Category Archives: Morality

Foundational Criteria

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The very birth of our country was spawned by this belief. This conviction led our founding fathers to risk their life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in order to form a Union that would provide these rights for successive generations.

Our nation is also based upon the principles of democracy. While our government is a form of republic, it operates under the premise that the voice of every citizen carries weight.

This places upon the shoulders of government the immense and priceless burden of protecting these rights for every citizen. A government that fails to pursue the protection of these rights with the same zeal for all citizens is lacking in meeting the criteria of a true democracy.

This also provides to the citizen a yardstick by which each candidate for public office may be measured. As we evaluate the two tickets that are legitimate candidates for the presidency we should apply this yardstick to each.

Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin have both stated unequivocally that they believe that life begins at conception. Sen. McCain has a consistent record in Congress of voting pro-life and has stated his intention of appointing judges who share his view. Sarah Palin’s views on the matter are well-documented as well. Both have shouldered the responsibility of protecting the right to life of even the youngest of citizens, even those who are deemed to have special needs.

Sen. Obama has publicly confessed his ignorance on exactly when life begins. This raises questions about his ability or inclination to protect the right to life of all Americans. Sen. Biden has stated that he believes that life begins at conception but does not feel obligated to protect that life. Both of these men have a congressional record that indicates their deficient value of the life of the unborn.

Additionally, Obama’s website states his position that the most fundamental right is the right to vote. While voting is undeniably an important privilege, it is not to be mistaken as being as weighty as the right to life. Again, confusion and ignorance seems to characterize Obama’s position on the matter.

For those who read this, I would pose this question, “If we cannot trust the Democratic ticket to protect the first and most basic of all rights for our weakest citizens, how can we trust them to protect any of our rights?”

If the right to life is denied, the other rights are meaningless.

The value of life is determined by the fact that man was created in the image of God as a living soul. It is not based upon the circumstances of their conception, the abilities of their parent(s) to provide for them, the environment of their birth or their mental and physical abilities.

When presidents, judges and lawmakers start determining whose life is valuable enough to protect, we are treading on a slope that is nothing more than oil-coated glass. When we surrender the right to life to the judgment of others, we place them in the role of God and we risk forfeiting our own right at some point.

Let us elect leaders who recognize the sanctity of life so that the blessings of liberty and the pursuit of happiness may continue.

Obama’s Hypocrisy

In the last few months, Barack Obama and his supporters have castigated President Bush for leading our nation into war on less than perfect intelligence reports. In addition, they have mocked Republican presidential candidate, John McCain, for his statement that he “didn’t know much about economics.”

In the recent Saddleback Forum, Obama made a statement that exceeds the definition of hypocrisy. When asked by forum moderator, Rick Warren, “When do you think unborn babies should begin to receive human rights?” he glibly replied that if Warren were asking for a theological or scientific definition of when life began he would “Have to go to higher pay-grade than mine.”

Over the last thirty years or so, there has been no moral issue that is more of a hot-button with voters than that of abortion. This man wishes to be the president of the United States and has no opinion on when life begins. Are you kidding me? What is worse, he seems to have no desire to find out.

He is willing and desirous (this video shows his intent) to continue a holocaust of unborn children and is tacitly admitting that he doesn’t even know if the underlying principle of his position is correct. Such a man has no place in authority over the lives and deaths of other people.

Don’t let the smooth talk about working past our disagreements fool you. He has stated that in religious matters, he welcomes “vigorous and open debate.” Yet when James Dobson questioned the validity of his interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount, Obama’s response was, “He’s just making stuff up.”

This underscores what I have written earlier about Obama’s inability to lead the nation. If his moral compass is nothing more than public opinion and his hypocrisy is this blatant, electing him president is worse than a crap shoot.

I would suggest to the senator that there is One with a higher pay-grade than him and He has already defined life as beginning with conception.

Perhaps Obama should actually read the Bible that he so often misquotes.

Another Thought On Christian Liberty

I appreciate the input from the readers in the last post. As I have given further thought to being able to distinguish between moral absolute/mandate/principle or matter of liberty, this thought occurred to me:

If there is any loophole in the issue, if there is ever a circumstance in which it might be considered “ok” to do it (or not do it), then it becomes subjective and by default must be considered a matter of Christian liberty.

What do you think?

Pondering Christian Liberty

I have been involved in a couple of discussions recently where the topic of Christian liberty came up. While it was not the point of the conversation, it definitely became a factor in the arguments presented on both sides of the conversation.

