Posts Tagged ‘ABC News’

The Church and the Mainstream

April 27, 2014

Last week there was an article at YahooNews asking the question whether Evangelicals are out of  touch with mainstream views.

As a part of a special Easter week discussion on religion, Graham told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz that gays could go to heaven if they repent.

“Maybe gays that are watching want to know, ‘Can God forgive me? Or can I go to heaven as a gay person?’ Absolutely. But the same for any of us. We have to repent of our sins in turn. A person cannot stay in adultery and be accepted by God. You’ll have to repent,” said Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

“Franklin Graham is a sinner, and I’m no better than a gay person. I’m a sinner,” he added. “But I’ve been forgiven, and I’ve turned from my sins. For any person that’s willing to repent in turn, God will forgive.”

ABC News’ Cokie Roberts replied: “A lot of gay people feel that they are sinners, but not because they’re gay.”

In the last decade, public opinion has swung dramatically on key issues pertaining to gay rights, including gay marriage and adoption. An ABC News/Washington Post poll from March found approval for same-sex marriage at an all-time high: 59 percent of total respondents said they approve, including 75 percent of respondents under 30 years old.

While evangelical Christians overall are more likely to disapprove of same-sex marriage, younger evangelicals are nearly split on this issue: 43 percent of evangelicals under 30 years old said they approve of the idea.

The same poll also found that a majority of Americans, 61 percent, also now approve of gay adoption.

“The reason the numbers have changed so fast and so dramatically on this question of gay marriage is because everybody in America now has experience with someone who is gay,” Roberts said. “People have come out of the closet and said, ‘I am your brother. I am your sister. I am your cousin. I am your friend.’ And then they have seen these families raising children and see these loving families.”

Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, noted that overwhelmingly states still define marriage as being between a man and woman, while voicing his belief that laws should be written based on an “ideal” for families.

“I think that the social science is just simply not in yet on same-sex couples, and I think the law has every right to set an ideal, and the ideal is a mother and father,” he said.

Politically, the majority of evangelical leaders – 82 percent – think evangelicals’ influence is waning in the U.S., according to a 2011 Pew poll. Simultaneously, church attendance and membership is at record lows in the U.S.

Putting aside the questions of same-sex marriage and homosexuality generally, of which too much has been written, the question asked is whether the Church should strive to conform with what is popular, mainstream, or politically correct or should the Church uphold the teachings of the Gospel even if they are considered to be unpopular, strange, or hateful. I think that anyone who has studied the Bible to any extent must conclude that the Christian Church must take the latter position. I would even go so far to say that a church that is considered popular and mainstream by the world may not be doing its job very well.

Jesus himself said that Christians ought not to expect to be popular.

18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. ( John 15:18-20)

And:

12 “But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 And so you will bear testimony to me. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 Everyone will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 Stand firm, and you will win life.

The Apostle John writes:

15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15-17)

And the Apostle Paul:

14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? (2 Cor 6:14-16)

Christians, then, must be counter-cultural. We live in the world but are not of the world. Our true citizenship is of Heaven and it is Heaven’s values we must follow. Since the world and Heaven oppose each other, we ought not to expect to be politically correct. I think C. S. Lewis put it very well in Mere Christianity.

One of the things that surprised me when I first read the New Testament seriously was that it talked so much about a Dark Power in the universe—a mighty evil spirit who was held to be the Power behind death and disease, and sin. The difference is that Christianity thinks this Dark Power was created by God, and was good when he was created, and went wrong. Christianity agrees with Dualism that this universe is at war. But it does not think this is a war between independent powers. It thinks it is a civil war, a rebellion, and that we are living ma part of the universe occupied by the rebel. 
    Enemy-occupied territory—that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage. When you go to church you are really listening–in to the secret wireless from our friends: that is why the enemy is so anxious to prevent us from going. He does it by playing on our conceit and laziness and intellectual snobbery. I know someone will ask me, ‘Do you really mean, at this time of day, to re-introduce our old friend the devil-—hoofs and horns and all?’ Well, what the time of day has to do with it I do not know. And I am not particular about the hoofs and horns. But in other respects my answer is ‘Yes, I do. I do not claim to know anything about his personal appearance. If anybody really wants to know him better I would say to that person. ‘Don’t worry. If you really want to, you will. Whether you’ll like it when you do is another question.’

