Thursday, August 28, 2003


Well, your faithful weblogger has been/will be doing light posting as we move the Cornett clan to Alabama. I may try to sneak a post in here or there, but in the meantime you can read the comments, which seem to be hopping lately.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Tuesday, August 26, 2003


A new FOXNews poll discovers most Americans are against homosexual 'marriages':
A recent FOX News national poll, conducted by Opinion Dynamics Corporation, finds that 26 percent of Americans favor but 62 percent oppose same-sex marriage, and almost as many would ban it through a constitutional amendment. Over half (58 percent) favor passing an amendment that would define marriage as being between a man and a woman.

In general, young people, Democrats, and those who have a friend or relative who is gay, are most likely to favor allowing same-sex marriage. And while women are somewhat more inclined than men to favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry a partner of the same sex, young people are more than three times as likely as older Americans to favor it. About twice as many Democrats and independents are in favor of same-sex marriage than are Republicans.

Public opinion today is only slightly more accepting of same-sex marriages than it was seven years ago. When the question was asked on a June 1996 FOX News poll, 22 percent of Americans were in favor and 65 percent opposed to allowing gays to marry.

Encouraging news, certainly.

From time to time kind folks choose to direct their readers over here to this humble site. Since they've been nice enough to do that, I thought I'd share with you who some recent linkers are:

Curmudgeonry--Genuinely Embittered Since 2002--has designs on my daughter for her son. (This in reference to pictures posted by my sister at cut on the bias.)

There's a new weblog by Kevin West with a permalink to theosebes. We'll have to keep an eye on it.

Scott Gray was interested in a recent post drawing a connection between homosexual marriage and polyamory.

PageThree has theosebes under "Blogs of the Week". I hope I make the cut and will be promoted to her permanent list!

A tip of the theosebes hat to ScrappleFace, who has added theosebes to his blogroll.

Continued thanks to the nepotistic Susanna at cut on the bias, who is seeking to drag this boutique blog into the mainstream with frequent links.

Others continue to link me, such as LittleA, Rodent Regatta and JoyfulChristian.

Thanks to all for your interest in my little enterprise here. My sincere apologies to any I've missed.
sssshhhhh...don't tell anyone...

While everyone's in a frenzy about Alabama's Ten Commandments monument, the courthouse in Bastrop, Louisiana has one, too:
While an Alabama judge faces an ethics investigation for refusing a court order to remove a 5,280-pound Ten Commandments monument from that state's judicial building, a three-foot-tall plaque featuring the biblical commandments hangs quietly in the Morehouse Parish Courthouse, drawing little notice and few complaints.

"We have not heard a word," said Carol Jones, the Morehouse Parish clerk of court, about the brass plaque. "No one has come down to me as clerk of court with any objections."

Police Juror Jim Brent said the plaque was donated a year-and-a-half ago, along with three equal-sized displays featuring the preamble of the Constitution and the national and state pledges of allegiance.

I'm sure they'll hear from someone soon. In the meantime, absolutely no one is religiously oppressed because of its presence.

The death of the 8-year old autistic boy who died during a prayer service has been ruled a homicide by suffocation:
Terrance Cottrell Jr. died because his chest was somehow restricted and could not expand, according to a statement issued by the office of the Milwaukee County coroner.

"Air was not able to get in or out," said Eileen Weller, the office's administrative manager.

Weller declined to release further details, saying police were still investigating the death.

A man has been arrested in connection with the death, which occurred Friday night at a church in a run-down strip mall. Police have not identified him, but David Hemphill Sr., bishop of the Faith Temple Church of the Apostolic Faith, said the man is his brother, Ray, another minister who led Friday's service.

A very sad situation, and a case that will be interesting to watch.

A Wiccan (i.e., witch) has sued the town of Great Falls, SC...and won! What did she "'win'?
U.S. District Court Judge Cameron McGowan ruled Aug. 21 that town officials can no longer invoke the name of Jesus or any other specific deity during prayers offered before town council meetings.

The ruling comes after Darla Kaye Wynne, a Wiccan high priestess, sued the town, claiming officials were violating the First Amendment by using the name of Jesus Christ in prayers offered before or after meetings.

Wynne proposed in late 2000 that prayers be limited to only mentioning "God" or that members of different religions be invited to give prayers, according to the ruling.

And you tell me the federal judiciary isn't out of control?


For the understatement of the week file, regarding the slaying of child molester and ex-priest John T. Geoghan:
Prison experts said officials appeared to have made a fundamental error in placing a vulnerable inmate like Mr. Geoghan, 68, in the same protective custody unit as Mr.[Joseph L.] Druce. Mr. Druce, 37, is serving a life sentence without parole for strangling a 51-year-old man in 1988 who he believed was gay.

Hmmm. Yes, I would think that would be considered an error in judgment.

While one cannot condone Druce's murderous actions ("vengeance is mine, says the Lord"), one cannot also help but feel Geoghan deserved it. What happened to Geoghan was a natural consequence of the sort of depravity he practiced for decades. The world would be better off without either one of them.

Tennis fans were blindsided by afood shakedown at the U.S. Open when guards stripped people of their outside food at the entrance gate:
Ticked-off ticket-holders said the sneak snack attack began around 9 a.m., as they waited to enter and were told that not only were containers barred - but any food.

The container rule had been a security measure since 9/11, officials said. But this year, guards at the gate took it one step further, barring all food - even in plastic wrap.

Foaming-at-the-mouth fans - suspicious that concessionaires' profits were the real motive - stood by garbage cans outside wolfing down their choicest morsels at record speed so they wouldn't have to miss any of the action on the courts.

Others watched in dismay as their treats were tossed into trash cans - refusing to pay a $5 ransom to "check in" any edibles.

"It was disgusting - there were people in their 70s and 80s having sandwiches and drinks taken off them," said Maryann Kelly, 34.

Kelly, who tried to bring in a bag of grapes, a ham sandwich and a yogurt, has been attending the event for 11 years and always brought a brown-bag lunch - considering the alternative meant shelling out $4.50 for bottle of Evian and $7.75 for fries and a hot dog inside.

