Category: News

July 31st, 2013 by Michael L. Brown

The recent comments of Pope Francis have created a media feeding frenzy.

What exactly did he mean when he said he would not judge gay priests? Is he now condoning homosexuality?

And is he softening the stance of his predecessor, Pope Benedict, who wrote that men with deep-seated homosexual tendencies should not serve in the priesthood? (Wait a second. Does anyone really think it’s wise for a man with deep-seated homosexual tendencies to make a lifetime vow of celibacy and serve side by side with other men of like inclination? We’ll come back to that question in a moment.)

During a media interview while returning from Rio to Rome, the pope was asked about the gay lobby in the Vatican. He responded, “There’s a lot of talk about the gay lobby, but I’ve never seen it on the Vatican ID card!”

He continued, “When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept the Lord and have good will, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized. The tendency [to homosexuality] is not the problem. … They’re our brothers.”

What exactly did Pope Francis mean? According to John-Henry Westin, writing on LifeSiteNews.com, we must interpret the Pope’s comments in the context of the historic, foundational teaching of the Catholic Church.

Westin notes, “The Catholic faith teaches that all homosexual acts are presented in Sacred Scriptures as ‘acts of grave depravity’; that they are ‘intrinsically disordered’ and that ‘under no circumstances can they be approved.’ (Catechism 2357)”

The Catechism also teaches that “even the homosexual inclination is ‘objectively disordered’ and is a ‘trial’ for most who experience it. (Catechism 2358)”

At the same time, “They must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. (Catechism 2358)”

So, is it possible that Francis was simply restating standard Catholic doctrine—namely, that one shouldn’t be judged for having same-sex attractions, as long as those attractions are not acted upon, in obedience to God? Was that his point, but stated with an emphasis on compassion, in keeping with his character?

That is certainly possible, especially in light of the clear statement on marriage made jointly by Francis and Benedict less than one month ago. As reported in the gay press, “Popes Francis, Benedict Jointly Condemn Same-Sex Marriage.”

In fact, according to a Spanish language publication, when the Pope was asked by another journalist why he didn’t speak out against abortion and same-sex marriage on his trip to Brazil, he responded, “The Church has clearly spoken about that; it is not necessary to go over it again, as it’s not necessary to talk about fraud, lying or other things about which the Church has a clear doctrine. It is not necessary to talk about that, but about positive things that open the road for the young ones. Besides, young people know perfectly well what is the Church’s position about this.”

How interesting that the media has failed to pick up on this quote!

What about the issue of gay priests?

According to Westin, “Especially after the horrors of the sex abuse crisis, which many have seen to be related to past tolerance of an active gay sub-culture within the Church, the Catholic Church has forbidden even those men with fixed homosexual inclinations from entering the seminary. In November 2005, the Congregation for Catholic Education released the ‘Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocation with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders.’

“The Instruction forbade admission to seminary to ‘those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called “gay culture”.’”

Obviously, men like this are not suitable candidates for the priesthood, and it’s hard to believe Pope Francis would now be reversing this policy.

This is not a matter of bigotry toward gays. It’s a matter of common sense.

Responding to the pope’s comments, Cardinal Timothy Dolan stated that a priest’s homosexuality “wouldn’t matter to me as long as one is leading a virtuous and chaste life.” But he also noted there was a potential problem in speaking of gay priests or the like, explaining, “My worry is that we’re buying into the vocabulary that one’s person is one’s sexual identity, and I don’t buy that, and neither does the church.”

To be sure, there are plenty of Christian men who have not experienced change in their same-sex attractions but who have chosen to be celibate, and they are living satisfied, full lives, identifying as Christians who are same-sex attracted rather than as “gay Christians.” (I think of Christopher Yuan, co-author with his mother, Angela, of the moving book Out of a Far Country.)

But that is very different than ordaining into the priesthood men who are struggling with same-sex attraction, thereby putting them all together in the same environment. This would be like heterosexual priests sharing living quarters with heterosexual nuns. How long do you think their vows of celibacy would last?

In the same way, do we really think that a bunch of young gay men living together in a seminary setting will all be saintly enough to keep themselves pure? And is it realistic to think that, later in their ministries, they will not struggle as they work alone with their teenage altar boys? (These are the very environments that celibate, same-sex attracted Christians would avoid.)

And if it was right to condemn the sex scandals that have taken place in the Catholic Church, how can the Church be criticized for refusing to ordain priests with deep-seated homosexual tendencies? (On a side note, in one of the most blatant examples of sticking one’s head in the sand, many gay activists have denied that these sexual abuse scandals had anything to do with homosexuality.)

The simple fact is that those who are dominated by same-sex attraction have no place in the priesthood, and compassion would not put someone in a place of so much temptation, nor would wisdom allow them to be placed in a position of authority where they could hurt others along with themselves.

Any change in this position is a recipe for disaster.

Michael Brown is author of The Real Kosher Jesus and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.

Posted in Featured Articles, News

August 21st, 2012 by Michael L. Brown

Dear Mr. Potok,

Because your organization has not responded to my previous attempts to interact and because the SPLC is coming under increasing public scrutiny, I am writing this open letter with the hope that you will respond. You should be familiar with my name, since I am on your list of “30 New Activists Heading Up the Radical Right” and since I was profiled in the Spring 2012 Intelligence Report (more on that shortly).

My desire in writing to you is not to be contentious, nor is it to embarrass you. Rather, it is to pursue peace, to expose falsehood, to confront hateful misinformation, and to call on you and the SPLC to do what is right.

To be sure, I am hardly the only one questioning the credibility of the SPLC today. You have, no doubt, read the editorial in the Washington Post by columnist Dana Millbank, who stated, “I disagree with the Family Research Council’s views on gays and lesbians. But it’s absurd to put the group, as the law center does, in the same category as Aryan Nations, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Stormfront and the Westboro Baptist Church.” And Millbank is just one of an increasing number of Americans from diverse backgrounds who are pointing out the absurdity of your recent “hate group” listings.

Do you realize, Mr. Potok, that by placing mainstream, conservative Christian ministries like the American Family Association and the FRC side by side with legitimate hate groups that you call your whole work into question? Do you realize that millions of Americans, hearing about the SPLC for the first time in the wake of the FRC shooting, will now question the veracity of all your listings, thereby empowering genuine, dangerous hate groups?

