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WORLD: Obama’s Golden Rule

by La Shawn Barber on Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

This is article 612 of 1015 in the topic Obama

Obama0516While running for the Illinois state senate in 1996, Barack Obama responded to a questionnaire saying he favored legalizing homosexual “marriage” and wrote that he “would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.” In 2004, he said he opposed homosexual “marriage,” based on his faith, and didn’t consider it a civil right.

For the record, homosexuals have the same rights of citizenship as the rest of us. What they want is the special right to redefine a foundational institution. But putting that aside, sources reported that Obama’s stance changed again (when in fact it hadn’t). Some politicians will say anything for a vote, and Obama falls into that category.

On Tuesday, May 8, 61 percent of North Carolina voters chose to amend the state constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. After Vice President Joseph Biden publicly stated that he supported homosexual “marriage,” and Amendment One won at the polls, Obama supposedly was under pressure to make a public statement. An excerpt:

“This is something that, you know, we’ve talked about over the years and [Michelle], you know, she feels the same way, she feels the same way that I do. And that is that, in the end the values that I care most deeply about and she cares most deeply about is how we treat other people and, you know, I, you know, we are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated.”

Forget being “at odds with the views of others” for a moment, Mr. President, and focus on what God has said about marriage and homosexuality. That God instituted this union between a man and a woman, who become one flesh, is no mere trifle. It is part of His divine, created order, and homosexual “marriage” is outside that order. The Apostle Paul calls homosexuality unnatural and shameful, and those who commit the acts bear the punishment. Why punishment? Because homosexuality is a sin. How, from the whole of Scripture, does Obama find support for that which sent Christ to the cross?

Obama conveniently ignores the context of the Golden Rule. In His Sermon on the Mount, Christ gives us an exposition of the law and a call to faith and repentance from sin. The concept of the “rule” goes back to before Christ and means we ought to treat others the way we’d want to be treated. It doesn’t mean that because heterosexuals can marry, we should redefine the word and upend the institution so that two men can call themselves “married.”

With an eye toward the presidential election, Obama, who claims he’s a Christian, invoked Scripture to support that which the Bible clearly condemns.

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WORLD: Fauxcahontas*

by La Shawn Barber on Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

This is article 86 of 166 in the topic Racism
Elizabeth WarrenDid Harvard University hire the blond, blue-eyed Elizabeth Warren, a U.S. Senate candidate in Massachusetts, because she claimed to be an American Indian?

That’s what members of the Massachusetts Republican Party want to know. They’ve called for Harvard to investigate whether Warren’s supposed racial minority status played a role in her recruitment. Warren, who is challenging Sen. Scott Brown for his seat, listed herself as Native American in legal directories but said she was hired on merit. Columnist Michael Barone said Warren identified as an Indian at previous schools where she taught.

Warren said she claimed Native American ancestry to meet people with similar roots. Did she mean actual American Indians or other blue-eyed blondes with an Indian great-great-great-grandparent?

But for “affirmative action,” more accurately known as race- and sex-based preferences, Warren wouldn’t have done something so obviously ridiculous. That her great-great-great-grandmother might have been a Cherokee doesn’t make her an Indian any more than my supposed Indian great-great-great-grandfather makes me one. (Although I’m not an American Indian, I am a native American, as I was born in America.)

Racial preferences typically isn’t a hot topic. I should know. I’ve written about the condescending and unfair policy for nine years and recently blogged for an organization dedicated to eradicating racial preferences from the government. Yes, our government is a racial bean counter. Shocking, I know. As The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Riley notes, racial and ethnic preferences make a mockery of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and in my view, the entire civil rights movement.

Race-based admissions and hiring practices stand in stark contrast to the landmark legislation. The law’s intent was to end racial discrimination in public accommodations (hotels, restaurants, theaters, etc.) and programs that receive federal funds. Over the years, unfortunately, the law has been subverted as the government seeks to increase “minority representation” (blacks, Hispanics, American Indians, etc.) by discriminating against whites and non-preferred minorities (Asians).

The policy that plays racial favorites evolved from President Richard M. Nixon’s directive to the Department of Labor to set specific goals and timetables to correct the “underutilization” of blacks by federal contractors. The government began to lower hiring standards and never stopped. Fast forward to 2012. Although federal law bars racial discrimination, the U.S. Supreme Court in Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) interpreted the law to allow it. But the court might rectify its nine-year-old mistake in a case it agreed to hear, Fisher v. Texas, in which the plaintiffs allege the University of Texas rejected their applications because they’re white.

