If a minor can do that, then why not…

Belgium is considering allowing certain minors to decide if euthanasia is right for them. They believe that some have the capacity to decide their future. So, what does that say about other issues that minors supposedly can’t decide: alcohol consumption, sex with an adult? But maybe Belgium, at this point, doesn’t prohibit these things either. But as the U.S., in some areas, desires to follow it’s more enlightened forebears, this is not an issue that we should ignore. Ultimately the government will decide who can and who cannot decide, and it is the government that wants control of life, especially children.

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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.

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.

An Apology Because I Don’t Trust You

Dr. Robert Spitzer has apologized to the gay community for a ten-year old study which claimed some gays could, through reparative therapy, go straight. He now says the study was flawed because how can one know for sure if the people who claimed to have changed were actually telling the truth. He says this despite earlier believing that certain aspects of the accounts couldn’t simply be dismissed. All fine and well. Except for one thing. If we can’t trust someone who claims they have gone straight, how can we trust someone who says they are gay?

Does he think the people who claimed they had changed were lying, confused, deceived, pressured? Why can’t those same criteria be applied to those who say they are gay? I know, I’ve heard it before, why would anyone claim to be gay and undergo such backlash by family, friends, the church? Why humans put themselves into situations where they are persecuted is multifaceted. But what is clear by a cursory view of human behavior both now and throughout history is that humans often do things for inexplicable reasons that bring them trouble. And they often do things for inexplicable reasons that allow them to remain “safe” and out of trouble, as is claimed of those who were changed through reparative therapy.

To say that those who were changed from gay to straight were wrong—for whatever reason—invites the same query of those who claim they are gay in the first place. For good or ill, this conversation needs to have a level playing field.

Interpretation and Dialogue?

After President Obama’s announcement that he supports the right of homosexuals to marry, people have weighed in on both sides with renewed fervor. Or does it just seem that way? The dialogue (if we dare call it that) has been going on for a long time; though, I’m not sure dialogue is the right word. It is more along the lines of sound bites and rehashed phrases with little substantive argument on either side, at least in the public square.

For instance, NPR has an article front and center today—2nd article, middle column. The article shows people on both sides of the issue using the Bible for their purposes. The article even has someone quoting the oft used line,

“‘When you read the Bible, you can find justification for almost anything,’ she says, ‘including slavery, the subjection of women and an argument that the sun actually revolves around the earth.'” The she is Susan Russell, an Episcopal priest in California. This is true of course; you can find justification for almost anything—if you take things out of context, which is what many Christians do who are on both sides of this issue—and lots of other issues as well.

For instance (rabbit trail alert!), someone this morning sent me a link for a man who was coming to the area to talk about prophecy. So, I went to his website to confirm the fact that I wasn’t going to hear him. He too was weighing in on the homosexual marriage issue (ok, so it’s not that big of a rabbit trail), but with a different slant: why Jesus was coming back soon. And he used the Bible to show why. But his use of the Bible was no different than Susan Russell’s. He, too, pulled things out of context. You can read the article here, but here is a summary of his logic.

1) God destroyed Sodom for their homosexuality. 2) The author says, “Jesus said as the days of Lot so will it [sic] be the time when I return to the earth.” 3) Therefore, since homosexuality is prevalent now as it was then, Jesus must be returning soon.

Ok, let’s break down this logic. 1) While homosexuality (actually, I think there is an argument for rampant sexual perversion, not just homosexuality) was evident in Sodom, that is not the reason for it’s destruction. The sexual perversion of the day was a part of a greater spiritual issue. In Ezekiel 16 we read that Sodom’s pride, material prosperity, and love of pleasure (including sexual perversion) was her downfall. The author has failed to consider the context of not only Genesis but the narrative of the Old Testament as a whole. 2 & 3) The author takes the “days of Lot” phrase out of its context in Luke 17. Jesus was not referring to their sin, but to their going on with life without a care in the world. They were simply going on with the daily activities of life without ever realizing that they were in peril. That is how it will be when Jesus returns, nothing unusual going on. This is sloppy logic and sloppy reading.

Now back to Russell’s quote. The slavery issue is beyond complex. I think she is wrong—with qualifications, but this post would get really, really long, and that misses the point. The other two: subjugation of women and the earth revolving around the sun (did she really say that?) are another issue. People have believed the Bible says this in part because, I think, Christians have acted that way. Therefore, we assume the Bible gave them permission to do so. Yet, the Bible does not, anywhere give Christians permission to subjugate women, nor does the Bible say the sun revolves around the earth, any more than I say it does when I remark, “What a beautiful sunrise!” To use the subjugation of women issue when bringing up homosexuality is not to give the Bible a clear reading. To use the sun/earth example is a subtle attempt, without any rational support, to paint people who are opposed to homosexual marriage as flat earthers, i.e, ignorant. The irony there is palpable.

What is interesting is the author of the article also jumps into the fray, saying that the Bible condones polygamy (which again comes from a failure to read the Bible in context), without giving any justification. Which is another problem I have. People on both sides of issues invoke the authority of the Bible without giving any meaningful proof. And then people say, “You can justify almost anything with the Bible.”

Actually, you can’t, and to throw out that sound bite in hopes of silencing an opponent shows an inability to engage in rational conversation in hopes of changing someone’s mind. We have lost the art of civil discourse in this nation. And we have lost the art of rational discussion. My hope is that we could return to a rational, civil dialogue and engage the Bible in its context without picking and choosing what we like.

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What the People Want

The French elections have brought an end to Sarkozy’s presidency. I am wondering how far away we are here in America from the types of comments that were reported. It seems at least some of the people didn’t really like the president-elect Hollande, but liked Sarkozy even less. With the debt crisis in Europe (and here as well), one would think that people would vote economics. But it seems that maybe they just don’t have what it takes to endure the pain that will cause. So at least lets be happy while the ship sinks.

“Another Paris voter highlighted this anti-Sarkozy vote, saying she’s backing Hollande, even though his program is ‘suicidal.'”

And the same idea, though worded a little differently…

“‘He’ll raise the minimum wage, increase civil servants. But France is already in debt,’ said Florence Macrez. His fiscal reform project will only increase the pressure especially on the middle class, she added.”

What this screams is not a love of socialism, as some will undoubtedly say, but a vast hopelessness. I would agree that socialist agendas (Hollande wants to raise taxes and increase government spending) have led to the debt crisis, and that people do get used to being cared for by the government to their own detriment, but this just feeds an existence that has been fed so many lies for so long that what has resulted is a hopelessness that pervades all.

The humanist philosophy, which at one time said that man was the measure of all things, has turned on itself and now detests who man is. And the masses have believed it (at least about everyone else). So now they just seek for things to be calm, as one voter put it:

“On behalf of my compatriots, I felt quite insulted. He was so aggressive. I hope things will calm down.”

I met a woman in church one time who said she was leaving because the new pastor seemed too excited. She said church was a place to be calm. She just wanted to come and not be bothered, not convicted, not forced to think. She just wanted to sit and have someone soothe her for an hour. I don’t know if that is the sentiment of the French, but those quotes certainly make it seem that way. Hopefully Hollande can soothe them all as the ship sinks.