Another Moral Disconnect in the Making?
Monday, September 9, 2013, 2:33 PM

In an August 30 post, I noted the incongruity of banning professional help from a teenage boy seeking to deal with unwanted same-sex attractions with the legality of a 16-year-old girls have a double mastectomy because she really think she is a boy.

Here’s a story about Washington DC considering a 24-hour waiting period for tattoos–because it’s such a serious hard-to-change alteration to the body–while the same city has absolutely no waiting period for an abortion. Really? There are no consequences to an abortion that are at least as significant as those attending a tattoo?

Until this nation repents, such examples of moral confusion will only multiply.



St. Catherine’s Sinai Monastery Closed
Friday, September 6, 2013, 10:48 AM

According to Al-Monitor, a Middle Eastern news website “Taking the Pulse of the Middle East,”

In the Sinai city of St. Catherine, a few thousand people and around 800 camels have been left struggling since the first week of July, when Egyptian security authorities ordered the total shutdown of the town’s 1,500-year-old monastery. Bedouin residents of the mountainous area were forced to sell their camels, which they cannot feed, to feed their families.

Full story may be read here.



Castro, the Wages of Porn & Nordic Hotels
Wednesday, September 4, 2013, 2:22 PM

The kidnaper-rapist-murderer Ariel Castro hanged himself in prison yesterday. When asked earlier this summer by a judge after pleading guilty how good his English was, Castro replied that his comprehension was bad because “my addiction to pornography has really taken a toll on my mind.” I am not surprised. Lt. Detective Darrell Pope, commanding officer of the Michigan State Police Sex Crime Unit testified in 1987 before Congress that in 1977 he completed a study of 38,000 case histories of sex crimes and “found that 41 percent of those reports indicated that, in fact, pornographic materials were used just prior to or during the actual act” (source, p. 144-145). If you factor in the number of sex criminals who possess porn even if they didn’t use it prior or during the crime, the percentage approaches 100. The effects of porn should by now be obvious, resulting in enforcement of firm laws.

Meanwhile, the U.S. might follow the good example of a man in care-free socialist leftist Sweden:

Petter Stordalen, owner of Nordic Hotels, one of Scandinavia’s largest chains… after becoming involved in international efforts to fight the horrific practice of trafficking women and girls into sexual slavery, announced that pornography would no longer be offered to his customers.

Robert George reports on the Swedish story at Public Discourse, and reprises his joint-letter from last year calling for all hotel chains to stop selling porn. The CEOs of hotel corporations that sell porn should be forced to put a picture of their face on posters in hotel lobbies with a message: “Welcome to XYZ Hotel–I am proud to sell porn here if want it. Pleasant dreams.” Maybe once upon a time, “Ariel Castro slept here.” May God have mercy on all.



Russell Moore on Military Chaplains: Why We Must Pray for Them!
Tuesday, September 3, 2013, 3:02 PM

In this short video, Russell Moore explains why it is so important to pray for all of our military chaplains.



Imagine This Happening to Your House of Worship
Tuesday, September 3, 2013, 12:33 PM

IN this video, “Allahu akbar” is chanted as the Cross is pull down from this Coptic Church in Egypt. Kyrie eleison.



Why Is Reparative Therapy Illegal for Boys but Gender Surgery for Girls Not?
Friday, August 30, 2013, 11:36 AM

Because the illogic of the sexual revolution demands such insanity?

From the National Catholic Register’s Joan Frawley Desmond:

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has signed legislation banning  the practice of providing “gay conversion therapy,” also known as “reparative therapy” for teenagers seeking help with un-wanted same-sex attraction, the Washington Post reported today.

As I understand it, no counseling professional may assist a young man to get rid of unwanted homosexual attractions. Apparently this ‘orientation’ is immutable–or if it’s not, the individual must deal with them alone. He cannot get professional help if he wants it. And that’s because one’s sexual identity is not to be manipulated by others?

So if a professional can’t talk to minor about sexual orientation (because it’s fixed and messing with it is harmful?), then why was a professional doctor allowed to alter something as fixed as a biological body of a minor?