That our government favors some and penalizes others based on skin color is an obvious problem. Less obvious is the doubt the policy creates in those who “benefit.” At colleges with race-based admissions policies, how do blacks know they were admitted based on merit and not skin color? Sadly, some don’t seem to care and probably believe the government owes them because their ancestors were slaves and/or lived under Jim Crow. I wonder if the people who died fighting for a race-neutral government would agree.

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WORLD: Christians and Illegal ‘Immigration’

by La Shawn Barber on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

This is article 255 of 466 in the topic Immigration
illegal aliens crossingHow should Christians respond in the so-called illegal immigration debate? Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, opposes laws like SB 1070. In fact, he favors immigration reform, a euphemism for amnesty. “Hospitality is not at the margins of Scripture,” he said earlier this year at the G92 South Immigration Conference at Samford University. “Jesus wasn’t kidding around when He said, ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me.’”

Scripture misapplication notwithstanding, Christians certainly are called to be compassionate, but are we called to welcome lawbreakers? In light of such questions, Professor James K. Hoffmeier, author of The Immigration Crisis: Immigrants, Aliens, and the Bible (Crossway, 2009), investigated what the Bible has to say about foreigners/strangers/visitors in a host country. The relevant terms he found are ger,zar, and nekharZar and nekhar refer to people passing through, but only ger refers to foreigners who live in the land with the host’s permission.

“The law is clear that ger is not to be oppressed,” Hoffmeier wrote in an email interview with the Gospel Coalition, “but to receive equal justice, and have access to the social support system of ancient Israel. And there was a provision for religious inclusion, but they were also obligated to live in accordance with the laws just like the Israelites.”

Does the same apply to aliens who don’t have the host country’s permission? Hoffmeier says no: “From this I conclude that ger was viewed as a legal alien. The mistake of some well-meaning Christians is to apply the biblical laws for the ger to illegal aliens in America even though they do not fit the biblical legal and social definition.” Illegal aliens, by definition, are not obeying the host country’s laws.

That Christians are to treat illegal aliens humanely is beyond dispute. That Christians should support immigration reform or oppose deportation is very much in dispute. Rewarding unlawful behavior for some, while others are waiting in line to go through proper channels to remain in and become citizens of this great country, is indefensible.

To Christ-professing illegal aliens who might be reading this column, I pose a question: How do you reconcile your presence in the United States with your faith generally and Romans 13 specifically?

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WORLD: Shacking Up

by La Shawn Barber on Monday, April 23rd, 2012

This is article 5 of 32 in the topic Marriage
shacking upThe web is buzzing about an opinion article published by The New York Times last Saturday. “The Downside to Cohabitating Before Marriage” has been one of the most emailed and among the most viewed articles on the Times’ website this week, although it contains nothing new or groundbreaking. It merely confirms what most know or suspect: Living together before marriage increases the risk of divorce.

Meg Jay, a clinical psychologist and author, writes about a client she calls “Jennifer.” The client and her live-in boyfriend eventually married, but when Jennifer was in therapy with Jay, divorce was on her mind. During cohabitation—a euphemism for “shacking up”—Jennifer said she felt like she was on a “multiyear, never-ending audition to be his wife.” They’d bought furniture together and had the same friends. In their 20s when they moved in together, they married in their 30s seemingly by default. How romantic.

Jay notes that women and men tend to see shacking up differently. You don’t say?

“Women are more likely to view cohabitation as a step toward marriage, while men are more likely to see it as a way to test a relationship or postpone commitment, and this gender asymmetry is associated with negative interactions and lower levels of commitment even after the relationship progresses to marriage. One thing men and women do agree on … their standards for a live-in partner are lower than they are for a spouse.”

Gender asymmetry—Adam and Eve certainly learned something about that after the Fall, didn’t they? No offense to the men in the audience, but honestly, is anyone surprised that men tend to view living together without the benefit of marriage as a way to postpone marriage? Or that women, with their romantic notions, tend to view living together as a sort of marriage gamble, or a foot in the door, so to speak?

