Author Archive

WORLD: Hobby Lobby’s Civil Disobedience

by La Shawn Barber on Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

This is article 378 of 699 in the topic Healthcare
Hobby LobbyIn essence, Hobby Lobby has declared it will not be subject to government authorities with regard to offering drugs that kill the unborn. In an act of civil disobedience, the retailer will defy the law and face the consequences.Does submitting to civil authorities mean obeying laws that are immoral? We are commanded by God to share the gospel. What if a law barred us from doing so, even privately? We see that obeying government authorities isn’t absolute. It should be clear to Christians that unless there is legal recourse against obeying a law that compels us to sin, we are justified in disobeying it. Is it a sin to offer employees “mini-abortion drugs”?

God instituted government, but the problem is that sinners run government—there aren’t any non-sinners around to appoint or elect.

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Shut Up and Act?

by La Shawn Barber on Friday, September 7th, 2012

This is article 61 of 116 in the topic Hollywood
Hollywood signI’ve seen actress Ellen Barkin in a few movies, including The Big Easy with Dennis Quaid and Desert Bloom with Jon Voight. She’s a liberal, like most in Hollywood (Voight is conservative), but I never expected her to be nasty. At the start of last week’s GOP convention, she retweeted a fellow liberal’s comment…

Unless otherwise noted, a retweet is an endorsement. Barkin hopes pro-lifers, small government advocates, and traditional marriage protectors drown. Such tweets are easy to dismiss, but the whole thing bothered me. I typically don’t engage liberals on Twitter, but I felt Barkin needed a response from an atypical Republican voter.

I told her to shut up (not nice, I know) and asked her what reasonable person wishes death on someone who believes unborn babies should live.

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Paul Ryan, Social Conservative

by La Shawn Barber on Saturday, August 25th, 2012

This is article 894 of 1298 in the topic 2012 Elections
Paul RyanWhen Condoleezza Rice’s name turned up in the Republican running mate rumor mill, I was disheartened. Her position on the issues matters, not her race. Rice is “mildly” pro-abortion, and she supports racial preferences, a practice in which our government treats individuals differently based on the color of their skin. Would Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney risk aliening social conservatives?

When Romney announced Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as his running mate Saturday, I breathed the proverbial sigh of relief. The 42-year-old, married-with-children social conservative unequivocally opposes the redefinition of marriage. Ryan voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment, and he supports the Defense of Marriage Act (signed into law by President Bill Clinton). He also opposes homosexual couples adopting. Ryan backed his state’s effort to amend the state constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Opponents challenged Wisconsin’s law, but the state’s highest court ruled it constitutional in 2010.

Ryan believes unborn babies deserve protection. “I support the rights of the unborn child,” he wrote in an article posted on his website. “Personally, I believe that life begins at conception, and it is for that reason that I feel we need to protect that life as we would protect other children.”

Some sources, including President Obama via his Twitter account, report that Ryan opposes abortion even if the unborn baby was conceived during rape or incest, an “extreme” pro-life view I share. He co-sponsored the Sanctity of Life Act, which states that a fertilized egg “shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood.” He opposes using taxpayer funds to kill unborn babies.

Ryan is a fiscal conservative, a plus for Republicans who believe those issues are more important. He wants to reform Medicaid and Medicare to save money and to give recipients more choices. WORLD’s Jamie Dean wrote:

“As the architect of a fiscally conservative national budget that would cut trillions from federal spending, and a champion of reforms to the bleeding Medicaid and Social Security programs, Ryan represented what some pundits considered the less safe choice for Romney—a candidate who Democrats could paint as extreme.”

Liberals paint most Republicans as extreme. Anybody who wants lower taxes is extreme. Anybody who believes our government should be race-neutral is extreme. The name of the political game is to divide and conquer by any means necessary. If Romney had picked Rice, for instance, they’d use her race to divide and conquer. Instead, he picked an arguably safe, relatively young, photogenic, social and fiscal conservative man and steered clear of a risky or “history-making” selection.

Romney and Obama have been fairly even in the polls. According to the Politico-George Washington University Battleground Poll, Obama leads Romney 48 percent to 47 percent. Ryan stands in sharp contrast to the gaffe-prone Joe Biden. Will he give Romney the edge he needs for November?