You placed my name, along with that of a number of other conservative Christian leaders, on your list of “30 New Activists Heading Up the Radical Right.” This list included men like Malik Zulu Shabazz, leader of the New Black Panther Party. One of their recent radio shows featured this audio clip: “We give them [i.e., whites] 24 hours in South Africa to get out of town by sundown. I say, if they don’t get out of town, we kill the men, we kill the women, we kill the children, we kill the babies, we kill the blind, we kill the cripple, we kill the crazy, we kill the fa**ots, we kill the lesbians, I say god da**it we kill them all.”

Contrast those words with my statement in May 2006, addressing the gay and lesbian community of Charlotte: “We recognize that we have sometimes failed to reach out to you with grace and compassion, that we have often been insensitive to your struggles, that we have driven some of you away rather than drawn you in, that we have added to your sense of rejection. For these failings of ours, we ask you to forgive us. By God’s grace, we intend to be models of His love.

“We understand, of course, that in your eyes, our biblical convictions constitute hate, and it is hurtful to us that you feel that way. The fact is that we really do love you – more than you realize or understand – and because we love you, we will continue to speak the truth, convinced that it is the truth that sets us free. Love does what is right, even when it is scorned and mocked and ridiculed.”

Does this constitute hate in your book? Is this comparable to the language of the KKK? Neo-Nazis? New Black Panther Party? Yet it is in this spirit that we have carried out our work for the last 8 years, all to find a place on one of your lists.

The SPLC actually acknowledge in the “30 New Activists” article that, “Unlike many other voices on the religious right, Brown generally has avoided the kind of slashing rhetoric that often devolves into rank defamation. His work is heavily footnoted and avoids the blanket pronouncements that have gotten others in trouble.” Yet I am listed side by side with Shabbaz, whom the SPLC cites as saying, “Kill every god**mn Zionist in Israel! God**mn little babies, god**mn old ladies! Blow up Zionist supermarkets!” Surely listing me (and other Christian leaders) alongside of him discredits the SPLC, not me (and the other Christian leaders).

You define a hate group as one which knowingly disseminates false information and demonizing propaganda about other people and groups, yet I have noted where the SPLC is guilty of this very thing. (You will claim that you never do so knowingly; certainly, the Christian groups you are attacking would say the very same thing about themselves.)

Mr. Potok, does it trouble you that your Intelligence Report focusing on NARTH (the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality) was so riddled with errors that anyone in possession of a program to the conference would recognize that the report was utterly unreliable, not to mention patently biased? What hope does the average reader have of accurately separating fact from fiction in reports like this?

You claim that the FRC knowingly disseminates false and defamatory information about LGBT people. Why, then, have you refused to have a public dialog with FRC head Tony Perkins in order to demonstrate your points? What if there is support for the statements the FRC has made, or what if their statements have been taken out of context?

My attempts to engage in public dialog with the SPLC have also been met with deafening silence. What is it, sir, that you fear? Why are you so unwilling to bring the issues to light in the public square? To this day, it would be my delight to have civil, constructive, public dialog regarding your “anti-gay” hate group listing. Are you willing?

On December 2, 2011, you partnered with Truth Wins Out, running an ad in a local DC paper that asked, “HAS ANYONE TRIED TO ‘CURE’ YOU OF BEING GAY? SHARE YOUR STORY. Help expose the lies behind the ‘conversion therapy and help other LGBT people who have undergone or are considering ‘therapy’ to ‘cure’ themselves.”

Is this now part of what the SPLC does? And in the interest of fairness and accuracy, have you put out similar ads in other cities asking for the stories of those who have been helped by such therapy? And are you aware of detailed, scientifically sound studies documenting that some are indeed helped and now gladly identify as “ex-gay”? (One of these recent studies has received the highest praise from respected academicians and psychologists.)

And how is it that the SPLC has partnered with Truth Wins Out (TWO), an organization known for vicious, ugly, and mendacious attacks on individuals and groups? In one short article, Wayne Besen, founding executive director of TWO, referred to me as a pathological monster, a slick, sick, cynical, diabolical madman with a messiah complex, also accusing me of trying to incite a bunch of “unstable thugs . . . to engage in a violent physical clash with LGBT people.”

Mr. Potok, is not this defamatory hate speech? Do you approve of a close colleague of the SPLC calling fine Christian moms, dads, kids, and grandparents a bunch of “unstable thugs”? Do you approve of his dangerous and utterly false accusation that I am trying to incite these fine people to violence?

And what do you make of the comments of Dan Savage, perhaps America’s best-known gay activist, with regard to the FRC? He said, “These people won’t be satisfied until they are standing on top of a pile of dead, gay children.” Perhaps the SPLC has contributed to this inflammatory, toxic environment? And perhaps it is no coincidence that the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force has confirmed that the FRC shooter was also targeting the Traditional Values Coalition, another “anti-gay” Christian organization on your “hate group” list? Would it trouble you if, in fact, you and the SPLC were part of the potential mass-murderer’s inspiration?

I want to say clearly that I am not writing this letter out of concern for my own safety, nor am I afraid to suffer the consequences of my beliefs. Following Jesus is not meant to be easy or popular, and I have friends and colleagues who were tortured for their faith (have you heard of the late Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, celebrated author of Tortured for Christ?), stoned for preaching the gospel, and even killed. (Recently a young man close to my organization was murdered by Islamic terrorists while doing Christian, humanitarian work in a Muslim country.)

The purpose of this letter is to expose error and to pursue truth, and I am lovingly challenging you and your colleagues to sit down in a room together with the Christian leaders whose names and organizations you have defamed so each side can present their case. (I would also welcome this in a public forum, if preferable. On a personal level, I reaffirm my commitment to have public dialog on the relevant issues with any qualified representative from the SPLC or approved by the SPLC.)

In powerful and concise language, the apostle Paul wrote, “For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth” (2 Cor 13:8). And it was Jesus who said that, “whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God” (John 3:21).

The highest and best thing you could do is recognize the error of your recent listings and remove the leaders and organizations in question, thereby restoring a modicum of credibility. But if you are convinced that your listings are right, then let us have the private convocation of which I speak, and let the truth come forth for all to see.

I ask again: Have you anything to hide or fear? I appeal to you not to respond with a press release but to contact me directly. I am accessible to you and will take your call whenever possible.

Will you move forward and come into the open or will you retrench and retreat? The future of the SPLC could be at stake.

Sincerely,

Michael L. Brown, Ph.D.