After a popular rebellion, Open officials relented on the unjust food rule. Power to the people on this one, I say. A stop by the drug store to buy candy is a prerequisite for any trip to the movies for us.

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore remains a stalwart defender of his Ten Commandments monument, despite his suspension. Moore is quoted as saying he answers to a 'higher power' who stands above 'earthly authorities', and also that he has 'kept his oath' of office.

Now these are not necessarily the same thing. As one who seeks to follow God, Roy Moore must indeed answer to that 'higher power' who does stand against 'earthly authorities'. We look at Daniel, for example, although he stood in the highest echelons of power, he kept praying to God openly even when his political rivals had made acknowledging anyone but the king a capital offense (this is when the aged Daniel was thrown into the lion's den). But there is no record of Daniel being required by his devotion to God to place any public monument in the Babylon Judicial Center.

There was nothing about the judge's oath that required him to place the monument in the state judicial center. It seems to me that he was probably justified in doing so (I do not believe that its presence there is any way unconstitutional) since he pretty much ran on that issue, and it does stand as an appropriate reminder of America's legal roots. I also agree that he did not break his oath by refusing to follow the federal judge's order. What jurisdiction does a federal judge have over the workings of Alabama's judicial center?

Now that God judges nations, I have no doubt. And when nations fail to acknowledge Him and sink into moral degradation, He will call them to account. That does not necessarily demand independent actions by Christian public officials. If a Christian accepts a role in government he must fulfill that role constitutionally. If that role comes into conflict with the Higher Power he has committed to following in his life, he must be willing to give up the earthly power and glory, and seek the glory above.

Monday, August 25, 2003


Doug Powers has found 22 things about the Bible that drives the left crazy. Here's #15:
The part about Jonah and the whale becoming entangled in tuna nets is conveniently passed over in the Old Testament.

Perhaps he's onto something.

Yes, says the Jewsweek website in reference to Mel Gibson's upcoming movie, The Passion:
Enough already. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), among other Jewish groups, needs to calm down. Mel Gibson's upcoming movie The Passion is not anti-Semitic, not hostile to the Jewish people as a group, and is faithful to an honest reading of Christian scripture. In this age of real and troubling increases in anti-Semitism all over the world, Jews -- and the ADL in particular -- have better things to worry about than this film.

They also think it's time to start buying German cars again.

Marketers find that you can't beat a monk!

Ah, signs that Hispanics--or is that Latinos?--are becoming well assimilated into American life. Now they're debating what they want to be called.

Police are investigating a case of an autistic boy who died at a prayer service meant to heal him:
The boy's mother took him to the Faith Temple Church of the Apostolic Faith (search) for the prayer service Friday night. Several church members prayed over him for more than an hour until someone noticed he wasn't moving and called 911, said Bishop David Hemphill Sr.

Church members had wrapped the boy in sheets to keep him from scratching himself and others, but the boy was allowed to sit "any way that he feels comfortable," Hemphill said.

"All I know is we're not guilty of anything," he said....

"The boy just had a problem in his mind, and what we were doing was asking God to fix it," Hemphill said. "He chose to fix it by taking him back home to Him."

The police have arrested one in connection with the incident.

Saturday, August 23, 2003


Ah, where would we be without those enlightened Universalist-Unitarians. A movement within the group is pushing polyamory:
Activists define polyamory as "responsible non-monogamy," or the potential for loving more than one person at a time. They say "polys" want honest, intimate, enduring love relationships. They just don't want them limited to two people.

Well, of course not. The Mormons must have been onto something after all. And polyamorists have reason to hope their, ahem, preferences will soon be accepted by society at large:
Valerie White of Sharon, Mass., president of the [polyamorist] group and Harlan White's sister, said she hoped that someday Unitarians would be as welcoming to "polyamorists" as they have been to gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgendered people.

She also welcomed the Supreme Court's recent decision striking down a sodomy law, seeing it as clearing the way for polyamory practitioners.

Yes, I think that's exactly what we're going to see. Once a society loses the ability to say something is wrong, it soon loses the ability to say anything is wrong.


With Judge Roy Moore suspended over his refusal to remove the Alabama Ten Commandments monument, Brad Edmonds, writing from on the ground in Alabama, suggests the two sides of the debate should flip-flop their positions:
...the federal courts should be pleased to have the 10 Commandments displayed in all courtrooms. It would help make the great masses more obedient, thereby enhancing government power and job security for judges. The same line of thinking goes for the SPLC, which though it claims to be in the business of thwarting "hate, intolerance and discrimination," is really about the business of using government courts to thwart property rights and freedom of association....

The Christians, for their part, should want the Commandments removed from the courthouse, and all reference to any religion removed from every aspect of government. First, the government, if it must exist, should be about the accomplishment of purely secular, practical, and limited matters. It should leave the business of religion to the experts....

Our return to the higher moral standards of old might thus be hastened if we all develop less faith, not more, in government as a moral guide. This would make it easier to begin working to get government out of the moral spheres it has already invaded and worsened. As to acknowledging God in public places: Shop owners, corporations, and property owners already can post the 10 Commandments, other Bible passages, and other uplifting things in view of the public. Surely, at least a few of the Christians protesting removal of the monument are in a position to do just this sort of thing.

It's certainly worth considering.

[UPDATE: Scrappleface reports that the Ten Commandments have been repealed, anyway.]

How do you keep those pesky kids in line? Well, you don't rely on parents, that's for sure. What you need, you see, is a federal law. Just ask "consumer groups" lobbying for age limit on all-terrain vehicle drivers:
"The key to this whole issue is parental responsibility," [Michael] Mount[, a Specialty Vehicle Institute spokesman] added. "You may have a 6-year-old who's fine to ride and a 12-year-old who's not -- parents need to make that call."

But the Consumer Federation's Weintraub said a mandatory federal law is necessary to ensure safer rides in all states.

"If we just rest all responsibility on parents, nothing is going to change," Weintraub added. "We think the best way to make sure parents act responsibly is to pass a federal law."

Yes, there you go, pass a federal law. And another, and another. Parental responsibility? Pshaw!