Skylar is a boy, but he was born a girl, and lived as one until the age of fourteen. Skylar would put it differently: he believes that, despite biological appearances, he was a boy all along. He’d just been burdened with a body that required medical and surgical adjustments so that it could reflect the gender he knew himself to be. At sixteen, he started getting testosterone injections every other week; just before he turned seventeen, he had a double mastectomy. (New Yorker)

So, if a young man wants to get rid of same-sex feelings, he can’t talk to a professional, but if a young girl wants to get rid of her breasts, it’s legal for her to have a doctor cut them off? Really?



Mohler: ‘It is the Price of Citizenship’?—An Elegy for Religious Liberty in America
Wednesday, August 28, 2013, 3:53 PM

Leading cultural commentator R. Albert Mohler Jr. writes about a New Mexico Supreme Court decision denying religious liberty claims of photographers who declined a request to photograph a same-sex committment ceremony.

albertmohler headshot 200x300 Mohler: It is the Price of Citizenship?—An Elegy for Religious Liberty in AmericaBy R. Albert Mohler Jr.

Anyone who still doubts that the normalization of homosexuality and the legalization of same-sex marriage will represent a seismic shift in the culture at large needs only to look to New Mexico to see that nothing less than religious liberty is now under threat—and in a big way.

Jonathan and Elaine Huguenin are the owners of Elane Photography, a firm that operates as a commercial photographic studio. Elaine is the lead photographer and the Huguenins together run the business. In 2006, the couple refused to photograph a same-sex couple’s commitment ceremony and were sued. Last week the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that the Huguenins had violated the human rights of the same-sex couple and that the First Amendment does not allow Elane Photography to refuse to photograph same-sex unions.

The court’s decision was unanimous, upholding a 2012 decision by an appeals court. The court’s decision declared that the Huguenins had acted unlawfully in refusing to photograph the same-sex commitment, even when Elaine Huguenin had argued that to force her to photograph the celebration of a same-sex ceremony was to force her to function as a celebrant and thereby to violate her own conscience. That last part of the Huguenin’s argument has to do with the fact that photography is “expressive” as an art form. There is no way that photographing a same-sex ceremony would not require the professional photographer to arrange and construct photographs in order to artistically celebrate the same-sex union.

The court concluded: “When Elane Photography refused to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony, it violated the NMHRA [New Mexico Human Rights Act] in the same way as if it had refused to photograph a wedding between people of different races.” The court then further concluded: “Even if the services it offers are creative or expressive, Elane Photography must offer its services to customers without regard for the customers’ race, sex, sexual orientation, or other protected classification.”

Jonathan and Elaine Huguenin are Christians who believe that marriage is exclusively the union of a man and a woman. They further believe that they are responsible and faithful only if they avoid any explicit or implied endorsement of same-sex marriage. They insisted that they do not discriminate on the basis of the sexual orientation of the potential client, but only on the basis of the ceremony they are asked to photograph.

The New Mexico Supreme Court dismissed all of the arguments presented on behalf of the Huguenins—arguments that have a very clear precedent in decisions by other courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States. The decision in this case by this court is both stark and strident, rejecting the reality that its holding forces a wedding photographer to make an artistic statement against a religious sentiment by supporting certain celebrations that the photographer in fact does not support.

The court’s ruling sets a very dangerous precedent: “If a commercial photography business believes that the [New Mexico Human Rights Act] stifles its creativity, it can remain in business, but it can cease to offer its services to the public at large. Elane Photography’s choice to offer its services to the public is a business decision, not a decision about its freedom of speech.” (more…)



A Response to “John” Regarding Pastor Lively
Wednesday, August 21, 2013, 8:47 PM

BY MICHAEL AVRAMOVICH:

Earlier this week, I posted a blog about a federal court decision to proceed in a lawsuit against Pastor Scott Lively of Massachusetts.  The lawsuit, brought by a group of Ugandan homosexuals, claimed that Pastor Lively’s advocacy in Uganda of a biblical standard of human sexuality constituted a “crime against humanity.”  In one of the comments in response to my blog, “John” observed the following:

