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By In Politics

Contact These Companies Who Donate To Planned Parenthood

Corporate Sponsors-2

Yesterday, the Daily Signal put up a list of the 39 companies who donate to Planned Parenthood. It had been 41, since it was based upon the list that Planned Parenthood displayed on their website. Since the article was published, Ford and Xerox made haste to let us know they are no longer listed donors of Planned Parenthood.

This is important because large corporations notoriously do not want to take a moral stand if they do not have to. But the time for that is over. We ought to contact these companies to see if they have an official statement with regard to the Center For Medical Progress videos which show Planned Parenthood Executives negotiating the sale of the remains of babies. All it takes is a letter, an email, or even a tweet asking if they have a statement on the videos in light of the fact that they actively support this organization. You needn’t threaten a boycott, not because you have ruled out a boycott, but because you never play your best card right away.

Most corporations will bend over backwards to accommodate a customer. If you’ve ever complained to a company about the poor quality of their shampoo or deodorant, you probably received a case of that shampoo or deodorant a week later. They understand margins are usually very thin, and losing even one customer matters. If you threaten a boycott, there is a good chance they will assume you are gone anyway, and not respond. But if you are a loyal customer inquiring what their stance is on Planned Parenthood in light of the videos, and enough of us do it, we’ll get an answer. We need to apply pressure and we need to apply it in the right way.

In the last year, we’ve seen this used effectively. The State of Indiana failed to pass the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, not because the voters of the state didn’t want it, but because enough pressure was put on corporations who did business in Indiana from those outside the state.

Also last year, after the Ray Rice scandal, the NFL gave Adrian Peterson an unprecedented suspension, which effectively began before he had even gone to trial or receive a misdemeanor conviction for child injury. This happened after his team and the league originally decided they would allow him to play. The reason his team and the NFL reversed course had little to do with how much team owners cared about victims of domestic violence or child abuse, and much more about the fact that sponsors had pressured the league to do something.

Corporations feel pressure. They are built to be sensitive to the slightest whims of the consumer. A massive amount of pressure applied toward them will do three things. First, it will get them to stop donating to Planned Parenthood. Second, it will prevent any other corporations from donating to Planned Parenthood. Third, the marketplace isn’t a vacuum. If corporations can tell which way the wind is blowing, so can politicians. In fact, in our corruptocracy, corporations are often the only way politicians can tell which way the wind is blowing. So keep the pressure on.

There is nothing wrong with the church of Jesus Christ using these methods as a means to end the holocaust of baby murder. We are to be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves (Matt. 10:16). Jesus Christ is King of the planet, and He has put these means at our disposal. To this end, contact these companies, and politely ask that since they donate to Planned Parenthood, what their stance is on the Center for Medical Progress videos? We need to keep the pressure on. Planned Parenthood is scared, and every dollar you take away from them is a dollar less that goes toward the murder of children.

If contacting them via Twitter, here is a helpful template:

.[Corporation X], since you are a listed donor to #PlannedParenthood, what is your official stance on the @CtrMedProgress videos?

[the period before the “@” is important so they know it shows up in your followers’ feeds]

 

1 Adobe

@Adobe

2 American Cancer Society

@AmericanCancer

3 American Express

@AmericanExpress

4 AT&T

@ATT

5 Avon

@AvonInsider

6 Bank of America

@BofA_Help

7 Bath & Body Works

@bathbodyworks

8 Ben & Jerry’s

@benandjerrys

9 Clorox

@Clorox

10 Coca-Cola

@CocaCola

11 Converse

@Converse

12 Deutsche Bank

@DeutscheBank

13 Dockers

@Dockers

14 Energizer

@Energizer

15 Expedia

@Expedia

16 ExxonMobil

@exxonmobil

17 Fannie Mae

@FannieMae

18 Groupon

@Groupon

19 Intuit

@Intuit

20 Johnson & Johnson

@JNJNews

21 La Senza

@LaSenza

22 Levi Strauss

@LeviStraussCo

23 Liberty Mutual

@LibertyMutual

24 Macy’s

@Macys

25 March of Dimes

@MarchofDimes

26 Microsoft

@Microsoft

27 Morgan Stanley

@MorganStanley

28 Nike

@Nike

29 Oracle

@Oracle

30 PepsiCo

@PepsiCo

31 Pfizer

@pfizer

32 Progressive

@Progressive

33 Starbucks

@Starbucks

34 Susan G. Komen

@SusanGKomen

35 Tostitos

@Tostitos

36 Unilever

@Unilever

37 United Way

@UnitedWay

38 Verizon

@VerizonWireless

39 Wells Fargo

@Ask_WellsFargo

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By In Culture, Politics

How Deborah Nucatola Will End Abortion

HOW DEBORAH NUCATOLA WILL END ABORTION

Several years ago, before we were married, while my wife and I were still in college, she and her roommates watched the historical fiction, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. The movie portrayed the German people not only as merely accepting what was being done to the Jews, but actually taking pride in how righteous their cause was. My wife’s roommates were simply in unbelief. They could not believe that a modern society that does not look all that different than ours today, with automobiles, electricity, running water, and telephones, could be so utterly barbaric. How could they do such unspeakable evil, and treat it as completely banal?

