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Archive for _social conservatism

Defending Choice

trash-service-web

To read the article this cartoon is illustrating, go here.

http://www.ccu.edu/centennial/review/september-2015/

The Supreme Court has ruled that homosexual marriage is the law of the land, based upon the belief that gay marriage is somehow a due process right. Marriage itself, perhaps, maybe, but as originally defined. This had nothing to do with denying anybody the right to marriage, but rather whether or not individual states could define what it looks like. Perhaps changing the definition to include same sex partners makes sense from a secular humanist worldview, but the problem is, last poll I checked, approximately 60% of Americans still identified themselves as Christian.

This ruling created a very sticky situation for many Christians who hold strong beliefs about sexual purity. How much of the power of the State is going to try and interfere with those beliefs and do Christians have protections to live and conduct their lives around those beliefs? As the Kim Davis situation has demonstrated, apparently, Christians are to conform or else….

When the cake lady first made the news, I thought, well, heck, only an extreme leftist kook would think it is okay to deny religious freedom to a sole proprietor. Getting into the mix of the debate, boy, was I sure wrong. The number of people who assumed that once you run a business you no longer have religious freedoms was shocking. So what are those protections for then? The closed door of one’s private home? To some, yes.

The reasons were broad, and the misconceptions were many. Because I feel like the ease at which people were willing to castigate the Christian business owners was so great, and because of the dangerous precedent this creates, I really feel like I need to address each debating point brought up. The LGBT movement has done a great job labeling any spoken word that isn’t lock step with their agenda as being hate-speech, thereby shutting it down. But, what is more hateful? Destroying the livelihood of a fledgling mom and pop business, bringing upon the couple poverty and ruin, simply because they wouldn’t do what their competitors down the street were happy to do? Or talking about such issues?

 

Christians do not have the right to force their views on others.

This is the first and most common objection. And I absolutely agree with them. Problem is, the Christian photographer did not go and seek out the gay couple and tell them they couldn’t get married. I would take issue with that. Rather, the gay couple came to her and told her, “by force of law, you have to photograph our wedding.” Excuse me, but who’s forcing who in this situation? Who is getting their freedom denied? The gay couple can simply pick up the phone and find another photographer. And if you know anything about the photography industry, you’ll know that 99% of photographers embrace homosexual marriage. The issue has never been about lack of accommodation.

In some cases, such as with the baker, the business owner even offered an alternative, a friend who would do exactly what the gay couple wanted. They were in essence saying, “I cannot do this because it would violate my beliefs, but I don’t want to deny you the right to these services, so here is the number of my friend.” By still pursuing the lawsuit, the gay couple in essence responded with, “You are not allowed to have those beliefs. We’ll do what we can to change them.” Who is being more tolerant here?

 

The 1964 Public Accommodation Act forbids Christians from denying service to anybody.

Boy, have I heard this one, and boy is it being misapplied in this situation. The problem is, using this objection is trying to paint over this whole situation with a broad brush, refusing to acknowledge or recognize certain very clear distinctions. If the Christian baker said to the homosexual couple, “get out of my store, you are gay,” I would defend the gay couple. That’s not what happened. The baker mentioned that they made birthday cakes for the couple in the past. So clearly, they are not denying service to the gay couple. The distinction is whether or not an artisan or craftsman, like the bakers, can decide what kind of products they produce. Or whether the state has the right to dictate to them the object of their art.

The analogy I keep hearing is, “Well does that give an auto mechanic the right to turn down a gay couple because it’s his religious beliefs?” This argument is not even analogous. Of course, the auto mechanic has to serve the gay couple. If they are doing the same transmission work on the gay couple’s car as anybody else’s, then, yes, they have to serve them. I defer back to the birthday cake example. Now if the gay couple came to a car airbrusher and asked to have “Gay Pride” spray painted on the side in rainbow colors so they could drive their car during Pridefest, the airbrusher should have the right to say “no, this is not the type of product I wish to create.” And if I was that airbrusher, I would protect my butt by referring them to a friend who would. The issue isn’t that he doesn’t want to serve the gays, the issue is that he doesn’t want to support that message!

That’s a huge distinction that keeps getting lost. The examples are numerous. Should a printer be forced to print porn if they disagree with it? Should a restaurant owner be forced to cook meat, in order to “accommodate” all of us meat eaters? No! In all cases, even the most leftist would say, if you want meat, go to a restaurant that makes it.

The other giant hole in the accommodation argument is the fact that most of these people finding themselves in trouble are actually independent freelancers, without a storefront or retail space. To the photographer, the caterer, the musicians–they are literally saying come and BE IN our wedding, or else we will destroy you. This has nothing to do with accommodation on the part of these freelancers.

 

I would be happy to take on a Christian project, even though I’m not Christian, I don’t understand why you Christians can’t do the same.

This is usually the final retort I hear. And to it, I say, that’s great! That’s your choice. I wish to support your right to make money however you see fit, and if that means creating art and product that violates your core beliefs, more power to you. No doubt there are some Christians that would still bake that cake, even in spite of their beliefs. The point is, that is your CHOICE, and that’s what I am defending.

If you decided NOT to create a Christian product (say an illustrator turned down a job from Focus on the Family), I would support that choice as well. In the case of the pizza shop, GoFundMe shut down the  GoFundMe page that was set up to help the pizza business offset the costs of being targeted by a liberal reporter because the cause was in violation of their beliefs. GoFundMe refused their service to a Christian because of their beliefs! And these same LGBT people applauded GoFundMe for this courageous decision without even recognizing the sheer irony of it. Do I support GoFundMe’s right to do this? While I disagree with the decision, the answer is yes.