Michael Avramovich: “Thus, under the judge’s theory of liability, if you oppose homosexual marriage, or have worked or contributed in opposition to such a “marriage,” or disfavor any special rights for homosexuals in the workplace, etc.”  Scott Lively is not simply opposing same sex marriage.  He is the most extreme of extremists and a sick and dangerous man.  Among his fever dreams are that gays helped mastermind the Holocaust and were responsible for the Rwandan genocide.  He has been active in stirring up hatred in a situation already charged with violence.  Judge Ponsor initially had doubts about allowing the case to go forward.  As I understand it, all Ponsor has done is allowed the case to go to discovery.  He states that, according to the complaint, “the Defendants actions have fallen well outside the protections of the First Amendment.”  Ponsor acknowledged that the “protection of ‘thought we hate’ is a centerpiece of our democracy,” but added that the complaint “sets out plausible claims to hold Defendant liable for his role in systematic persecution, rather than merely for opinions that Plaintiff finds abhorrent.”  I suspect that, because of ATCA, the plaintiffs will probably not prevail.  However, if Lively indeed encouraged “systematic persecution,” it is important that this comes out in discovery. This will allow us all to come to educated conclusions, regardless of the outcome of the case (which may be limited on technical grounds.)

I do not know Pastor Lively and have actually never heard of him until this lawsuit was well underway, so I cannot opine as to whether he is the “most extreme of extremists and a sick and dangerous man,” as “John” contends.  Moreover, “John” seems to have some inside knowledge about the Honorable Judge Ponsor, as “John” suggested that the judge had some initial doubts about allowing this case to go forward.

I have had the privilege to live and travel throughout the world, and those who have had the privilege to know Africans, and African Christians in particular, know that they are traditional and conservative, and oppose homosexual (and other non-matrimonial) sexual practices.  (I have heard one Sunday morning a Nigerian pastor, for instance, warn strongly that some of the women in his congregation were “whores” for taking up with both unmarried and married men.  It was not the typical message one hears on Sunday morning in the American heartland.)  In the lawsuit by the Ugandan homosexuals, they attributed Pastor Lively’s sermons in Uganda to be the primary impetus for Ugandan government restrictions on homosexual practices.  If true, this is an interesting attestation of Pastor Lively’s strong persuasive abilities, and may explain why the Soros-funded Center for Constitutional Rights targeted Pastor Lively.  But I remind my American readers that criminalization of sodomy statutes in the United States were not struck down by the Supreme Court until 2003, so perhaps for at least one American federal judge, the Ugandan government is not “evolving” as quickly as he thinks it should.

In any event, I wanted to take the time to respond to “John’s” thoughtful comment, but my original blog warned that Judge Ponsor’s decision could have a chilling effect on Christian pastors, missionaries, and devout believers to preach from the Bible.  The fact that this case is going forward in federal court federalizes and criminalizes viewpoint discrimination against Christians.  From comments made on pro-homosexual and Leftist blogs about this case, one reads vehement anti-Christian comments.  A small, unedited sample includes the following:

Mr. Pink: I thought I would have to wait decades to see this day. Literally, decades. There is justice in the world after all !!!!

Marcus Adams: Christianity is a Crime Against Humanity.

Jon Bond: Crimes against humanity, aid in the persecution and murder of fellow men the world over, unprovoked, unwarranted and out-of-the-way fanaticism to murder and kill GLBT peeps the world over; all perpetrated, accepted, sanctioned, blessed and justified in the NAME OF GOD?

David L. Martin: Terrific! We need to see more individuals and institutions that have advocated the persecution of gays sued. The catholic church which has taught anti gay hate from pulpits and in schools for centuries for comes resulting in much violence and discrimination against gays.

We can clearly see a trend by homosexuals and their allies who seek to silence and intimidate anyone who rejects affirmation of their “lifestyle.”  Moreover, I can expect that the anti-Christian rabble will increasingly use the legal and criminal justice system to extract high costs for proclaiming biblical truths.  So, you have been forewarned for such things have happened before.  (We must never forget what was done to my dear brother in Christ, Joseph Scheidler, by the forces of evil.  In case you have forgotten, please read here.)