I remember telling her we do the exact same thing today. We not only accept the systematic slaughter of babies, but we glory in it. The video of Deborah Nucatola discussing, in detail how she harvests the livers, hearts, and head of babies halfway out of the birth canal, all while enjoying a delicious salad and glass of fine wine, displays the same banality of evil as vividly as anything I have ever seen. Joel McDurmon of American Vision pointed out, Nucatola is Hannibal Lecter. But it is worse than that. Deep down, as revolting as he is, we all know Hannibal Lecter is a fictional character. Deborah Nucatola is very real, and so are her victims. So what if she sells the organs of, instead of eating, her victims?

The Skull Crushing Reality of Abortion

Many memes have already appeared saying something to the effect of, “murder 3,000 babies a day, no big deal; harvest their organs, everyone loses their minds.” On the one hand, there is a good point here; we should be revolted that 3,000 babies a day are killed. What the murderer does with her victim’s body is at best a secondary concern. On the other hand, the very reason that we don’t care that much about the 3,000 babies murdered daily is precisely why we need to see a video like this. It is revolting. It is shocking. We need to be disgusted by it. Watching a woman sift through her lettuce while glibly talking about the best method for crushing a little baby’s skull ought to shake us.

As the debates over on a different front of the sexual revolution raged on, advocates of having the state recognize the relationship of two men or women who gratify the other’s genitals as marriage told everyone opposed to it that “they needed to get on the right side of history.” Think about that for a moment. The sexual revolutionaries have a particular eschatological vision that they see as inevitable, and they are pleading with Christians to join in. They are asking us to get on that bus with them. The only problem is its destination sign reads “Lake of Fire.”

Lord, Come Quickly?

Christians, on the other hand, have a different view of the course of history. Jesus Christ’s reign and rule over the earth will continue to be made manifest. That, and not waiting for the rapture, is why He keeps us here. This will happen. And in a thousand years, movies will be made (or whatever storytelling technology is available to our descendants) about the abortion industry in 21st Century America. Deborah Nucatola may even have her own storyline, not unlike that of Dr. Lecter. And young people watching will be dumbfounded, “How could they possibly have been so nonchalant about such despicable evil?” “Why was this monster not only able to run free but actually be celebrated?”

The Deborah Nucatola video should be remembered as a milestone. Not because the ghouls at Planned Parenthood sold the organs of their victims, but because we saw their top doctor discussing right out in the open just how gruesome this abortion really is. You can’t euphemize abortion when you are talking about harvesting livers, hearts, and intact heads. Globs of cells or fetuses don’t have livers, hearts, and intact heads. People do. Far too often we allow these enemies of God and mankind to determine the definitions. This isn’t infanticide, it’s “abortion.” This is about “women’s health” not murder. That’s not a person, that’s a “fetus.” When we let them define the terms, half the battle is already lost. If we resolve that it is distasteful in polite society to refer to abortion as “chopping up a baby” but completely tasteful to actually chop up babies, we have already lost. It’s time to be undignified. Deborah Nucatola casually describing how she carefully takes a forceps to kill the baby but be gentle enough so as to not ruin its organs is bone chilling. Do not let those bones thaw.

Window into her shop of horrors

Planned Parenthood is able to get away with what they do in part because killing 3,000 babies a day isn’t newsworthy if it happens every, single day.  Even those of us who absolutely hate it aren’t that disgusted by it, because its hidden away, both physically and by carefully crafted euphemism. It is out of sight and out of mind—right where they want it. The Nucatola video brings the horror of abortion out in the open, front and center. They can deny all they want that they sold the organs of aborted babies for profit, but they will never be able to take this away: Deborah Nucatola has given us a window into her shop of horrors. You should make everyone who approves of what she does take a long, hard look inside. Repentance will only take place when the slaughterhouse is exposed for what it is.

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By In Culture

In 21st Century America, Race is Immutable, But Gender is a Social Construct

 

Dolezal

This morning news broke that the the president of the Spokane Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Rachel Dolezal, was born to a white father and mother, but claimed to be an African-American. As her father pointed out:

You speak and sound and act and take on the mannerisms of the culture you live in,” he said. When Rachel applied to Howard University to study art with a portfolio of “exclusively African American portraiture,” the university “took her for a black woman” and gave her a full scholarship.