The judges who are siding with the LGBT movement in these cases are doing so for the purpose of advancing a personal agenda and without any amount of compassion for the Christians. It’s not enough for Christians to live and let live, as many have. They must change their thinking about homosexuality. If we cannot persuade them, then we will force them, by the power of the state. Lives ruined, First Amendment redefined… that’s what this cartoon is about.


PS, I’m not making any judgements on homosexuality, one way or the other, with this particular post, as I feel it would detract from the greater point that I’m trying to defend, and that is of freedom. I have many friends and some family who have chosen this lifestyle, and God bless them, I love them dearly and they are wonderful people. Sometimes defending freedom means defending people with whom we disagree.

Relics of an American Past

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So if you are waiting for my response on the Supreme Court’s decision last Friday, here it is. To sum up what it is really about, let me quote for you the first posting I saw on Facebook the following morning from someone I considered a friend. “The fight is far from over as long as we still have Christians in America,” as she posted a picture of James Dobson. In response, she received several likes and approving comments, many of them taking the occasion to Christian bash.

For the record, I will neither come out condemning nor condoning marriage redefinition, so as to not sully the greater point I’m trying to make. I entertained the idea of using the time to clarify the Christian doctrine of sexual discipline, but apparently such held beliefs are hateful, and it doesn’t matter how many times Christians online have tried to spell out in love and with compassion what they believe in this matter and why, they are completely ignored, misrepresented, and distorted, with few attempts by the other side to try and achieve mutual understanding. Realizing it is a lost cause, I gave up. My biggest concern now is the right of conscientious objection, and after reading that Facebook post, I believe my concerns are legitimate.

In Colorado, the legislature eventually decided to legally change the definition of marriage to include same sex individuals. While I may disagree with that ruling, I completely support the legislature’s right to do so, as that is their constitutional authority. However, it is NOT the role of the court to make such decisions.

Marriage redefinition was already spreading across the nation, with 23 states already having laws that allowed it. It was pretty easy to see that within five years, it would become legal in all 50 states. Such decisions should be left up to the states, as the Tenth Amendment clearly states. But the Supreme Court completely ran right over the Bill of Rights in this decision. For those who are celebrating the decision because you agree with it, my question is, are you okay with the fact that it came about illegally? Are you okay that you got your way by violating the Constitution, and by giving excess powers to a branch of government that should not have it, according to the Constitution? If this was a conservative decision that came about in the exact same manner, would you legitimize it like you are doing with this decision? And the biggest question now is, will you have tolerance for those whose ideas and beliefs about this subject are different than yours?

Finally, the broader point is this: Between the president’s illegal executive orders and the Supreme Court, a lot of law has been created over the past 6 years. It is the job of Congress, when this starts to happen, according to the Constitution, to be that check and balance and to bring about retribution to a lawless president and a lawless court. There are plenty of actions available to them to allow them to do this. Unfortunately, we now have an inept Congress, unwilling to speak up or act out when their rightful power is taken from them. Our founders clearly wanted laws to be created only by the representatives of the people, taken from a broad swath of the country. The president only represents one ideology, his own, and if all power is left to him, he is free to make decisions that marginalizes large portions of the republic. This is something the founders feared the most, which is why they severely limited his power in the Constitution. But if the Congress is unwilling to stand up against it, the onus is on them, and in the end, they are the ones who are making themselves obsolete, relics of a bygone era.

Submission

We were made in God’s image. That’s what is promised to us in Genesis. And yet, while we hold on to this, and we are encouraged by it, knowing that attributes like creativity and compassion are a part of that image, we look around at the depravity of the world and we wonder, is this a part of God’s image? What’s going on here?

In Isaiah (chapter 14), the Bible calls Satan the destroyer. The reason is that Satan has destroyed one aspect of the image of God that was initially in us that is no longer a part of our being. The result of this destruction is the reason for all of the hell we see in the world. What did Satan destroy? Submission.

Submission? That doesn’t sound like fun. That sounds all old school and Victorian like. Thus my point. Our natural inclination is to NOT submit. And while we may have periods of submission, sometimes even willful, perfect submission is not a part of our being and it is not a natural response. Without perfect submission, we cannot be right with God.

Submission has to be learned. If left to our own devices, we will spin into a mess of depravity and of selfish ambition. Look at any society or individual who has done so. Look at the biggest jerks of the world. What’s one thing they have in common? A refusal to submit. We glorify the rebel. Oh, what a free thinker! He bucks societal norms! Yes, I want to break the law, too!

Submission is how we stay bonded with God. It is through this bond that we can get the free flow of the Spirit, bringing to us the fruits of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, among others. You break this bond and you break the connection. Submission is not something that should be dreaded, it is something that should be sought after and cherished!

Every healthy relationship is about submission. True love is submitting oneself to another. True love is saying my ambitions are secondary to your well-being. True love is sacrificial, eternal and most importantly, willful. You must choose true love. It’s not a feeling that is conjured in the moment. It is an active choice and duty.

Submission is the part of His Image that was destroyed during the fall. This means, then, that one part of God’s image is submission! Now you may be saying, wha-? God? Submissive? Who on earth is God submissive to? That’s not like the God I know. And it may not be the God you’ve been taught about, but look at Scripture more closely. God made us in His image and before the fall, this included submission. Now if we were made to be submissive to God, then who is God submissive to?