Earlier in the same article we find this interesting observation:
"Just because a child has the physical stature to sit comfortably on an ATV, it doesn't mean he has the maturity and judgment to operate an adult-sized ATV," said Dr. Rebecca Brown, a pediatric trauma nurse from Morgantown, West Virginia.

Now besides the question of this woman being both a "Dr." and a "nurse," we ponder the idea that a young person might be physically capable of doing something, yet emotionally or mentally unfit. But when one points to something far more important than ATV driving, say, teen (or pre-teen) sex, for example, we are informed by some that there is a "right to sex."

Hmmm, something to ponder as I drift off to sleep this evening.

Friday, August 22, 2003


Alabama has a new law requiring 'clergy' and churches to report suspected child abuse:
Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor wants clergy and churches to know about the new state law that requires clergy to report suspected child abuse...

Alabama law now requires clergy, as well as other professionals such as doctors, teachers and social workers, to report suspected child abuse.

"In the past, clergy had never been specifically referred to in the statute," Eden said.

The law contains an exception for confidential clergy communications, such as confessions or private counseling with clergy.

Eden will also discuss how churches can implement a child protection program that includes screening and background checks for employees who deal with children.

"We will talk about how do you prevent child sexual abuse in your church," Eden said.

Now I'm all for protecting children and bringing criminals to justice. But as some one who is about to be 'clergy' in Alabama (I don't subscribe to such a designation, but as a full-time evangelist I'm sure that's what the law in Alabama would consider me) this clearly will apply to me. So I will be under the direction of the state, I suppose, to keep an eye on everyone, wondering what they might be doing. What level of suspicion must be reached before I will be forced to report someone? We start to see what the Catholic sex scandals have wrought.

A story better told without comment:
After 64 years of marriage, Mary Evancho Laborde couldn't bear to let her husband go.

She said that just before she leaned over Raymond Laborde's casket at his funeral this week to kiss him goodbye a final time.

But the sorrow was too much; the 89-year Hueytown woman's heart stopped and she died right there.
On Thursday, Raymond, 88, and Mary were buried together in much the same way they lived - side by side, only inches apart.

'It's almost like a fairytale, a sad fairytale,' said the Rev. Jack Hendricks Jr. of First United Methodist Church in Hueytown. 'You don't see many people who live together as long as they did that go out together."


A Wisconsin woman returned to her home unexpectedly only to find her naked 14-year old daughter in bed with an equally unclothed 14-year old boy. Neither seemed concerned by the Mom's presence:
"They both freely admitted that their intention was to 'have sex,' " records quote the woman as saying. They "were confrontational and remorseless."

The teens even "challenged" the woman to call police. So she did.

Way to go, Mom!

Now the two are being prosecuted, and their attorney argues that the two have a "right to sex". Ah, I see. I think instead these two brats have an obligation to do what their parents tell them to as long as they are minors. And society has an obligation to protect minors from their own inability to make good decisions (e.g., statutory rape laws).

The article tells us that two have had "troubled" childhoods:
Court records reveal that both come from troubled backgrounds and struggle with the same issues, such as attention deficit disorder and parental abandonment.

Modern teens diagnosed with ADD?! I'm shocked, shocked! The bright side is that I'm sure they would have lost interest after foreplay anyway.

[Link filched from cut on the bias, which had already stolen it from i am always right.]


Does music exposure improve the mental development of children? Well, my wife--a Musikgarten teacher--would insist yes. A new study seems to confirm it:
A study published in the July issue of Neuropsychology found a link between verbal memory and musical training in children. This builds on other research showing that early exposure to music improves development and even IQ.

Just wait till they do the study with Bill Monroe instead of Mozart!

Thursday, August 21, 2003


Fiber optics is an amazing thing, a testament to scientific ingenuity. But now scientists have found a deep-sea sponge that builds a better glass fiber:
The glassy sponge, nicknamed the “Venus flower basket,” grows the flexible fibers at cold temperatures using natural materials, a process materials scientists hope to duplicate in order to avoid the problems created by current fiber-optic manufacturing methods that require high temperatures and produce relatively brittle cable.

The magnificent wonders of Creation continue to testify to the existence and nature of God.

Should we let little kids play with toy guns? Well, of course we should! This parent has it half-right:
“They make guns out of everything and sticks will easily turn into swords," said [San Diego parent Christine D'Amico]. "I try to be low-key about it, but will definitely curb them away and come up with something besides a gun, saying, ‘Let’s make it your magic wand.”

Yes, let it be their "magic wand," and see how quickly the wand starts shooting out explosive magic blasts. Boys are programmed to play that way. For the same reason my 3-year old daughter turns everything into a family, "This is the mommy, and this is the daddy and this is the baby...."

How many of the same parents who worry about playing with guns, will buy innumerable gruesome video games for their children?

Wednesday, August 20, 2003


The Supreme Court refused to stay the federal court order for Justice Roy Moore to remove the Ten Commandments monument, but Moore intends to defy the order. The federal judge intends to levy fines of $5,000 a day on the state of Alabama. I think I know what the governor needs to do when that bill comes in.

Parishioners have locked a bishop in a church when he came to fire the local priest for divorcing and remarrying, which is against Orthodox church doctrine:
The Bishop of Tomis, Teodosie, has declared a no-tolerance policy on divorced and remarried priests.

He arrived at the Black Sea village to remove the altar cloth after priest Vladimir Cazan refused to leave his post.

Church rules say that services cannot be held if there is no cloth covering the altar.

Well, at least they're loyal.

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is going over the head of the federal judge who ordered him to remove a Ten Commandments monument by appealing to the Supreme Court. I fear he won't find relief there.

Advertisers tell us it's time churches jettisoned that whole 'Jesus on a cross' image, and those Bible passe:
Churches are being urged to drop the image of the Crucifixion and instead highlight the social benefits of filling the pews in an effort to boost Sunday attendance.

Traditional approaches such as showing Jesus on the cross and Bible quotations are a turn-off to non-churchgoers, according to one of two suggested advertising campaigns drawn up by agencies.

Instead, advertisers say churches should highlight their community life, the chance to have a good sing, hear a good sermon and have a heart-to-heart chat.