“You’ve got a white woman coming in that got a full ride scholarship to the black Harvard,” Lawrence Dolezal said. “And ever since then she’s been involved in social justice advocacy for African Americans. She assimilated into that culture so strongly that that’s where she transferred her identity.[emphasis mine]

Some have condemned Dolezal for identifying with a different race. Did she commit fraud by attending a prominent all-black university? Yes, probably. But the impulse to change your ethnic identity, while perhaps eccentric, is not insane. In fact, it makes for an excellent stories, as movies like Dances with Wolves, The Last Samurai, and Seven Years in Tibet, testify. Furthermore, in the United States, our racial categories are as much a social construct, dependent upon external acceptance, as anything else. That famous black men like Russell Wilson and Barack Obama have had their “blackness” questioned helps to confirm this point. In addition to that, how many well-spoken, conservative African-Americans have been called “Uncle Toms”? The fact that Rachel Dolezal was able to pass for a black woman for so long, and to be accepted by the black community to such a degree that she was made the president of a chapter of their most distinguished advocacy group means, in a sense, she was black. She was part of their community, their culture. And if she hadn’t been outed, it is very likely no one ever would’ve known.

Does this mean I have much sympathy for Dolezal? Not really. She seems to be opposed to much of everything I believe. My point is merely that Dolezal is odd, but not insane. She does not belong in the same category as someone like the sad, deranged, and (to be quite frank) exploited, Bruce Jenner.

The left seems to be outraged that a white woman would pass herself off as black. What we should be asking is, why doesn’t every single justification for Bruce Jenner’s transgenderism, which is insanity, apply to Rachel Dolezal? She feels that she is black. She no longer feels like she belongs within white culture. Who are we to impose our beliefs on her? The left simply cannot give a reason why Dolezal’s “transracialism” is morally wrong, while still telling us that Jenner’s transgenderism is morally right (and heroic).

Race is an extremely difficult topic in America. God created tribes and nations and the church of Jesus Christ is called to disciple them. The thing is, throughout history, tribes and nations change. They move around. The intermarry. They even disappear. They are not a static entity. It is fluid. Sometimes you don’t even know what race a person is. I mean, there was a Seinfeld episode about this. If you gave America three thousand years, we might become a homogenous “race” of Americans.

That God gave us the Dolezal incident a little more than a week after “Call me Caitlyn” seems to be a divine reductio ad absurdum, graciously given to those who foolishly believe a man can become a woman, that they might come to their senses. But it is only absurdity because secularism views (largely arbitrary) racial categories as immutable, whereas gender is whatever we personally determine, rather than being made in the image of the Triune God, male and female. May the church of Jesus Christ view this as the opportunity for repentance that it is.

 

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By In Culture

Yes, the Church is in Exile, So What Happens Next?

Tissot_The_Flight_of_the_Prisoners

 

 

Steve McAlpine, of the Australian branch of The Gospel Coalition, has penned a piece on the reality of exile for the church in the Western world. It is full of astute cultural observation and, as a bonus, is a delightfully fun read.

 

As a cultural commentary it is very perceptive, but it should be noted, in both the British Empire and United States, the decline did not happen overnight; there is a long history of cultural decline that dates back to the beginning of the last century. In the United States, conservative evangelicalism has been a cultural minority (albeit a fairly large one) since at least the breakup of Protestantism into fundamentalist and modernist camps at the end of the Progressive Era. In the British Empire, the decline of Christian culture happened around the same time, but for a slightly different reason: the Great War (and ironically a conflict championed by protestants across the pond in the culmination of the Progressive Era) was a complete disaster. As Peter Hitchens has pointed out in Rage Against God, most of the men who formed the bulwark of Christian culture in the British Empire were among the first to enlist, and by the war’s end, few remained. Such was the great catastrophe that began the last chapter in the history of Christendom. It should come as no surprise that the Christian faith precipitously declined in the British Empire, with the church bereft of men who were willing or able to combat secularism. For the British Empire, disaster was heaped upon disaster.

 

In the United States, it has seemed to be the opposite. To borrow from Cotton Mather, “Faithfulness begat prosperity, and the daughter consumed the mother.” The 20th Century was the American Century, and spiritual decline, at least in terms of Christian culture, has seemed to be in direct proportion to our nation’s success. America is the world’s lone economic, military, political, and cultural hegemon. All nations convert their money into Dollars to trade, our military is the most expensive and has a presence in every time zone across the globe, the kings of the earth almost universally seek the friendship of our rulers, and missionaries travel to remote, jungle tribes to find that while they don’t know who Jesus is, they are familiar with Leonardo DiCaprio.

 

Ask why this is, and most Americans, even most American Christians will reply to the effect of “We have gotten this wealth by our own hand, and these horses and chariots will protect us.” If the rest of western Christendom is Israel, the American church is Judah. We have followed the sins of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat. And we have indeed been taken away to exile. Perhaps, as McAlpine points out, we have been in exile for some time.

