is the Judeo-Christian Scriptures alone that reveal the Truth. It is never a question of merely any man’s or woman’s personal opinion or preference, whether that person is elected a Pope or not!

All Catholics, all Protestants all secular people, and all believers in other religions are eventually going to learn the answer to this question about where ultimate, legitimate authority rests. Most will learn the hard way at some time in the future. You can learn this right now and act on it to become consecrated to God as His own son or daughter—a higher spiritual office than any earthly Pope— if you will allow the Word of God to direct you into living in and by His Truth.

In defense of our most ancient values & ideals

Towards the end of President Barak Obama’s second inaugural address he argued:

“You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.”

I wholly agree with this inspiring proposition by the President. Barak Obama is indeed one of the most accomplished speakers of our time. Yet, I discovered as perhaps you did also that not all of Obama’s inaugural speech was equally inspiring.  Nevertheless, believing the President to be a fair and open-minded man, I lift up my voice in defense of my brethren’s most ancient values and enduring ideals and call upon the President to re-consider the logic and the spirit of some of the positions he has taken.

The United States of America is at a crossroads. Time is quickly running out for the world’s dominant superpower and number one economy to set its house in order. There are several startling trends afoot in the nation that will humble it, if not bring it down completely, if not effectively resolved.

But as you begin your second term in office, Mr. President, you seem to give every indication that you misunderstand just how gravely wounded the nation is financially and politically, certainly— but especially, morally. The secular press tends to overlook the fact that it will be of the Spirit if the Flesh [the nation’s material well-being & future] is to be saved from the gathering crisis. After all, what was it that sustained Abraham Lincoln and the Union in their time of trial?  Was it just their rifles and canons? Was it not the righteousness of their cause?

David Brooks, a conservative journalist working for the liberal New York Times, made this comment about your second inauguration speech:

I also think Obama misunderstands this moment. The Progressive Era, New Deal and Great Society laws were enacted when America was still a young and growing nation. They were enacted in a nation that was vibrant, raw, under-institutionalized and needed taming.

We are no longer that nation. We are now a mature nation with an aging population [Why we might ask? Is it because the vibrant potential of so many millions of our white, black, and Latino youth and their potential children have been sacrificed on abortion’s pagan altar of selfish convenience?].

Far from being under-institutionalized, we are bogged down with a bloated political system, a tangled tax code, a byzantine legal code, and a crushing debt [not to mention an appalling amount of fiscal corruption at the highest levels of American society]. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/22/opinion/brooks-the-collective-turn.html?_r=0&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1358883569-pQYbbD/j2/ypooIiqVZgIg

Mr. President, what are you going to do to address this harsh, on-going, destructive reality sapping America’s strength?

Next is the urgently needed healing of the nation’s bitter political divide. Do you remember what Abraham Lincoln said: a House divided will fall? [Actually, Lincoln was just quoting Jesus Christ from Matthew 12:25]. Good will and a spirit of collaboration with a generous sprinkling of patriotism are absolutely necessary to enact desperately needed reforms. I sense that your speech fell short in this regard. It seems to me that it failed to reach across the blue vs. red divide. It did, however, stoke up the partisan spirit of your so-called “progressive wing” of the Democratic Party.  Maybe that’s all your speech was intended to do.

Still, I consider it a failure to rekindle the spirit of collaboration desperately needed throughout America. This failure was symbolically evident by who was NEITHER present NOR accounted for at your swearing in.  Where were former President George W. Bush, and the 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney? Why weren’t they seated on the speaker’s platform beside you for the whole nation to see even a semblance of unity or brotherhood among the nation’s leaders? Couldn’t you find a few gracious words to speak in order to persuade them to come? Was extending the olive branch just too hard? Must it always be a zero-sum game? Is pride getting in the way of taking care of the nation’s urgent business? You know what they say about pride going before a….

