Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The man who inspired the Declaration of Independence

by Kenyn Cureton — BP

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Most Americans know that Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence but few know that the foundational concepts of freedom from which Jefferson drew came from the pulpit and pen of a pastor who served decades before the War of Independence: the Rev. John Wise.

Wise (1652-1725) served a Congregational church in Chebacco Parish in the southeastern part of Ipswich, Mass., for most of his ministry. He was the first son of an indentured servant to graduate from Harvard and was an impressive preacher and forceful writer.

Wise was also tall, muscular and a formidable wrestler. The story is told that later in life he was challenged to a wrestling match by Andover's champion wrestler, Capt. John Chandler. Wise tried to beg off, pleading that he was too old and infirm, but he was finally goaded into it for sport. So in the makeshift ring, Captain Chandler grappled with the elderly Wise. The preacher promptly threw the reigning wrestling champion completely over his front wall. Chandler got up, shook himself off and announced he would be on his way as soon as the preacher threw his horse over after him.

But Wise was even more tough and tenacious as an opponent of governmental overreach. In 1687, he grappled with the royal governor of New England, Sir Edmund Andros, because of a tax Andros had levied at the command of King James II without the consent of the legislative body. In pulpit and town council, Wise sounded the alarm and blasted Andros’ scheme, warning of encroaching British tyranny. Two contemporaries wrote commending Wise’s efforts: "All our Watchmen were not asleep, nor the camp of Christ surprised and taken, before they had Warning."

Wise stirred up his fellow townspeople in revolt against the tax. As a result, Governor Andros had Wise arrested because Wise refused to submit on biblical grounds to what he considered to be the unjust demands of the government. Governor Andros brought Wise before royalist judges and a crown-friendly jury. Wise so infuriated them with his defense that they threatened to sell him as a slave. The pastor was suspended from his ministry and fined. But that did not stop him from preaching against tyranny and in favor of liberty.

One year later, Governor Andros was deposed and Wise was vindicated. In 1710, Wise wrote “The Churches Quarrel Espoused.” He followed that with his masterwork in 1717, “A Vindication of the Government of New England Churches” in which he dealt with the basis of both religious and civil government.

What Wise said was so forward-thinking and so appropriate to the time leading up to the Revolution that when his books were reprinted in 1772, they quickly sold out and were reprinted again. In these works, Wise demonstrated from the Bible that:

• God created all men equal and every man must be acknowledged by the state as equal to every man.

• The end of all good government is to promote the happiness of all and the good of every man in all his rights: his life, liberty, estate, honor, etc.

• The consent of the governed is the only legitimate basis for government.

• Taxation without representation is tyranny.

What is significant is that many of Wise's Bible-based concepts and some of the phrasing was picked up by leading patriots and is even found in our Declaration of Independence.

Indeed, in his book “Seedtime of the Republic,” Cornell University historian Clinton Rossiter traces six individuals that he considers the most influential thought leaders of the American Revolution. Interestingly, two were political leaders but four were ministers of the Gospel. Among those, Rossiter lists Wise, whose pulpit and pen provided some of the soaring thoughts in America's founding document, thoughts that compose the very foundation of our republic.

Kenyn Cureton is vice president for church ministries at the Family Research Council. Reprinted by permission from The Daily Caller.

Declaration of Independence

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Supreme Court did not legalize same-sex marriage nor did it equalize death-tax penalties

Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) sends the issue of marriage back to the states; the decision did not resolve tax issues fairly for all Americans.

In 2010, Edith Windsor sued the federal government, demanding a refund on taxes she paid upon inheriting the estate of her same-sex partner. The estate was worth about $4.1 million, according to attorneys.

The couple had obtained a marriage license in Toronto in 2007. They resided in New York at the time of Thea Spyer’s death, a state which did not grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The state did recognize their foreign marriage certificate, but the federal government did not.

Keep in perspective the couple knowingly moved to New York where they knew their marriage license was not valid. This is a case about a wealthy individual whose inheritance surpassed the federal $3.2 million dollar ceiling (the maximum amount free of tax has since been raised to $5.25 million).

When Edith's partner died in 2009, the IRS determined that she owed $363,053 in federal estate taxes. Windsor did not owe any taxes on the first $3.5 million she inherited from Spyer, but the remainder was subject to federal estate tax since she didn’t qualify for a marital exemption.

The lawsuit went before the Supreme Court, where the plaintiffs sought to strike down the section of DOMA that defines marriage for federal purposes as the union of a husband and a wife. To avoid this tax burden, the lawsuit sought to redefine marriage.

Arguments for redefining marriage hinged on government benefits to same-sex couples. However, there are better solutions to resolving this issue.

According to the Heritage Institute, the elimination of the estate tax, popularly called the “death tax,” has been pushed for more than fifteen years. In its 1996 report, it was argued that such reform was in line with the American dream and sense of justice. Tax law should not discourage savings and investment, nor punish hard work and thrift. Nor should it encourage Americans to consume now in order to avoid passing on wealth to loved ones who would be taxed.