 

McAlpine writes about “Stage One Exile” which is the last twenty years, where the church has attempted to engage culture (and without much success). In Stage One Exile, the culture generally just ignores the church. To the larger culture they are merely annoying, but well-meaning Bible-bangers. He says we are now entering into “Stage Two Exile” in which culture is more actively hostile to Christians, and instead of tapping these good-natured-but-oboxious religious freaks on the head, the culture now openly scorns them.

 

This is particularly insightful. We aren’t going to “nice” anybody into the kingdom anymore (if we ever could to begin with). We just haven’t noticed because the vestiges of Christian culture have remained. Unbelievers used to mow their lawn, pay their taxes, and help old ladies cross the street, too. Now they make death threats against pizzeria owners who live like they believe in Jesus. Christianity has been a minority culture for decades. It is only now that transgressive, militant secularism seems to be the majority culture in the United States.

 

Now it seems that unbelievers are actually the way the Bible describes them. That is why McAlpine’s point, that “we assumed a neutral culture not a hostile world,” as well as the reception that this article has received in the Reformed world, is especially heartening. It seems the guys who are Reformed soteriologically are beginning to allow their Calvinism to influence how they view culture. Unbelievers are not neutral religious consumers that we compete for in a religious marketplace. They are hostile to the faith and suppress the truth in unrighteousness. The fact is they have always been that way, even if we were unable or unwilling to recognize it.

 

If Stage Two Exile is good for anything, it will be forcing preachers to admit that it is not the power of our niceness, our sensitivity, nor our persuasiveness, but it is the power of the Word of God and His Spirit that ultimately moves unbelievers and unbelieving culture into faith. Far too often well-known preachers have either completely stopped addressing cultural issues from the pulpit or when they do, they are couched with such softening rhetoric that you might come away thinking that chopping up little babies or a man using another man’s anus as a sex organ wasn’t really that big a deal to God.

 

When Louis Giglio’s invitation to pray at President Obama’s inauguration was revoked after it had been discovered he once described homosexuality as a sin, most of the reaction was to the obvious open hostility toward biblical Christianity (what McAlpine would describe as Stage Two Exile). This might even be the point at which head-patting of do-gooders (Stage One) was transformed to hatred (Stage Two). What no one reacted to was the fact that the offending sermon was preached almost twenty years prior. That’s right, Giglio had not preached on homosexuality, one of the most relevant cultural issues facing the church and nation, for nearly twenty years!

 

While Giglio seemed to refuse to address controversial cultural issues on the one hand, others in “Stage One, did address them albeit with all the firmness of a styrofoam plate of Jell-o. What drove the squishiness of cultural engagement of men like Timothy J. Keller in Stage One? While obviously only Keller himself can really give us an answer, it seems to be a refusal to be “unnecessarily offensive.” This jibes with McAlpine’s view that we assumed the culture “was like Athens” when it is “really more like Babylon.” The assumption was that if we were just friendly enough, if we tip-toed around things like “sin,” if we showed the reasonableness of faith in Jesus, that that was enough to win souls. We forgot, even as five-point Calvinists, that the Bible says that unbelievers are in rebellion against God and every part of them, including (and especially their minds), is depraved.

 

If anything, Stage Two is a backhanded blessing. The veneer of reasonable Christian-ness has worn off of unbelieving culture and it has become obvious they are what the Bible has always said they are. Based on Keller’s recent and much firmer stance on homosexuality, he has come to grips with this. The nations won’t be won by pussy-footing in the name of “not being unnecessarily offensive,” but by preaching the Word of God, whether or not we become a reproach before all people. And while it is an appropriate concern to not be unnecessarily offensive, given the fact that many if not most of America’s pulpits are filled with men with all the courage of bedwetting kindergarteners, this is like telling firefighters not to use too much water because the furniture might get a bit mildewy.  The most pressing need of the church today is preachers who would rather die than shackle the Word of God. When the church prefers men who preach with boldness instead of prattlers who preach inoffensive wine and drink, reformation will come.

 

To that end, the main problem with McAlpine’s article is not that he is not correct about what he sees in the culture, but rather to what end God has brought us into exile to begin with. Based upon his reference to McKnight and his conclusion, he has an anabaptist approach to culture. If you read the article, you are left with a sense of hopelessness, or at best a gnostic hope in an otherworldly salvation. But that is not the picture the Bible gives of exile. Exiles, whether they are in Egypt, Gath, a great fish, Babylon, or Rome, all had hope, not just in going to heaven when they die, but that God’s kingdom would come to this physical world. Our exile is no different. We are not called to withdraw and wait until we die. Christianity is not a suicide cult. Instead we must sing Psalm 110 and Psalm 8 and know that Christ’s rule becoming manifest over the whole creation is a reality:

Psalm 110

1 The Lord says to my Lord:

“Sit at my right hand,

until I make your enemies your footstool.”