Himself. Now this may not make a lot of sense, but hang in there with me. God is submissive to Himself. Meaning, he cannot, will not, violate His own precepts. God is a God of order and of natural law. He establishes the universe and He submits Himself to His own laws. As the example of perfect submission, He cannot violate His own laws, His own nature. If He did, all of creation will be unraveled and we would be lost in our sin forever. That’s how vital it is that God remain submissive to Himself.

Because of this, as a part of God’s own submission to Himself, He cannot look upon sin. He cannot violate that aspect of Himself that has been established since before time began. So many people ask, well if God is real, why does He… The answer is He can’t. Doing so would violate His submission to Himself. He also will not violate man’s free will. This is another part of God’s nature that He is submissive to. God’s law instructs that true love is measured by free will.

Because God submits perfectly and completely to Himself, it is man’s free will and man’s sin which makes it so that man can no longer be in the presence of God. The Destroyer knew this. Like the White Witch in the Chronicles of Narnia, Satan knew of the old magic, that old magic being the inability of God to violate His submission to His own nature. But like Aslan, God knew of an even deeper magic. Death was the result of sin and only death would allow God to stay in submission to Himself and still be able to look upon the sinner. It was the spilt blood that would harmonize everything together.

This is the beautiful thing about what submission looks like. God gives us the perfect example. He found a way to remain perfectly submissive to Himself, while rescuing humanity. And just in case we weren’t clear, He sent His Son to earth, to live and demonstrate in our physical presence exactly what submission to God looks like. Christ, being a part of God Himself, remained in perfect submission to the triune God in every step that He took. God’s submission to Himself was demonstrated in the person of Christ, so that when God asks us for the same submission to Himself, we can know what it looks like. The Bible reports that Christ was so submissive, that He even submitted Himself to the cross, so that His death would become the atonement needed to restore what Satan had destroyed.

When you think about what it cost to restore our ability to be submissive to God once again, perhaps you won’t look at submission with such dread and aversion in the future. Satan is also the father of lies. Godly submission has never been a bad thing. It’s the Destroyer that has sought to convince us otherwise. God, in His perfection, submitted Himself to Himself. He created us to do the same, as a part of being in His Image. Satan destroyed this part of human nature. Christ restored it. To Him be the Glory!

Defending the First Amendment

The Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments about whether or not Hobby Lobby should be forced to pay for their employees’ contraceptives and abortions, despite religious objections, as a part of Obamacare. Four justices have already voiced that they will side with the government. I find this to be mind bogglingly shocking. These people were put there to DEFEND the Constitution, with the very first Bill of Rights being to protect religious freedom. It should be a slam dunk case, with Hobby Lobby winning easily. That fact that FOUR of the justices think otherwise is frightening. What on earth is their justification?

Their argument is that Hobby Lobby is a corporation and that the First Amendment does not apply to corporations. Say what!? First off, that makes zero sense. Corporations are nothing more than collections of people and it is my understanding that the First Amendment applies to ALL people. Corporations are owned by people, staffed by people, managed by people. Corporations are people and in that respect they are no different than government. They reflect the values and integrity of the individuals that make them up.

But even if corporations are some strange separate artificial intelligence entity, what good is the First Amendment if it doesn’t apply to EVERYBODY?? When the government can start to pick and choose who gets protected by the First Amendment and who doesn’t, you have entered into dangerous territory, and the fact that four justices think that it’s their job to decide who doesn’t get protected by the First Amendment means that we are already there!

I brought this point up to a liberal friend and his response was, “Well, I don’t like Hobby Lobby pushing their religion on their employees.” What does that have to do with the issue? Hobby Lobby is not forcing the employees to do or not do anything. The government IS forcing Hobby Lobby to do something it finds objectionable. If Sue Employee wants to have an abortion while under the employ of Hobby Lobby, Hobby Lobby will not stop her from doing so and frankly, I don’t think Hobby Lobby cares what Sue Employee decides to do with her life outside of Hobby Lobby. But why should Hobby Lobby be FORCED to pay for that abortion? It’s Sue’s abortion, not Hobby Lobby’s. She should pay for it herself, if that’s what she wants, or find somebody who does want to pay for her abortion.

Even though Hobby Lobby does not get involved in Sue Employee’s personal life, if Hobby Lobby, or any company for that matter, wishes to establish for themselves a code of ethics on how they feel their employees should conduct themselves outside of employment, I would defend their right to do so. Sound extreme? Well then, work for another company. We do not have forced employment in this country. Nobody is forcing anybody to work for any company. Why is it that so hard to understand? If Sue Employee wants her employer to pay for her abortion, she can get a job with one who will.

What does the First Amendment specifically say? It says “Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion or the free exercise thereof.” The Obamacare mandate violates this on both accounts. First, it denies Hobby Lobby their free exercise of their religion. I bring this up and I hear liberals say the First Amendment is supposed to keep people from forcing their religion on others. No, it doesn’t. Considering the fact that a lot of the signers of the Constitution were ordained pastors or ministers, I doubt that this is what they had in mind when they signed it. No, the First Amendment ALLOWS people to proselytize, Bible bash, witness, share, whatever you want to call it, to one another. Don’t like it, tough, it’s their freedom. What it DOESN’T allow is for government to force ITS religion and yes, secularism IS a type of religion. By forcing Hobby Lobby and anybody else to pay for contraceptives, the government is establishing that this is their worldview (religion) and this is their way of forcing you to acknowledge it. The failure to understand this is a failure to understand the First Amendment.

Point of View

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Do I need to say more about this toon? Perhaps not, but I will.