The bad blood is obviously such that, ominously, most of the Republican delegation from the House of Representatives wouldn’t come to your big bash—even have a few free drinks!  Such political bitterness in Washington, D.C. is systemically weakening America’s ability to meet the long-term challenge posed by a rising geo-political competitor like China.

As for addressing the nation’s moral problems, The Washington Times newspaper noted in its January 22, 2013 editorial:

Though the theme of Inauguration Day 2013 was “faith in America’s future,” the United States has seldom chosen a president more determined to separate the nation from its traditional reverence for faith, family and freedom. The proposition that individuals “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, is harder to see in the vision of Mr. Obama’s America where administrative agencies make choices for individuals, even down to the details of dictating the design of everyday household appliances….

The signature achievement of his first term, Obamacare, established the precedent whereby the White House can force citizens to purchase a service that had previously been a matter of personal choice. The health care mandate goes so far as to override the distinct choices of religious organizations, forcing them to provide contraception and abortion coverage against their will. This is a clear attempt to undermine the previously sacrosanct respect for religious freedom in American political culture.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jan/22/inaugurating-leviathan/#ixzz2IjlLTXSy

Now please, carefully consider this final point Mr. President.  When you swore your oath of office with your left hand placed on the Bibles once used by Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln, you said:

My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction – and we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service.

You pointed out in your inaugural speech following this oath that the nation’s “freedom was a gift from God” though it “must be secured by His people here on Earth.”

And like previous American presidents, at the close of his inaugural address you invoked a blessing from America’s historic God, upon both people and nation, saying: “God Bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America.”

I don’t think it would be too controversial to assert that the God you officially referred to was in fact the God of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures. Not Allah. Not Buddha. Not one of the millions of the Hindu gods. Not John Lennon of the Beatles who once boasted that he was more popular than Jesus Christ, nor even the latest re-incarnation of some Marilyn Monroe Hollywood sex idol. America’s Founding Fathers and patriots overwhelmingly claimed the Bible’s God as America’s God. I’m sure you must know that.

But did you realize, Mr. President, that when you took this oath of office calling publicly upon the Bible’s God to be a witness and to hold you accountable, and  claimed in your inaugural speech to want to govern our people by “our most ancient values and enduring ideals,” that there would be negative consequences if you did all this just for show—hypocritically.

And make no mistake about it, the Bible’s ancient values and ideals are indeed enduring because they are the Truth and are essential reading for anyone who wants the Bible’s God to give him or her a blessing of hope and peace in this life and, eventually, the fullness of eternal life—rather than a cursing, heart-ache, and futility in this life and then the emptiness of eternal death. As Jesus of Nazareth said:

Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth (John 17:17 Amplified Bible)

And…

“Man shall not live by bread [materialistic means] alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God [spiritual means]” (Matthew 4:4 English Standard Version). 

In the Judeo-Christian Scriptures we see that there is a clear and repeated historic pattern of bad consequences that come when either leaders or  people hypocritically claim God as their God, take oaths and invoke blessings using His name, but do not do what He commands. God does not consider such people to be guiltless even though they just say what they say because of tradition and the fact that they want to look good in public (Exodus 20:7). There are unpleasant consequences for such hypocrisy.

In the Hebrew Scriptures, freedom—we’re talking political, economic, and religious freedom—is always presented as being conditional upon obedience by the nation or leader who calls upon the Bible’s God. In other words, a leader or a nation that calls upon the Bible’s God as their God must be found living within the ancient values and ideals expounded in His law or face the consequences.

Consider, Mr. President Obama, this statement that you made in your second inaugural speech:

“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”

Is the physical expression of homosexual love in a marriage allowed by man’s law truly equal to that of a heterosexual one, which is sanctioned by the Scriptures, in the eyes of the Bible’s God? Does the Bible’s God have a preference, or none at all?