Director, Coalition of Conscience

President, FIRE School of Ministry

Host, Line of Fire radio broadcast

Dr. Michael Brown is the author of The Real Kosher Jesus and the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network.

 

Posted in Featured Articles, News

April 3rd, 2012 by Michael L. Brown

The event was expected to be the “largest gathering of the secular movement in world history,” a “massive rally” that could provide “a sort of ‘Woodstock for Atheists,’ a chance for atheists to show their power in numbers and change their image.” But when pre-rally hype gave way to reality on Saturday, March 24th, on the Mall in DC, the results were hardly earth-shattering, let alone movement-making and message-sending (especially to politicians, part of the targeted audience of the so-called “Reason Rally”).

The crowd that turned out for this drizzly Saturday was estimated at between 8,000-20,000 (I have seen atheist reports, however, that put the number at 30,000), which is actually less than some American mega-churches draw every week in their Sunday services.

There were blatantly sexist speakers at the rally, like Bill Maher and Penn Jillette, but their presence was justified by atheist bloggers like Hemant Mehta, who explained that, yes, these men “have their faults, but they amplify our way of thinking more than just about anyone else.” Therefore, Mehta explained, it is still worth having them speak because “we need big-name celebrities to attend. . . . This isn’t just about spreading science and atheism. This is about drawing attention to our movement. This is about getting media attention.”

If that was the goal, the event certainly fell short of its mark, as the Reason Rally Facebook page complained about the lack of media coverage while the Drudge Report didn’t even mention the rally in its weekend news coverage, finding items like this more newsworthy: “Hippies head for Noah’s Ark: Queue here for rescue aboard alien spaceship. Thousands of New Agers descend on mountain [in France] they see as haven from December’s apocalypse.” (It looks like the hippies are living out their legacy while the atheists are still waiting for their “Woodstock” moment.)

Prof. Richard Dawkins was one of the keynote speakers, calling on the faithless not only to reject religious beliefs but also to “ridicule and show contempt” for religious doctrines and sacraments, including the Eucharist (Holy Communion). (In keeping with this, he once referred to Mary, the mother of Jesus, as a “submissive cosmic doormat.”) Yes, such are the enlightened sentiments of one of the self-styled “brights” – a self-defeating designation if ever there was one – and we can only imagine how beautiful the world would be if the Dawkins’ mentality ruled the day. (Sarcasm intended.)

And while it is true that “the brights” are still trying to figure out the origin of life, physicist Stephen Hawking has now explained how the universe began without God, stating in his book “The Grand Design,” “Because there is a law of gravity, the universe can and will create itself out of nothing.” Yes, nothing (which is really something) created everything! How did we miss that for so long?

As pointed out by Oxford mathematician and scientist Dr. John Lennox (unfortunately, not one of “the brights”), “The main issue . . . is that gravity or a law of gravity is not ‘nothing’, if [Hawking] is using that word in its usual philosophically correct sense of ‘non-being’. . . . If, therefore, we say ‘X creates X’, we imply that we are presupposing the existence of X in order to account for the existence of X. This is obviously self-contradictory and thus logically incoherent – even if we put X equal to the universe! To presuppose the existence of the universe to account for its own existence sounds like something out of Alice in Wonderland, not science.” (From his book “God and Stephen Hawking.”)

But I digress from the main topic at hand, namely the “Reason Rally.” Perhaps the most illustrative part of the day was the talk given by 16 year-old atheist Jennifer Alquist, who successfully fought to have a prayer banner removed from her Rhode Island High School. Hailed as a hero at the rally, she wanted everyone to know that if she could bring about change, anyone could.

And what, exactly, was so offensive about the prayer banner? It contained these words, written with the encouragement of school leadership almost 20 years ago:

 

Our Heavenly Father.

Grant us each day the desire to do our best.
To grow mentally and morally as well as physically.
To be kind and helpful to our classmates and teachers.
To be honest with ourselves as well as with others.
Help us to be good sports and smile when we lose as well as when we win.
Teach us the value of true friendship.
Help us always to conduct ourselves so as to bring credit to Cranston High School West.

Amen.

 

If only those values were inculcated in our schools across America! What a dream that would be. But for the atheists, if those values are associated with God on a banner, then they and God must go.

Atheist David Silverman, one of the event organizers, stated before the gathering that, “We’ll look back at the Reason Rally as one of the game-changing events when people started to look at atheism and look at atheists in a different light.”

I believe he was right. From here on, we’ll probably look at them with more pity.

 

Posted in Featured Articles, Lead Article, News

September 19th, 2011 by Christine Colbert

By Christine Colbert

A number of nations, including the US and the UK, have withdrawn from participation in the September 2011 Durban III conference. This gathering is a forum for those who hate Israel to get together for the purpose of condemning her attempts to protect her citizens.

On a very different note, the World Council of Churches in May 2011 hosted “World Week for Peace in Palestine.” On its official site the Methodist Church’s Rev. John Calhoun, identified in an editor’s note as a member of the New York Annual Conference and convener of World Week for Peace in “Palestine Israel,” described the uprisings in Arab countries that have come to be known as “Arab Spring.” He characterized these overthrows in this way: “. . . ordinary citizens have been rising up against their illegitimate leaders and demanding political freedoms.” He mentioned the regimes that “already have fallen in Tunisia and Egypt.”

In Calhoun’s article, this language flows directly into: “Those living under [Israel’s] illegitimate control are the Palestinians of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.” The title of this article, reflected in a banner photo of Palestinians walking beside a heavily-graffitied wall, is “It’s time for Palestine.”

It should be recognized that “Palestine” is a name that was first applied to the larger area of Israel by Roman occupiers. This applied name was continued by the British during the time of their mandate after WWI. Prior to the Roman occupation, Israel was Israel.

Further, the words “Illegitimate control” need to be considered. The piece cites various UN resolutions relating to Israeli territories that Israel has “defied” by not yielding these in various ways to “Palestinians.”

Our understanding of Scripture is that Israel was given sovereignty in the Land forever, although not to the exclusion of residency and participation for other nationalities. Arabs live in Israel and even participate in the Knesset. Throughout Israel in many places one sees a green “Palestinian”/Arab flag flying alongside of the Israeli flag. This openness is not extended to Israelis in Arab nations. Further, Israel is not firing on or terrorizing “Palestinians.”