If I could extend Lewis’s World War II analogy a bit further, as Christians we are members of the resistance fighting for our King against a usurper. When we go to church we are attending meetings of our cell. The Bible is the secret instructions from our true King. If a church strives to uphold the values of this world, it is in effect taking instructions from collaborators working for the invaders.If you look back through the history of Christianity, it is always when the Church follows the world that Christianity goes bad. Think of the horrible medieval popes who were more concerned with Italian politics than proclaiming the Word of God. Think of the religious wars during the Reformation gave up on God’s way of settling differences and decided to use the world’s way of bloodshed. Think of corrupt television preachers, more concerned with living well instead of doing good or liberal denominations who are so intent on following the world that their churches are empty.

The decline in attendance is a concern; obviously we want to reach as many people as possible. Still, we must not forget the mission of the Church. The whole purpose of the Christian Church is to get souls into Heaven. Everything else is secondary. It does no one any good at all if a church fills its pews by watering down or diluting the Gospel. In fact, to continue the analogy, such a church is a little like agents provocateur send by the enemy to capture would be resistance fighters. We want to make the message attractive to save as many as possible, but we must always make such that we are proclaiming the true message that saves.

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Miss Him Yet?

April 23, 2013

I have always thought that it is unfair that George W. Bush left office with the lowest poll numbers since Nixon and with a consensus by presidential historians that he was a failure as president. I would not say that Bush was the greatest president in American history, or even that he deserves to be rated among the top ten. Still, he was not a failure. If Bush’s media coverage had not been so unrelentingly negative, he might been more popular when he left office. If the media did their jobs and actually covered President Obama, instead of being his lap-dog, it is likely that Obama’s favorability ratings would be even lower than Bush’s. As for the historians, it is obviously too early to make any sort of balanced assessment of Bush’s presidency and I think that his low ranking among historians is more a reflection of their political biases then any considered reflections on his presidency.

I have also thought that over time, the public and historical perception of George W. Bush would improve somewhat. Harry Truman was also very unpopular when he left office, yet many people today regard him as one of our better presidents. I thought that this process might take somewhere between twenty and fifty years. It seems, however, that the public perception of George W. Bush is improving more quickly that I expected. Bush’s presidential library opens this week, and his approval ratings are up, according to the Washington Post.

George W. Bush will return to the spotlight this week for the dedication of his presidential library, an event likely to trigger fresh public debate about his eight fateful years in office. But he reemerges with a better public image than when he left Washington more than four years ago.

Since then, Bush has absented himself from both policy disputes and political battles. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll suggests that the passage of time and Bush’s relative invisibility have been beneficial to a chief executive who left office surrounded by controversy.

Days before his second term ended in 2009, Bush’s approval rating among all adults was 33 percent positive and 66 percent negative. The new poll found 47 percent saying they approve and 50 percent saying they disapprove. Among registered voters, his approval rating today is equal to President Obama’s, at 47 percent, according to the latest Post-ABC surveys.

Majorities said they still dis­approve of Bush’s performance on the Iraq war and the economy, but his economic approval numbers nearly doubled between December 2008 and today, from 24 percent to 43 percent, with 53 percent disapproving. Iraq remains the most troublesome part of his legacy. Today, 57 percent say they disapprove of his decision to invade, though that is down from 65 percent in the spring of 2008, the last time the question was asked.

Much of the reason for this improvement in Bush’s ratings is due to his decision to stay out of the public eye. Bush hasn’t been aggressively promoting himself but has stayed at his ranch. He does make speeches, etc, but he seems content to no longer be at the center of things, and maybe that is not something he ever really wanted. Of course, no matter what happens, the liberals are going to hate George Bush. They can’t live without hatred.