The New Covenant Scriptures tell us this: “For the whole law [God’s law] is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Galatians 5:14 English Standard Version

Well, someone might argue, surely this Scripture justifies your proposition, Mr. President, because of what that person may subjectively feel about someone else. But does it? Is God’s standard of Truth based on subjective human feeling? Is it correct to say that as long as I just feel “love” for my neighbour then surely I’m okay in God’s sight whatever I do homosexually or heterosexually—that it’s all equal?

To answer this question one needs to know just how the word “love” is defined by the Bible’s God in the original languages in which the Scriptures were written and in its actual usage. To answer this question, if you really want to know, check out my online, streaming archived sermon series on love at:

http://cogwebcast.com/sermons/video-archives/finding-true-love-love-your-neighbour/

and

http://cogwebcast.com/sermons/video-archives/finding-true-love-self-love-or-selfishness/

and

http://cogwebcast.com/sermons/video-archives/finding-true-love-our-love-for-god/

You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.

Have we lost our “Dear Abby” minds?

I opened the newspaper today and read about the death of Pauline Phillips a.k.a. Abigail Van Buren of “Dear Abby” fame. While I was growing up the “Dear Abby” syndicated column was as much of interest to me as the thoughts expressed on the editorial page, and sometimes it was even more interesting than the front page for that matter.

But I doubt that today the views of “Dear Abby” or of her sister in advice-giving “Ann Landers” would be picked up as content suitable for publication by today’s mass media empires. You see, the Abby and Ann type of advice with its emphasis on moral absolutism—stuff like adultery, promiscuous sex, and lying always being wrong—is no longer fashionable among the “politically correct,” the elite gatekeepers of society who exercise considerable control over what is perceived as acceptable or not today.

You see for the power elite setting society’s agenda these days the advice of poor Abby and Ann are just too 1950ish. They are seen as being too judgmental. Why, they had the brazen nerve to write that pleasure and “doing your own thing” ARE NOT the final arbiters in determining what is right or wrong. Abby and Ann thought personal integrity and sexual responsibility actually counted for something. How foolish and naïve of them!

The passé commonsense preached by those Jewish ladies is perceived as being stuck in a time when actual biblical values were still taught in the churches and synagogues; and the Holy Scriptures were actually read even in the public schools— and  portrayed in the movies and on television. Horrors! How antediluvian! How backwards!

But now in 2013 society has “progressed” or at least, moved on. Consider this sample of the post-modern enlightened social values being fostered at one of Canada’s most influential universities:

The University of Toronto, you will be edified to know, is “kicking off its annual Sexual Awareness Week” next Monday at a downtown Toronto club, the Oasis Aqua Lounge, where swingers are welcome. Facilitating the adventure is the university’s Sexual Education Centre (SEC), which arranged for students to pay only $5 a person instead of the $40 per person Oasis usually charges.

An exuberant Reddit user posted the information in a University of Waterloo forum thus: “U of T is holding an orgy, and you’re invited! You just need your student ID….”

As I said of Yale’s sex week, this tarted-up promotion of voyeurism “strikes me as nothing more than a forum conceived to proselytize the student body on the cultural virtue of dumbing deviancy down, and to shame students who adhere to traditional moral standards of reasonable restraints on sexual gratification.” http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/01/16/barbara-kay-university-of-torontos-pimps-r-us-program-offers-discounts-to-sex-party/

The Sexual Education Centre at the University of Toronto “is an affiliated levy group of the University of Toronto Students Union. Undergraduate students pay 25 cents a term for the services, and can opt out if they choose.

The group’s mission is to foster a sex-positive attitude in the greater U of T area, by offering information, programming, safer-sex supplies, and peer counselling in a welcoming environment. Their sexual awareness week includes a discussion on sex positivity, an interactive sex toy demonstration and an afternoon of pornography. The first event is the party at Oasis [Aqua Lounge]: the organization rented the club and lowered the price to $5 a person. http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/1315033–university-of-toronto-student-group-hosts-epic-sex-club-adventure

It would seem that a great many of us have lost, indeed, our “Dear Abby” minds.  Our society hasn’t progressed. It’s merely degenerated down to the level of pagan Rome and its infamous orgies under the modern deceitful word-disguise of practicing a “sex-positive attitude” and having a healthy “sexual awareness.”