I have been giving a lot of thought since then to the concept that we call “Christian liberty”. I want to share with you some random musings that have passed through the old noodle during that time. Feel free to analyze, criticize or transdemogrifize (ht to all “Calvin and Hobbes” afficionadoes) what I present.

For the sake of the conversation, I am classifying anything that is not clearly stated or principalized in the Bible as a matter of Christian liberty. I believe this is consistent with what scriptures teach about the concept as well as being relevant to the context of the discussions I referenced earlier. I am not going to share the details of those conversations as I do not want their substance to become the point of this discussion.

1.  Rarely does someone on the negative side of an issue see it as a matter of “Christian liberty”.

By “negative side” I mean when they look at an issue, they see the endorsement of that issue to be a sin. In the debate presented in the Epistle to the Romans, they would be the ones who view eating meat sacrificed to idols as being sinful.

Someone in this position may have arrived at their position through a process of experience, thought, prayer or influence of other believers. For them, even though the Bible may not clearly mandate that the issue at hand is right or wrong, it is a matter of clear morality. Often the process that led them to their point of view has been so dramatic that they even become passionate about their position, not understanding why someone could see it differently, i.e. a matter of conscience or Christian liberty.

I would imagine that most, if not all of us, find ourselves on the “negative” sides of issues at times. I think we would do well in such cases to remember that if the Bible does not specifically give a prohibition or mandate, either through command or principle, that it is a matter of liberty. This does not mean that we would be required to compromise our belief in such cases, but it should lead us to realize that someone on the other side of the issue may not be necessarily wrong.

2.  Those who are exercising their Christian liberty should give great care to make sure they do so legitimately.

I jokingly told a friend recently that my definition of a “legalist” was “someone who preaches against something that I enjoy doing”.

The concept of Christian liberty must be applied with a spiritual, not carnal, balance. The flesh can easily come into play on both sides of this coin. Those who use the reasoning of enjoyment and derivation of pleasure to justify an activity may indeed be guilty of walking in the flesh. If a believer is going to exercise their right of liberty, they should make very sure that what they are doing does not violate the moral mandates of scripture, hinder their walk in the Spirit or provide for the temptations of the works of the flesh.

While some have rightly pointed out that those on the negative side can become legalistic and pharisaitical in their opinions, the same pitfall must be avoided on the side of freedom.

3.  The ultimate test of the rightness or wrongness of anything is the glory of God.

Let me give a good illustration of this. I have actually known people who felt that it was absolutely wrong for a Christian musician to practice or use any type of sound equipment. Obviously they had no scriptural basis for this argument, only their opinion that any attempt to improve one’s “sound” was an effort to exalt self instead of God.

While it would be easy to ridicule this position as being uninformed (not to mention hard on the ears), I would have no basis whatsoever for saying that they were sinning by believing this way. If their intent is to glorify God, then they should do so with a clear conscience. However, it would be just as wrong for them to judge what is in the heart of another musician who may practice hard and use a microphone, believing that God deserves their best effort.

My point in this illustration, is that we cannot judge what is in another’s heart in matters of Christian liberty. We can only examine our own motives to see if they are pure where the glory of God is concerned. I should let God be the judge of others. If I am abstaining from an activity, I should do so to the glory of God. If I am participating in that activity, I should do so to the glory of God. If either my abstinence or my participation fails to give glory to God, I should reexamine my motives as well as the activity.

As I said, these are just some random thoughts on the matter. I would be greatly interested to hear the wisdom of the reader on this subject.

On the Record

   For the last couple of days, many blogs that I read have been offering commentary on the passing of Dr. Jerry Falwell. In the words of an old mountaineer I once met, Dr. Falwell was a “pucker or duck” kind of guy. That is, when you mentioned his name, people would either kiss you or take a swing at you depending on their opinion of him.

   Many in the liberal media have been gleefully celebrating the homegoing of Dr. Falwell. That is to be expected, he stood for everything they were against. What is saddening however, is the number of evangelical Christians who are taking their shots at him during this time. I even read one comment by a reformed pastor who theorized that God had called him home to straighten him out on the “doctrines of grace” because of recent remarks Dr. Falwell had made about the concept of limited atonement.

   Even many of those who are honoring the memory of this man are in some way trying to distance themselves from the extreme positions he sometimes took. They are offering a compliment in one hand and a caveat in the other.

   I want to go on record and say that I liked and admired Dr. Jerry Falwell. I never had the opportunity to meet him, but I think I would have loved to have done so. I appreciated his love for God and for his country (yes, I think there is room for both in the same heart). I appreciated his willingness to expose himself to the criticisms of conservatives and liberals alike for the sake of not letting critical moral issues get swept quietly under the rug.

