Mere Links 12.12.14
Friday, December 12, 2014, 10:00 AM

How Ultrasound-on-a-Chip Will Transform Abortion
Joe Carter, ERLC

Technological innovations often have broad effects that could have never been forseen. Take, for example, the invention of the printing press by German printer Johannes Gutenberg. A forward-thinking futurist living in 1450 might have predicted the way that the printed word would change culture. But could they have predicted that it would lead to eyeglasses?

Should Children Make Up Their Own Minds About Religion?
Jason Stubblefield, First Things

Teaching our children a particular form of religious expression may seem something like teaching them to eat only one kind of cheese on a smorgasbord of limitless options. With so many religious alternatives, how can we help our children choose?

Why Pastors Should Pay Attention to the Torture Report
Steven Dilla, OnFaith

Three ways forward for leaders of Christian communities.

Conflict may force church to split, Welby says
Oliver Moody and Michael Binyon, The Times

Parts of the Anglican Communion could break away over their entrenched conflicts with other churches, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

Not “Who We Are” Mr. President?
Thursday, December 11, 2014, 3:34 PM

I keep thinking about President Obama’s high rhetoric against torture, how it’s not “who we are.” And not because I’ve been thinking about torture lately or am a fan of it. But because of the natural follow up question, “Who are we, then?”

Well, who are we, Mr. President? If it is abhorrent, to use the adjective of CIA Director John Brennan, to water-board terrorists committed to killing innocent civilians, is it abhorrent to deliberately drown a child in utero in lethal saline solution to kill her, because her mother wants her dead? Who are you, indeed, Mr. President, who could not even stomach to vote to forbid partial-birth abortions (unlike Hillary Clinton)?  Indeed, who are we? And who are you?

PowerLinks 12.11.14
Thursday, December 11, 2014, 10:00 AM

The Case for Religious Freedom

“Where any of these fights on religious freedom are going to go, will in great part depend upon whether people of faith will stand up and speak now, or will they sit in silence. The outcome is up to you”

Time to Challenge No-Fault Divorce
Thomas F. Farr and Hilary Towers, First Things

State laws on divorce began to be implemented in the late 1960s, but today have been absorbed into the legal and cultural mainstream nationwide.

Unholy row as nativity scene ban divides France
Anne Penketh, The Guardian

Court orders council in La Roche-sur-Yon to dismantle crib, after complaint from secular campaigners.

Seven Things Atheists Get Wrong
David Marcus, The Federalist

Atheists need to understand and embrace the role religion has played in creating the world we live in.

Another Case of Excessive Force by Police?
Wednesday, December 10, 2014, 10:03 AM

622x350 300x280 Another Case of Excessive Force by Police?Since the events this past summer in Ferguson, Missouri, involving Michael Brown, or the more recent events involving Eric Garner on Staten Island, New York, much has been written and discussed about overly-zealous police officers.  The failure by two grand juries to indict police officers involved in these two cases has led to violence and large-scale protests, both in the United States and abroad, a situation encouraged by President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.  As another recent example of excessive police tactics, Jacob Herrera, an eighth-grade student at Sam Houston Middle School in Amarillo, Texas, was arrested and detained overnight in late October. Prior to his detention, he was reportedly slammed face-first in the ground by a police officer during a school football game.  What was the young man’s crime?  He refused to remove his rosary beads from his neck.

Now one might wonder why Jacob’s rosary was so troubling to police officers.  According to the Amarillo Police Department, rosary beads are symbols for association with gang violence, and students in the Amarillo Independent School District are not permitted to wear them on school property.  However, Jacob’s rosary was given to him by his now-deceased brother, and it held great religious and sentimental value to him.  As a result, Jacob had prior approval from the school’s principal that allowed him to wear rosary beads underneath his clothing while in school or at school events.  But at the football game in October, Jacob was challenged by a police officer who told him to remove his rosary.  Reportedly, Jacob did not want to remove the rosary, and tried to explain to the officer that he had permission from school officials to wear his rosary.  But when Jacob refused to remove the rosary beads, police told Jacob to put his hands behind his back, which he then refused to do.  As a result, Jacob was arrested, and required medical attention at a local hospital from injuries inflicted by the police officer.

Jacob’s mother, Lori Martinez, told a local television station the following:

My son passed away two years ago, 2012, and he was teaching Jacob, you know about God and how you know, he should wear the rosary to protect him.  So Jacob believes that that rosary protects him and it is his remembrance to his brother.