“I’ve got something to say. Is anybody listening?
I’ve a warning to post. Will anyone notice?
It’s hopeless! Their ears are stuffed with wax—deaf as a post, blind as a bat.
It’s hopeless! They’ve tuned out God. They don’t want to hear from me.
But I’m bursting with the wrath of God.
I can’t hold it in much longer. “So dump it on the children in the streets. Let it loose on the gangs of youth.
For no one’s exempt: Husbands and wives will be taken,
the old and those ready to die;
their homes will be given away—all they own, even their loved ones—
When I give the signal
against all who live in this country.”
God’s Decree. “Everyone’s after the dishonest dollar, little people and big people alike.
Prophets and priests and everyone in between twist words and doctor truth.
My people are broken—shattered!—and they put on Band-Aids,
saying, ‘It’s not so bad. You’ll be just fine.’
  But things are not ‘just fine’!
Do you suppose they are embarrassed
over this outrage?
No, they have no shame.
They don’t even know how to blush.
There’s no hope for them. They’ve hit bottom
and there’s no getting up.
As far as I’m concerned,
they’re finished.”
God has spoken. God’s Message yet again: “Go stand at the crossroads and look around.
Ask for directions to the old road, the tried-and-true road. Then take it.
Discover the right route for your souls.
But they said, “Nothing doing.” Jeremiah 6:10-16 The Message.

Isn’t it funny that a message written almost 2,600 years ago is just as relevant today as it was to the people to whom it was first delivered?  Human nature hasn’t changed much.

The people who scoff at the moral, ethical values taught by the Judeo-Christian Scriptures are creating their own future black hole of despair into which they are being sucked. Sex can be extremely pleasurable, which is why the earth’s human population has tended to grow rather than shrink over the millenia. But such pleasure without morality is just plain old-fashioned lust—not love!

Lust is a sinful behaviour, spiritually speaking according to the Judeo-Christian perspective. And in the end, those who become slaves to sin—yes, sin is addictive—lose all chance at finding the intimate happiness that flows from being with one’s true love, one’s soul mate. And, as it is written, anyone who becomes such a slave to lust also loses out on any chance of God’s gift of living eternally in His Kingdom of truth and light, because the wages of sin is death. Death is not living in an ever-burning hell (God is not a bondage freak), but rather death is the complete termination of consciousness and being, the end of all life (Romans 6:23).

Your average person is reluctant to consider his or her convictions, prejudices, and even superstitions. It is the rare person who has the curiosity and courage to look through the so-called “progressive” attitudes popular in this present society and turn away from them. In the Scriptures this is called repentance. Anyone who has been caught up in the sin of lust must repent of it to become part of God’s family and to take up what He offers to those who obey Him (Luke 8:21).

While the example of the University of Toronto student association that I cited here is an extreme—variations on, or echoes of that theme can be found reverberating throughout our society and its forms of entertainment. What starts on university campuses today becomes social mainstream behaviour tomorrow. This degeneration of sexual morals is the future of this society, a future that will be dark and violent due nation-wide moral bankruptcy.

As a whole, human beings are reluctant to admit error and so most embrace willful blindness to avoid doing so. But like the prophet Jeremiah, I would encourage you to take to the tried-and-true road of personal integrity and sexual responsibility as taught by the Scriptures. If you do this, you will keep both your “Dear Abby” mind and your happiness while others will lose whatever they think they have.

General Petraeus, did you Betray Us?

Mark Twain once wryly remarked—essentially—that to not keep up with the news was to be un-informed. But to slavishly believe all that the news media puts out means only that one becomes mis-informed. How much can we really believe about the various news reports concerning the General David Petraeus affair?

I mean, really, what am I to think of the fact that the nation’s former top spy, CIA director Petraeus, didn’t know how to keep secret his adulterous affair with Paula Broadwell?