I guess they're saying that to some, the cross is a stumbling-block. Hmmmm...

[Link filched from Lilac Rose]

Cut on the bias wonders if Indianapolis really is in the Bible Belt?

Tuesday, August 19, 2003


Cal Thomas wants to know who gets to make the rules?
If God is not God and if man says God didn't say what He has said, then what standard is to be used to judge anything? It is more than a slippery slope. It is slippery theology with potential consequences that are eternal. Who gets to decide, God or man? If man, then man becomes God and God is diminished, at least in man's eyes.

And that pretty much sums it up.

Why don't humans have fur like other primates? Scientists actually spend time wondering about that, trying to trace the evolutionary cause.

My solution: God made us that way.

After local gas prices jumped by $.30 overnight to $1.69/gallon, my wife said surely if they can go after Martha Stewart for what she did, they can go after gas stations for price gouging.

Yeah, you'd think.

My old grad school compatriot Scott Trask argues we should rethink the Articles of Confederation, asking the question, was the Constitution such a good idea?
There is ample evidence that northern manufactures supported the federal Constitution because they hoped through uniform national tariffs to capture the southern market. Alexander Hamilton's early correspondence as treasury secretary under Washington is full of complaints that Americans continued to buy from abroad and pleas for duties. Thus, while the Constitution set up a free-trade zone within the states, it also created a closed or captive market, in which Americans would be free to buy within but not without.

When I was an undergrad in Lance Banning's history of the New Republic period, we had a mock Constitutional ratifying convention. I was an anti-federalist, and without a doubt we won the debate, defeating the pro-Constitution side. It was interesting that when the class actually voted the Constitution was "ratified" narrowly. All our good Americans in the class couldn't conceive of actually choosing a different direction, even in theory.

Sadly, it is such a lack of moral imagination that has stifled the political and cultural debate in our nation.

Monday, August 18, 2003


Bowing to pressure from Jewish groups, Mel has "softened" his movie, the Passion:
Paul Lauer, marketing director for Gibson's Icon Productions company, said Gibson has edited the film to show more "sympathetic" Jewish characters who were not calling for Jesus to be crucified. "We believe we have softened the story compared to the way the Gospel has told it," Lauer said in an interview. He pointed to Matthew 27:25, in which the Jewish mob calls for Jesus' blood "to be on us and on our children." "That's in the Gospel," he said. "It's not in our film."

One such sympathetic character will be Simon of Cyrene, the man forced to carry the Savior's cross.
In addition, Lauer said the character of Simon of Cyrene, who was forced to carry the cross for Jesus, will be clearly labeled a Jew in the film.
We're not told how that's to be done; I suppose a moving arrow with the flashing words "sympathetic Jewish character" will follow him to Golgotha.

Fresh off its affirmative action victory at the Supreme Court, the University of Michigan now wants to teach students how to be gay:
The course description says students "will examine a number of cultural artifacts and activities" including "camp, diva-worship, drag, muscle culture, taste, style and political activism." Mr. Halperin's class explores "the role that initiation plays in the formation of gay male identity."

I'm glad to see that public education is maintaining such a "neutral" stance. I suppose we can hold our breath on that "How to Be a Christian" course.

[Link via Drudge]

Nicholas D. Kristof is terribly, terribly troubled. It seems an increasing number of people are actually taking their professed religion seriously. He takes the occasion of the Catholic Feast of Assumption (which I don't take seriously) to fret about this increasingly troubling trend:
The faith in the Virgin Birth reflects the way American Christianity is becoming less intellectual and more mystical over time. The percentage of Americans who believe in the Virgin Birth actually rose five points in the latest poll.

My grandfather was fairly typical of his generation: A devout and active Presbyterian elder, he nonetheless believed firmly in evolution and regarded the Virgin Birth as a pious legend. Those kinds of mainline Christians are vanishing, replaced by evangelicals. Since 1960, the number of Pentecostalists has increased fourfold, while the number of Episcopalians has dropped almost in half.

The result is a gulf not only between America and the rest of the industrialized world, but a growing split at home as well. One of the most poisonous divides is the one between intellectual and religious America.

Ah, ol' grandpa. He was great at being "devout", which seems to be defined as going through the motions in a mainline denomination without really believing all those "pious legends". He probably walked uphill both ways through the snow to church every Sunday so he could mentally chuckle at all those Bible readings.

So Kristof assures us that "intellectuals" like grandpa and Hans Kung never took that virgin birth stuff seriously. They were religious, just ask them. But despite the fact that you can consult religious intellectuals like grandpa and Hans Kung to learn the truth about things like the virgin birth, folks don't seem to be availing themselves of this font of trustworthy information:
Yet despite the lack of scientific or historical evidence, and despite the doubts of Biblical scholars, America is so pious that not only do 91 percent of Christians say they believe in the Virgin Birth, but so do an astonishing 47 percent of U.S. non-Christians.

And even though Kristof compares these wackos who believe in the virgin birth with fundamentalist Muslims, just remember:
I'm not denigrating anyone's beliefs.

Oh, I never would have thought you were.

Oh, yes! Just like it was designed to. And that's the problem!

Frightening, absolutely frightening.

[Thanks to Sean for the link.]

Sunday, August 17, 2003


R. Cort Kirkwood has seen it, and it isn't pretty.

Saturday, August 16, 2003


Steven Greenhut has it right in his analysis of 'The Passion' situation:
Organized Jewish groups are demanding that Christians change their religion to suit their sensibility. It’s as simple as that. Gibson is presenting a straightforward account of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, as portrayed in the Gospels. Jewish organizations can’t dispute that the movie is striving to be an accurate presentation of the Gospel account, but argue that such an account will lead to anti-Semitism.

Joseph Sobran also weighs in (scroll down to 'Early Reviews') on the smear campaign against Gibson, the movie and even Mel's father.

I, at least, wouldn't want to tussle with a microbe that lives in boiling water and breathes iron:
THE BACTERIA-LIKE organism lives in a hellish undersea environment where water boils out from underwater vents called black smokers. There is no light, the pressure of the water would instantly crush anything living on land and the water is loaded with toxic chemicals.

