Tuesday, February 25, 2003


The tv show Everybody Loves Raymond is among the best of the current crop. They often really tag marriage and in-law relationships. Last night my wife and I were particularly disappointed in the show's portrayal of Christianity and Christians, however. Raymond's brother Robert is caught at his girlfriend Amy's apartment (after spending the night there) by her Christian parents. The parents are portrayed as naive, judgmental, uptight and self-righteous--a typical 'Christian' stereotype. Amy breaks out of her shell by telling her parents that she chose not to go to church and regularly sleeps with Robert at her apartment. Her parents are shocked. We are meant to cheer Amy's freedom from the shackles of her parents and of fuddy-duddy religion.

I really expected better.
cut on the bias continues to intrude into theosebes territory with a post on the media's disdain of religion. Next she'll try to be funny after reading Dave Barry's weblog...

Sunday, February 23, 2003

cut on the bias lengthily addresses the problem of religious leaders confusing their religious roles for political ones.

The debate continues over the 'Open Theism' position pushed by several evangelical scholars. I spoke to the issue awhile back, but the mainstream press now seems aware of it, too:
"We say, yes, God has the power, but He gives room for human and creaturely freedom. God's sovereignty is general over the world, but not meticulous," said [Clark H.] Pinnock, a professor of theology at McMaster Divinity College in Hamilton, Ontario. "God wants free creatures to have some say."

On its fundamental level, the issue revolves around the question of free will. From what I've seen, the Open Theism folks seem to take their position a little too far. By that I mean they probably tend to think they know more than they do about how God operates. That is always a danger with systematic theology, and certainly a charge easily leveled against Open Theism's opponents.

God did create me free to choose. Foreknowledge does not necessarily equal foreordination. And my choices and my petitions to God do make a difference.

Saturday, February 22, 2003


Florida Circuit Judge Gerard O'Brien has awarded custody of two children to transsexual Michael (aka Margo) Kantaras although neither child is biologically related to him/her:
The ruling confirms Michael Kantaras is the legal parent of the couple's two children -- his former wife's son, whom he had already adopted, and a daughter Linda Kantaras conceived during their marriage with donated sperm.

It's hard to think of what else to say.

Friday, February 21, 2003


Public schools (I use that in the US sense) in Britain have a new idea to reduce teenage pregnancy--teach kids all about oral sex instead. The program is called 'A Pause':
It aims to reduce promiscuity by encouraging pupils to discover “levels of intimacy”, including oral sex, instead of full sexual intercourse.

More than 100,000 children are now taking the course at one in every thirty secondary schools. It forms part of efforts to tackle Britain’s teenage pregnancy rate, which is the highest in Western Europe.

Yes, that's going to work. Not everyone, including a teacher trained in the program, is excited:
Lynda Brine, a teacher from a Doncaster comprehensive who recently attended a training day for the course, says in today’s Times Educational Supplement that she was primed to deal with detailed questions about oral and anal sex. “I was amazed. Are these really the sort of questions to which we as a profession should be responding?” she writes.

“There was no framework for talking about responsibility or the emotional side of relationships. By following this course, I feel that teachers are implicitly supporting under-age sexual activity.”

A bill is moving through Parliament to stop the program.

Scientists have unveiled a new find that may reshape man's evolutionary family tree. Found in Tanzania’s Olduvai Gorge, the jawbone has been classified as coming from the genus Homo, the same genus man--homo sapien--is in. The article states confidently:
Anthropologists can extract a remarkable amount of information from a few skeletal fragments, and the new find was no exception.

I'm sure they can.

Thursday, February 20, 2003


A doctor who refused to artificially inseminate a lesbian on religious grounds is being sued for discrimination. Although Dr. Christine Brody referred Guadalupe Benitez to a doctor without such moral qualms, Benitez could not let such a slap to her homosexual dignity slide:
Disgusted with Brody's faith-based refusal to impregnate her, Benitez sued Brody and the NCWMG based on a California law designed to prevent discrimination by business establishments and health care providers. A San Diego trial dismissed the lawsuit in 1999, saying it was without merit.

Of course the dismissal was appealed:
"Guadalupe's doctors are entitled to hold any personal religious belief they choose," said Jennifer Pizer, senior staff attorney for Lambda Legal. "But health care providers do not have the right to refuse medically appropriate treatment to a patient based on what they claim are personal religious beliefs about particular people."

The homosexual lobby also attacks from the parenting front, continuing their effort to normalize homosexual parenting:
[Dr. Kenneth Haller, president of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association] claims that Dr. Brody's Christian faith and morals are at odds with current medical literature and studies regarding homosexual parenting.

"The medical literature is quite clear that children of same-sex parents do just as well as kids of opposite-sex partners in their psychological, physical and spiritual developments. Even so, there [are] those who refuse to believe it," Haller said. "Worse, how can physicians, of all people, let their personal beliefs influence their delivery of appropriate medical care?"

Artificial insemination is 'appropriate medical care'? This is elective medical care by anyone's criteria--I'm sure that Dr. Brody would have been eager to help a lesbian having a heart attack.

This continues a systematic effort to marginalize people of faith from mainstream society. Those who practice religious beliefs must be supplanted by those with alternate lifestyles. If we couple this with the recent Texas Tech recommendation letter fiasco, we can see that those who fail to tow the liberal line in the medical field are to be removed. How long will it be before doctors cannot refuse to perform abortions because of moral problems?
cut on the bias addresses religion in schools. Government pretty much without fail corrupts whatever it touches. So while I don't believe there is meant to be a 'wall of separation' between religion and state, you still don't want them sticking their nose in very far at all.

Seeking to interject jocularity into the evolution debate, a group of scientists--all of them named 'Steve'--have signed an anti-creationist screed, reports Alan Boyle:
More than 200 scientists signed a statement declaring that “there is no serious scientific doubt that evolution occurred or that natural selection is a major mechanism of evolution.” The statement also disses creationism, and specifically intelligent design theory, which contends that the universe is so well-designed that there must have been a designer.

“It is scientifically inappropriate and pedagogically irresponsible for creationist pseudoscience, including but not limited to ‘intelligent design,’ to be introduced into the science curricula of the public schools,” the statement reads.

It's all to honor the 'Great Steve', popular evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould, who died last year. Of course the kicker is, Dr. Gould is no longer an atheist.

I've been seeing ads on tv for Las Vegas with the message, do what you want while you're here--there are no consequences, and we promise we won't tell. "What's done here, stays here" or something along those lines. It's the perfect setup: a faraway city, all forms of excess--gambling, drink and sex, and no accountability. Haven't we all been tempted do something when we know we won't get caught? I'm sure the Vegas campaign will be very successful.

Sunday, February 16, 2003


The current rift between American and European approaches to the Iraqi question can to a large degree be explained by different views of religion and God, according to a Newsweek article. I don't think that the U.S. has a Divine mandate for Iraqi invasion; it's a political question, not necessarily a 'religious' one, per se. But the European hostility is eye-opening. What does Europe think of America's reliance upon religion?
“It’s ludicrous and counterproductive,” says Herman Philipse, a philosophy professor at the Netherlands’ Leiden University. And since 9-11 this American religiosity seems especially inappropriate to many in Europe. “How do you go around denouncing Muslim fundamentalism when in every one of Bush’s speeches he talks about God?” asks Pierre Assouline, editor of the popular French literary magazine Lire.

And it's not just the Continentals. The Brits are uneasy about America's openly religious attitude. Playwright Harold Pinter called Bush a 'hired Christian thug'. And Tony Blair is being grilled over whether or not he has actually (gasp!) prayed with President Bush:
In two television interviews over the past month, Blair has been asked if he prayed with the president. An American politician would be proud to say yes. Blair’s response to Jeremy Paxman on the BBC was a terse, “No, we don’t pray together, Jeremy, no.”

Well, one wouldn't want to admit to praying or anything.

It is a sign of the decadence of Europe that they have so completely dismissed religion. It's an attitude of, 'we've moved beyond that; we're all humanists now, and humanism will set us free.' Professing to be wise, they have become fools.

The mixing of politics and religion should be approached delicately. God does have His hand in the nations; rulers are ministers of God for good (Romans 13:4). Especially when it comes to military policy, one should use religious justification very sparingly. That said, a solid religious faith ought to inform our rulers. I want a President who prays and acknowledges God, whether I always agree with his politics or not.

Thursday, February 13, 2003


For only $1.50/week I can listen to ten 'scholars' debate the 'historical' Jesus--now how exciting is that?
Saw this yesterday:
'If God hadn't wanted man to eat animals, He wouldn't have made them out of meat.'
BAD NEWS: TV show 'Touched By an Angel' is about to air its 200th episode.
GOOD NEWS: This is the show's last season.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

What do 'cucumber', 'liberty' and 'puberty' have in common?

They all were words coined for Engish Bible translations. Stanley Malless has written a new book, Coined By God, exploring those words and phrases intrduced into our language through the Bible translation process. What he discovered will surprise you.

Monday, February 10, 2003


There isn't an essayist writing today who I have more respect for than Wendell Berry. He thinks within an often marginalized tradition that nonetheless traces back in this nation to men such as Thomas Jefferson. His is a voice that needs to be heard whether you agree with him or not. He has some thoughtful things to say on current war and security issues. Often when the war drums are beating we want to push to the side anyone who would dare raise an objection. And generally those are the times we need to give the most careful thought.

The also essay appeared in an abridged form on page 5 of Sunday's New York Times in a paid advertisement.

Saturday, February 08, 2003


Hollywood institution Variety magazine has spiked an ad critical of the 'father of the sexual revolution', Alfred Kinsey. Kinsey issued controversial findings mid-century on human sexuality and has become the poster-boy of the sex-without-consequences movement. A new movie about Kinsey with the usual entertainment industry agenda has been produced. But while the movie industry claims to be about free expression, that seems to apply primarily when you agree with them.

Dr. Judith Reisman is leading the fight to get the truth of Kinsey before the public to counter the romanticized version Hollywood has made:
"Dr. Kinsey went out, found pedophiles, cultivated them, coveted them and directed them in their sexual activities and their atrocities against children," charged Judith Reisman, author of Kinsey: Crime & Consequences: The Red Queen and The Grand Scheme.

The film stars Liam Neeson. I liked him better as Rob Roy.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

Sorry for the infrequent posting this week. I've been fighting the flu. I seem to be on the mend now, but have Sunday to get ready for as well as a Toastmasters awards banquet on Saturday (no, I'm not being awarded anything, but I'm on the awards committee).

Wednesday, February 05, 2003


Steven Gertz gives a nice survey of 20th Century finds that relate to Scripture. He rightly points out:
Christians should recognize that archaeology doesn't "prove" essentials of Christian faith, such as Jesus' resurrection. But they do give us confidence our holy book doesn't exist in a historical vacuum—and that the biblical writers knew what they were talking about.

Archaeology helps us with the underpinnings of a reasoned faith. But it's a faith that must finally come to a trust in 'things not seen'.

Monday, February 03, 2003

'Clergy' as informants? Jack Kenny thinks not.
William Saletan mulls the public invocation of God in time of national tragedy.

Dismissed by many as simply legend, Homer's grand account of the Trojan War was given a boost in credibility when the remains of the city were found decades ago. Now geologists have found that not only was there a Troy, but that Homer's account of the war at least contains accurate geographical details:
When Troy was first built around 3000 BC, say John Kraft, of the University of Delaware in Newark, and his colleagues, it was on the coast of a great bay that filled most of the plain.

Today, however, Troy's environs look very different. Little by little, silt from the Simois and Scamander rivers (today called the Dumrek Su and Kara Menderes), which flow into the bay, moved the Dardanelles coastline several kilometres north, leaving Troy high and dry.

The researchers tracked these changes back through time by radiocarbon dating the fossils in columns of sediment drilled from the rivers' flood plain. Their analysis revealed where, at different times, the ground was once a swamp, a brackish lagoon, or earlier still, a flooded bay.

What's my point, you ask? Well, perhaps scholars who so quickly dismiss ancient accounts as legendary and non-historical might need to realize the truth that actually there. And if Homer had it right, maybe--just maybe--the Old Testament, which makes claims of historical reliability that Homer does not, should be taken a little more seriously, too.

The Thomas More Law Center reports that a junior high honors student at Pennsylvania's Abington Junior High was forced to remove his pro-life t-shirt by the principal. The principal charged that the pro-life message was the equivalent of showing a swastika.

Hmmm. It was the Nazis who were the eager abortionists in order to design their superior race. And it was the Nazis who were the harsh punishers of dissent. It seems the principal here has it backwards.

[Link via FoxNews]

A Texas Tech biology professor has caught the attention of the Justice Department with his policy of refusing letters of recommendation for students who do not believe in the theory of evolution. A student is alleging discrimination on the basis of religion:
On [Professor Michael] Dini's Web site, he writes that he has the policy because he doesn't believe anyone should practice in a biology-related field without accepting "the most important theory in biology."

He argues that physicians who "ignore or neglect" the Darwinian aspects of medicine or the evolutionary origin of humans can make bad clinical decisions.

A scientist who denies the "fact" of human evolution, Dini writes, is in effect committing "malpractice regarding the method of science."

"Good scientists would never throw out data that do not conform to their expectations or beliefs," he writes.

A Texas Tech student, Micah Spradling, reasonably saw this policy as a barrier to his desire to enter medical school.

It was not enough for a student to simply understand the theory, but he had to declare complete allegiance to it. Which theory of evolution does one have to declare allegiance to? Darwin's? Or which scientist's variation? Does that matter?

Should a physician, or simply each college biology student, study and understand evolution? Certainly. It's the predominant theory in the scientific community. Any educated person should have an understanding of it. One would think scientists would see this as a policy in direct contradiction to their own claim of going where the evidence leads. But scientists are too busy protecting their house of cards to notice any longer.

UPDATE: Much on this whole thing at The Volokh Conspiracy. Start there and scroll up.]

[Original link via FoxNews]

Saturday, February 01, 2003