Dr. Laura Schlessinger, radio host and marriage and family therapist, gets irritated when women call in to her program to complain that their shack-up boyfriends are seeing other women or aren’t treating them well. Schlessinger asks: Why shouldn’t he see other women? There is no commitment. The caller is just the “shack-up honey,” an “unpaid whore.” Schlessinger speaks roughly to make a point: Two people living and sleeping together outside marriage should not expect to be treated as a wife or a husband. There are no vows to be faithful, to honor, or to cherish.

What really ticks off people like Schlessinger (and me) is when unmarried couples living together outside marriage give birth or bring previous children into these homes. According to the National Marriage Project, divorce is no longer the greatest threat to family stability and child well-being. Cohabitation is “the largest unrecognized threat to the quality and stability of children’s family lives.” Children in cohabiting homes are much more likely to suffer abuse than children in intact, married families or single-parent families.

Adults can play house, but children need intact homes and a mother and father who love them.

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WORLD: Voter ID ‘Controversy’

by La Shawn Barber on Monday, April 16th, 2012

This is article 288 of 377 in the topic Elections
I votedOne side of the political aisle claims that requiring American citizens to show a photo ID to elect other Americans to positions of power presents a hardship to “the poor,” blacks, and Hispanics. The claim is absurd on its face and even more so when you consider that people have to show photo ID throughout their lives, including when cashing a check, boarding a plane, or even entering the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), which opposes voter ID laws.

Voter fraud doesn’t have to be rampant to pose serious problems. One fraudulent vote is one too many, especially in close contests. In a stunning and ironic display of potential fraud, James O’Keefe, who released undercover videos of ACORN employees advising operatives on how to break the law, released this week an undercover video that revealed how easy it is to commit voter fraud in the nation’s capital.

During the April 3 primary in the District of Columbia, an operative entered U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s polling place in northwest D.C. and gave Holder’s name and address. The poll worker searched the records, found it, and asked the operative to sign “his” name. The operative said he left his ID in the car. The worker said he didn’t need it. The operative said he’d feel more comfortable showing his ID and left.

The DOJ downplayed the sting. “It’s no coincidence that these so-called examples of rampant voter fraud consistently turn out to be manufactured ones.”

Manufactured or otherwise, doesn’t the sting expose the potential for fraud? The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics thinks so. The agency has launched an investigation into the incident.

Columnist and author John Fund notes that absentee voting also is open to fraud. Most states don’t require ID for absentee ballots. In Jamie Dean’s WORLD cover story on voter ID laws, she paraphrased Fund on the issue. Absentee ballots tend to favor Republicans. Just as Democrats oppose voter ID laws because the people likely not to have photo IDs tend to vote for Democrats, Republicans “often downplay serious abuses of mail-in ballots.”

The right to vote is guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution, but it’s not absolute. States are authorized to set voter qualifications. For example, they may require an age minimum and residency, but they may not require poll taxes or literacy tests. No laws prevent “the poor,” the elderly, or racial and ethnic minorities from voting. Any citizen qualified to vote may vote. Even if one is poor in the true sense of the word, one can obtain a state-issued photo ID at no cost. All it takes is going down to the local DMV—which can be an equal opportunity nightmare.

The best way to prevent voter fraud is to require in-person and mail-in voters to verify their identity. Politics is contentious by design, and common-sense voter ID laws will help ensure the integrity of the voting process. Ask yourselves what sort of person would object to accuracy and honesty in choosing men and women to positions of power.

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WORLD: He is not here

by La Shawn Barber on Saturday, April 7th, 2012

This is article 93 of 246 in the topic Religion

La-Shawn0404This Sunday we commemorate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, the One we call the Christ. The resurrection is the foundation of our faith, and Christianity itself rests on the truth of the claim that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. His physical resurrection is a sign pointing to our own physical resurrection, but also a deeper, spiritual rising from the dead.

In Matthew 20, Christ predicted his own death:

“And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, ‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.’”

Indeed, Christ was raised to life. He ascended into heaven, and now sits at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us as our High Priest. Why was Christ’s death necessary at all?

Genesis tells us that death entered into the world after Adam and Eve sinned, separating themselves from God. Everyone born thereafter inherited Adam’s sin nature. We don’t take on Adam’s sin; we commit our own sins. We are spiritually dead and unable to do anything to save ourselves. Before salvation, we were as spiritually dead as Lazarus was physically dead in his tomb. Christ called to him and commanded him to come forth, and the dead man rose and came forth.

