Archive | Culture

When free men shall stand…

It is hard to imagine that July 4, 1776 was anything but bittersweet for the men who signed the Declaration. They knew the principles they were standing for, and they knew what it would cost them to stand: “With a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” It would cost them all of that and more.

On July 4, 2016, two-hundred and forty years hence, we find ourselves at another bittersweet moment. Our nation desperately needs leaders and statesmen to stand for principle and to be willing to do so at great personal cost. Where are those leaders? Continue Reading →

Supreme Court refuses to defend religious liberty for pharmacists

Last week, I was at a meeting hosted by The Alliance Defending Freedom. There I was introduced to a Christian family who was ordered by the State of Washington to sell abortion-inducing drugs in their family-owned pharmacy (see their story above). This family and two other pharmacists believe that killing unborn children is wrong, and so they sued the state for relief.

In 2012, a federal court ruled that the law violated the free exercise clause of the first amendment and that the law was “riddled with exemptions for secular conduct, but contain no such exemptions for identical religiously-motivated conduct.”

In 2015, however, a federal appeals court overruled and said that the pharmacists and family must violate their consciences in order to do business in Washington State. The family and the pharmacists appealed their case to the Supreme Court.

This morning, the Supreme Court denied to hear their appeal. It means that the lower court ruling stands and that they cannot do business in Washington State unless they are willing to violate their religious beliefs.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote a dissent against the Supreme Court’s decision, and he was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Clarence Thomas. You need to read this excerpt from the dissent:

“This case is an ominous sign. At issue are Washington State regulations that are likely to make a pharmacist unemployable if he or she objects on religious grounds to dispensing certain prescription medications. There are strong reasons to doubt whether the regulations were adopted for—or that they actually serve—any legitimate purpose. And there is much evidence that the impetus for the adoption of the regulations was hostility to pharmacists whose religious beliefs regarding abortion and contraception are out of step with prevailing opinion in the State. Yet the Ninth Circuit held that the regulations do not violate the First Amendment, and this Court does not deem the case worthy of our time. If this is a sign of how religious liberty claims will be treated in the years ahead, those who value religious freedom have cause for great concern. The Stormans family owns Ralph’s Thriftway, a local grocery store and pharmacy in Olympia, Washington. Devout Christians, the Stormans seek to run their business in accordance with their religious beliefs…. Ralph’s has raised more than ‘slight suspicion’ that the rules challenged here reflect antipathy toward religious beliefs that do not accord with the views of those holding the levers of government power. I would grant certiorari to ensure that Washington’s novel and concededly unnecessary burden on religious objectors does not trample on fundamental rights.” [underline mine]

The fortunes of religious liberty are waning in our country right now. The notion has been diminishing in the popular consciousness, and now the Supreme Court is declining to defend our first freedom as well. Alito is right, this is a “cause for great concern.” If the state can ignore the first amendment and coerce these Christians to violate their conscience, then the state can do anything.

Memorial Day in the twilight of a great republic

052916_2029_1.pngFour months after the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, President Lincoln dedicated a national cemetery where many of the fallen Union soldiers were buried. At the dedication, Lincoln gave a speech for the ages, the one we now know as the Gettysburg Address. The speech is short, but the conclusion is one worth revisiting this Memorial Day weekend: Continue Reading →

A one-legged man trapped inside a two-legged man’s body. Amputate?

At the heart of the transgender revolution is the notion that psychological identity trumps bodily identity. In this way of thinking, a person is whatever they think themselves to be. If a girl perceives herself to be a boy, then she is one even if her biology says otherwise. If a boy perceives himself to be a girl, then he is one even if his biology says otherwise. Gender is self-determined, not determined by the sexual differences that the Creator has embedded into every cell of our bodies.

Have Americans thought through the implications of believing that one’s psychological identity should trump one’s biological identity when the two seem to be out of sync? I am doubtful that we have. Continue Reading →

President Obama: Accept Transgenderism or Else

By the time you read this, the news will be all over the country. The New York Times reports that President Obama has released a letter directing every public school in the country to recognize and accept transgender identities. In particular, the directive has to do with bathroom and locker room use. Here’s the relevant excerpt from the report:

The Obama administration is planning to issue a sweeping directive telling every public school district in the country to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity.
Continue Reading →

Is there a difference between male and female?

This is not intended to be funny. It’s intended to reveal that as a culture we have become completely unmoored from reality. These college students are not outliers. Many young men and women have been weaned on the idea that there is no difference between men and women.Yes, there may be biological differences, but those biological differences have no necessary relationship to one’s identity.

These students have drunk deeply from the well of propaganda flowing from the gender studies department. As a result, they don’ t know the difference between male and female, and they don’t seem too concerned about it.

This is the unraveling of a civilization. The downstream effects of this confusion will not be happy for us. What you are seeing here is a willingness to abandon reason and common sense in order to prop-up fictional identities. To put it in theological terms, it’s “suppressing the truth in unrighteousness” (Rom. 1:18). It’s evicting God’s revelation about the way things are in order to ensconce an anthropological fiction.

But at the end of the day, water will wet you. Fire will burn. Two plus two still equals four. There are things that do not change no matter how much the sexual revolutionaries might wish them away. The only question is how long our culture will go along with their fictions.

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion…” -Gen. 1:27-28

A majority of millennials reject capitalism

The Washington Post reports on a survey indicating that a majority of millennials reject capitalism:

In an apparent rejection of the basic principles of the U.S. economy, a new poll shows that most young people do not support capitalism.

The Harvard University survey, which polled young adults between ages 18 and 29, found that 51 percent of respondents do not support capitalism. Just 42 percent said they support it.

It isn’t clear that the young people in the poll would prefer some alternative system, though. Just 33 percent said they supported socialism. The survey had a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points.

The report goes on to say that it is difficult to interpret exactly what this data mean. It seems clear, however, that this represents a signficant shift. Taken together with the fact that Senator Bernie Sanders, an avowed socialist, has run a viable campaign for the Democratic nomination, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the ground is moving beneath our feet.

Albert Mohler comments on all this on his daily podcast “The Briefing.” You can download it here or listen below.

Mohler argues that many millennials are bereft of a basic economic worldview. They don’t like the way things are, but they don’t have a plan or view beyond that. Furthermore, there is a basic misunderstanding about what a free market economy is and how it operates. All of that adds up to rejection of capitalism on the one hand and to ad hoc government imposed solutions on the other.

Eugene Peterson and Bono talk about the Psalms

From the YouTube description:

This short film documents the friendship between Bono (lead musician of the band U2) and Eugene Peterson (author of contemporary-language Bible translation The Message) revolving around their common interest in the Psalms. Based on interviews conducted by Fuller Seminary faculty member David Taylor and produced in association with Fourth Line Films, the film highlights in particular a conversation on the Psalms that took place between Bono, Peterson, and Taylor at Peterson’s Montana home. Continue Reading →

This is not the right side of history… University of Washington edition

The video above came out last week from The Family Policy Institute of Washington. It began making the rounds over the weekend after David French posted it at National Review. It is a stunning look at the way college kids think (or don’t think) about the moral revolution that is upon us. I offered brief remarks on Twitter, which you can read below. Continue Reading →

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