2 The Lord sends forth from Zion

your mighty scepter.

Rule in the midst of your enemies!

3 Your people will offer themselves freely

on the day of your power,

in holy garments;

from the womb of the morning,

the dew of your youth will be yours.

4 The Lord has sworn

and will not change his mind,

“You are a priest forever

after the order of Melchizedek.”

5 The Lord is at your right hand;

he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.

6 He will execute judgment among the nations,

filling them with corpses;

he will shatter chiefs

over the wide earth.

7 He will drink from the brook by the way;

therefore he will lift up his head.

 

Psalm 8

1 O Lord, our Lord,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens.

2   Out of the mouth of babies and infants,

you have established strength because of your foes,

to still the enemy and the avenger.

3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,

4 what is man that you are mindful of him,

and the son of man that you care for him?

5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings[b]

and crowned him with glory and honor.

6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;

you have put all things under his feet,

7 all sheep and oxen,

and also the beasts of the field,

8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,

whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

9 O Lord, our Lord,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

 

Before you say that what is being described in Psalms 8 & 110 is what Jesus accomplished on the cross in our salvation and is therefore already complete, you need to understand that that is not what the Apostle Paul taught.

 

1 Cor. 15:24-27

24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.”

 

And again, if we grant that Paul authored the Epistle to the Hebrews:

 Hebrews 2:6-8

6 It has been testified somewhere,

“What is man, that you are mindful of him,

or the son of man, that you care for him?

7 You made him for a little while lower than the angels;

you have crowned him with glory and honor,

8 putting everything in subjection under his feet.”

Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him

 

The reign of Jesus Christ in this physical world is a reality. When His people go into exile, it is a refining furnace to prepare them for dominion. The church will no longer be able to remain the same. The dross of seeker-sensitivity and cultural withdrawal must be burned away. Let us pray the refined gold of the kind of boldness that preaches the Word out of season will remain. It is our culture’s only hope. Yes, Christendom is dead, but Christendom will be raised from the dead.

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By In Politics

How Gay Marriage Will Save the Evangelical Church in America

Boycott Fail

In a matter of weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court will rule in Obergefell v. Hodges, and is widely expected to impose homosexual marriage on the whole of the United States. There has been some speculation as to what the implications of such a ruling will be. Given the hysterical reaction to Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, along with the cases of florists and bakers who have been made to pay exorbitant fines for having refused to serve homosexual weddings, it is clear the goal of the homosexual movement, despite for years claiming their only goal was “tolerance” and “equal rights” (with regard to marriage), is really about silencing dissent.

To the LGBT(etc.) movement’s credit, they were incredibly effective in taking advantage of the enormous sentimentality attached to weddings in our culture. “Why can’t we have our tearful, happy, once-upon-a-time day as well?” homosexuals weepily bemoaned. And every bridezilla who  ever spent $10,000+ on a dress she would wear exactly one time, added her hearty “amen.” Never mind the absurdity of assuming people who view how they gratify their sexual organs as the very core of their identity as human beings would pledge sexual fidelity to one person for the rest of their lives. These people love each other. It should come as no surprise that the exponential growth of the wedding industry is in direct proportion to our culture’s (growing) contempt for the institution of marriage. The rhetorical case that homosexuals should not be denied the ooey-gooey sentimentality everyone else enjoys was driven home to perfection. After all, who could dare deny homosexuals the opportunity to dance to Usher’s “Yeah!” with all their closest friends and family?

During the debates over same-sex marriage over the last decade, when conservatives would try to look down the road at what implications acceptance of same-sex marriage would have, they were decried as slippery-slope scaremongers. “It is preposterous and offensive to say polygamy would gain acceptance as a result of same-sex marriage.” Yet, as a result of the very same post-Christian cultural shift that has given us same-sex marriage, polygamy has begun to gain acceptance. When it comes to pondering the implications of same-sex marriage, conservative evangelicals who opposed it unfortunately but all-too-predictably have been vindicated. Because conservative prognostication  with regard to same-sex marriage has a strong track record, this should cause us to ask, “what’s next?”

Given that the homosexual movement has already played its hand, we have a pretty good idea: they are after cultural dominion—any expression of opposition to homosexuality must be banned. As has already been pointed out above, Christian bakers, florists, and caterers are the first to come under attack for opposing gay marriage. Former Mozilla CEO, Brandon Eich, who at the time supported gay marriage, was deposed for having once donated money to a group opposing gay marriage in California. As Rod Dreher has pointed out, a jeweler who did not refuse service to a lesbian couple was forced by the LGBT lynch mob to give them a refund after the couple discovered he opposed same-sex marriage. Speaking of Canada, that country also has Human Rights Tribunals which can levy fines for hate speech. Here in America, the terms “unsafe speech,” “verbal rape,” “trigger warning” have entered our common vernacular. It is not hard to find an example of someone who can, with a straight face, actually utter “I believe in free speech, but hate speech should not be tolerated.”