God can do amazing things.

Joanne Jacobs tells us what ourgovernment schools have gotten to.

But she was a good kid...

Friday, August 15, 2003


Why is marriage out of style? Author Wendy McElroy tells us:
The Rutgers report -- admittedly based on a small sample -- found ten prevalent reasons. The first three:

1) They can get sex without marriage;

2) They can enjoy "a wife" through cohabitation; and,

3) They want to avoid divorce and its financial risks.

As a critic of anti-male bias in the family courts, the reasons I hear most frequently from non-marrying men are fear of financial devastation in divorce and of losing meaningful contact with children afterward. (Such feedback is anecdotal evidence but, when you hear the same response over a period of years from several hundred different sources, it becomes prudent to listen.)

In a similar vein, the Rutgers report finds: "Many men also fear the financial consequences of divorce. They say that their financial assets are better protected if they cohabit rather than marry. They fear that an ex-wife will 'take you for all you've got' and that 'men have more to lose financially than women' from a divorce."

She offers some interesting solutions.

[Link via LRC]

Christopher Manion tells us why some find the gospel message (and Mel Gibson's upcoming movie) offensive offensive:
"The plain truth, of the Gospels and of the controversy that has surrounded Christianity ever since Christ’s death and resurrection, is simple. If a person does not believe the Gospel to be the word of God, the only alternative is to find it offensive. Very offensive. Fundamentally offensive. And for good reason.

It is offensive."

And that's it in a nutshell.

"To make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely." ~Edmund Burke

The New York Times (free registration required) reports on efforts to reclaim historic, but run down factory districts in Milwaukee and Hastings on Hudson, New York.

The conservative seeks to recover and improve what our patrimony has given us in usufruct. These, I think, are good examples.

Thursday, August 14, 2003


Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore remains defiant: in the face of orders to remove the 10 Commandments from the judicial center rotunda:
"'I have no intention of removing the monument,' Moore said at a news conference. 'This I cannot and will not do.'"

You've got to love Judge Moore!

A new poll finds that a majority of Americans oppose blessing gay unions:
SO BROAD AND DEEP is this opposition that nearly half of all Americans who regularly attend worship services say they would leave their current church if their minister blessed gay couples-even if their denomination officially approved those ceremonies, the survey found.

As courts, companies and congregations across the nation consider what standing to give gay couples, the poll demonstrates strong public disapproval of any religious sanctioning of same-sex relationships. It underscores the sharp distinction most Americans make between relationships blessed by the church and those recognized by the law.

But, the news story tells us, the opposition is often based on having the union church related:
Julio Rincon, 28, an infrequent churchgoer in Albany, N.Y., said he would not mind if a gay couple registered a civil union “down at City Hall.” But, he said, “I do have a problem if it were to take place in a church.”

This is a common attitude, and shows a common bifurcation in the minds of many between marriage in general and religion. This is the reason why our divorce rate--and shack-up rate--runs rampant. We have lost any notion of the holiness of marriage. Whether the judge or the minister says "man and wife", you're still married all the same.

There was other encouraging news:
The poll also found, however, that public acceptance of same-sex civil unions is falling. Fewer than four in 10 — 37 percent-of all Americans say they would support a law allowing gay men and lesbians to form civil unions that would provide some of the rights and legal protections of marriage.

That is a precipitous, 12-point drop in support found in a Gallup Organization survey that posed the question in identical terms in May, before the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Texas law against sodomy and Justice Antonin Scalia argued in his dissent that the court was on a slippery slope toward legalizing gay marriage.

I hate that it's come to this, but it's time to strike while the iron's hot and pass a marriage amendment.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003


Alabama Gov. Bob Riley (R) is trying to sell his tax hike by selling it as a "justice issue." In other words if you're a Christian you'll vote for it. Some churches are joining in by holding rallies for the tax hike. Yes, I remember so clearly Jesus teaching us to give as much as possible to Caesar so we don't have to worry about personal responsibility when it comes to charity.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003


Previously unannounced on the pages of theosebes is the fact that my family and I are moving to Wilsonville, Alabama where I will be working with a congregation down there. We're all looking forward to it, as much as we hate to leave Kentucky.

Today was just one of "those days" in the life of a mover.

As you might imagine, we're trying to get boxes packed in preparation of loading the U-Haul at the end of the month. There were some boxes left over from our last move, but those have been rather quickly filled with books. One of the main things my wife Traci wanted was some packing paper (for dishes and such, which you can buy from U-Haul), so we figured out which boxes to buy, and I checked the U-Haul site for a convenient location. There's one in Wilmore (just 5 miles away) but a quick call discovered the place closes at noon on Tuesdays (yes, I know, but Wilmore is pretty tiny). That meant a drive into Lexington.

Well, since I'm going to Lexington I decide to take in a box I need to ship to California via UPS. I'll run by the closest U-Haul place to there, I think to myself. The box prepared, I drop off it off at Kinko's, stop in the used-clothing store Plato's Closet next door and find a pair of $7 Alfani tan wool dress pants. Not bad at all.

So off to the U-Haul on Southland, which doesn't seem to be there (well, Southland is there, the U-Haul place isn't). I drove the length of Southland. I turned around and drove back. Nothing. I turn again. Finally, I call the number I had written down. No answer. Preparing to head to the other U-Haul address I had jotted down I notice across the street a Budget/Ryder rental place--aha! I pull in, tell the guy what boxes I need, then ask for packing paper. "We're out of that. I used to have some." *sigh* Well, I'd already told him what boxes I wanted, so I paid for those and started off for the other U-Haul place anyway.

For some reason the street isn't where I remembered it being on the map, so I consult Traci via cell phone and she's able to guide me in off the online map. This place is a gas station/convenient mart/U-Haul and the teenager at the counter doesn't know packing paper. The boss guy walking in (his Dad?) doesn't seem to know it either. We look in the box room...nope, no packing paper. "We don't carry that."