Walid Shoebat, who is a Jordanian by birth, speaks of the time in 1967, immediately following the 1967 War (in which Jordan and other Arab neighbors attacked Israel, resulting in Israel’s winning the war and regaining control of Jerusalem); he indicates that at that time he “suddenly became a ‘Palestinian’ — before this I was a Jordanian.”

This is key information.

Calhoun cites the Wesleyan tradition of social responsibility within the church. He mentions a church publication that encourages visitors to the Holy Land to worship with “indigenous Christians.” Further, he cites a Methodist publication entitled “Opposition to Israeli Settlements in Palestinian Land.” This publication states:

The United Methodist Church opposes continued military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, the confiscation of Palestinian land and water resources, the destruction of Palestinian homes, the continued building of illegal Jewish settlements, and any vision of a “Greater Israel” that includes the occupied territories and the whole of Jerusalem and its surroundings (Resolution 6073).

One wonders whether Methodist administrators have glanced at the Old Testament recently.

A recent report within the Presbyterian church recommends continuing the “phased, selective divestment” from companies that do business with Israel, which was enacted in 2004. “The church has been split on this for years,” general presbyter for the Hudson Valley Susan Andrews told Jewish Telegraphic Agency reporter Dan Klein.

On a brighter note, Canada’s conservative prime minister Stephen Harper recently indicated that “Canada will always stand by Israel” in national policy.

 

Sources:

http://www.umc-gbcs.org/site/apps/nlnet/content.aspx?c=frLJK2PKLqF&b=6683235&ct=9284281

http://www.jta.org/news/article/2011/09/15/3089405/presbyterians-to-reconsider-divestment-from-cosin-israel

http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/03/10/canada-%E2%80%98will-always-stand-by%E2%80%99-israel-harper-says/

Posted in Featured Articles, Israel & The Jewish People, News Tagged with: , , , , ,

September 1st, 2011 by Michael L. Brown

Jonathan Dudley’s June 21 article on CNN’s Belief Blog, “Bible condemns a lot, so why focus on homosexuality?” has received over 6,000 comments and more than 31,000 Facebook recommendations. Unfortunately, the author has seriously misled his reading audience.

Dudley explains that as a result of his seminary studies at Yale, he cast off the evangelical faith of his youth, including the idea that the Bible clearly condemned homosexuality. He now claims that his “childhood community’s approach to gay rights—though well intentioned—is riddled with self-serving double standards.”  And he exhorts his readers: “So let’s stop the charade and be honest. Opponents of gay marriage aren’t defending the Bible’s values. They’re using the Bible to defend their own.”

Self-serving double standards? A charade? Could it be that Dudley still has something to learn? Could it be that, had he attended another seminary and studied with other scholars, he would have come to different conclusions? At the least, could it be that there is simply another side to the story?

Dudley’s views were influenced by Yale New Testament professor Dale B. Martin (whom Dudley failed to point out is openly gay and well-known for his gay-leaning interpretations), according to whom “today’s ‘pro-family’ activism . . . would have been considered ‘heresy’ for most of the church’s history.” Heresy? Really?

Dudley admits that the Apostle Paul felt that “male-male intercourse” was a sin (for the record, Paul said the same things about female-female relations), but he now believes that Paul was mistaken, meaning that Dudley has not only cast off the faith of his youth but also the faith of Paul. He claims that, Romans 1 is “the only passage in the Bible where a reason is explicitly given for opposing same-sex relations,” and in the chapter, Paul calls them ‘unnatural.’”

In point of fact, the Bible gives numerous explicit or implicit reasons why same-sex relations are wrong, including: 1) God created humankind in His image as male and female, and it is only when the two become one that His image is fully revealed; 2) there is a unique complementarity between a man and a woman, which is why men and women marry; 3) only heterosexuals unions can fulfill the divine command to “be fruitful and multiply”; 4) it is therefore detestable for a man to sexually penetrate another man.

What about saying these actions are “unnatural”? Dudley points out that in 1 Corinthians 11, Paul writes that nature teaches that long hair is degrading for a man but a glory to a woman. Do we uphold this teaching as well?

Actually, Paul never said that a man with long hair would not enter God’s kingdom, whereas he taught that practicing homosexuals would not enter, so one can hardly compare the two issues. Moreover, Paul used very strong language in his condemnation of same-sex practice in Romans 1, speaking of “shameful lusts” and “shameful acts,” among other terms.

With regard to long hair, Paul was most likely addressing the question of women wearing veils in Christian home gatherings, since it was the normal custom for married women to be veiled in public but not at home. Paul taught that they should be veiled when praying or speaking in the home gatherings, reinforcing his point with the analogy of nature, reminding the Corinthians that it is the common, cross-cultural pattern for women to have long hair and men to have short hair, the reverse being viewed as degrading. That’s it. (Although not mentioned by Paul, his argument is underscored by the fact that for men, baldness is common and not particularly devastating, whereas baldness for a woman is highly uncommon and quite devastating.)

Dudley next tackles the issue of celibacy, claiming that “the community opposed to gay marriage has itself revised the Christian tradition in a host of ways. For the first 1500 years of Christianity, for example, marriage was deemed morally inferior to celibacy.”

Again, this is a gross overstatement, if not downright false. 1) The first followers of Jesus were all Jews, among whom marriage was highly prized and celibacy was the rare exception to the rule. 2) The New Testament actually presumed that a congregational leader would be married, stating that he must be the husband of only one wife. 3) Marriage is said to be an earthly picture of a sublime heavenly reality, namely the mystical union of Christ and the Church. 4) It was only over a period of centuries that celibacy became exalted, and at that, primarily for “clergy” (another later concept), while some parts of the Church protested the requirement that priests be celibate. But why quibble over facts?

Dudley’s case is weakened even further when he argues that “the vast majority of Christian theologians and saints throughout history have not believed life begins at conception.” But debates about when life begins (which were largely philosophical, having to do with the nature of the soul) were hardly the issue (not to mention that many prominent, early Church leaders did claim that life began at conception). The real issue is that, for many centuries, the Church was known for its opposition to abortion (and infanticide, which it helped eradicate), beginning with early second-century documents like the Didache and the Epistle of Barnabas, which either condemned abortion or equated it with murder. This pattern was continued by the second-third century apologists, numerous church councils, and prominent fourth-fifth century leaders like Basil, Jerome, Augustine, and Chrysostom – just to focus on the first five centuries of Church history. So Dudley has misled his readers yet again.