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Teens and ‘Free’ Sterilization

by La Shawn Barber on Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

This is article 334 of 699 in the topic Healthcare
familyThe Winston-Salem Journal published a series of storiesabout forced sterilizations performed years ago in North Carolina. Other states had similar programs, but most retreated in light of Nazi Germany’s notorious eugenics policies. North Carolina, however, expanded its program after WWII and didn’t end it until 1974.Elaine Riddick Jessie, now in her late 50s, was sterilized at 14 in 1968. She and her seven siblings had become wards of the state, and five were sent to an orphanage. Jessie and a sister were sent to live in their grandmother’s crowded house. A man raped Jessie, and she became pregnant. Fortunately, the state didn’t kill the baby. Unfortunately, the state labeled the abused Jessie “feeble-minded” and killed her chance to have more babies. Her illiterate grandmother had signed an “X” on the sterilization consent form without knowing she was signing a sterilization consent form. Jessie didn’t find out until years later she was sterilized.

The North Carolina Eugenics Board sterilized over 7,600 people from 1929 to 1974, and 2,990 ranged in age from 10 to 19. But those days are behind us, right? Yes, and no. The days of forced sterilizations likely are long gone, and good riddance. But the days of minors “consenting” to sterilizations are upon us.

President Barack Obama believes pregnant minors should be allowed to have their unborn babies killed without their parents’ consent. The man who stated he was going to teach his daughters “all about values and morals” also said he wouldn’t want them to be punished with his grandchild “if they make a mistake.” What about sterilization? Would he want his teenage daughter to have herself rendered infertile?

A story on CNSNews goes into detail about an Obamacare regulation that took effect on August 1 that requires health care plans in the U.S. to provide taxpayer-funded (or free, in liberal terminology) contraceptive methods that include sterilization “for women with reproductive capacity.”

Because the recommendation doesn’t specify age, it theoretically could apply to any menstruating girl. CNSNews learned that Oregon allows a minor to consent to sterilization. In that state, a 15-year-old girl can give her “informed consent” to allowing a doctor to render her permanently barren. Whether her parents approve or not has no bearing on her choice.

Think of the average teenager and imagine the scenario. A 15-year-old girl who’s perhaps mature for a 15-year-old girl (benefit of the doubt) decides for whatever reason she never wants to be “punished” with a baby, or that she wants to have sex without worrying about getting pregnant right now. She brings her mature-for-a-15-year-old self to the doctor, tells him/her she wants to be barren, reads and signs the consent form, and has the surgery. Ten years later and more mature, she marries and desperately wants children but must bear the consequences of an “informed” decision she made as a 15-year-old girl. It’s appalling.

In Oregon, a 15-year-old cannot obtain a driver’s license or legally drink alcohol, but she can ask a doctor to make her infertile. In Oregon, a 15-year-old cannot consent to sex, but she can consent to a procedure that will ensure she won’t get pregnant. Ever.

CNSNews asked House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi about the regulation:

“You mentioned the preventive services mandate.

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WORLD: Nitpicking Military Voting

by La Shawn Barber on Friday, August 17th, 2012

This is article 317 of 377 in the topic Elections

Military-Voter-0808All’s fair in love, war, and politics.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Democrats have opposed state laws that require citizens to present a government-issued form of photo identification before voting. They claim such measures are discriminatory and present an undue hardship on “the poor,” elderly, and certain racial and ethnic minorities.

States have the authority to regulate the voting process. To even suggest voter ID laws infringe on voting rights is absurd in a country where citizens might be asked to show a photo ID while running everyday errands or using government services like the public library. To invoke Jim Crow (poll taxes, literacy tests, threats of violence, and actual violence) is scandalous.

Democrats now have the military in their sights. The Obama campaign is suing Ohio (18 electoral votes) because the state allows members of the military to vote early in person until the Monday before Election Day, while the deadline for other early voters is the Friday before the election. Democrats contend the “arbitrary” law is unconstitutional, as it treats similarly situated voters differently.

It’s no coincidence that the sort of people who don’t have a valid form of photo ID tend to vote for Democrats and that members of the military tend to vote for Republicans. But one side makes a better case for voting laws than the other. Men and women without government-issued photo ID can get a ride (bus, subway, taxi, or helpful family/friend with a car) to the DMV, fill out an application, show proof of identity and residency, and pay a small fee for a non-driver ID card. In some cases, the government waives the fee. Citizens in the military, who volunteer to risk their lives to serve this great nation, ought to be given extra consideration.