For some, this toon may come across as outrageous. It’s not my attempt, this toon is merely an observation.

There are a few things I can’t stand… Arrogance and false accusations. And it seems to me that both are on a rapid crescendo. It’s funny how the side that claims there are no absolutes are the first to judge someone for the food they eat, for the religion they practice, for believing in certain economic theories. It’s not enough that we have differences of opinions. No, now it’s that what we believe is immoral. We’re haters for having these opinions. And because of this, the debate comes to a screeching halt. And if they can continue to promulgate this myth with false reports, items taken out of context, Democrat plants at Tea Party rallies, Facebook memes, then they don’t ever have to deal with the issues, because why bother, conservatives are simply that immoral. It’s gotten so bad, that every time I offer support to some conservative or Republican publicly on Facebook, I shed friends like a dog sheds hair at springtime. (to channel Dan Rather)

The left has made racism the most immoral thing anybody can ever do (more immoral, it seems, than even killing an unborn child), second, only to political incorrectness. So in order to shut up conservatives, all you have to do is label them whatever the most immoral thing on the planet happens to be at the time. Why is this dangerous? It’s because people can justify engaging in all sorts of retribution against those they consider immoral. Their leaders can work them up into a frenzied fury to the point that they don’t even care if they do violate their opposition’s basic constitutional rights, all the way down to the right to life, in some cases. Hitler’s Germany is a great case study. Why did the German people turn against the Jews? It’s because they were brainwashed over the years into believing that the Jews were IMMORAL.

It seems when I was younger I could disagree with my liberal friends and we would spend hours discussing policy and economic theory. And we both agreed we weren’t crazy about any politician, regardless of party. At the end of the day, we respected each other and knew that we both wanted essentially the same thing, just had different thoughts about how to get there. What happened to those days? Perhaps it was because we were teenagers and we hadn’t learned how to hate yet? Now I have liberal friends who will go behind my back and completely trash with distortions, lies and vitriol the very beliefs I hold dear in the anonymous forum of Facebook, yet refuse to engage in discussion in person. What happened to civility? Is it too much to ask to take a few steps back and realize that conservatives are not villains, not demons, not racists or any of the epithets normally leveled our way. I challenge you to consider that just maybe, just maybe they might want the same things as you: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Once that happens, then we might actually learn things from each other.

It’s About Woman’s Rights

This cartoon is probably going to get me in trouble. But here it goes anyway.

It’s partially in response to another cartoon I saw recently. It portrayed an elephant whipping a woman (with lettering on her that read “woman’s rights”). The elephant was asking, “Why doesn’t anybody like me?” What an outrageous and disgusting cartoon! It proves nothing. It fails to persuade. It descends into the lowest form of debate tactics, name calling. And to me, when the other side starts resorting to name calling, you know your argument has been won. Of all the conservative issues out there, abortion is probably the easiest to defend.

Here’s an analogy. If a woman suddenly said, “I want to cut off my right arm,” and starts to do so, we as a society would try and stop her. To say that trying to stop her from cutting her arm off violates woman’s rights is absurd! How much more valuable is an unborn child, with a separate heartbeat, than an arm? Yet somehow we can’t even talk about the issue without the other side screaming hysteria and accusing us of all sorts of awful, untrue things.

I’d rather defend a woman’s right to cut off her own arm at her choosing than the murder of unborn children. Regardless of the circumstance, the heartbeat in her womb is another human being, whose right to life needs to be protected.

Another argument often heard is, “Well, I think abortion is a terrible act, but I’m not going to dictate my morals on other people.” (Thank you Joe Biden.) Really? Then what do you call the banning of lightbulbs? Large sodas? Keystone pipeline? Are not these your morals you are pushing on other people?

If you really thought something is horrific, then yes, you would work to ban it. I’ll use an extreme to prove the point. If you think pedophilia is morally wrong, you wouldn’t be saying, “well, deep down in my heart, I think pedophilia’s a horrific act and wrong, but I don’t think it’s right for me to push these morals on other people, therefore it should be legalized.” See how absurd that sounds? It’s not logically consistent.

Going back to the other cartoon, after reading it, I was flaming hot. Heck, if he’s going to go to those depths, I can be just as outrageous. Normally I try and hold back. I’ve a reputation to maintain, after all. In creating this cartoon, I debated on whether the character holding the bag should be generic, or should it represent the Democrat Party. I realized that going with the latter would turn up the controversial aspect of the cartoon several notches. But the fact of the matter is, the Democrat Party has chosen to take the side of abortion. It’s within their bylaws. I’m not stating anything that isn’t true. And it’s the Democrat Party that has proclaimed that the Republicans are waging a “war on women” simply because we believe life is sacred. Until they change this position, the donkey stays.

Final note, the pro-life position is not an attack on women. And we certainly do not wish to leave women out to dry who may have been victims of man’s cruelty or simply made a decision they now regret. That’s why Christians have always done more than just state a position. Despite zero mentions of it in the media, hundreds of pro-life pregnancy centers exist across the nation and are staffed with compassionate and caring people who are not there to judge anybody, but are there to help protect life… both the woman’s and the child’s.

Separation of Church and State?

Okay, so to address the argument I hear spewed constantly, “Separation of church and state is guaranteed via our Constitution. Keep your religion out of our laws.”

Of course, it’s an easy argument to refute, you know, considering the fact that the phrase “separation of church and state” isn’t even in our Constitution! In fact, the separation the Constitution does mentions is the separation of powers between branches of government, and considering the Congress’s and Supreme Court’s inability to keep the Executive or each other in check these days, one wonders how much this is being violated.