“I am the resurrection and the life,” Christ said to Martha, Lazarus’ sister. “Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Christ’s necessary death satisfied the penalty for our law breaking and for justice. Christ’s necessary death reconciled us to God. His death is a completed sacrifice. He offered once, for all time, to bear our sins. Just before He succumbed to death, He said, “It is finished.” No more sacrifices required. Once saved, always saved. Get the point?

Christ’s rising from the dead should be foremost on our minds every day, not just on Resurrection Sunday. The empty tomb witnessed by His followers bears witness to us through the ages. The empty tomb is part of the gospel, for without it, there is no gospel. If Christ’s body had remained in its tomb, decaying, what hope would we have for our own resurrection? What hope would we have that we are forgiven and reconciled to God?

The empty tomb reminds us of the sinless Christ’s pain and humiliation that paid the penalty for our transgressions. The empty tomb reminds us that we worship not a dead man who rotted in his grave, but the living God who works in the world and through us to extend His kingdom.

He is not here; He has risen. Now go and make disciples of all the nations.

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WORLD: ‘Failure of Leadership’ at Penn State

by La Shawn Barber on Thursday, March 15th, 2012

This is article 115 of 340 in the topic Criminal Activity

On Monday, the Pennsylvania State University Board of Trustees released a reportexplaining why they “removed” the late head football coach Joe Paterno and university President Graham Spanier last November. Penn State alumni, students, and others complained about the firings and asked the trustees to “state clearly” why they did so. The report is their response.

According to the grand jury presentment, graduate assistant coach Mike McQueary said he witnessed former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky raping a child in the shower in 2002. McQueary went to Paterno’s house and told him what he saw. Paterno reported the incident to athletic director Tim Curley. Paterno testified that McQueary said Sandusky was “in the Lasch Building [on campus] showers fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy.”

I’ve read some of the grand jury presentment, and it’s not for those with weak stomachs. What Sandusky reportedly did to those children is sad, nasty, blood pressure raising, and evil.

Although Paterno, according to the report, “did his legal duty by reporting” the crimes to Curley, his decision not to do more to follow up “constituted a failure of leadership.” The trustees also concluded that Spanier “took insufficient action” after he learned of the child’s rape.

Sandusky coached from 1969 to 1999, and in 1977, he founded The Second Mile, a charity to help “troubled” boys. In 1998, State College, Pa., police, the Centre County district attorney, and other agencies investigated Sandusky for sexually abusing a child. Incredibly, no charges were filed against him, and he continued his alleged perverted crimes. Last November, Sandusky was charged with sexually abusing eight boys over a 15-year period, with some of the incidents occurring while he coached at Penn State.

We didn’t need a report to tell us Paterno showed a failure of leadership or that Spanier’s actions were insufficient. Is there any doubt the “winningest” coach held the kind of power at Penn State to blow the lid off such heinous and disgusting attacks on vulnerable children? Of course, he did. So why didn’t he go to the police? And why didn’t McQueary, who witnessed the rape of a 10-year-old boy, clobber the pervert over the head and rescue the child? According to an ESPN timeline of events, a janitor named James Calhoun also saw Sandusky abusing a young boy in the shower. Why didn’t he help?

What kind of man sees or hears a child being raped, or suspects rape, and leaves the child to his fate? The kind of man with low character and a heaping helping of cowardice. What must a child think when a man rapes him or when another man sees him in peril and walks away? Was Paterno disgusted when McQueary told him about it? Every person who knew or suspected what happened bears some of the blame.

But wait … aren’t I being judgmental? Bad girl. Politically incorrect girl. When it comes to the protection of children, may we all be so judgmental. I’m certain an abused child would have welcomed such judgments from Paterno or McQueary.

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WORLD: Kirk Cameron and Romans 1:27

by La Shawn Barber on Thursday, March 8th, 2012

This is article 24 of 64 in the topic Gay Rights
Kirk CameronKirk Cameron, former teen star of Growing Pains, a sitcom that ran from 1985 to 1992, became a Christian while on the show. In 2002, he co-founded a ministry called The Way of the Master (the on-the-street witnessing is instructional), and in 2008, he played the leading man in the Christian movie Fireproof, a surprise hit. Promoting his new documentary scheduled for release in theaters later this month, Cameron appeared on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight last Friday.

The host asked for his comments on homosexuality, and Cameron told the truth: “I think that it’s … unnatural. I think that it’s … detrimental, and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization.”