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a non-profit organization run by Christians Jay and Jordan Sekulow, father and son, respectively, plans to submit an amicus brief in support of the military. The ACLJ protects religious and constitutional freedoms. From the ACLJ site (emphasis added):

“President Obama’s argument that there is ‘no legitimate justification’ for granting military members particular consideration in ensuring their right to vote is legally incorrect. State and federal law already treats military and non-military differently to combat the unique challenges faced by those who have volunteered their lives in service to their country. … Should military personnel be given a last minute assignment or called to report to a location far from their home, they should have every opportunity to vote.”

Fifteen military groups oppose the lawsuit. “Efforts to facilitate and maximize military voting should be welcomed, not viewed with constitutional suspicion,” the groups wrote in a court filing.

Is all fair in love, war, and politics? The president knows military voters likely won’t help him much. But filing a lawsuit so close to the election to take away a few more days of voting from military volunteers is a cynical move. Then again, implying that certain racial minorities are too stupid, ignorant, and/or lazy to obtain photo ID is worse.

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WORLD: Jonah and the DNC

by La Shawn Barber on Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

This is article 116 of 246 in the topic Religion
Jonah and the Great FishAre you like Jonah?When I hear about terrible things like a former Penn State football coach sodomizing young boys and other men covering it up for fear of bad publicity, I wish God would make me an Avenging Angel superhero, traveling the planet rescuing children and dealing with perverts. I want them to suffer for what they’ve done and feel the same pain they’ve inflicted on the vulnerable and the weak. What I don’t want to do is to pray for the salvation of perverts or “cry out against their wickedness” so they can repent. Although God gave me the awesome and undeserved gift of eternity in His presence, I want certain sinners to be denied that gift.

I am like Jonah.

God told the prophet to go to Nineveh, the Assyrian capital, and warn the people of His impending judgment against them if they didn’t turn from their wickedness. God even used His chosen people’s enemy to punish them for disobedience. When God told Jonah to preach to these pagans, he refused and headed in the opposite direction.

If you’re familiar with Jonah’s plight, you know that God pursued him, and he eventually obeyed God’s command. Nineveh heard the Word of the Lord. Even the king was convicted. He took off his robe and donned sackcloth and sat in ashes. He issued a decree that everyone cry out to God for forgiveness, and that man and beast fast and wear sackcloth. Nineveh turned from wickedness, and God spared the city.

And Jonah didn’t like it.

Instead of being humbled that God showed him mercy and awed by the pagan Nineveh’s repentance, Jonah was angry. He wanted Israel’s enemy destroyed. But God wasn’t finished with him. As Jonah sat outside the city, waiting to see what would happen with Nineveh, God erected a plant to shade him from the sun. The plant made him very happy. The next day, God created a worm to destroy it, and He sent a scorching wind and blazing sun. Miserable in the heat and upset about the plant’s destruction, Jonah wanted to die. He showed more concern for his shady plant and his own comfort than for the souls of Nineveh.

I empathize with Jonah disobeying the Lord’s command to warn the unrepentant and to share the promise of redemption. I understand his urge to flee in the opposite direction. I can be stiff-necked, foolish, and selfish. Too often I care more about my shady plant and comfort than I do about the lost. And although I haven’t ended up in the belly of a fish (yet), God pursues me.

Do I begrudge the salvation of people who hurt children? To do so would be shameful. When sinners repent, God is glorified. When I was unrepentant, people preached to me, and prayed.

I’m glad they weren’t like Jonah.

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Unmarried and Unequal?

by La Shawn Barber on Thursday, July 26th, 2012

This is article 15 of 32 in the topic Marriage
unmarried with childrenLiberal politicians divide and conquer through class warfare. They pontificate about how the “rich” don’t pay their fair share of taxes or how that nice, safe neighborhood isn’t diverse enough, so the government ought to build low-income housing to mix things up. So-called social justice, the impetus behind government policies like racial preferences, drives the Democratic platform. But no matter how level the proverbial playing field, individuals will always possess different levels of drive, initiative, intelligence, motivation, skill, and talent. Individuals will never have equal amounts of stuff. Equality of outcome cannot exist. We are equal where it counts in a free, pursuit-of-happiness kind of country: under the law.

One factor driving the inequality liberals claim they’re concerned about is family instability. As research and common sense have borne out, marriage benefits the whole of society, the adults who made the vows, and the products of the union — the children. An article in the New York Times making the rounds, “Two Classes, Divided by ‘I Do,’” compares and contrasts two women with several similarities and one important difference, especially where children are concerned: one has a husband and the other doesn’t.