Churches, Christian schools, and Christian homeschoolers are the next, most obvious target. Within a generation, pastors who preach on Romans 1 or First Corinthians 6 should expect to be fined. Christian schools will be forced to hire homosexuals or admit homosexual students. Homeschool parents have their children put into foster homes for promoting hate speech within their own homes.

In the space of one generation the greatest cost of believing in Jesus in America could go from the inconvenience of having to take your kid from soccer practice to youth group at the middle class, suburban megachurch to having your children kidnapped for teaching them to believe the Bible. The church in the United States will be forced from its lackadaisical comfortability to experiencing what Dietrich Bonhoeffer would call “costly grace.” It will take courage to be a Christian.

Despite being a defeat, it isn’t all bad. Secularists famously don’t let a crisis go to waste, and neither should we. Even if conservative evangelicals become actively oppressed, we are still a significant minority in the United States. Just look at what happened when Chik-fil-A or the Robertson family was threatened for their respective stances on homosexuality. Look at the massive outpouring of support Christian florists, bakers, and pizzerias have received when the LGBT lynch mob has struck. What is that? It is sheep without a shepherd, but perhaps forcing belief in Jesus Christ to be costly will force the church to find some leaders with some sand.

Perhaps pastors will finally preach from the Bible and against sin, since any sermon could be their last before being sent to jail or losing their house. Perhaps, if you are at risk of losing your business because you attend a church which preaches “hate speech,” your worship will go from being vapid and irreverent “Jesus is my girlfriend songs” to the battle hymns and psalms to Lord Sabaoth, the God of Armies. Perhaps the evangelical church will be forced to engage with culture in a way that makes the Moral Majority look like the lightweights they were. The majority of evangelical Christians might even become aware of the key role of cultural formation education plays and pull their children out of public schools—the training centers of anti-Christian, secularist dogma responsible for much of the cultural shift that has already taken place. Just think about that. It could happen.

It has been said “the kingdom of God advances through a series of glorious victories cleverly disguised as disasters.” If we have eyes to see it, the disaster of same-sex marriage could very well lead to the glory of a reformation of the American church.

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By In Culture

My First Martin Luther King Day

Given the deaths of young black men in Ferguson, Missouri, New York City, and Cleveland, Ohio in the past year, it should come as no surprise that this year’s observation of Martin Luther King Day throughout the US is especially significant. It is significant for me too. I grew up and spent my college years in rural southern Minnesota, spent three years in preparation for ministry in northern Idaho, and am now in Springfield, Missouri.

If you know anything about any of those three places, they are not noted for a tremendous amount of diversity. In my small town of under 10,000, throughout my school-age days, there were maybe two black kids in my class in any given year. We were as white as white could be. But since it was public school, with its centralized educational dictates from a culturally distant capital, there were, of course, mandatory diversity assemblies from kindergarten on where speakers would come in and tell us how great an evil racism was. For little children who had never been around black people, we could not understand what all the fuss was about. As we got older and learned more and more about the history of the Civil Rights Movement, we were so far away from Jim Crow, in terms of geography, history, and culture, that it was still very much an abstract concept.

All we knew, by the time we were high-school-age through our regular diversity assemblies, was that every white person held racist presuppositions that they probably didn’t even know about and the word “n——r,” which was pervasive in the rap music we so enjoyed, was absolutely forbidden for us to say (so much so that I still can’t bring myself to write it out in this space). We were taught just enough to be trained to believe we were probably racist, but we had no idea what to do about it. Especially in rural Southern Minnesota where there were almost no black people. It is a microcosm of the culture that drives secular schooling—all the moralism of religion without the gospel. And despite the apotheosis of the (at least state-approved version) of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that took place in my 13 years of public school, I had never really fully appreciated the man and what he did until this past year. And what a year it was.

This past summer as I read stories of young black men killed (with seriously dubious justification at best) and watched riots erupt in response.. As I was seeing first-hand the anger and sorrow of African-Americans, I began to empathize with them for the first time. Though I had been through 13 years of government school diversity training, I could not help but wonder why our society is as racially-divided as it is. I was compelled to consider what it might be like to grow up in that world, and what it would be like to experience the things they have that I have not.  Of course, I understood the history all too well (albeit from a comfortable emotional distance).

