Disease vs. Sin

Cardinal Wilfred Napier has made a rather interesting—though certainly not uncommon—claim. He says that paedophilia (in certain circumstances) is not a crime, but a disease that needs to be treated. Here is the full quote:

“Now don’t tell me that those people are criminally responsible like somebody who chooses to do something like that. I don’t think you can really take the position and say that person deserves to be punished. He was himself damaged.”

He is referring to people who were abused themselves as children. But a huge problem appears in his last sentence. Which human being is not damaged? We all are damaged, not only by our past, but even more so by our sin nature. We are corrupt at our core, and if “damage” frees us from criminal responsibility, then where do we stop?

Diseases and sin are not mutually exclusive. Whatever the reason, violating God’s will is a sin. Sin deserves to be punished. What role the government plays in that is an important issue, but when it comes to God, he does punish sin. Thankfully, all sin has been punished in the person of Jesus Christ. For those who believe that he died for our sins and rose again, turning to him as the only hope for cleansing, God exchanges our sins for his righteousness. This is good news, much better news than trying to figure out who has been damaged enough by their past to be free from criminal responsibility.



PETA vs the Possum Drop

For several years PETA has had its sights on the tiny community of Brasstown, NC. When there is so much cruelty toward animals in this world, what atrocities are the fine folks of Brasstown guilty of? Well, every New Years Eve, they gather at Clay’s Corner (a convenience store owned by Clay Logan, which sits in the corner of Clay County) and ring in the New Year with gospel, patriotic, and bluegrass music, some silly skits, and then at midnight they lower a opossum in a plexiglass cage. Oh, the humanity!

PETA is suing the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission saying that they can’t issue a permit for Mr. Logan to trap and hold a opossum for the event. The Wildlife Commission disagrees, but a judge in Raleigh refused the state’s request to have the suit dismissed.

Logan continues to maintain that the opossum is never harmed. It is trapped, fed the best dog food money can buy, kept in his Plexiglass cage, slowly lowered to the ground, and then released. PETA, however, vehemently disagrees. “This is a shy, wild animal, and when you hang it crying in a Plexiglass cage—you wouldn’t want to do that to you own cat or dog. Even if it could be established that the particular opossum is not harmed or stressed, it is still against the law.”

I didn’t notice the opossum crying when I attended the event a couple of years ago. Maybe  PETA has secret cameras that zoomed in on the opossum’s eyes and discovered this travesty.

While Clay Logan has not stated his intentions if the judges put a stop to it, the state’s assistant attorney general says that it would be perfectly legal for Mr. Logan to kill a opossum, put it in the freezer, and lower the dead body on New Year’s Eve. I wonder what PETA would think of that?

But surely we all know—you do know, don’t you—that PETA is not overly concerned about opossums, right? They are, however, overly concerned about themselves. For cars do far more damage to opossums every year than Clay Logan will do in his lifetime. Where is the outcry against driving on rural roads in known opossum habitats?

But the bigger issue is where is the outcry against PETA for clogging the courts with useless lawsuits against a man and his opossums. When there are so many other issues worth fighting for, why do we put up with this nonsense?

Last year, when PETA threatened a protest, I read people’s comments on a news blog. Several talked about drunk, backwoods idiots from the mountains of North Carolina. First, unlike lots of New Year’s Eve bashes, this one involves no alcohol; it’s clean fun that honors our country which gives the right to people like those at PETA and bigots like those bloggers to say what they want to say and file wasteful lawsuits. And many of those have and will fight for their right to continue to do that.

Delaware: Another First

Not only was Delaware the first state of the union, they appear to be the first state to possibly outlaw spanking. Senate Bill 234, which has been signed by the governor states in § 1103A

Child Abuse in the second degree; class G felony
A person is guilty of child abuse in the second degree when:
(1) The person intentionally or recklessly causes physical injury to a child who is 3 years of age or younger;

In and of itself that doesn’t seem to say anything about spanking, but in the definition section, we read these words:

“Physical injury” to a child shall mean any impairment of physical condition or pain.

This certainly would include spanking.

What is interesting is that in § 1103 we read these words:
Child Abuse in the third degree; class A misdemeanor.
(a) A person is guilty of child abuse in the third degree when:
(1) The person recklessly or intentionally causes physical injury to a child through an act of abuse and/or neglect of such child

While both could include spanking, if one wanted to push the envelope a little, couldn’t this second section include all kinds of things if the state got out of control. A silly example: when I taught all three of my children to ride their bikes, I knew without a doubt that they would fall. I was putting them, intentionally in a situation where pain would ensue. And it did. At some point in time, all of my children fell once the training wheels were off. And I did this on purpose!

As I said, a silly example. Nevertheless, when a nanny state takes over, all kinds of ludicrous interpretations ensue. While the state claims that easier prosecution of legitimate abuse cases is what they are after, not parental corporal punishment, couldn’t the difference hinge on who is interpreting the statute? And because of this, the law needs to be amended to allow an exception for parental corporal punishment. But of course, then the state will need to start defining more terms and more terms.