And Broadwell herself wasn’t an ordinary—married—civilian biographer type who just fell in love with the object of her literary obsession. She was also a former U.S. Army intelligence officer! And she is also accused of having a “substantial” quantity of classified government data on her home computers.

General Petraeus, did you betray us? The American president assures us, “No.”

Can I really believe that Petraeus and Broadwell were, in fact, just silly and hormonal, acting like adolescent kids in high school? And, the timing of the Petraeus affair hitting the news, is it just a coincidence, what with Barak Obama just re-elected as president, and Congress wanting Petraeus to testify about the recent Benghazi terrorist attack that killed the American ambassador to Libya as well as several other American operatives?  As Shakespeare might have penned in an updated version of Hamlet if he was alive and now writing: Something is rotten in America!

What’s really going on? Can we really know? What are we to make of the scent of skullduggery and adultery going on amongst the power elite of Washington? Is anyone among these leaders passionate about their people’s welfare and their people’s business rather than their own sexual and/or political passions?

Consider this warning from the prophet Isaiah about what lies ahead if we continue on the present path of collapsing morals and crumbling ethics exemplified by the Western world’s leader—America:

Ah, sinful nation,
a people laden with iniquity,
offspring of evildoers,
children who deal corruptly!
They have forsaken the Lord,
they have despised the Holy One of Israel,
they are utterly estranged. Why will you still be struck down?
Why will you continue to rebel?
The whole head is sick,
and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even to the head,
there is no soundness in it,
but bruises and sores
and raw wounds…. 

Your country lies desolate; your cities are burned with fire;
in your very presence
foreigners devour your land;
it is desolate, as overthrown by foreigners….

Except the LORD of hosts had left us a very small remnant, we would have been as Sodom; we would have become like Gomorrah (Isaiah 1:4-7 English Standard Version, v. 9 Coulter translation).

Has Petraeus betrayed us?  President Obama and the FBI assure us that it doesn’t seem the general passed any secrets to his lover—at least that’s what the paper trail seems to say, according to press releases from this power elite. But how about the pillow talk?

Regardless of national security matters, Petraeus the adulterer  is no longer a good role model that Americans and their friends in the West can look up to for inspiration. Why even the Taliban is having a good laugh right now at the mighty Petraeus’ feet of clay.  The shame of it all! Giving such a misogynistic enemy a reason to mock the former point man in the West’s battle against backward, vicious, Islamists!

Sadly, the Petraeus affair is just the tip of an iceberg that merely hints at the enormous danger lurking just out of sight under the official, politically correct waterline: the wide spread decay of the West’s morals and ethics, rotting the heart and soul of our Western civilization from the inside out.

For some time this soul rot has been spreading widely among both the leaders and the led. Throughout history, the loss of noble virtues and high moral standards of conduct have always been the accurate indicators of a societal weakness leading to a political entity’s decline and eventual collapse. Trouble and danger come because moral rot provides the ideal growth medium for tyranny and oppression to flourish. This holds true whether we’re talking about the imaginary Empire of Star Wars fame or today’s American Empire as well as the European Union.

But all is not lost. Hope remains. A small remnant yet perseveres and stands in opposition to this moral landslide. If you resist willful blindness and listen carefully, you might hear the few voices quietly speaking, giving this warning:

Beware! Those who promise you freedom from biblical morality and ethics offer you a politically correct license to commit sexual immorality. Be these seducers high and mighty or low and humble, they are but deceitful pied pipers who desire to lead you to a wasteland devoid of inner peace, intimacy, and personal happiness.  They led Petraeus. And they are leading America also into utter ruin and disaster.  Consider this warning by the Apostle Peter about such cunning pied pipers:

They have wandered off the right road and followed the footsteps of Balaam son of Beor, who loved to earn money by doing wrong. But Balaam was stopped from his mad course when his donkey rebuked him with a human voice.