Coming to Jacob’s aid, The Rutherford Institute, a Christian civil liberties law group, sent a demand letter to the Amarillo Independent School District on December 4, 2014, demanding that the district rescind its dress code policy that states that students may not wear anything deemed as “gang apparel” by local law enforcement.  The letter also asked the school district to encourage law enforcement to drop its criminal prosecution of Jacob.  Further, the lawyer letter asked the school district to issue a statement condemning the police department’s use of excessive force on young students.  The Rutherford Institute founder John Whitehead said in a recent interview with The Christian Post:

I think it was excessive force.  The school should not be allowing this to happen.  He is just an eighth grader.  I understand that this [could be seen as] a gang symbol, but you can’t repress the symbol.  It is a matter of religious freedom and is a First Amendment right.  I think that they are overreacting to the gang issues, and if you have somebody wearing it legitimately, yes, they should be allowed to wear it.  I think it is an important issue or we wouldn’t be involved.

The Rutherford Institute has given the Amarillo School District until December 12th to respond, but no lawsuit has been filed at this time.  I will continue to follow this story, but I do not think that most police are bad or racist, or that they are targeting black or Hispanic young men.  But I learned long ago, growing up in a major Midwestern city, not to argue with a police officer if you don’t want to get hurt.  I hope that Jacob will as well.

Mere Links 12.10.14
Wednesday, December 10, 2014, 10:00 AM

Most American Agree With Right-To-Die Movement
Dennis Thompson, Healthday

An overwhelming 74 percent of American adults now believe that terminally ill patients who are in great pain should have the right to end their lives, the poll found. Only 14 percent were opposed.

Abortion Is Out; Single Moms Are In
Nicole Russell, The Federalist

New data show fewer abortions and marriages, meaning many more single moms.Those who love life should start supporting good marriages and parenting.

College: Where Faith and Virtues Go to Die
Catherine Ruth Pakaluk, Aleteia

What kind of education are we giving our kids?

Not Just a Rape Culture: The University’s Rape System
Greg Forster, Public Discourse

Only political reform can fight the system that protects rapists on college campuses.

Mere Links 12.09.14
Tuesday, December 9, 2014, 10:00 AM

Church Giving Tops $50 Billion A Year In U.S.—And Its Future Is Not A Collection Plate
Ruth Graham, Fast Company

“Churches are no different than any other operation in that they need to be relevant and convenient,” said RaeAnn Slaybaugh, editor of Church Executive magazine, who has reported on new giving options. “The difficulty is in capitalizing on a moment of generosity.”

In Seven States, Atheists Push to End Largely Forgotten Ban
Laurie Goodstein, New York Times

Maryland and six other states still have articles in their constitutions saying people who do not believe in God are not eligible to hold public office. Maryland’s Constitution still says belief in God is a requirement even for jurors and witnesses.

9 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About the Persecution of Christians
Rick McDaniel, OnFaith

Is discrimination against Christians an acceptable form of prejudice?

Chimpanzees Are Not Entitled to Human Rights, New York Court Says
Elizabeth Barber, Time

The chimpanzee at issue is not entitled to a writ of habeas corpus allowing him freedom from his cage.

Pro-Life Activists File Civil Lawsuit Against Violent Professor
Monday, December 8, 2014, 10:26 AM

1MireilleMiller Young 220x300 Pro Life Activists File Civil Lawsuit Against Violent ProfessorThis past September, I posted a blog on these pages about Professor Mireille Miller-Young from the highly prestigious University of California at Santa Barbara (“UCSB”).  Professor Miller-Young teaches feminist studies at UCSB, and her research interests include pornography and sex work.  Last March, two teen-age sisters and pro-life activists, Thrin and Joan Short, were in the “free speech zone” at UCSB and displayed photographs on posters of the aftermath of abortion to engage students in discussion about abortion and alternatives to abortion.  Professor Miller-Young, while walking past the young women, became deeply incensed at the pro-life literature and photos.  She forcibly took their posters, and later assaulted the sixteen-year-old sister.  A video of the assault is available here: a video of the incident here.  You will note in the video that one of the sisters pleads with Professor to return the signs, at one point calling the Professor a thief.  A smiling Professor Miller-Young replies, “I may be a thief, but you’re a terrorist!”  Afterwards, police were called, and Professor Miller-Young told police that she found the pro-life literature and graphic photos “disturbing” because she teaches reproduction rights.  She also reportedly told police that she had a “moral right” to steal and destroy the pro-life signs.  Following the police investigation, Professor Miller-Young was charged with multiple offenses. After trial in July, she pled “no contest” to grand theft, vandalism, and battery.  At her sentencing the following month, rather than a slap on the wrist, the Professor received a veritable butterfly kiss from Judge Brian Hill instead, which included 108 hours of community service to be performed in teaching conflict-resolution workshops (no, I am not making this up), ten hours of anger management classes, restitution of $493 to the Short sisters, and three years of probation.