And thus the age old problem continues: in trying to protect some, whose rights do we trample on to do so.

The U.N. and the Muslim Uprising

A couple of days ago, I posted about the White House’s attempt to get the video pulled from google to help stem the violence in the Middle East and other parts of the world.

Now the U.N. has jumped into the fray as well. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon gave his opinion on what constituted free speech. Here are a sampling of quote. Note, these quotes were taken from the article on Reuters. I have been unable to find the source or the actual text of what Ki-moon stated. It is possible that in the past he has condemned hateful rhetoric toward Christians as well, but I have searched some of his speeches and have been unable to find a statement toward that effect either.

“Freedoms of expression should be and must be guaranteed and protected, when they are used for common justice, common purpose.”

“When some people use this freedom of expression to provoke or humiliate some others’ values and beliefs, then this cannot be protected in such a way.”

“My position is that freedom of expression, while it is a fundamental right and privilege, should not be abused by such people, by such a disgraceful and shameful act.”

So again, where is the outrage against the humiliation of Christian values and beliefs? No one that I have read seems appalled at this blatant double standard. Could it be that the world is still too afraid of the terrorists to call out this hypocrisy. Have the terrorists already won?

Google, The White House, and the Arab Uprising

The White House asked google to take down the video that has caused the uprising and death in the Middle East. The request was couched in the belief that it violated google’s terms of service. Google has already taken it down in certain countries because “…it is illegal…” in those countries according to Google. The article does not say what terms of service the video violated.

But the whole article raises my curiosity: if the video insulting Mohammed supposedly violates Google’s terms of service, why don’t videos insulting Jesus violate Google’s terms of service? And don’t think there aren’t any. You might try a Google search.

Of course if we took down videos insulting Jesus, then we might be violating someone’s free speech rights. And we can’t have that, now can we—well as long as people don’t riot and kill folks. And since true Christians are peace loving people, enduring persecution and insult as our Savior did, well, then it’s ok, now isn’t it. The double standard is appalling.

“You Didn’t Build That”

If you haven’t seen or heard this quote yet from our president, you should know that both sides of the aisle are responding to it inappropriately. It occurred in a speech in VA. Here is the entire text. Many, many people have jumped on the line, ripped out of context that says, “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.” There’s even a website.

So, three questions for those who like to repeat, repost, and defame our president with this line:

1. Did you read the entire speech?

2. Do you understand why context matters?

3. Why didn’t you quote this line from the president in the same speech: “when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative”

By the way, that line is also taken out of context, too, but that doesn’t mean that the other side should start quoting that either. Truth is always to be fought for and preserved regardless of how badly we want to win.

But the other side of the political aisle has also made a folly. On Obama’s Truth Team website, they claim that the that in his quote, clearly refers to roads and bridges, not business. They are wrong. After listening to the speech, I would agree that is what Obama meant, but the grammar certainly does not refer to roads and bridges. Grammatically, that refers to business.  A mistake? A poorly written speech? Maybe, but let’s put the-need-to-defend-or-defame-at-all-costs aside and speak the truth.

Book Review: The Rise of Evangelicalism

I am a sucker for footnotes. So much so that I find myself rather pessimistic about the veracity of someone’s claim if they don’t tell me where I can go and see some proof. Therefore, I loved Mark Noll’s The Rise of Evangelicalism. While by his own admission, this walk through much of the 18th century’s wrestlings with its religious direction is by necessity incomplete, Noll provides ample opportunities to follow up on the personalities, places, movements, and thoughts of the time.

And therein lies the problem with the book. How do I have the time to read all those other books I now want to read—feel I need to read to better understand where I came from as an evangelical? And where do I get the money to buy all those books?

Thankfully, Noll does a great job of detailing the main movements and moods of the time to paint a picture of a rapidly transforming society in terms of its religious understandings, especially in relation to the church/state issues of the day.

As the subtitle suggests, Noll spends a great deal of time tracing the impact on the rest of the Atlantic world of three men: Edwards, Whitefield, and Wesley. But the book does not avoid how these men were impacted by their environments and others, especially the Moravians impact on Wesley himself.

Noll deals with the early European and American environments that lead to the revivals of the 18th century and then how these revivals lead to both the unification and diversification of the evangelical movement. He also deals with how the new view of the self in relation to the church affected those on the margins of society, spending a good deal of time discussing evangelicals relations to slaves, the slave trade, and the issues of justice and the impact on society.

21st century Christians need to know where we come from, why we do what we do, and what the church looked like before our “style” of Christianity came into vogue. Noll does a fine job of painting this picture and helping the reader to see that church has not always been done the way we do it now. Hopefully, this can be helpful for us to see that our individualism and what’s-in-it-for-me mentality are relatively new phenomena that were birthed in the desire to reform the state church in the 18th century. For good or bad, we are left with this legacy that gathered steam and became known as evangelicalism.

I will refer to this book again as well as make use of his extensive bibliography in further study of this era of American history. For those who are interested in learning more about Edwards, Whitefield, or Wesley, this would be a fine primer.