Thomas Jefferson did mention the “wall of separation” in a letter ABOUT the first Amendment, but Jefferson was more concerned about the state invading onto the church. Not to mention the fact that the Constitution wasn’t even ratified by Jefferson, and that the language of the first amendment was understood and passed by devout church goers to be exactly as it reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof!” As in, if a bakery owner does not want to make a gay cake topper due to religious objections and free exercise, she has that constitutional right!

But beyond that, the idea that there is no religion in our laws is ludicrous!

There is a Christian moral standard, just as there is a moral standard to every belief. State law is dictated by one person or another’s moral standard. Whomever is in charge will always impose their belief system on the populace. I don’t believe incandescent lightbulbs are going to destroy the planet. But because somebody else holds this moral belief, they have been banned. Sharia law is the moral standard in other countries, replacing Habeas Corpus. It’s impossible to separate “church” and “state” when you broaden the definition of “church” to all moral belief systems. In America, law is determined by the moral code of those whom the majority have elected. This is now what the will of the people has determined. Christians, now as a minority, must deal with the laws of the current “church” that is in power. I’m not saying this is a good or bad thing, it’s just an observation I’m making.

So we are commanded to keep OUR religion out of law, but OTHER religion is permissible? I mention this to try and get you to recognize it for what it is. You’re fine pushing your belief system on others even as you scold us not to do so to you. Recognize that belief is belief and we ALL are working to try and get others to agree with us, regardless of where we stand on the religious and political spectrum.

Stop Motion Easter Animation – Matthew 26:31

For this coming Easter, I am working on a number of animations. I won’t reveal the finished pieces until after their debut at church Easter Sunday (to which you are all invited), however, in preparation, I created this six second stop motion VINE video as a working test, just playing around. Not often you get to see animation on this site. Hmmm… Maybe it’ll be a sign of things to come. Enjoy!

A Message from a Prophet

“Simeon went on to bless them, and said to Mary his mother,

This child marks both the failure and
the recovery of many in Israel,
A figure misunderstood and contradicted—
the pain of a sword-thrust through you—
But the rejection will force honesty,
as God reveals who they really are.”

Luke 2:33-35 (MSG)

As I was studying the story of Christmas, I came across this passage. Picture the scene. Mary and Joseph, a godly couple, are coming to get their miracle baby properly dedicated according to the laws of Moses. I imagine that despite the crazy events leading to the birth, that today they are in good spirits. They’ve seen angles, been adored by shepherds and wisemen, and they were probably full of anticipation about what raising Jesus, a man whose name meant “God Saves,” might mean.

No doubt they, like many others, saw the Messiah as coming down and bringing justice to the earth, lifting oppression from the land, crushing those pesky Romans, and making everything perfect and wonderful and better. And so when a strange old man approaches them, asking them if he could prophesy over their promised child, my guess is that they were like “sure, the more blessings, the better.”

What came next was anything but expected. Instead of waxing on about how their lives over the next several years is going to be a bowl of peaches, he turns to Mary and tells her that this Christ child will be a polarizing character–misunderstood, misquoted, rejected. He even tells Mary that her baby will bring about a pain in her own life so severe that it will be as a sword piercing her very soul.

Not exactly the kind of news you’d like to hear coming from a seer. But that’s the whole paradox of the Christmas season. While the Christmas holiday is a glorious day, we have to remember that the whole reason Christ came to this earth was to suffer. Simeon knew this and prophesied it. It’s about Christ’s deliberate, willing, and redemptive suffering for mankind. Christ came to this earth, not to enjoy a long, plump life, but to suffer at the hands of His own creation. His life was marked by pain from the very beginning.

And consequently, so was Mary’s. By choosing to follow God’s plan, she brought pain onto herself. This, too, is a sobering thought. “Mary,” said Simeon, “this child will wretch pain into the very core of your being. But from it a greater good will come.” Christ later tells His disciples, “no servant is greater than his master. Since I have suffered, those who follow Me will also suffer.”

So this Christmas, as we remember the joys of the holiday–the time with family and friends, the wonderful foods and candies, the twinkle in children’s eyes–let us also not forget the real reason the baby Christ came to this earth. It was to endure great suffering so that we could be saved. And that is a reason to celebrate.

HHS Mandate

In case you have been living in a bubble the past few years, let me explain this cartoon for you. Obamacare has a provision which mandates that all employers, regardless of their religious objections, provide their employees with abortive and contraceptive care services.

To me, it was quite obvious what an obtrusion of religious freedom this mandate really was. In my narrow world-view, I could not conceive how anybody could choose the side of anti-freedom in this debate.

Then the attacks came and I quickly learned that those in favor of the mandate, through some twisted logic, labeled the mandate as being for freedom, and the churches as being against freedom. And in typical liberal fashion, it did not stop there. Many liberals then went on to conclude that because churches were against this mandate, they must somehow also be against women in general. Thus, conservatives must also want to deny women voting rights, working rights, fair pay, all the way down the line!

I remember a heated debate I had with a liberal friend. What was frustrating was that I just wished he would consider where I was coming from, even for a moment. A church is protected, by the Constitution, with their own freedoms. A church should be allowed to have a conscientious objection to covering abortive care, if it violates their tenants. But according to this man I was talking to, how dare the church push it’s views on its workers (he actually used the word ‘dare’).