Prior to sentencing, a number of letters of support were submitted by the Professor’s defense attorney.  Among the letters of support, one letter by UCSB history professor Paul Spikard stated that his colleague was the object of “an energetic smear campaign that seems to have little to do with her person or her actions, and a great deal to do with fomenting racial hatred and rallying right-wing political sentiment.”  Emphasis added.  (Yes, I do agree that the tens of millions of aborted black babies in our nation constitutes a manifestation of racial hatred, but I am unsure that Professor Spikard had that in mind.)  Another letter of support came from Dr. Eileen Boris, also from the UCSB Feminist Studies Department (her research areas of interest include gender, race, class, and social politics), who argued for a light sentence for her colleague.  In her letter, Dr. Boris wrote the following:

[S]he was at the stage of a pregnancy when one is not fully one’s self fully [sic], so the image of a severed fetus appeared threatening.  If she appears smiling on camera, she is “wearing a mask,” that is, she is hiding her actual state through a strategy of self-presentation that is a cultural legacy of slavery.

Emphasis added.  And in follow-up to this case, last month, the pro-life group Life Legal Defense Foundation (“LLDF”) has filed a civil lawsuit against Professor Miller-Young and UCSB on behalf of the Short sisters.  In the lawsuit, LLDF seeks compensation for physical battery, property theft, and civil rights violations.  Interestingly, educational bureaucrats at UCSB never reprimanded Professor Miller-Young for her actions.  But as a public service to my readers, I offer some worthwhile advice to pro-death activists and supporters: if you see pro-life proponents on your campus or in your neighborhoods, unless you wish to engage them in civil discourse, it is most prudent, in the unforgettable words of Pink Floyd, to leave them kids (and their stuff) alone.  I hope that Professor Miller-Young and the few remaining taxpayers in California will find that violations of the civil rights of women is expensive.  Wouldn’t this be a useful case study for the Feminist Studies Department at UCSB?

Mere Links 12.08.14
Monday, December 8, 2014, 10:00 AM

Talking About God in Public
Doug Sikkema, Comment

The former Archbishop of Canterbury offers an indispensable aid for anyone struggling to talk about God publicly.

A New Kind Of Death
Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, Preachers Institute

However we are to treat the “necessity” Christ ascribes to his Passion, we should not speak of it as a physical necessity. It was not an mere instance of second law of thermodynamics.

Why Christians Care About Sex
Andrew Walker, First Things

A new study out this week shows widening gaps in how different demographics in America approach sexuality and family. The Relationships in America study, produced by the Austin Institute, looks at “how social forces, demography, and religion continue to shape attitudes about family and intimate relationships.”

Pope Francis: Demotion of Burke not ‘punishment’

Pope Francis has denied that removing American Cardinal Raymond Burke as head of the Vatican’s highest court was a “punishment” for his outspokenly conservative views at a recent summit of bishops, saying instead he wanted a “smart American” to serve as patron of the Order of Malta.

Now’s the Time for Salvo: Special Offer
Friday, December 5, 2014, 11:05 AM
Salvo31 228x300 Nows the Time for Salvo: Special Offer

Salvo Issue 31

Modern Society celebrates (almost) everything: Love, Sex, Drugs, No-Fault Divorce, Women’s Reproductive Rights, Multi-Partner Marriages (and more) are all part of this “new millennial sexual revolution.”

SALVO Magazine unblushingly offers an honest, rational, and respectful response to hard questions about sex, science, and society. SALVO’s Christian worldview offers the perspective that takes up the conversation where many are afraid to go. Check it out at SALVOMAG.COM.

Subscribe today or “gift it” by December 31, 2014 to get a DISCOUNT plus a FREE bonus issue on Science and Faith. You surely know a young person or two who should be reading SALVO!

Order on-line here at and enter the code DEC14 to receive the discount and the FREE issue. Or call 1-800-283-8333 and give the code DEC14.

You will receive the new Winter 2014-2015 issue as your first issue. It and the Science-Faith issue are already packed in envelopes ready to be mailed out to you! Order today.


Mere Links 12.05.14
Friday, December 5, 2014, 10:00 AM

What It Means to Listen: Free Speech from the Perspective of the Abrahamic Religions
Dominic Burbidge, Public Discourse

The Abrahamic religions provide a radical interpretation of the importance of speech: it is the primary way in which God reveals himself. Because persons of faith believe that God has spoken, they are called to develop and deepen their capacities for listening.

From Hell to Oprah: What Happened to Rob Bell?
Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Religion News Service

The former megachurch pastor exchanged his evangelical bona fides for the blessing of Oprah.

Should Christian Historians Appeal to Providence in Their Interpretations?
Justin Taylor , The Gospel Coalition

Although Christian historians may disagree among themselves regarding the precise nature or extent of God’s providence, all affirm its reality and importance as those who trust in the God who has decisively revealed himself through Christ in his authoritative Word and who is at work throughout history. And yet there is a debate about how providence should be used in the writing of history, especially before the academy.

Fury at the Cross(roads): The Gospel in the Violence of History
Will McDavid , Mockingbird

The most religious film many moviegoers will see this year will not be an inspirational story from a faith-based production company; it will be writer-director David Ayer’s WWII tank combat epic Fury. And in some ways Fury is also a more compelling narrative about redemption than many of the sermons preached from Church pulpits on any given Sunday.

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »