Archive | Culture

When sexual orientation breaks from the norm

On a recent episode of NPR’s “This American Life,” Luke Malone filed a report on people who report having a minority sexual orientation. These people have an enduring pattern of sexual attraction that does not match the norm. Malone argues that such folks must deny themselves the pleasure of acting on their attractions, no matter how strongly they feel them. He says there needs to be a plan to help them abstain:

Imagine being a teenager and being told never to act on your sexual feelings ever for the rest of your life. That’s what we’re asking of these people. At the moment, there is no clear plan for how to do that. But maybe there should be.

What happens when a teenager is asked not to act on his sexual feelings? According to the article, denying such urges can cause depression, self-loathing, and fear. Nevertheless, Malone insists that such persons must abstain from acting on such attractions, and they must refrain for the rest of their lives.

If you read the article, I’m certain that you will agree that such people must not act on their orientation. For them to do so would be immoral, harmful, and evil. Why? Because everyone recognizes that it is not just the behavior that is wrong but also the attraction.

It is common today to say that sexual orientation is a fixed, immutable characteristic. It is cruel and discriminatory, therefore, to require anyone to deny the attractions that they feel they were born with. What this report shows is that you cannot give a moral assessment of sexual behavior merely on the basis of one’s orientation. Some people’s attractions–even if experienced from a very early age–are wrong and should be changed. The moral assessment of both the orientation and the behavior that comes from it must be made on other grounds.

Some of this is difficult to read. But if you want to read a transcript of the report, start about halfway down the webpage at “Act Two: Help Wanted.” You can download the audio here or listen below. Start at 30:15.

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Are conscientious Christians the new Jim Crow?

Kirsten Powers argues in USA Today that Kansas’ recent effort to protect religious freedom is akin to enacting Jim Crow laws. She writes:

What’s the matter with Kansas? A bill protecting the religious freedom of businesses and individuals to refuse services to same-sex couples passed the state House of Representatives last week. It was blessedly killed in the state Senate on Tuesday…

Christians backing this bill are essentially arguing for homosexual Jim Crow laws.

She goes on to argue that Christian business owners have an obligation to serve people they disagree with because that’s what Jesus taught us to do. She invokes Pastor Andy Stanley for support on this point:

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A Fundamentalist vs. Robbie George & Cornell West

Last week, Robbie George and Cornell West visited Swarthmore College to host a public discussion about “what it means for intellectuals to learn from each other despite deep differences on important questions.” As many of you know, George is a renowned conservative while West is a well-known liberal. Both have had distinguished academic careers and have held professorships at Princeton University.

I watched the video of their meeting last week. The most interesting part of the discussion occurred when the Q&A period began. The first question out of the box came from a student who wanted to inquire about George’s public opposition to gay marriage. This is what the student said in his own words. Continue Reading →

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“My Beautiful Woman”: Powerful Pro-life Message


The video above may well be the most powerful pro-life movie you’ll ever see. It is not produced by Christians. In fact, it was produced by a lingerie company. Nevertheless, it reveals the inherit value of every human life—a fact that is written across every person’s conscience. I don’t want to spoil the end, but I will say this. It is worth seven minutes to watch. Very powerful. Continue Reading →

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Wheaton students protest Rosaria Butterfield

Over the weekend, I read the news of Rosaria Champagne Butterfield’s recent visit to Wheaton College. The reports I read focused on a demonstration led by Wheaton students who were concerned about Butterfield’s testimony. It’s no surprise when students on a secular university campus stage a public protest against Butterfield. But it is quite surprising when about a hundred students demonstrate at an evangelical bastion like Wheaton. The question is this: Why did these students feel the need to demonstrate? Continue Reading →

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The simplest explanation for bias in the press

I really miss Richard John Neuhaus. His regular commentary in the “On the Square” section of First Things was worth the price of the journal. He could always see right through to the heart of an issue and then expound and reprove with wit and humor. There was no one like him.

In 2006, he wrote a short bit about bias among news reporters. It’s devastating and hilarious all at once. I bring it to your attention in case you have grown frustrated with the kind of reporting that we’ve had to endure in recent days. There is nothing new under the sun. Enjoy. Continue Reading →

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Complementarian conviction under the microscope

Candace Cameron Bure is perhaps best known for her role as a child star on the 80′s sitcom “Full House.” Like her brother Kirk Cameron, she has grown up to be an outspoken Christian. She has been in the news lately promoting her new book Balancing It All: My Story of Juggling Priorities and Purpose. In the book, she promotes what looks to be a complementarian view of gender roles in her marriage. I have not read the book, but I have read the passage that is raising eyebrows in her media appearances. She writes, Continue Reading →

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Miley Cyrus and the Moral Gag-reflex

John Stonestreet suggests that Miley Cyrus may have pushed the envelope too far, even for our hypersexualized American Culture. He writes:

It’s too soon to call it a “reformation of manners” but a backlash to what one recent author called our cultural vulgarity is already asserting itself—not via the boycotts of angry culture warriors but by some of the unlikeliest cultural allies in politics, the media, and the music industry. For example, several celebrities have spoken out who’ve been repulsed by the shameless pornification of “entertainers” such as Miley Cyrus…

Now, many of these new allies have little on which to base their revulsion of the new vulgarity other than their feelings. They know it’s destructive and hurtful to women, children, and families, but they don’t know why. And that’s where Christians can step in with a little gentle teaching about worldview. We might even be surprised at their response.

I am not sanguine that our culture has reached a limit to its tolerance of moral decay. But I agree that Christians certainly do have an opportunity to bear witness to those whose consciences are pricked by the darkness. You can read the rest here, download the audio here, or listen to the commentary below.

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Goodbye to the old year

I’ve been a fan of Eric Peters since 1995, but thanks to the Rabbit Room for reminding me of his more recent single “The Old Year.” Very apropos for tonight. Listen to the song below, but be sure to go and download it here.

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Man gets disability benefits for heavy metal addiction

A 42-year old Swedish man named Roger Tullgren has successfully lobbied his government to get his obsession with heavy metal music classified as a disability. You’re going to have to read this to believe it:

Because heavy metal dominates so many aspects of his life, the Employment Service has agreed to pay part of Tullgren’s salary. His new boss meanwhile has given him a special dispensation to play loud music at work.

“I have been trying for ten years to get this classified as a handicap,” Tullgren told The Local.
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