The only time he is somewhat on target is when he claims that evangelicals have compromised the New Testament’s teaching on divorce. Sadly, there is some truth to this claim, but the solution is not to compromise biblical standards even further by sanctioning homosexual practice but rather to reclaim the high ethical ground of the New Testament when it comes to marriage and divorce.

Perhaps some further study would do Mr. Dudley well, this time in an evangelical seminary?

Michael Brown is host of the daily, syndicated talk radio show, The Line of Fire, and author of A Queer Thing Happened to America: And What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been.

Posted in Featured Articles, News, Sexuality & Gender Tagged with: , , , ,

August 30th, 2011 by Guest Writer

By Shira Sorko-Ram

Reprinted with permission  from Maoz Ministries (Newsletter May 2007)

In Israel the more ultra-rabbinical a sect, the less they read and study the Bible. Most ultra-Orthodox groups in Israel and elsewhere teach their young men the rabbinical books of the Talmud, and their average yeshiva student knows selected Biblical texts only through the pre-digested commentaries of the Talmud and other rabbinical literature.

However, there are branches among Orthodox Jews that are giving priority to the study of the Bible. One such individual was Rabbi Mordechai Breuer who recently died at the age of 86. He was born into a family of modern Orthodoxy and became a highly respected authority – although virtually unknown outside of Israel – on the Old Testament books of the Bible.

In 1958 he was asked to proofread a Hebrew edition of the Bible and suddenly found himself to be considered an expert on the subject. From then on, his life was spent examining the Hebrew Biblical texts.

The Oldest Existing Hebrew Bible

As all Biblical scholars know, there are a great number of manuscripts (mainly fragments) of the Hebrew Bible which have been preserved over the last thousand years and are used today by scholars who are studying the texts or translating them into different languages. But the Bible considered to be the oldest and most reliable in existence is the Aleppo Codex (Codex is an archaic word for the earliest form of a book. Biblical text were usually written on scrolls to be read in the synagogue. When scribes wrote the text in book form, it was only for scholarly study), copied around 920 A.D. in Tiberius by the famous scribe Aaron Ben-Asher. The priceless Bible was stolen in the 11th century and brought to Egypt, finally ending up in a synagogue in Aleppo, Syria for 600 years.

 

Up until the 1950’s, the complete manuscript in Aleppo was still in good condition. But with the creation of the modern state of Israel, and the ensuing Arab rioting, scholars pleaded with the Aleppo rabbis to move the Bible to a safer location.

However, for centuries the rabbis of Aleppo had fiercely guarded the codex, keeping it in almost total isolation and not even letting Jewish scholars examine the manuscript! What is worse, the rabbis would not allow the scroll to be photographed, probably out of superstition that as long as that Bible was the sole possession of the Jewish community in Aleppo, they would be safe from calamity. (http://www.bible-researcher.com/aleppo.html)

In 1948 the synagogue was set on fire; the codex disappeared and the Aleppo rabbis led the world to believe it had been destroyed by fire. But witnesses to the rescue of the manuscript informed the Israeli government, and with much behind-the-scenes pressure, worldwide, the rabbis finally allowed the Aleppo Codex to be smuggled into Israel page by page with tourists in 1958. However, to the horror of the Israeli scholars, only two-thirds of the Bible arrived; the Torah was almost completely missing along with a few other portions. Out of a total of 487 pages, only 295 arrived.

Until today, the missing leaves are a subject of fierce controversy as some scholars b elieve they are still hidden among the Jewish community of Aleppo.

A Modern Searcher for God’s Word

In 1968, Rabbi Mordechai Breuer was assigned the task of determining the Hebrew Bible’s wording, spelling, vowels and cantillation (chanting) from ancient manuscripts for a modern Bible commentary which would be faithful to the belief that the Biblical text was inspired by God.

Breuer would have given almost anything to have had access to the Aleppo Codex as the basis for his research. And by now, the Aleppo Bible was in Israel! However as scholars are prone to do, the professors at the Hebrew University studying the Bible would not allow any other researchers to share the asset! (Ha’aretz, 22Mar07)

Due to lack of choice, Breuer used five other most important Bible manuscripts (although newer than the Aleppo Codex). He began his own monumental reconstruction of the Masoretic texts (see the story below) comparing them word for word. His method of selecting the correct text each time he observed variations, was to choose the spelling and notations of what he found in the majority of the five manuscripts. For example, if manuscripts 1, 2, 3 and 5 agreed on a spelling, but 4 did not, he would use the majority spelling.

By accepting the version of the majority and discounting the deviations of the minority, Breuer was convinced he was uncovering the one authoritative original writings of the Bible preserved by Masorah (oral tradition) – the ancient version given by the inspiration of God. (Ibid)

Other scholars strongly disagreed with his methodology because they supposed that there were many oral traditions which came down through the centuries as Jews emigrated to different nations. But Breuer believed that from time immemorial there was a single universally accepted oral tradition and the variant spellings and notations in the different manuscripts were simply errors made by scribes.

Recreating the Text of a Lost Torah

Thus, Rabbi Breuer reconstructed the entire Old Testament by examining each word in the five most important ancient manuscripts. And then his wildest dream came true. Somehow, he managed to get his hands on a copy of the Aleppo Codex. He never even told his son how he came to possess the facsimiles, but the son said when he came home that day with the manuscript, “he acted like an accomplice to a crime!”

Then the next miracle happened. When Breuer began to compare his re-creation of the Biblical text from the five manuscripts to the Aleppo text, lo an behold, they were exactly the same except for two places! An incredible discovery! This comparison proved that from the time the books of the Bible were written there was one and only one universally accepted version of the Masoretic text that was handed from one generation to the next, and it proved that the Aleppo Codex faithfully recorded it.

Furthermore, this meant Breure’s method could be used authoritatively to reconstruct the missing portions of the Aleppo Codex. (Ibid)

Rabbi Breuer later issued an independent version of the entire Old Testament that was quickly accepted as the most reliable and accurate. The “Jerusalem Crown” Bible is a modern version of the Hebrew Scriptures based on the Aleppo Codex and the reconstruction work of Breuer. It is the official version of the Bible of the State of Israel and used when the President of Israel is sworn into office.

Dead Sea Scrolls 1000 years older than Aleppo Codex

With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, very few dramatic changes in the Biblical text have been found. The Dead Sea Scrolls have, in almost every case, confirmed the accuracy of the Masorah, and suggest that an ancestor of the Masoretic Text (a scroll or codex with notations) was indeed in existence at least 100 years before the birth of the Messiah.

There is one very interesting difference found in the Dead Sea Scrolls in Psalm 22:17 (English, 22:16). The Masoretic texts read “like a lion are my hands and feet” which does not make sense. But the Septuagint – a Greek translation of the Old Testament by Jewish scholars in the second century B.C., – reads, “They have pierced my hands and feet.”

Discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls confirmed the Septuagint version of this verse! Since Psalm 22 is one of the most important and clearest chapters describing the death of the Messiah, this is an important verification. Many of the latest revised translations have incorporated changes due to research done with the Dead Sea Scrolls. Nevertheless, nearly all are theologically insignificant such as minor misspellings.

Amazing Correlation

The Bible went through a remarkable history to make it into this century, especially in view of the ancient methods of transmitting texts by hand, sometimes in primitive conditions, and considering that the scribes lacked photocopy machines, computers, printing presses, and similar modern inventions. (http://byubroadcasting.org/deadsea/book/chapter2/sec3.html)*

The Mesorah notations in the margins of the text show the painstaking and passionate zeal these ancient scribes possessed in their quest to safeguard the accuracy of the sacred text from generation to generation. The world owes an enormous debt to these dedicated Jewish scribes who spent their lives copying the Word of God, letter by letter, notation by notation, so that after several thousand years, we may still find salvation through the authentic Words of God as originally written down by Moses, the prophets, the kings and inspired men of God.

*url is no longer available

Posted in Featured Articles, Israel & The Jewish People, News Tagged with: , , , , , ,

August 19th, 2011 by Michael L. Brown

Editor’s Note: Also published on Townhall.com: Part 1 and Part 2

The recent cover of the French edition of Vogue magazine caused considerable controversy, and it was not because of the all too typical, female model featured in a sensual pose. Instead, it was the fact that the model this time was a 10 year-old girl.

The headline of an article appearing on JewishJournal.com announced that, “Vogue Blurs the Line between Fashion & Pedophilia with 10 Year Old Model,” and the article’s author, Ilana Angel, rightly noted that, “A 10 year old is not able to distinguish between playing dress up in mommy’s make-up and high heels, and proving a sexual aid to pedophiles.” How true!

But this is only one, extreme example of the way our kids are being sexualized. How many children watch MTV and VH1, mimicking the moves and memorizing the lyrics of the latest song by Britney Spears or Lady Gaga, having no clue that the moves they are making and the words they are mouthing are sexually charged. These kids are too young to have any understanding of sexuality, and yet it is no secret to the TV execs that these same children are a major part of the viewing audience.

And was anyone really surprised when Miley Cyrus outgrew Hannah Montana and discovered pole dancing instead? What are her youthful followers to make of her now? Perhaps they’ll follow her lead? Perhaps they’ll ask mom and dad for a pole of their own at home?

But there’s more. There is the sexualizing of our children in the public schools, and I’m not talking about sex-ed classes. I’m talking about teaching gay history to elementary school children, as now mandated by law in California with the recent passing of SB 48, thereby introducing sexual categories to little ones who haven’t the slightest clue what sexual orientation is, let alone have the ability to wrap their minds around “bisexual” or “transgender.”

To add insult to injury, parents will have no right to opt their kids out of these classes, a hard lesson parents in other states have already learned, where the courts have sided with the schools rather than the parents. Already in Massachusetts, a couple was so upset with this state-sponsored sexualizing of their first grader that they took their battle to court, where Judge Mark Wolff of the US Court of Appeals ruled that the schools have a greater responsibility to teach “diversity” than to honor the requests of the parents. In other words, “Sorry, moms and dads. We know what is best for your children, and when we decide it’s time to introduce them to ‘diversity’ – our codeword for gay activist curricula – we will do so. You, on your part, have no right to interfere, so don’t even think about it.” (For more details, see Chapter Three of my book A Queer Thing Happened to America.)

What is unique in California is not that gay-themed lessons will be taught to little children. Rather, it is that these lessons will be mandated across the entire state for all schools and all classes, which, of course, will be reflected in the textbooks that will be used. And, as is well known, what happens in California doesn’t stay in California, meaning that the textbooks printed for our most populous state will be used throughout the nation.

In the specific language of SB 48, the bill amended “the Education Code to include social sciences instruction on the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.” And note that previous bills relating to LGBT issues – including AB 537, AB 1785, AB 394, SB 777, SB 572 – were not enough. SB 48 had to go one step further.

What exactly will this mean? For starters, it will demand that the categories of “gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender” be introduced to six year-olds. I have watched videos of classes taught in different parts of the countries where elementary school children are shown pictures of artists or musicians or politicians or other famous figures and are told, “He (or she) was gay,” as if they had the slightest real concept of what “gay” actually meant. (As I recall, in the early years of elementary school, boys like boys and girls like girls. Does that make all of them “gay”?)

Of course, we are told that introducing this curriculum will reduce bullying of LGBT kids in schools, but the best way to reduce bullying is to teach that bullying is bad rather than gay is good. And does anyone really think that, say, showing kids images of a fat Buddha will stop the bullying of fat kids? More to the point, who gave the public schools the right to sexualize our children?

But this is just the beginning. It gets worse. Stay tuned for more.

There are some important things that can be lost and then recovered. Health. Finances. Friends. Even reputation. Innocence, however, is not one of them, especially the prepubescent, sexual innocence of a child.

My wife, Nancy, and I are blessed to have four amazing grandchildren, aged four to 10. They can be silly. They can be mischievous. They can be sarcastic (having been trained well by their grandfather). At times they can even be disobedient (although hardly ever to their doting grandparents). Yet they are profoundly innocent when it comes to sexuality. Why is it that some people are determined to shatter that innocence?

Every few years, there is a push to “out” the Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie, claiming that they must be gay (I kid you not). Even now, there is a petition on the Change.org website, stating, “For over 40 years, our beloved Sesame St. characters, Bert and Ernie, have been living as ‘roommates’ and we would like PBS and Sesame St. to allow them to live as a gay couple and maybe eventually, marry. It would show children and their parents that not only is it acceptable but also teach children that homophobia is wrong, bullying is wrong and that Sesame Street should recognize that there are LGBT relationships, families, and include them in their show.”

Putting aside the obligatory references to “homophobia” and “bullying” (does anyone really believe that turning Bert and Ernie into gay characters will combat homophobia and bullying?), it appears that the folks at Change.org have failed to realize that the kids watching Sesame Street are, on average, between two and five years old, and they no more understand the concepts of gay or lesbian or bisexual than they understand the concepts of quantum physics. And Bert and Ernie are Muppets, for heaven’s sake.

Sadly, as absurd as this latest petition drive is, the queering of elementary education (to borrow the title of a well-known book) is no laughing matter. What, then, are some of the implications of the recently passed Senate Bill (SB 48) in California, which mandates “social sciences instruction on the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people,” with no way for parents to pull their kids from the classes?

On the one hand, LGBT pioneers will be celebrated, including people like Leslie Feinberg, the “transgender warrior,” author of Stone Butch Blues, among other books, a woman who dresses like a man, is partnered to another woman, and prefers to be called “ze,” as opposed to he or she. (She is already celebrated in some gay educational curricula.) What will our little ones make of “hir” (again, the preferred pronoun, in contrast with him or her)?

Should we also assume that every figure highlighted in history classes who is not LGBT will be identified as heterosexual? “Today, children, we’re learning about Thomas Jefferson, who was straight.” Is this what we can expect? And why must our kids be told the sexual or romantic inclinations of historical figures?

But there’s more. There will be people like George Washington Carver, a man often claimed as gay by LGBT historians and already featured in gay class lessons. Would his alleged sexual orientation now become a topic of instruction? If so, consider first that there is no clear evidence that he was homosexual, simply speculation among some of his biographers. Second, even if he was same-sex attracted, and even if he acted on those attractions, that was certainly not something he wanted to be known. Will he now be posthumously outed? Third, the real story about this important historical figure is what we do know, namely, that he overcame racism, that he was a committed Christian, and that he made many important discoveries. Why in the world should we bring allegations about his sexuality into the classroom?

Yet there’s more still. On a recent radio interview, GOProud’s Jimmy LaSalvia stated that if he was learning about men like Walt Whitman and Oscar Wilde in school, he would want to know that they were gay. The problem, however, is that they were not simply gay. As noted by Jim Kepner, formerly curator of the International Gay and Lesbian Archives in Los Angeles, “If we reject the boylovers in our midst today we’d better stop waving the banner of the Ancient Greeks, of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Oscar Wilde, Walt Whitman, Horatio Alger, and Shakespeare. We’d better stop claiming them as part of our heritage unless we are broadening our concept of what it means to be gay today.”

We won’t get into a discussion of Shakespeare’s sexuality here (or most of the others on this list), but Kepner’s point is well taken. Shall we tell the young teenage boys the whole story, namely that Oscar Wilde had a preference for boys their age?

In my opinion, it is just as outrageous to introduce the categories of adult homosexuality and bisexuality to elementary school children, and now is the time to draw the line. Otherwise, your 8 year-old daughter might come home from school to tell you that she just learned that Joan of Arc was transgender. (After all, wasn’t she a cross-dresser?) Or perhaps your little boy will tell you how exciting it was to learn about the drag queens who started a riot at the Stonewall Inn in 1969.

The fact is that our educational system is having a hard enough time teaching our kids the three R’s. Must they now learn LGBTQ’s? Now is the time to stop sexualizing our children. They should not be casualties of the culture wars. Do you agree?
 

Michael Brown is host of the daily, syndicated talk radio show, The Line of Fire, and author of A Queer Thing Happened to America: And What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been.

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August 10th, 2011 by Christine Colbert

by Christine Colbert

Israel’s deputy minister of foreign affairs Danny Ayalon recently released a video that discusses Israel’s legitimate presence in the West Bank. In this brief video, he discusses historically verifiable facts like Israel’s capturing the West Bank from Jordan in 1967. He points out that there was no Palestinian state at this time. Mr. Ayalon states that Jordan had no legal right to be in this area, and that it had changed the names of Judea and Samaria to “the West Bank.”

 

He states that Israel’s presence in the West Bank in 1967 was for the purpose of self-defense and provides historic details that strongly support his remarks. These facts are verifiable. He suggests that the term “disputed territories” is far more appropriate for the West Bank than “occupied territories.”

 

The video can be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGYxLWUKwWo&feature=youtu.be

 

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat immediately responded by characterizing Israel as “pro-conflict,” occupying colonialists. He described the video as “not . . . amateur” and as presenting a “cynical and falsified account” of history and international law.

 

Mr. Ayalon has replied that PA representatives are “unable to challenge a single fact in the video and have completely avoided a legitimate and honest discussion on the issues.”

 

The video, released in late July, has already drawn more than 100,000 views. Mr. Ayalon has said he would be happy to present facts in a debate setting with any PA representative. “I now realize that there has been such a thirst for the truth, not just among Israel supporters, but also among the undecided, and its success has prompted me to think of doing a lot more in this area,” he said, referring to the video.

 

It seems that the kinds of historical dates, occurrences, and binding resolutions that Mr. Ayalon and Mr. Erekat address should be a matter of ascertainable fact. If one side has long been pulling the wool over much of the world’s eyes, it shouldn’t succeed in misleading or confounding many in the global community forever.

 

Is it possible that Israel doesn’t “occupy” Israel?

Posted in Featured Articles, Israel & The Jewish People, News Tagged with: , , ,

August 9th, 2011 by Christine Colbert

by Christine Colbert

 

The United States has long acted as the peace broker between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. But with negotiations at a standstill, Europe is emerging as a key player. In recent weeks Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas have sought to gain support of key European leaders. Neither of them has visited Washington since spring.

White House officials indicate that President Obama has been keeping a low profile since he unsuccessfully tried to break the long-standing stalemate by suggesting a return to pre-1967 boundaries as a model for negotiating the contours of a Palestinian state.

The PA’s anticipated push for recognition by the UN would almost certainly be supported by the more than 100 developing countries in the General Assembly. But among the UN’s 15-member Security Council, the US is expected to oppose the push. For this reason, Britain, France, and Germany would be influential swing votes.

Europe has not often been so pursued by Middle Eastern emissaries. Europe has taken a lead role in the NATO military campaign in Libya, and apparently finds its new Middle East power broker role to be gratifying. But this new role may lead to a European Union split, with some countries supporting the Palestinian push and some supporting Israel. Divisiveness is particularly undesirable in the light of the EU’s having been strained by the debt crisis in Greece. It appears that Germany and Italy would reject the Palestinian campaign, while France and Spain appear to be receptive. The British position has not been disclosed.

Apparently some Europeans see their role in determining the outcome of the PA push for UN recognition to be a means of pressuring Israel to return to negotiations. This process came to a halt last fall. A few months later, President Obama proposed reinstating the pre-1967 Arab-Israeli war borders, but adjusting these to allow for Jewish settlements in the West Bank as a basis for resuming negotiations toward a new Palestinian state.

Prime Minister Netanyahu initially rejected this formula, saying it would leave Israel indefensible. However, an Israeli official has indicated more recently that Mr. Netanyahu has moved closer to accepting the proposal — on the condition that the PA agrees to recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. The Palestinians have long refused to do this.

In mid-July the US tried to build support for this “quid pro quo” among the Quartet on the Middle East, which also comprises representatives of the EU, the UN,  and Russia. The Quartet’s endorsement would have put pressure on both Israel and the PA to resume negotiations, which would have had a dampening effect on the Palestinian push toward UN recognition.

European representatives have publicly supported Mr. Obama’s proposal for resuming negotiations; but several of them, including Russia, have balked at the requirement that the PA recognize Israel as a Jewish state. The Quartet has not taken an official position. Israel’s defense minister Ehud Barak has warned that Israel may face a “diplomatic tsunami” if the PA succeeds in advancing its proposal.

The executive director of the American Task Force on Palestine, Ghaith al-Omari, has predicted that if the PA continues its push for UN recognition “it would be highly destabilizing.” The US has tried to dissuade the PA from the planned move by reminding Palestinians that if they continue to push for UN recognition rather than negotiating Congress may vote to stop providing aid to the PA.  The US appears to be leaving the responsibility to former British prime minister Tony Blair, who serves as special envoy to the Quartet, to dissuade the PA from this strategy.

President Obama has signaled that he would veto a Palestinian statehood resolution, although wide speculation ensued that the US would not want to be alone in vetoing the resolution. Sources close to the administration indicate that it appears less concerned by this prospect than previously thought.

Thus far the PA insists it will continue on course with the push for recognition. The Palestinians may decide to tone down their effort by petitioning the General Assembly rather than the Security Council and requesting nonmember status in hopes of dodging a US veto. It is widely agreed that the Palestinians will not push for full recognition without the support of larger European countries like Britain and France.

The global community awaits a signal from European countries regarding the PA’s anticipated strategy.

 

Posted in Islam & The Middle East, News

August 9th, 2011 by Michael L. Brown

It was political strategist James Carville who coined the now-famous phrase that helped catapult Bill Clinton to the presidency, incessantly reminding him that, “It’s the economy, stupid.” Any candidate seeking to unseat President Obama in the 2012 elections will surely follow this same strategy.

After all, the economy is in shambles and Americans are fed up with the latest congressional efforts to reduce the deficit. Unemployment is nearing epidemic proportions, gasoline prices are outrageous, spending is out of control, and for the first time, our national credit rating has been downgraded. Worse still, if foreign money was pulled out of our economy, we would have a massive, coast to coast collapse.

Political pundits commonly warn candidates, especially Republican candidates, that voters today are not as concerned with social and moral issues as much as they are concerned with the economy. In that respect, Carville’s sage advice to Clinton is nothing new. After all, Hebert Hoover’s 1928 campaign slogan was, “A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.” Has anything really changed since 1928 in terms of what Americans care about the most?

Surely, it still is “the economy, stupid.” Or is it? Could it be that there’s more to the story? Could it be that we make a serious and fundamental mistake when we separate economic issues from moral issues? Could it be that we are often treating the symptoms rather than the cause? There was bipartisan disgust as the nation watched the president and both political parties wrangling over a solution to the current financial crisis, and in the end, all we got was a very small, largely ineffective band aid. As one political cartoonist depicted it, the congressional “solution” was like slowing down the speed with which the Titanic was sinking.

Across party lines, there was a feeling that we were not really getting to the root of the problem, but few, if any were suggesting that it is impossible to separate economics from morality. Eventually, our moral choices will have a definite and direct impact on the money (or lack thereof) in our pockets.

A successful businessman recently suggested to me that some of the roots of our economic problems include:

1) Instant gratification. It was Jim Morrison of the Doors who once proclaimed, “We want the world and we want it now!” That was 1967. Today, we really want it now (as in “instant”; think “messaging” and “downloading” and more). If I want it, I will find a way to get it, and I will get it now. Yes, it’s true that I’m out of work, but I will get that iPad, I will be at the movie theatre this weekend, and I will find a way to buy the latest, trendy threads. Thank God for credit cards!

2) We have become consumers rather than producers. One website claims that, “Americans constitute 5% of the world’s population but consume 24% of the world’s energy. On average, one American consumes as much energy as 2 Japanese, 6 Mexicans, 13 Chinese, 31 Indians, 128 Bangladeshis, 307 Tanzanians, 370 Ethiopians.” And, “Americans throw out 200,000 tons of edible food daily, enough to feed 3 third world countries.” Of course, some of this has to do with the fact that we have a lot more at our disposal than, say, the average Ethiopian. But a lot of this also has to do with our selfishness, greed, and lack of discipline. Do our political leaders dare address those issues?

3) The breakdown of the family. Two generations into the sexual revolution (which has brought us to the point of sexual anarchy), and two generations into no-fault divorce, the “traditional family unit” is an increasingly threatened species, and at a high economic cost to our society. Author Frank Turek points out that kids raised by their mom and dad are: “a. Seven times less likely to live in poverty; b. Six times less likely to commit suicide; c. Less than half as likely to commit crime; d. Less than half as likely to become pregnant out of wedlock; e. Develop better academically and socially; f. [Are] healthier physically and emotionally when they reach adulthood.” You had better believe the breakdown of the family has massive economic implications.

4) Abortion. With all the concerns about Social Security defaulting, very few leaders are talking about the 800 pound gorilla missing from the room, namely, multiplied millions of working Americans who are not here to pay into the system and contribute to the economy because their lives were cut short in the womb. Yes, there is an economic consequence to abortion as well.

Perhaps, then, it would be wise for political candidates who really care about what’s best for America to change their slogan to, “It’s the morality, stupid.” Or is this slogan too true to be good?

Michael Brown is host of the daily, syndicated talk radio show, The Line of Fire, and author of A Queer Thing Happened to America: And What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been.

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