Nearly every-single black person in the United States today is a descendent of people who were stolen from their homes and then sold to wealthy white people. Because of this sin, our nation was judged with the wrath of God, in an event that killed at least one of our every fifty Americans1, gave us a central government with unchecked power, and fostered even more deep-seated hatred between races. And now I have realized that this happened because the church of Jesus Christ did not condemn the sin of man-stealing and racism. She did not preach that black men and women were created in the image of God. Even worse, much of the church participated in these sins.

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Later, in the 1950s and 60s, when the social movement whose goal was for black people to be treated like white people began, much of the church, particularly in the South, opposed it rather than lead it. As a judgment for our complicity in this sin, since we would not deal with it ecclesiastically, God gave us over to that same central government that asserted authority it did not have over private property, a precedent which is now being used to persecute Christians who do not wish to use their property to celebrate perversion.2 This same powerful state shortly thereafter created a vast welfare state in the Great Society, a vast police state in the War on Drugs, and codified into law the dream of arch-racist and Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger—the extermination of “human weeds” (what she called black people) through legalized abortion. That these three things have been absolutely devastating to black families and black communities in particular is beyond dispute. And since this is the case, that these institutions are at least implicitly racist, since their destructive power disproportionately is wielded against African-Americans, the church must be committed to abolishing them. It is not enough to decry some vague concept of white privilege if we are not committed to abolishing a War on Drugs that puts tens of thousands of black men a year in cages for things the Bible does not call a crime, abolishing a welfare state that renders black fathers unnecessary and leaves families in generational poverty, and abolishing the legal protections of murder-for-hire businesses like Planned Parenthood (that especially prey on African-American communities). The church must be united in Her opposition to these evils if the races in our country are to be reconciled by the gospel.

Unfortunately much of the church’s response to the protests and riots that erupted throughout our country in the last year was something to the tune of “I can’t comment on who is right or wrong here, but I know that these people need the gospel.”3 Such a statement is ignorant of what the gospel really is. A statement that says “I don’t know what is right or wrong, but these people need [to learn that they can have a free ticket to heaven if they pray a prayer but not be discipled in how to live]” is not the gospel. The gospel says, “Jesus Christ is King, and He invites you into His Kingdom. Because He is King, every aspect of your life is subject to Him. Every human institution is laid at His feet and to be governed by His Law.” That is the gospel. The gospel speaks to Ferguson, Missouri. The gospel speaks to New York City. The gospel speaks to Cleveland, Ohio. It does so because Jesus Christ is King over all those places, and His Bride and Body must be His voice in those places. His gospel can undo the mess that racism and a despotic state can make. And the good news is that it will undo that and every other mess.

1 This event was the American War Between the States

2 That expansion of the central government’s power was the ruling class’s purpose behind the Civil Rights Act might seem a controversial statement, but it needn’t be. President Johnson, a onetime champion of Jim Crow, is purported to have said regarding the Civil Rights Act to two Southern Democratic state governors: “I’ll have them niggers voting Democratic for two hundred years.”  While there is a mountain of evidence to support this assertion, Johnson’s quote should suffice.

3 Credit Thabiti Anyabwile with defining the kind of statement as a “gospel juke.”<>система консультантпример пиар компании

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By In Culture, Family and Children, Pro-Life

The Lynching of Adrian Peterson

Adrian_Peterson_2010Adrian Peterson has been my favorite football player since we were both freshman at our respective colleges. My appreciation for him only increased when my favorite football team, the Minnesota Vikings, drafted him in 2007. From that point on, he has been the best running back in the National Football League in an era when the game has made running the football into a relic of a bygone age. When Adrian Peterson touched the ball, you gave him your full attention, lest you miss something glorious. I was devastated for him, when, in the penultimate game of 2011, his anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments were ripped apart. For someone whose career was built on violent cuts and explosive bursts of speed, no one knew if he would ever be the same player again. When he returned to the field less than nine months after the injury (something still unheard of), he wasn’t the same player.

He was better.

He rushed for 2,097 yards, nine yards shy of the single greatest season in the history of the NFL. His performance was astonishing. He lead an extremely mediocre team to an unlikely playoff berth, and was named the league’s most valuable player. His determination to be the very best despite overwhelming odds was and is unlike anything I have ever seen. I even bought the Sports Illustrated which showed him on the cover and chronicled his incredible story, framed it, and hung it in my son’s bedroom. My admiration for him could not have been any higher.

I went to college and spent most of my adult life in Mankato, Minnesota, which is famous as a setting for both Laura Ingalls Wilder’s stories and Minnesota Vikings training camp. Living there means I had heard nearly every sordid tale about the prurient activities of many of my sporting heroes. I knew what professional athletes were like, even before the world caught a glimpse of their lifestyle in the so-called “Love Boat Scandal” of 2005 and especially before the creation of the website deadspin.com. I knew most professional athletes are men who you could safely assume were far from admirable, despite the calculated PR campaigns of their teams which labor to show them “doing things in the community” like teaching children how to exercise at United Way events (which Peyton Manning and Saturday Night Live satirically lampooned here). Professional athletes are like any other man, except with millions of Dollars and a public that treats them like gods walking on earth. So it is understandable why they behave the way they do—gods have no one that they are accountable to after all.