Mrs. Faulkner lives in a house with her husband and children. Miss Schairer lives in an apartment with her children and no husband. The married woman’s children do lots of activities. The unmarried woman’s children don’t, because she can’t afford it and doesn’t have the time. Although the married woman works outside the home, her children still are better off.

The unmarried woman grew up with married parents, but her kids don’t have that good fortune. Miss Schairer had three children out of wedlock with a man who didn’t marry her and sounds as though he didn’t like to work. Now she’s struggling alone, with three children. She’s also received cancer treatment. Life can be difficult even with a spouse, but life’s problems are exacerbated when the family is unstable. An excerpt:

[S]triking changes in family structure have also broadened income gaps and posed new barriers to upward mobility. College-educated Americans like the Faulkners are increasingly likely to marry one another, compounding their growing advantages in pay. Less-educated women like Ms. Schairer, who left college without finishing her degree, are growing less likely to marry at all, raising children on pinched paychecks that come in ones, not twos.

Estimates vary widely, but scholars have said that changes in marriage patterns — as opposed to changes in individual earnings — may account for as much as 40 percent of the growth in certain measures of inequality. Long a nation of economic extremes, the United States is also becoming a society of family haves and family have-nots, with marriage and its rewards evermore confined to the fortunate classes.

A sociologist quoted in the article says privileged people marry each other, which helps them stay privileged. People tend to marry within their class — so what? Marriage benefits the “unprivileged,” too. One can make a good argument that marriage is better for people in lower socioeconomic classes. Married men work more and earn more. Men who live with their children are more financially and emotionally invested in them. Such children are safer, happier, and better adjusted than children who don’t live with their fathers.

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WORLD: I Thank God I’m an American

by La Shawn Barber on Thursday, July 5th, 2012

This is article 110 of 246 in the topic Religion
Declaration of IndependenceToday we observe the anniversary of our country’s independence. I thank God I was born in the United States, the greatest country on the planet. I thank God I get to live in a place where I can practice my faith without fear of imprisonment or death or worse. I love my country, and every day I’m grateful to be a participant in the Great American Experiment. Being a Christian in America is easy. Most of us will never know the kind of persecution perpetuated around the world. Some Christians must practice their faith inconspicuously, mindful of who might be watching or listening. For now, we still live in a county where we may criticize our government and petition it for redress. Christians in America are free to gather in the open and pray and worship. Christians in America don’t have to smuggle in Bibles or read them in secret.

Religious freedom is the cornerstone of America’s foundation. Within our Declaration of Independence is the acknowledgement that all men are equal before their Creator. The fundamental belief that we were made by One greater than ourselves shaped a nation that eventually lived up to the promise of securing the unalienable rights of all citizens to life, liberty, and the pursuit—not the guarantee—of happiness. America and Christianity, and not just religion in general, are inseparable. Morality, an objective distinction between right and wrong, is of divine origin. Without it, freedom from tyranny is impossible.

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion,” John Adams said. “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Twenty years after America’s declaration, George Washington said in his Farewell Address:

“[L]et us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

“It is substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who, that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?”

As we observe the Fourth of July and express gratitude to the men and women who fought and died to maintain our freedom, let us also remember our freedom in Christ. The bondage of sin and death is broken. We are unshackled from the vain labor of securing our salvation, which was agonizingly finished on the cross.

And as we celebrate our country’s independence and express gratitude to God for being Americans, let us also pray for persecuted believers around the world. We have what they don’t—the choice to openly and safely worship the living God. We are without excuse.

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WORLD: Killing the Girls

by La Shawn Barber on Monday, June 4th, 2012

This is article 297 of 699 in the topic Healthcare
23 weeks

(Image from National Right to Life)

Live Action, a pro-life advocacy group, released an undercover video yesterday recorded at a Planned Parenthood location in Austin, Texas. The “pregnant” operative tells the employee why she wants to kill her unborn baby.“I see that you’re saying that you want to terminate if it’s a girl,” the employee said, “so are you just wanting to continue the pregnancy in the meantime?” The so-called counselor informs the operative she can abort up to 23 weeks, and around that time, her baby’s sex can be determined.

Watching the video (see below), I was surprised at this point that the employee didn’t realize this must have been a weird joke or a sting. In its short history, Live Action has recorded Planned Parenthood employees lying about fetal development, advising operatives to lie about their age, and ignoring statutory rape laws. Do pregnant women typically tell the employees they want to abort because the baby is female?