These people are as useless as dried-up springs or as mist blown away by the wind. They are doomed to blackest darkness. They brag about themselves with empty, foolish boasting. With an appeal to twisted sexual desires, they lure back into sin those who have barely escaped from a lifestyle of deception. They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you. And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before (2 Peter 2:15-20 New Living Translation).

America’s Midwest cursed with drought; B.C. overly blessed with water

I recently returned from a visit to my dad who lives in the irrigated farming area of southern Idaho’s Snake River Valley.  After leaving a very green and lush British Columbia, once I drove south into Washington State and then over the pass through the coastal Cascade mountain range immediately east of Seattle, the dominant impression is one of a heat-blasted, parched-brown countryside. As we drove through northeastern Oregon the temperatures soared to 43 degrees Celsius, which translates into 110 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s hot! I got a good tan without even trying due to the blazing sun.

My son, Jeremiah, who accompanied me to Idaho, then caught a flight to St. Louis, Missouri, where he was volunteering as a youth camp counselor and photographer. While visiting  America’s Midwestern heartland of grain production (more than 75 per cent of the corn and soybeans grow there), my son experienced more roasting temperatures along with high humidity—up to 107 degrees Fahrenheit! Only a snake could like such hellish weather. It was so hot that the teenage campers participating in my son’s “adventure” races were only allowed to walk from hydration station to hydration station lest they suffer heatstroke.

Much of the American heartland is literally baking. The implications of devastating drought in the world’s breadbasket are serious.

“We’re moving from a crisis to a horror story,” said Purdue University agronomist Tony Vyn. “I see an increasing number of fields that will produce zero grain.”

The drought scorching the U.S. Midwest is the worst since 1956, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a report posted on its website on Monday. Drought is affecting 55% of the land mass in the lower 48 states (http://business.financialpost.com/2012/07/17/americas-worst-drought-since-56-threatens-world-food-supply/)

Already, prices for corn and soybeans are up more than 50 percent over the last four weeks. The coming food price sticker shock is going to affect all of us. For nations that import large amounts of grain to feed their populations, these higher prices is going to mean a good deal of personal hardship and national political instability.

Is all this heat and blasting mere coincidence? Just part of the normal weather cycle?

Meanwhile, here in British Columbia, our water reservoirs are critically full due to big melting snowpacks in the mountains and torrential rains in June and July. For the first time in 50 years, all of B.C.’s major dams are having to spill water in increasing amounts just to keep the dams from breaking. Dam managers have never seen anything like what’s happening this year at B.C.’s water reservoirs.

How strange. Here in B.C. we have a super-abundance of water, while just south of us the American heartland is bone dry. It sounds like some sort of ironic biblical curse. We have way too much but the Yanks have way too little. All the water that should have gone to America’s grain-growing Midwest has been dumped on us Pacific Canadians. What gives?

Actually, the Bible’s God, whom the Old Covenant scriptures referred to as YHVH (see Exodus 3:14-15, that is to say I am the One who was, is, and will be) and the New Covenant scriptures identified as Jesus Christ (see John 8:58), did promise to mess up the normal weather if those who claim to be His people fail to live according to His revealed way of life and belief. Americans, after all, make their boast even on their money “In God We Trust.” But do they really? Is the Bible’s God sufficiently fed up with North American hypocrisy to take action to punish us? Consider this prophecy:

“But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you. Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the field. Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Cursed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out.

“The Lord will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in all that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me.

 And the heavens over your head shall be bronze, and the earth under you shall be iron. The Lord will make the rain of your land powder. From heaven dust shall come down on you until you are destroyed (Deuteronomy 28:15-20, 23-24).

Americans have long proudly exclaimed, “God bless America.” And for the longest time it seemed so. But what happens when a nation’s leaders and its people no longer believe in living so as to receive a blessing but rather stubbornly and rebelliously live in such a way that earns a curse instead? If God can bless can’t He also curse? Is a drought and soaring food prices a blessing or a curse? What do you think?