Another reason might be that compared to his successor, Bush’s record doesn’t look at all bad. And, say what you will about Bush at least he didn’t feel the need to apologize for America to every tin-pot tyrant and Muslim terrorist.

I do.

I do.

Moving on Gun Control

January 7, 2013

It would seem that President Obama is going to move ahead with some form of gun control policy in the next few months. Now, there are two way in which he could go about this. One would be to meet with Congressional leaders of both parties and even with gun rights advocates such as the NRA and craft legislation that would be acceptable to a broad base of the American public. Such legislation wouldn’t amount to much and would probably have no real effect on gun ownership or gun crimes, but he, or a future Democratic president, could use such legislation as a precedent for the more draconian anti-gun laws they really want. This would be gun control and eventual confiscation by slow degrees, and would have a good chance of succeeding. The other option would be for Obama to propose a series of wide ranging restrictions on gun ownership, which would be certain to arouse opposition in Congress from all the Republicans and many Democrats. He could demonize the NRA and gun owners generally as fiends who want to see children murdered and, when it became obvious that his proposals had little chance of getting through Congress, simply enact as much as he could through executive orders.

Knowing President Obama, which course do you think he will follow? My guess would that he will pursue option two. Obama does not seem to be interested in any sort of incremental action. He wants to be a transformative president. Obamacare could have passed a whole lot more easily as a series of small acts than as the unpopular monstrosity it became, but that is not Obama’s style.

This story in ABCNews suggests that I might be right.

US president Barack Obama is reportedly considering implementing the most comprehensive gun control measures seen in decades.

A task force led by vice-president Joe Biden is reportedly considering wide-ranging proposals going well beyond simply reinstating a ban on assault weapons and high capacity ammunition.

The Washington Post reports that a national data base tracking gun sales, mental health checks, and background checks are all on the table.

And in a move that is set to anger opponents of gun control, the taskforce is reportedly looking at measures that can be implemented by the president’s order without the approval of Congress.

The White House is understood to want swift action while the public remains outraged over the deaths of 20 children and six adults in the Newtown school shooting in Connecticut last month.

Some reports suggest Mr Obama will have the proposals on his table within weeks.

Democrat congressman Chris Van Hollen says any approach the Obama administration takes must be comprehensive.

“The argument against gun safety provisions is always because it doesn’t solve everything we shouldn’t do anything and I don’t subscribe to that,” he said.

“I believe we need a comprehensive approach, we need to look at all the different elements here and just because a particular effort won’t prevent something in one particular incident, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do anything that might help in other incidents.

“Right now you can be on the terrorist watch list, you can be prevented from boarding an aeroplane, but you can go down the street and buy a semiautomatic assault weapon.”

With the new Congress sworn in just days ago, 10 different bills are already on the table dealing with gun laws separate to Mr Obama’s working group.

So, he is going to move fast and he is not going to pay to much attention to the what the law or constitution says about the matter. Now might be a good time to stock up on ammunition. It is probably a terrific time to invest in gun manufacturers’ stocks. And, if things keep going the way they have been, it might be a good idea to prepare for another Civil War.

The Shroud of Turin

March 4, 2012

I had thought that it was settled that the famous Shroud of Turin was made in the Medieval Period and so is not the cloth that Jesus was buried in. It turns out, though, that the issue of the Shroud’s age and origin is far from settled. According to ABCnews.

Has the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin finally been proven?

A new study by Italian scientists may not be definitive on its origins, but it does refute the popular notion that it was faked during the Middle Ages.

Experts at Italy’s National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Developmenthave concluded in a report that the famed purported burial cloth of Jesus Christ could not have been faked.

According to the Vatican Insider, a project by La Stampa newspaper that closely follows the Catholic church, the experts’ report says, “The double image (front and back) of a scourged and crucified man, barely visible on the linen cloth of the Shroud of Turin has many physical and chemical characteristics that are so particular that the staining which is identical in all its facets, would be impossible to obtain today in a laboratory … This inability to repeat (and therefore falsify) the image on the Shroud makes it impossible to formulate a reliable hypothesis on how the impression was made.”