   I am thankful that he didn’t mind adopting an extreme position that was at times even beyond conservative, knowing that backlash was inevitable, yet doing it so that when the smoke cleared and he had somewhat mollified the left, the rest of us would have a position upon which to stand that was still well right of immorality.

   I still smile when I remember the time I saw his frank conservatism frustrate Phil Donahue to the point that all he could do was stand there bug-eyed, spluttering unintelligibly into his microphone.

   I am glad that he invested his time and work in God’s kingdom, preaching the gospel and taking an interest in the lives of thousands of young people who walked through the halls of Liberty University.

   I like the fact that you never had to wonder where he stood in a matter. He always made his position clear, no caveats, no dodges, just the truth.

   He was not afraid to call those who disagreed with him as “friends”. He realized that you don’t bring people to the truth by looking down your nose at them.

   I want to go on the record as saying that even though I did not know him, I will miss him. There is a new gap in the hedge. I wonder who will stand in it?

Editorial Note: The reformed pastor to which I referred in the second paragraph has since issued a clarification and retraction of the comment I mentioned. It was not his intention for the statement to come across in the way that I took it. I appreciate his willingness to clear up the matter.

White-Collar Barbarianism

Yesterday was Right-to-Life Sunday. Once a year, many churches in America focus upon the barbaric practice of abortion.

When one mentions “barbarians”, usually it is the coarse, hairy, vulgar ruffian that comes to mind, not a highly-educated doctor wearing a white coat. You need only to watch the video posted by Tim Ellsworth to realize that the lowest level of barbarianism is being practiced by the highest level of our society. I warn you, this is absolutely the most gruesome and disturbing thing I have ever seen, yet it contains a message that must reach our country.

Other bloggers are also drawing attention to this issue. My brother is beginning a series of posts that compare abortion to slavery. Being his brother, I have already had opportunity to read the entire project. It is must-read material for anyone concerned about this topic. In addition, Ken Fields is two-thirds of the way through a three-part series on the subject. You can read the first post here, and the second post here.

For too long now, politicians have only payed lip-service to this issue and our concerns. There was a time when this was the rallying cry for many conservative politicians. They would attend the gatherings of pro-life advocates and express their support of the rights of the unborn. Tragically, little has been done on the legislative level to address this sin. Now it seems that many conservative politicians are just hoping that this issue will just go away quietly into the night. They don’t want to risk losing moderate voters who would rather focus upon other issues.

I still believe that righteousness exalts a nation. I do not lay the blame entirely upon our leaders. Often, our leadership is simply a reflection of what is in the hearts of the average Joe on the streets. Perhaps if messages like this one can be told, hearts will be changed in this matter.

Until then, may we be faithful to defend those who are unable to defend themselves.

In Defense of Cooperation

California mega-church pastor, Rick Warren, has been catching a lot of fire lately for extending an invitation to Sen. Barak Obama (D-Illinois) to speak at an AIDS awareness conference being held at Saddleback Community Church today. Conservative evangelicals and pro-life groups have protested this move, pointing to Obama’s position on key issues such as stem-cell research and abortion rights.

For those who may not be aware of my position on these issues, I am dead set against using embryonic stem-cells for research and I am against abortion as well. There are a number of issues on the political level in which Obama gives me cause for serious concern.

Having said that, I must confess to being a little perplexed by the verbal hailstorm that is pouring down on Warren. Also scheduled to speak on the program is Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), a staunch supporter of the rights of the unborn. After all of the political diviseness that our country has endured in the last couple of years, I personally find it refreshing to see politicians from both sides of the aisle working together on something that truly addresses a tremendous human need.

The point that seems to be getting lost in all of this is that this is not a pro-life or pro-choice matter. It is a matter of human decency and Christian compassion. In a large sense, this is the “pure religion” of ministering to widows and orphans that the Apostle James described. If we believe that the AIDS problem is going to remain confined to a particular region or social demographic, we have our head in the sand. While I do not always agree with everything Warren does, I applaud him for his efforts to address this situation.

Some would argue that the greatest priority is the Gospel. To that I would say a hearty “Amen!” But there is the simple fact that you cannot share the good news with someone after they are dead.

I hope that those who are criticizing Warren’s approach in this matter will rethink their position. By working together to fight this monster, a lot of good can be accomplished. Perhaps some lives will be extended so that the Gospel may be given to them. Perhaps the general population of Africa will come to realize the importance of morality. Perhaps, just perhaps, Sen. Obama may come to realize that if the life of an infant stricken with AIDS is worth fighting to save, then the life of the unborn may be worth it, too.

I am praying for the success of this venture. I hope you will too.