Naturally, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) didn’t like it. GLAAD’s Herndon Graddick said, “In this interview, Kirk Cameron sounds even more dated than his 1980s TV character. Cameron is out of step with a growing majority of Americans, particularly people of faith who believe that their gay and lesbian brothers and sisters should be loved and accepted based on their character and not condemned because of their sexual orientation.”

Read the rest at WORLD.

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Maryland’s Gun Law Unconstitutional

by La Shawn Barber on Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

This is article 136 of 603 in the topic Gun Rights
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.Under Maryland law, a resident must show a “good and substantial reason” to obtain a permit to carry a handgun.But the state has it exactly backward. The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution grants a citizen the right to own and carry guns, and the government shall not infringe on that right. The amendment restricts the government, not the people. And wouldn’t you know it? A court agrees with me. ;)From the AP (emphasis added):

States can channel the way their residents exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms, but because Maryland’s goal was to minimize the number of firearms carried outside homes by limiting the privilege to those who could demonstrate “good reason,” it had turned into a rationing system, infringing upon residents’ rights, U.S. District Judge Benson Everett Legg wrote.

“A citizen may not be required to offer a ‘good and substantial reason’ why he should be permitted to exercise his rights,” he wrote. “ThLa Shawn's gune right’s existence is all the reason he needs.”

Plaintiff Raymond Woollard obtained a handgun permit after fighting with an intruder in his Hampstead home in 2002, but was denied a renewal in 2009 because he could not show he had been subject to “threats occurring beyond his residence.” Woollard appealed, but was rejected by the review board, which found he hadn’t demonstrated a “good and substantial reason” to carry a handgun as a reasonable precaution. The suit filed in 2010 claimed that Maryland didn’t have a reason to deny the renewal and wrongly put the burden on Woollard to show why he still needed to carry a gun.

Exercise your rights while you still can, people.

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WORLD: Atheists, Christians, and Censorship

by La Shawn Barber on Thursday, March 1st, 2012

This is article 46 of 114 in the topic Free Speech
question marksLast week, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported that Lenoir City High School in Tennessee denied an atheist student permission to publish an editorial accusing school administrators and faculty of violating her rights as an atheist. Krystal Myers, editor of the school newspaper, wrotethat the school allows prayer at football games “via the public address system,” which she claims makes it school-sponsored prayer. Among other things, she also took issue with prayer at graduation, a teacher wearing a T-shirt with a crucifix on it, and another teacher writing Bible verses on the board as part of “Quote of the Day.”The U.S. Constitution protects expression of religion, speech, and the press, but these rights aren’t absolute. The U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted the First Amendment to deny free speech protection to child pornography, incitement of violence, defamation, copyright infringement, and other forms of expression. The court also has ruled that a government high school can restrict speech in school-sponsored publications.Notwithstanding Myers’s allegation that Lenoir City High School violated the Establishment Clause or the school’s right to restrict speech in a student newspaper, should the administrators have censored her article? Perhaps the better and less controversial option would have been to allow the editorial, along with a counterpoint editorial from a Christian student. For example, Myers wrote:

“Before I even begin, I just want to clear up some misconceptions about atheism. No, we do not worship the ‘devil.’ We do not believe in God, so we also do not believe in Satan. And we may be ‘godless,’ but that does not mean that we are without morals. I know I strive to be the best person I can be, even without religion. In fact, I have been a better person since I have rejected religion.”

A counterpoint response could have been along these lines:

“Ms. Myers might not believe the God of the Bible or Satan exists, but they certainly believe she exists. Satan is at enmity with God, and the Bible teaches that we belong either to God or to Satan. Our ‘morals’ and good deeds fall far short of God’s standards of perfection. No matter how much we strive to be the ‘best person’ we can be, we are sinners under God’s wrath and in need of a Savior. I’ll explain what that means.”

By publishing two opposing articles, Lenoir City High School could not be accused of favoring one system of belief over the other. Consequently, the administrators could have created a platform for debating the claims of the Christian faith and atheism and preparing young people to defend their beliefs. Instead, Myers will continue to think she’s part of a persecuted minority group.

Myers and her persecution complex remind me of myself in young adulthood, full of passion about my formerly liberal and misguided views. She’s experiencing the power of boldly expressing her opinions, and the attention surrounding the censorship controversy likely will fuel her fervor.

Do you think the school should have censored the editorial?


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