As the legal issues in this case are clear, in normal times, I think that Judge Ponsor’s decision will be overturned sooner rather than later for his complete disregard of the Supreme Court’s recent decision restricting the use of the Alien Torts Claim Act in this type of case.  But, sadly, these are not normal times, and I can easily imagine appellate judges refusing to follow the law for fear from Leftists and their allies, and for Messrs. Obama and Holder intervening in this case to make sure that Pastor Lively’s views will be forever suppressed, and that he will be destroyed financially.  If you want to read the Honorable Judge Ponsor’s Opinion in this case, you can read it here.  I hope that this clarifies things more fully for you, my friend “John.”

–MICHAEL AVRAMOVICH



Chicago’s Safe (and Unsafe) Zones for Kids
Friday, August 9, 2013, 11:03 AM

“Chicago Public Schools added nearly $8 million to the program and is hiring an additional 600 people to escort students along designated safety routes during arrival and dismissal times.”

Does the publishing of safe passage routes mean other routes are not safe? In many cases the “safe” passage is only one block long in each of four directions from the school–many other blocks undesignated “Safe Passage” must be traversed in order to get to school. These are not just high schools, but middle schools and elementary schools. They are not citywide, but selected–mostly determined by the fact that the City CLOSED many schools this year, forcing some students to walk from a closed local school district to one that is nearby, thus having to walk through areas they hadn’t before. But a one block-long safe passage zone seems to me to be a bandaid. They closed the schools to save money, and now they are spending $8 million to address the concerns of parents caused by the closings.

The streets here are a mess in terms of violence in certain neighborhoods (these safe passages are not all in what I would have called ‘bad neighborhoods, by the way), and the policies that have been put in place by the city leaders here for the past 40 years have not made the slightest difference in the prospects of a young child growing up in these neighborhoods, nor is there the slightest discernible difference being made today by these policies such that you could plausibly project a turnaround in the near or distant future. Until something really radical is done (and don’t ask me what–I am not running for office telling people how I will help change their lives), the local news coverage 40 years from now will be about shootings, gangs, drugs (maybe), and other features of a neighborhood in which a 5-year-old boy has the same chance of ending up in prison as one does now. This is not compassion. It’s indifference, as long as the votes can be farmed.

 



IRS Is Currently Harassing Pro-Life Groups
Friday, August 2, 2013, 10:18 AM

The Thomas More Society has issued a statement detailing the continuing harassment of Pro-Life groups by the IRS. Their press release for the statement includes:

“Despite claims by the Obama Administration that the harassment has ceased, the Society produced over 250 pages of documentation showing that the federal government is still interrogating pro-life groups beyond the scope of its legal authority, infringing upon these organizations’ First Amendment rights of assembly, free speech, and religious liberty.”

“Despite claims to the contrary, the IRS continues to target and harass pro-life and conservative charities, illegally questioning their religious activities and withholding their tax exemptions,” said Peter Breen vice president and senior counsel of the Thomas More Society. “We have now produced irrefutable evidence of six clients whose First Amendment rights were trampled upon by the IRS because of their position upholding the sanctity of life. Even after public disclosure of this wrongdoing, the Obama Administration’s IRS has refused to cease its illegal activity. We will continue to aid Congress in its investigation until those responsible are brought to justice and the IRS is made to respect every American’s constitutional rights.”

Dated July 19, 2013, Exhibit F-3 in supplemental documentation posted on-line includes this IRS request to a Florida pro-life organization which has been seeking non-profit approval for over a year: “Will you promote demonstrations and/or rallies at clinic [sic] and/or hospitals to stop abortions in your community? If so, please explain.” (The request can be seen on page 195 of the 227 pages.)

Perhaps American citizens might ask the IRS: “Will you drag your feet and ask improper questions to any pro-life organizations to hamper and/or stop pro-life activities in the United States? If so, please explain.”


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