I gently tried to explain to him, that the worker voluntarily chooses to work for the church, knowing their stance on these issues. If the worker does not like the church’s position, GET ANOTHER JOB! Nobody is forcing that worker to stay there. If the worker feels like they are being proselytized while at their church job, guess what, it’s the church’s building, the church’s payroll, the church’s right to believe and preach whatever they want. Freedom is allowing the church to have these positions, even if they are contrary to your own. If you don’t like it, too bad. That’s the consequence of a free society.

According to my friend, the church, by not refusing to pay for this lady’s contraceptives, is denying her access to care. Huh? The church is not stopping her from getting whatever contraceptive stuff she wants. If she wants it, she can pay for it. (And that goes for a lot of things by the way, from food, to vacations, to BMWs). If the church followed her to Walgreens and told the clerk not to sell this woman contraceptives, then yes, that would be a problem. But that’s not what is happening here. And again, I stress, if the woman wishes for somebody else to pay for these services, find another job that offers it as a benefit.

And I might add, if the lady lives a life that is promiscuous, the church should have the RIGHT to fire her if it violates some sort of ethical code they might have on chastity. There’s plenty of other employers who will hire such a woman. The church should have that freedom.

I could not get my friend to see where I was coming from and before long, the debate was starting to get so heated that I figured I should simply end it for fear of losing a friend. Following our debate, I began to see liberal talking heads repeating his same arguing lines, almost verbatim, without regard to the points conservatives have been desperately trying to make. Our voices are small, and the liberals have placed a bet that this is a winning issue for them on this election.


Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let me say one other thing, and this goes back to something Joe Biden said in the VP debates. He said that while he is pro-life, he wouldn’t force his morals on other people. This is a tired, old, worn debate I’ve heard most of my life. Every time I hear it, I begin to deconstruct it logically in my mind, and it simply does not make sense. I wish that just once, somebody would throw this back at whomever uses this line in future debates, simply because it is a logical fallacy.

Let me break it down for you. First, don’t tell me liberals don’t like to push their morals on other people. Please! What do you call smoking bans? What do you call the ban on the incandescent? What do you call soda pop bans? What do you call bans on manger scenes at Christmas time? Or crosses at memorials? EVERYBODY tries to push their moral world view through politics. And it’s a good thing, too. We all agree that murder is morally objectionable. Therefore, as a consensus, we have banned murder. If we were to truly hold to the idea that it’s not up to us to push our morals on other people, then we should allow murderers to kill, because it’s not up to us to push our morals on them.

As you can see, that’s utterly preposterous. The same holds true for abortion. If deep down in the soul of your convictions, you truly felt that abortion was murder of the unborn, it would not matter what the other person felt about the issue. It’s morally objectionable to you, and you would work to try and stop it. Since abortion is the law of the land, you would have to go about your work through the legislative process, but ultimately, trying to win the hearts and minds of people to see why you find it so objectionable.

Here’s another analogy. Let’s take another issue, say, pedophilia. Let’s say we lived in a society that found sexual violation of child to be no big deal, so they legalized it. But you thought it was awful. Would you say, oh, I’m against pedophilia, but I’m not going to push my morals on other people? Of course not! You would say that this is a horrible act and you are going to work to ban it!

The same holds true for abortion. To say that you’re against abortion, but you’re not going to push your views on other people tells me that you really are not against abortion at all! If you found it to be the despicable act that I see it to be, then you would work just as hard to stop it as I try to do.

Abortion is an extremely divisive issue and it does not lend itself to much humor. I apologize for the length of this column, but if you are still interested in reading more, I implore you to read an excellent article on this topic written by a friend, PA Ritzer. His article can be found here.

 

Blind Evolution or Intelligent Design?

WHENCE LIFE:BLIND EVOLUTION OR INTELLIGENT DESIGN?
By Michael J. Behe

Every child born into this world encounters wonders of the most marvelous sort. Early on a toddler will squeal with delight at the sight of a cat, dog, parakeet, horse, or other animal that shares her neighborhood. When she grows older, a trip to the zoo brings astonishment: Animals never seen in the neighborhood, with strange and exotic forms and abilities, are everywhere in the enclosures.

Going off to school the child studies what is arguably the most dazzling of all creatures— humans, who think, talk, accumulate knowledge, and build civilizations.

to read more…

The War on Women

This cartoon so brilliantly conveys the point I’m trying to make regarding liberal hypocrisy, that I really shouldn’t write anything more.

 

I really shouldn’t.

 

But at the risk of being redundant and weakening the strength of the cartoon, I can’t help myself, I must interject a few words.

I debated on whether or not to portray it as the typical Democrat donkey, since Republicans can be just as guilty of nannyism as Democrats. However, it is the Democrats running around screaming we are somehow waging a war on women, so in the end, the donkey stayed.

I find it fascinating that the same people who say that a woman should be free to do whatever the heck she wants with her body are the first to initiate all these bans on foods. It completely does not make logical sense. So a woman is allowed (for the sake of argument, I’ll call it how they call it) to undergo the ‘surgical’ procedure called abortion, without question, no regulations, and a minor doesn’t even need parental permission. Yet they are not allowed to drink more than 16 oz of soda? Or even eat at a fast food restaurant in some places (yes, some cities have banned fast food restaurants within their limits). Shouldn’t that same woman be free to eat whatever the heck she wanted without government interference? That is, after all, what they claim they want with abortion.

I’ve never seen anybody die from drinking 20 oz of pop. Yet over 50% of people die in every abortion procedure. (Yes, I’m including the unborn in this figure, however, there are still a small number of woman who also die due to complications of abortion. Actual statistics are hard to come by, the abortion industry is very hush, hush about it, but I can say this, if it were any other discipline of medicine, there would be malpractice lawsuits left and right.) Logically, it seems that if you are for no regulations for a procedure as dangerous as abortion, shouldn’t you also be for no regulations for something as innocuous as soda pop? Obviously, logic and reasoning have nothing to do with the issue.