Back on the phone with Traci who is ordered to call yet another U-Haul place in Lexington. She does, and they refer her to the "main U-Haul store" in Lexington. Ah, now we're getting somewhere! My lovely wife demands of this "main U-Haul store" if they have packing paper there, in stock, today. "Yes," they assure her.

So off I go to New Circle Road beside the Parkette drive-in restaurant to the "main U-Haul store." The time: 5 PM, rush hour. I make it there, go in the store and--sure enough--packing paper! $8.80/box for 140 big sheets. I grab two and some styrofoamy packing stuff for good measure. I stand there holding these in line behind a woman who's buying wardrobe boxes and overhear something about "credit card system being down."


I speak up, somewhat tentatively, "Did you say the credit card system was down?"

"I'm afraid so. Down on the whole street."

You have probably ascertained, I was planning on paying by credit card. The checkbook was at home. As I was placing the items back on the shelf, I did remember I had a small amount of cash, enough to pay for one box of packing paper at least.

So I left with one box, enough for Traci to get started, and thankful I had bought the boxes earlier at Budget.

I've noticed a LittleA poking around comments lately. It seems he has good taste and good insight, too. As the father of two daughters myself, I know where he's coming from.

Joseph Sobran writes about being forced into the closet.

Theosebes is your source for religious movie trailers.

Apple has a Quicktime trailer for the upcoming movie Luther. Starring Joseph Fiennes, it looks at the life of the religious reformer Martin Luther. Could be interesting.

Thanks to Mitch for the heads up.

UPDATE: My good friend Dr. Busick points us to the recent PBS show on Luther in comments.

Just brilliant.

Link courtesy of The Brazos de Dios Cantina.

FOXNews has written an article on something I've been meaning to post about: all those suggestive girl's fashions. How many of us haven't seen a young girl--a too young girl--walking around in short shorts with "JUICY" written across her derriere:
“Message” fashion — clothing with descriptive phrases stamped on the chest and behind — is the teenybopper look du jour. But critics say the trend, which sometimes includes provocative phrases and even expletives, can go too far.

And it's not just bold, suggestive words written provocatively across the butt and chest, but it's also the trend for suggestive, double entendre t-shirts. And we're not talking about 19-year old sorority girls, but middle-schoolers and younger. What parents are buying these clothes?! I saw what was probably a middle-school aged girl at the grocery the other day with a shirt that said, "I'll promise to be a very good girl, if you promise to be a very bad boy." Hello! Parents!

And Newsweek reporting on a rise in teenage prostitution is a surprise?

Well, now we understand why Icon Pictures refused to let such folks as the Jewish Anti-Defamation League (ADL) have an advance viewing of his new movie on the last twelve hours of the life of Jesus. The ADL has issued a press release expressing its "concern" that the movie will "fuel anti-Semitism" by reinforcing the notion of collective Jewish guilt for the death of Jesus":
"The film unambiguously portrays Jewish authorities and the Jewish mob as the ones responsible for the decision to crucify Jesus," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "We are deeply concerned that the film, if released in its present form, will fuel the hatred, bigotry and anti-Semitism that many responsible churches have worked hard to repudiate."

Ah, those "responsible churches", which seem to be defined as the ones who dance to the ADL tune regardless of what Scripture says.

Let's look at the first of ADL's bulleted objections:
The film portrays Jewish authorities and the Jewish "mob" as forcing the decision to torture and execute Jesus, thus assuming responsibility for the crucifixion.

And what we find written in the Bible:
16 At that time they were holding a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas.
17 So when the people gathered together, Pilate said to them, "Whom do you want me to release for you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?"
18 For he knew that because of envy they had handed Him over.
19 While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him a message, saying, "Have nothing to do with that righteous Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him."
20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to put Jesus to death.
21 But the governor said to them, "Which of the two do you want me to release for you?" And they said, "Barabbas."
22 Pilate said to them, "Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" They all said, "Crucify Him!"
23 And he said, "Why, what evil has He done?" But they kept shouting all the more, saying, "Crucify Him!"
24 When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of this Man's blood; see to that yourselves."
25 And all the people said, "His blood shall be on us and on our children!"
26 Then he released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified. --Matt. 27:16-26, NASB

So we have a mob who, under the influence of the high priestly party (the Sadducees along with the majority of the Sanhedrin), demands the crucifixion of Jesus. The mob explicitly assumes responsibility, "His blood shall be on us and on our children!" Now it might be an uncomfortable scene, but it's also what Scripture records. The wonderful thing is that God graciously provided salvation through the Son who was crucified:
36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ--this Jesus whom you crucified."
37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?"
38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
39 "For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself." --Acts 2:36-39

The very ones guilty for Jesus' death are given the first opportunity to gain forgiveness through repentance and baptism. We find Jews (the apostles) proclaiming the gospel of the King of the Jews (Jesus) first to other Jews. That Pentecost about 3000 Jews were saved by the gospel. This is Anti-Semitic?

I must add, that one of their objections mentions something that has concerned me about the movie--no, not potential "anti-Semitism"--but rather non-Biblical sources:
The film uses an anti-Jewish account of a 19th century mystical anti-Semitic nun...

Now, whether the nun was "anti-Jewish" and "anti-Semitic" I can't speak to. I can't rely on the ADL for that information since they only consider Scripture as bowlderized by "responsible churches" to be acceptable to them. However, I'd prefer that this movie, which seems to have some promise, not be corrupted by the imaginings of some 19th Century nun.

That's my concern for the movie, not the fear-mongering of the ADL. It's proof Gibson should have continued to keep them out, and tell them to buy a ticket next spring.

Monday, August 11, 2003


I hadn't seen this quote previously, but it tells exactly where the Episcopal church is coming from:

"Robinson himself conceded that his fellow bishops' implicit endorsement in Minneapolis of homosexual activity contravened both traditional Christian doctrine and the Bible. 'Just simply to say that it goes against tradition and the teaching of the church and Scripture does not necessarily make it wrong,' he told the Washington Post. That's a big 'just simply to say.'"

This from the same article linked in the post below.

The prevailing wisdom for a church to prosper is to get with the times, jettison all those prudish, old-fashioned rules and just watch the people fill the pews. Well, the Episcopal Church has tried just that, and it doesn't work:
Since the late 1960s, the Episcopal Church has served as a laboratory for the proposition that Christianity must liberalize — jettison its more demanding traditional teachings and get in step with the times — to survive. The Episcopalians have done it all: allowed women clergy, dropped sanctions against divorce, made belief in the divinity of Jesus Christ optional. Now their bishops, who met last week in Minneapolis, have confirmed a bishop who will share the bishop's house with a male partner and have tacitly approved leaving decisions on blessing same-sex unions to local priests. During these 30-odd years of early adoption of whatever mores the avant-garde of secular society has embraced, there has been only one snag: The Episcopal Church has declined precipitously in both membership and influence. The treatment has been successful, but the patient, if not quite dead yet, looks to be dying.

Meanwhile, we look to churches in Africa as an example of an opposite trend:
The Christian churches of Africa are growing in part because their clergy and laity appear to take Christianity seriously. They believe Jesus rose from the dead. They regard the Scriptures as divinely inspired authority rather than the culture-bound ruminations of dead Mediterraneans.

Imagine that, taking the Scripture seriously!

Phillip Jenkins recalls the African response to Scripture doubt:
"I had someone there say to me, 'If you don't believe in the Bible, why did you bring it to us?' "


Gerry Sandusky, a fine evangelist who preached for us this past spring and is currently in Africa evangelizing, spoke of a woman in Africa who demanded to know why it had taken so long for him to bring the gospel to their village.

This pretty much sums it up:
"There are all kinds of empty churches that tried to attract people to attend for nonreligious reasons," says Rodney Stark, University of Washington sociologist of religion. "People go to a church for religion, and if it's not religion that's being offered, they go to other places."

Amen, and amen.


Oh dear, what to wear to today's pillaging?

Newsweek reports that teenage prostitution is on the rise. But not just teenage prostitution, middle-class teenage prostitution:
“Potentially good sex is a small price to pay for the freedom to spend money on what I want.” The easiest way, she discovered, was to offer her body in trade. Stacey, who lives with her parents in an upscale neighborhood, gets good grades in high school and plans to try out for the tennis team, began stripping for men in hotel rooms in exchange for money to buy clothes—then went on to more intimate activities.

This is what the sexual revolution is now reaping after systematically cheapening sex in the minds of young people, it seems a small price to pay to gain quick access to what you want, clothes, cars, whatever.

And how any father who reads this article could let a teenage daughter go to the Mall of America by herself is hard to imagine.

Saturday, August 09, 2003


The long knives continue to be out for Mel Gibson's film portraying the crucifixion of Jesus. That someone of Gibson's gravitas would dare take Jesus and the crucifixion seriously is a major offense to the Hollywood Weltanschauung. Hollywood is supposed to make "The Last Temptation of Christ"; it's not supposed to look at the Bible with a straight face.

Charges of anti-Semitism are included in every article about the movie, and not-so-veiled charges of a cover-up are often included. Note this quote from what is supposed to be a news article:
But what is Gibson’s version of the story? His traditionalist religion rejects the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, which in 1965 rejected the notion that Jews were collectively responsible for killing Jesus. The actor is building a traditionalist church in Malibu, Calif., for about 70 members, and intends to hold Sunday services there in Latin.

No bias from that reporter, of course. Even those who ought to 'get it', don't seem to. Note this quote from Sister Mary C. Boys, a Catholic professor at the Union Theological Seminary:
It only recounts the last 12 hours of Christ’s life, she said, and therefore lacks the context to explain the Jews’ portrayal. “It seems to me that the film looked on Jews as antagonists, Jesus as this perfect victim,” she said.

So more context would tell us that somehow Jesus deserved crucifixion? And here is some crazy guy showing Jesus "as this perfect victim"? This is from a woman who is both a nun and a seminary professor? I believe a cursory reading of the gospels will show that "the perfect victim" is exactly what Jesus is meant to be.

The real, desperate hope is that the movie will flop:
“I don’t know that he will be able to find a studio that will distribute this,” said Kim Masters, a film columnist for Esquire Magazine.

Masters said industry people who have seen the film respect its quality, but said it is disturbingly graphic.

“It’s not a family film, from what I understand,” she said. “It’s a really difficult film.”

Well, the gospel accounts are pretty "difficult", too, Ms. Masters. We're not talking about "Piglet's Big Movie" here.

I don't know how good the movie will be. But with this kind of hostility from all the right sources, it looks to be pretty impressive.


Karen Armstrong schools us all on how silly it is to really believe the Bible:
The search for Noah's flood is as irrelevant as an attempt to find the "real" Middlemarch or Cranford. Like George Eliot and Elizabeth Gaskell, the authors of Genesis are not writing history, but are engaged in an imaginative investigation of the human predicament.

First Ms. Armstrong builds a straw man telling us what "fundamentalists" believe, then simply regurgitates an enlightened view of the Bible as nice stories, more or less the same as Aesop. It's instructive to read just to see the condescension.

The reality is, however, that the Christian faith is mercilessly historical. For the Christian the truth of Scripture is fundamentally (uh-oh, there's that word) tied to the historical reality of the death and resurrection of the Man, Jesus Christ. Paul recognized as much:
...if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith is also vain....

If we have hope in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. --1 Cor. 15:14, 19

Everything in Scripture hangs on the historical reality of what Scripture records, everything ultimately pointing to Jesus.

I don't think it's the believing Christians who are to be pitied here, Ms. Armstrong.

Richard Ostling finds that 'false witness' is a worrisome trend:
The temperature-taking folks at the Gallup Poll say 77 percent of Americans rate the "overall state of moral values in the United States today" as "poor" or "only fair," while 22 percent respond with "good" or "excellent."

Moreover, 67 percent think the nation's morality is getting worse, while only 24 percent think it's getting better. Those numbers were similar a year ago.

I'll have to throw in with the Gallup majority on this one.