The centuries-old shroud contains a faint impression of the front and back of a human body, along with blood, dirt and water stains from age.

Many have long questioned the shroud’s authenticity, and others have suggested that it was faked during medieval times.

The Italian researchers, who conducted dozens of hours of tests with X-rays and ultraviolet lights, said that no laser existed to date that could replicate the singular nature of markings on the shroud. They also said that the kind of markings on the cloth could not have come from direct contact of the body with the linen.

Previous investigation has determined the markings could not have come from pigments or dyes.

The Italian scientists said the  marks could only have been made by “a short and intense burst of VUV directional radiation.”

Such technology did not exist in the time the skeptics claim the shroud could have been forged.

Just a quick scan of the Wikipedia article reveals that almost no aspect of the Shroud’s history is without controversy and the more tests that are done on it, the less they seem to be certain of. No one seems to have a good idea how the image was formed. Even if the Shroud were dated to the first century, it wouldn’t mean that it was Christ’s burial cloth, but there would still be the question of how it was made.

For my part, I doubt the Shroud is genuine if for no other reason than there seems to be no historical records of the Shroud before 1390, and no good account of how the Shroud was transported from Palestine to northern Italy. I would think that such a relic would get a lot attention, with every movement recorded. This mystery, although a minor matter, does show how little we really know about the world we live in.

 

Русский: Спас Отпечаток лика Христа на Туринск...

The face of Jesus?

 

 

Perry’s Out

January 19, 2012

Rick Perry has dropped out of the Presidential race and has endorsed Newt Gingrich. From Fox News.

Rick Perry dropped out of the presidential race Thursday and endorsed Newt Gingrich, a move that comes just two days before the South Carolina Republican primary.

The Texas governor, saying he will return to his state “with pride,” announced in South Carolina that “there is no viable path forward for me in this 2012 campaign.”

After surging to the front of the GOP field upon entering the race last summer, Perry struggled to sustain that support and endured disappointing finishes in the leadoff Iowa and New Hampshire contests. He said Thursday he entered the race with a “sense of calling,” but realizes “when it’s time to make a strategic retreat.”

I’m surprised he has lasted this long. Meanwhile Gingrich has been having troubles of his own, namely his ex-wife Marrianne giving an interview on ABC news.

Newt Gingrich lacks the moral character to serve as President, his second ex-wife Marianne told ABC News, saying his campaign positions on the sanctity of marriage and the importance of family values do not square with what she saw during their 18 years of marriage.

In her first television interview since the 1999 divorce, to be broadcast tonight on Nightline, Marianne Gingrich, a self-described conservative Republican, said she is coming forward now so voters can know what she knows about Gingrich.

In her most provocative comments, the ex-Mrs. Gingrich said Newt sought an “open marriage” arrangement so he could have a mistress and a wife.

She said when Gingrich admitted to a six-year affair with a Congressional aide, he asked her if she would share him with the other woman, Callista, who is now married to Gingrich.

I guess the moral is that if you want to run for president, you shouldn’t ask your wife for an “open” marriage. Newt is supposed to be really smart, but I doubt many married men are foolish enough to suggest something like that to their wives.

Obama Assassination Tempting?

November 25, 2011

That is what the President of the College Republicans at UT Austin had to say.

Hours after Pennsylvania State Police arrested a 21-year-old Idaho man for allegedly firing a semi-automatic rifle at the White House, the top student official for the College Republicans at the University of Texas tweeted that the idea of assassinating President Obama was “tempting.”

At 2:29 p.m. ET, UT’s Lauren E. Pierce wrote: “Y’all as tempting as it may be, don’t shoot Obama. We need him to go down in history as the WORST president we’ve EVER had! #2012.”

Pierce, the president of the College Republicans at UT Austin, told ABC News the comment was a “joke” and that the “whole [shooting incident] was stupid.” Giggling, she said that an attempted assassination would “only make the situation worse.”

I know it was just a joke but I think that it was a bad one. I think we should leave the jokes and fantasies about assassinating people to the loony left and the Occupy Wall Street crowd.


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