Unrelated to this cartoon, but worth mentioning for the sake of argument: liberals LOVE to distort our side of the abortion argument, to make it sound like we are for something we are not, thus it makes it easier for them to provide their counter-argument. They’ll run around telling everybody what our point of view is, and be completely wrong about it. Nothing is more evident to this than the abortion issue. The big talking point is that Romney and conservatives hate women and don’t want them to have any freedoms. (First off, Romney’s anti-abortion stance is weak at best, so to try and lump him in with the rest of us right wing wackos is a bit unfair.) It is a war against women, the mantra goes. But they are completely missing our argument. It has nothing to do with women and what they want to do with their bodies. Heck, a woman can body-pierce herself into a straightjacket for all I care, whatever, not my life.

However, what a woman does to the life inside her, I do care about. Every human should be guaranteed the rights provided to us by the Declaration of Indepedence, and this includes life. The ONLY argument that we need to be discussing in the abortion issue is whether or not the unborn fetus is a human life, and at what point it becomes human life. During the sixties, the answer to this question was a lot more vague, but with new technologies, we can clearly see that even at a early stage, the developing child is unique and individual. Conservatives see no difference between a baby in the womb and a baby out of the womb. Both deserve protection from harm. Despite all of the liberal accusations and distortions, this is the only argument worth talking about.

A woman is free to do whatever she wants to her own body, and this includes eating salty foods. But the baby insider her is not her own body. She is a steward of that life. It is her divine privilege to be delivering the new life into this world.

Conservative Comeback

When this article was written, the TEA party was just starting to gain momentum. I do get the sense that even as Europe and France spiral into socialistic chaos, Americans are starting to swing back to conservative values. 

Of course, I loved creating this illustration, simply because of my deep love for baseball. I actually created this drawing while Rockies were playing on television. Nothing like mixing a little play and work together.

ADVANCING THECONSERVATIVE COMEBACK
By Ralph Reed

One of the most significant developments of 2011 is that conservatism, a philosophy many commentators were writing obituaries for not long ago, is making a comeback.

This is a startling turnabout. After Barack Obama’s election, Newsweek proclaimed in a cover story, “We Are All Socialists Now.” “Whether we want to admit it or not,” the editors opined, “the America of 2009 is moving toward a modern European state.” Democrats controlled both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue by wide margins, and a new, youthful president in the model of JohnF. Kennedy, with a background as a community organizer, prepared to usher in a new era of progressive reform. He vowed to repeal the Bush tax cuts, close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, passh ealth care reform and cap-and-trade legislation,and end the war in Iraq.

to read more…

Recant

I debated on whether or not I wanted to go through with this cartoon. I know it’s going to cause controversy, and believe it or not, despite being a political cartoonist, I really don’t like controversy. What pushed me over the edge were the multiple cartoons out there equating Santorum as being the leader of the Crusades, here to chop off your head if you don’t accept his religion. What a bunch of inflammatory nonsense! And while the Catholic church does have the stain of the Crusades as part of their history, many, many more Christians and Catholics lost their lives from Roman times to present day, due only to their faith.

These recent attacks on Santorum are not really aimed at him, but at Christianity in general. They are quite telling. According to a number of Liberals I’ve talked with, if you proclaim your faith, it’s ramming it down people’s throats. Therefore, equating Christians to all kinds of horrible activities is justified. Yet, they wouldn’t dare say those kinds of things against the Muslim faith, even though some jihadists will kill you if you don’t accept their faith.

But the most frustrating thing of all is the legislation Obama passed that would force Catholic organizations to provide abortion and contraceptive services to their employees, despite their moral objections. What’s frustrating is not that Obama did this, for he has shown his true colors by now, but that many of my friends are saying this is an issue of freedom. By not forcing the organization to provide contraceptives is denying the employees their freedom, thus this legislation was necessary. Huh?

The choice of what the organization provides as compensation, paid or in benefits, to its employees, should be up to that organization. That’s freedom folks! Freedom is allowing everybody their choice, including the so-called big guy. It’s the employers company, the employer’s money, the employer’s risk and the employee freely chooses to work there. Nobody is forcing that employee to work there. If they don’t agree with the company’s moral standards, then find another job. Santorum had it right. By forcing Catholic organizations to provide contraceptive services, it’s the government forcing its belief system on the church! Liberals get so worked up about the imaginary “Wall of Separation,” yet if they want to have this wall, then they need to be willing to keep their liberal government out of the church as well.

I’m not a Catholic, and I rarely get offended, but this past week has been very instructive about how people really view the church. And let me tell you, some of the talk has been scary. Religious freedom in America is on attack, and that’s really what this cartoon is about.

A Fool Says In His Heart

Was privileged to illustrate the article by Lee Strobel discussing the various proofs for the existance of a Creator. You can read the full article here:

http://www.ccu.edu/centennial/review/mar11.asp

Holiday Rules

holiday rules

Sometimes the far left just makes my job so easy. This cartoon is based off of the news story that came out a few days ago regarding the elementary school in Mass. that has banned ANY Christmas reference whatsoever for their “Winter Holiday,” including Santa Claus and candy canes! What really got me rolling, however, is when the administration, in defense of the decision, came out and said that they wanted to have a religiously neutral holiday*, and that it was enacted so that they could teach tolerance to the kids. Huh? Yeah, maybe in high school, this might have been appropriate (okay, so it’s never appropriate), but in elementary school? You’re going to confuse the poor tikes.