The employee shared some personal details. She got on Medicaid “as if I was gonna continue my pregnancy,” saw an OB-GYN, killed her unborn baby, and remained on Medicaid. Oh, and she’s had two abortions. Nice female bonding moment. Just us girls exercising our right to privacy to get rid of our fetuses!

Counselor “Rebecca,” who represents Planned Parenthood (although the abortion mill might claim rogue employee), advised the operative to see an OB-GYN to get an ultrasound to determine her baby’s sex so she can return to Planned Parenthood and kill her if she’s a girl. “Well, good luck,” the counselor said as the operative is leaving, “and I hope that you do get your boy.”

Sex-selective abortion is all the rage in countries like China and India. According to Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men, by Mara Hvistendahl, mothers in these countries kill their female babies so often, the sex ratio is 121 boys born for every 100 girls in China and 112 boys born for every 100 girls in India. The natural sex ratio is 105 boys born for every 100 girls.

Sex-selective abortion hasn’t seemed to have caught on in the United States … yet. Three states have banned abortions based on race and sex, and U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., re-introduced a bill that would do the same.

I’m ambivalent about such laws. In the first trimester, a woman can abort for any reason, and she doesn’t have to share that reason with the abortionist. Abortion is the problem, whether based on race, sex, finances, or convenience. Killing a baby because she’s female isn’t worse than killing a baby because you want to spend the summer frolicking on a beach in your designer bikini. A dead baby is a dead baby.

But I’m not ambivalent about abortion. I oppose it even in cases of incest or rape. Why punish a baby for the circumstances of his or her conception? That tiny and vulnerable human being is precious, and his life has value, no matter how he was conceived.

(Image from National Right to Life)

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WORLD: Hardening of Hearts?

by La Shawn Barber on Friday, May 25th, 2012

This is article 101 of 246 in the topic Religion
Richard Dawkins…I believe; help my unbelief!– Mark 9:24Last year marked the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, published in 1611 as the king’s attempt to create one Bible for everyone in a society simmering with divided doctrinal loyalties. Michael Gove, the British education secretary, intended to commemorate the anniversary by donating a new leather-bound copy to all government primary and secondary schools. After Prime Minister David Cameron nixed the plan to use taxpayers’ money, Conservative Party members donated.

Famous atheist/agnostic Richard Dawkins penned an article about the plan for The Guardian last Saturday. He not only supports having Bibles in schools, but he wrote that his organization, the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, would have “given it serious consideration” if Gove had asked for a donation. He calls the Bible “a great work of literature” and wrote that a native English speaker who’s never read the book is “verging on the barbarian.”

Of course, Dawkins disdains Christians, and he called on his fellow unbelievers to “ridicule and show contempt” for the religious and their doctrines at the Reason Rally in Washington two months ago. So why would an atheist/agnostic want King James Bibles in every government school? Dawkins wrote:

“I have an ulterior motive for wishing to contribute to Gove’s scheme. People who do not know the Bible well have been gulled into thinking it is a good guide to morality. This mistaken view may have motivated the ‘millionaire Conservative Party donors.’ I have even heard the cynically misanthropic opinion that, without the Bible as a moral compass, people would have no restraint against murder, theft, and mayhem. The surest way to disabuse yourself of this pernicious falsehood is to read the Bible itself.”

Dawkins isn’t resentful of only believers or doctrine or books. He’s deeply resentful of a God he claims doesn’t exist. Regarding his mention of stoning for violating God’s law, such penalties illustrated the impossibility of following the law perfectly. They also were signs pointing to our need for a perfect Savior to bear the punishment for us. Dawkins knows such issues have been explained, yet he continues to misrepresent and mislead.

Dawkins also refers to one of the Bible’s many difficult passages, namely that God commanded Israel to kill His enemies—men, women, and children—in vengeance for corrupting His people, but to save the virgins, the purpose of which was to exterminate the enemies to keep them from reproducing and corrupting Israel again. Every man, woman, and child is a sinner who deserves God’s wrath, and God decrees the method and the means for carrying out His wrath sometimes in ways we can’t fully grasp. In the same vein, God used His enemies as agents to punish His chosen people.

No person, place, or thing can thwart God’s purpose, not even unbelievers like Dawkins. Perhaps a student or teacher will leaf through his school’s copy of the fancy new book, motivated by Dawkins’s ridicule, and become awed by its overarching themes of rebellion, wrath, faith, and redemption.

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