Friday, August 08, 2003


'Build solidly. Prepare thoroughly. Never be satisfied with superficial answers. God's Word can stand the most thorough investigation. Do not shirk the difficult problems but seek to bring the facts to light, for God's Word and God's world will never contradict one another.'
-- Oswald T. Allis, describing Robert Dick Wilson's approach to the study of the Bible

Courtesy of Ferrell Jenkins' Biblical Studies site.

Apparently the latest "reality show" in the works will discover a budding homosexual country music performer:
Livening up the day was The Dixie Chicks with D*cks -- singing drag queens in frilly petticoats and wigs big enough to make Dolly Parton envious.

Grand Ol' Opry or bust!

Orlando Magic basketball star Tracy McGrady hashis own opinion about the Kobe situation:
“If you’re married, stick with your wife,” McGrady said Thursday. “Don’t do anything crazy that’s going to cause problems in your household. Keep a happy family.”

The Magic just picked up a new fan here (well, since UK guard Keith Bogans will be playing for them now, they would have anyway, but you get the point < g >).

What happens when a "small" galaxy meets a big one? Think Thanksgiving dinner.

Thursday, August 07, 2003


You're not the only one.

Alabama Governor Bob Riley thinks so. And now the national Christian Coalition says he's right.

Hmmm. Maybe "Christians" should stay out of politics.

But you already knew that.

The Lexington (Kentucky) Herald-Leader assures us that Robinson has local support, giving us a little nugget about his past:
V. Gene Robinson, 56, was raised in the Disciples of Christ denomination, attended Bethany Christian Church in Jessamine County and graduated from Lafayette High School. He began attending the Episcopal Church while a student at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn.

I should have known he was a Disciple.

Getting less play in the press is the move by the Episcopal church in officially
recognizing that some members of the clergy were already performing blessings for gay couples in some dioceses around the country. Leaders of Integrity, an alliance of homosexual church members, said the provision would for the first time signal to bishops that they have the broader church's permission to allow same-sex unions in their dioceses if they so choose.

Not all in the Anglican fellowship are amused:
In South America, the Most Rev. Greg Venables, presiding bishop of the province of the Southern Cone, called the American decision "a slap in the face of the Anglican Church around the world."

"What upsets people more than anything is this patronizing attitude," he said. "Their attitude is, 'You'll get there one day.'"

Arrogance? I'm shocked, shocked!

But the fact is, Robinson has served as an active priest in the church while shacked up with a live-in male "partner" for the past 13 years, apparently with the approval of the Episcopal establishment. Which agrees with the idea that despite all the fuss, there really won't be a serious schism over this:
Yet, despite strong words and feelings on both sides of the sexuality issues, a breakup of the American church is unlikely for two reasons: the denomination's tradition of civility and flexibility; and a serious concern about walking away from assets such as church buildings, schools, cemeteries and pension funds.

There's nothing like compromising for a cemetery and a pension fund.

This is a long way from the Anglican faith of C.S. Lewis and T.S. Eliot.


William L. Anderson opines on where church-state relations are headed, and what the strategy of Christians ought to be. I don't find his warnings far-fetched at all:
When the government begins to strip conservative churches of their tax-exempt status for their refusal to ordain women and homosexuals, I believe it will then only be a matter of time before the civil complaints become criminalized. For now, discrimination cases are decided only in the civil courts, but should form hold true there as it has in other areas of federal law, U.S. attorneys will look to turning these things into criminal cases.

I would offer a general endorsement of his strategy, that is I don't think the panacea is to "elect the right people". I am no libertarian, however. And while we do not desire a "coercive" state, we must also recognize that all just law finds its root in morality. Dr. Anderson's thoughts are certainly worth your consideration.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003


Tom Curry has an overview of the "gay rights" agenda and where it's headed. It's worth a look.

Monday, August 04, 2003


After centuries of an unbiblical understanding of Mary Magdalene as a harlot, a much needed correction has been in the worksaccording to Time magazine.

Of course, those with agendas from every direction are interpreting Mary in their own self-serving ways. Many are now dragging out the always reliable (wink, wink) Gnostic gospels. Everything from Mary M. being the 'Holy Grail' as the wife of Jesus to being a clear example for female priesthood is promoted.

Mary M. quickly is becoming the 'angels craze' of the 2000s: taking a peripheral Biblical concept and making it the center of one's focus, adding your own agenda along the way.

The Mary Magdalene of the Bible was a godly woman, a faithful disciple of Christ and blessed to be a witness of the resurrection. I look forward to meeting her in eternity. But let's keep the focus where it needs to be--and where Mary Magdalene would want it--on Jesus.

Italians have had enough as there is an increasing problem of
Italian churches being trashed by tourists:
Visitors can no longer use the splendid entrance at Rome’s Basilica of St. Mary Major — it’s sealed off because drunks and lovers had made it a hangout. In Florence, Catholic officials complain that church steps are turning into latrines at night. Police in Venice plan to fine tourists for leaving lunch leftovers in the square outside St. Mark’s Basilica.

There was once a time when people had respect for what people were trying to do in a house of worship--worship! But as our society continues to be secularized, churches are simply tourist attractions. In many people's minds they're museums, not living active places. And their actions show us how the civilizing aspects of faith are desperately needed.

I'm sure many of you have followed this, the soon-to-be Episcopal bishop V. Gene Robinson--who openly practices homosexuality--is now one step away from taking a seat as Bishop of New Hampshire:
Robinson said he felt "very peaceful on the inside" and "very humbled" by the results. He appealed to opponents not to leave the church, but said he would not be responsible if they did.

The fellow is, interestingly enough, a native of Lexington, Kentucky; his parents are natives of Nicholasville, where I currently reside.

In a touching endorsement of diversity, his daughter from a previous marriage spoke at the conference congratulating the Episcopalians for being so open. No report if his live-in homosexual lover spoke as well. Would the church elect him if he was shacked up with a woman instead of a man?

A 'conservative' Bishop George Marshall accurately analyzed the situation:
"It will prove once again that our church doesn't have the confidence to proclaim the Gospel," Marshall said. "Do not do this thing."

Without a doubt, the fix is in.

UPDATE: The final vote on Robinson's bishopric has been delayed at the last moment after accusations of "touching" and "pornography" have surfaced. Curiouser and curiouser.