So when it was revealed that Adrian Peterson had more illegitimate children than a renaissance Pope (when one of his illegitimate children was tragically killed) I was extremely disappointed, though not surprised. Sports exists largely as a distraction from the rest of the world, and I was conscious of the fact that the glory of professional athletics is largely a façade, but in the case of Peterson, this did not make it any easier when that façade was ripped away, exposing the rottenness within. One of the great cultural tragedies of America is fatherlessness. Sometimes it is obvious. One of the saddest moments, when the façade of the glory of professional sport is barely able to hold up, is often the night of the NFL draft. It is a moment of joy for young players whose dreams are being realized (and who have just become millionaires). But I cannot help but grieve for them when the beautiful sideline reporter interviews them and asks them what will be the first thing they will do with their newfound wealth, and they reply through their tears, almost axiomatically, “Buy my momma a house.” It is almost always because they grew up without fathers, and their mother served both roles. What is obviously much worse is the fatherlessness we don’t see. Those young men have gone on to buy momma a house, because twenty-two years earlier momma did not have them chopped up and sucked through a tube. This kind of fatherlessness leaves approximately one million dead every, single year.

Were it not for Adrian Peterson’s wealth, and his ability to pay a king’s ransom of child support, the women who bore his illegitimate children very likely would have had them chopped up and sucked through a tube, like so many other unwanted babies. This kind of child abuse, the siring of illegitimate children to be left fatherless is far more grievous than anything Adrian Peterson could have done while wielding a willow branch.

And in case you hadn’t heard, on September 12th, Peterson was indicted in Houston for reckless or negligent injury to a child. Pictures were leaked out of his four year-old boy’s legs who he had whipped with a switch, an instrument of parental discipline that has been part of Southern culture (and especially African-American culture in the South) for generations. Some text messages between Peterson and the boy’s mother were leaked as well, which showed Peterson had thought nothing of the boy’s apparent injuries (other than an accidental strike to the boy’s scrotum) since this was the way in which he was disciplined at the same age.

After viewing the photos, it is more than apparent that Peterson, in my opinion, went way too far in disciplining his son. I do not think discipline should result in cuts and bruises. This however, is not the line which Peterson would draw, and it seems the State of Texas will amend that line for him. It is not however, in my opinion, and contrary to nearly every commentator and possessor of a Twitter account, intentional child abuse. From the evidence that has leaked, Peterson clearly intended to discipline his son. He did not intend to inflict him with a sadistic beating. Despite the result, which I think is indeed abusive, this is an important distinction to make.

What’s most sickening in this entire affair is that most sports commentators, who are compensated to unleash their opinions upon us about all of life (at least when sociological problems invade the glorious façade of sport), and who almost to a man are gleeful proponents of the ongoing secular pansexual revolution and all its attendant ills, at least if their thoughts on Michael Sam betray the rest of their worldview. These are the kind of people who believe Fifty Shades of Grey is a cultural landmark but Ray Rice is the most vile creature to walk the earth. They believe a woman having her baby’s skull punctured by scissors that she might have the same ability to abandon her child that a man has, is a sacred thing, while at the same time having the temerity to call Adrian Peterson misguidedly disciplining his son “abuse.” We are a nation that exalts in child abuse. We are a nation built on the blood of children. Where were these same self-styled “advocates of defenseless children” when NBA players Paul George allegedly offered one million Dollars to his pregnant girlfriend to have an abortion and J.J. Redick allegedly made his girlfriend sign an abortion contract in the event she became pregnant by him. Where were the graphic pictures on the news of what they intended for their children? Of course, as Peter Hitchens notes,

Abortion is the only event that modern liberals think too violent and obscene to portray on TV. This is not because they are squeamish or prudish. It is because if people knew what abortion really looked like, it would destroy their pretence that it is a civilised answer to the problem of what to do about unwanted babies.

We are a culture wracked with guilt over our destruction of the preborn. This is why we so easily erupt in collective outrage—because someone must pay for our guilt. This is why Adrian Peterson has gone through a digital lynching. It is because… he must. But Adrian Peterson’s digital lynching, or even his actual lynching will not assuage our guilt. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can take away Peterson’s and our sin. Adrian Peterson tweeted a photo of a devotional reading at kickoff of his team’s game yesterday (which he was not invited to). It is obvious he professes faith in Jesus Christ. Let us pray that the grace of Jesus Christ radically transforms his life and not just his but our entire child abusing and child-murdering nation.<>раскрутка а оптимизатор

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