“Teacher, what’s tol-tolrr-torllrrance?”

“Well, Johnny, that’s when you ban everything and don’t let certain religious people express their faith during holiday celebrations.”

“Oh…”

Talk about doublespeak. Gotta love it. When it gets this extreme, all I can do is sit back and laugh. And create a cartoon to invite you to laugh with me.

–oh, and in case I forget… Merry Christmas!

*um…, doesn’t the word “holiday” itself come from “holy day?”… more on that in a later cartoon.

Don’t Touch Charity

sworn enemies 05-01-08In a recent teleconference, Barack Obama said that he would greatly reduce the amount of charitable tax deductions individuals and businesses who make over $250K can make on their tax returns in order to help pay for his health care plan. What a horribly conceived idea. This move will cripple many nonprofits across the nation.

Let’s examine why. Yes, the Bible does say give so that your left hand doesn’t know what your right hand is doing, but the truth of the matter is, that’s not how most individuals or corporations choose to operate. When you remove the tax incentive from them, they simply will stop giving. This is unfortunate, because, as one who worked for a nonprofit for three years knows, most charities subsist on the large corporate donations. While the small $25 widow’s mites are genuinely appreciated and coveted, they do not add up enough to cover the overwhelming costs of BOTH running a small corporation as well as doling out resources like food, medicine and education, to those who need it. Most nonprofits work on skeleton budgets as it is already, with much of the staff accepting lower pay than their for-profit counterparts might receive. A lot of the fundraising efforts are spent to find the big donors who are looking for a nice tax write off. While this motivation may not be “ideal,” there is nothing government can or should do to change that.

Barack Obama must know this (or be grossly naive), so why would he propose such an idea? I have my theories.

First, charitable writeoffs take away tax dollars from what otherwise could be used by the government agencies that perform the same services. In essence, private charity is in competition with government for the same dollar, to be used, in theory, for the same purpose. If Obama removes the incentive to give to charity, that money gets funneled into the government instead, so that the government programs end up having a competitive edge over the charities. I find it interesting that when given a choice, most donors would prefer private charities to handle the problems of homelessness, sickness, feeding the hungry, providing after school programs for troubled youth. By removing the writeoffs, government puts restrictions on that choice, meaning if one wants to give to the private charity, they have to do so in addition to giving to the government programs.

The problem with government programs is the lack of competition. We all have heard of corruption occurring within various private charities through the years. The advantage, however, is that if you find an issue with one private charity, simply pull your funds and give to another that does the same job. There are countless of watchdog agencies that do their best to investigate all the various nonprofits, so that one can be an informed giver. Corruption exists because humans exist.

Government lacks that kind of oversight. When corruption occurs, one cannot choose to stop paying taxes. Even when corruption is exposed by various media groups, change is very slow to take place.

The other possible motivation for this (and I’m not saying this is Obama’s motivation, although I’m sure it certainly belongs to a few who support this legislation) is that the greatest source of nonprofits are Christian agencies. I know that there has been a concentrated effort to extinguish Christianity by lobbyists and some in congress. What is the best way to shut down any organization? Remove their source of revenue. This proposal will do just that, forcing many Christian agencies to close their doors.

Thus, I vehemently oppose this idea.

Natural Selection


A number of years ago, I went to hear a paleontology artist speak about his work. Knowing he was a staunch evolutionist, I was bracing myself to deal with possible conflicting evidence that may possibly have shaken my faith.

The artist talked a lot about his craft, his techniques, medium, etc., before he began launching into his diatribe about evolution. He talked extensively about the conclusive “evidence” and if it weren’t for the scientific “evidence,” he probably could believe in God.

He then proceeded to bring forth a sculpted skull he created for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. “This,” he proclaimed excitedly, “is the missing link! It is derived from a skull fragment found in Northern Africa.” He gave us the name of this new half human, half ape creature, but I’ve since forgotten it.

“As an artist,” he went on, “I’m hired to use my understanding of science and my own artistic imagination to fill out the rest of the skull from the bone that was found. We used what we believe this Sapien species might have looked like, plus some artistic license to get it to this point.” Did I hear that right? Imagination? Artistic license? Starting with an already foregone conclusion to create your “evidence?”

This individual then showed us the bone fragment from which this fully rendered skull had come. It was the back of the cranium and registered a little more than 2” x 3.” That was it. I could have created Michelangelo’s David from that piece of bone! (well, if I was a better artist, I could have) That wasn’t conclusive at all! If this is the kind of “evidence” Darwinists want to use to support their theory, then I’d rather believe in a loving Creator/Artist, who specifically designed us for a purpose and desires communion with us!

Paul talks about the second gospel in the book of Romans. The first is obviously the written words of the apostles, which society has long sought to silence. The second, though, are the works of nature, as they speak of His creativity. We can choose to listen to the words of nature, or we can choose to drown them out with the humanistic theories of evolution.

I believe science studied with an open mind points to a creator. The origin of creation remains murky and hotly debated, even among Christians. You have old world creationists and new world creationists and intelligent design evolutionists. They all claim to have undeniable evidence. Yet, they all have one thing in common. The complexity of life is too grand to make all of this accidental.

The study of science drove Isaac Newton into full time ministry. Galileo believed his theory on the universe would enhance people’s understanding of God. I pray that your own study might bring you closer to Him.

From Ritter’s Pen

Happy Easter!