Imitating tax reform would establish a fair treatment to all Americans, married or single, without redefining marriage.

What if Edith Windsor had lived with her sister for decades and her sister had died leaving her the estate? Windsor would not be granted tax relief because she was not married and in a non-sexual relationship. How does redefining marriage make this tax relief fair for all Americans?

Redefining marriage rejects the social institution that marriage is based on the union of man and woman.

“Marriage — the union of husband and wife — is timeless, universal, and special, particularly because children need a mother and a father. That’s why 38 states and 94 percent of countries worldwide affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman, just as diverse cultures and faiths have throughout history,” said Austin R. Nimocks, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom.

Public policy needs to benefit all Americans, and that does not require redefining marriage. It does require overhauling our tax code or repealing certain taxes.

The court’s decision effectively means we will no longer have a national definition of marriage. The federal government may now be required to accept any legal definition of marriage that a particular state invents.

This decision has left many unanswered questions on divorce, inheritances and income tax filings and how to handle legally married same-sex couples that move to states that don’t recognize same-sex marriage. 

There will be a tremendous amount of litigation to resolve many of these issues.

Basically, the definition of marriage was reaffirmed as a matter for state law, not federal law. The issue goes back to the states and, for now, the states will continue to define the parameters of the definition of marriage.

Friday, June 21, 2013

NFL player passes on White House ceremony over abortion comments

Six-time Pro Bowl center Matt Birk chose not to attend a White House ceremony because of comments made by President Obama in support of Planned Parenthood.

Obama honored the Baltimore Ravens June 5 for their Super Bowl championship but Birk did not join his former teammates for the event. Birk, 36, retired after February's Super Bowl win.

A father of six, Birk said his decision stemmed from the president's speech to Planned Parenthood's national conference in April. At the close of his remarks, Obama said, "Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you. God bless America."

Planned Parenthood is the country's leading abortion provider, performing nearly 334,000 abortions in the most recent year for which statistics are available.

"I would say that I have great respect for the office of the presidency, but about five or six weeks ago, our president made a comment in a speech and he said, 'God bless Planned Parenthood,'" Birk told radio station KFAN-FM, according to The Baltimore Sun.

"Planned Parenthood performs about 330,000 abortions a year," Birk continued. "I am Catholic, I am active in the pro-life movement and I just felt like I couldn't deal with that. I couldn't endorse that in any way. I'm very confused by [Obama's] statement. For God to bless a place where they're ending 330,000 lives a year? I just chose not to attend."

It's great to know that there are individuals who are committed to the sanctity of life and are not afraid to stand up and speak out. Thank you Matt for your courage and commitment to life.

Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Should an infant that survives an abortion be denied medical treatment?

Florida legislators are considering the “Infants Born Alive“ bill (Senate Bill 1636 /House Bill 1129) which provides that infants born alive during or immediately after attempted abortion are entitled to same rights, powers, & privileges as any other child born alive in course of natural birth.

Simply put this means that if a baby survives a botched abortion procedure, he or she would be given resuscitative care and it would be required that they be transported to a hospital to receive ensure reasonable medical treatment and health care. This would put this child equal with those who have been delivered naturally.

The bill went before Florida House Civil Justice subcommittee. Alisa LaPolt Snow, the lobbyist representing the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, testified before the committee.

“So, it is just really hard for me to even ask you this question because I’m almost in disbelief,” asked Representative Jim Boyd, “If a baby is born on a table as a result of a botched abortion, what would Planned Parenthood want to have happen to that child that is struggling for life?”

“We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician,” Snow responds.

Really? If a baby were born alive wouldn’t your first instinct be to save the baby?

The three members of the subcommittee continued to ask variations of the same question to Snow about why they did not support giving life saving measures to the baby.

This isn’t even about abortion at this point. The reasoning behind abortion stems from the belief that the fetus is not a person.

This is not applicable to this situation. This child is outside of the mother’s body and is struggling on its own. The mother and the child are not connected.

Doesn’t this child deserve medical attention or are we to believe that reproductive rights now extend to children living outside of a woman’s body? If that is the case, are there limits as to how long doctors can let a baby suffer on the table without medical attention?

For Planned Parenthood, infanticide is now a plausible option.

However, since the hearing, Planned Parenthood has been trying to distance themselves from the infanticide issue. They claimed that a baby being born alive after a botched abortion represents a “vague set of extremely unlikely and highly unusual medical circumstances.”

No matter how unlikely they would like us to think this situation happens, it does. Right now, Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia abortion doctor, is being tried for 7 counts of first-degree murder. He killed 7 newborn infants after botched abortions.

A living, breathing baby who just happened to survive an abortion has legal rights. The decision is not “up to the woman, her family and the physician.”

The killing of newborns should never be acceptable.

Despite the reversal by Planned Parenthood April 4, announcing that they were withdrawing their opposition to the bill, this position is a part of their agenda and it will be back.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Florida governor questions university over 'Jesus stomping' incident

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is stepping into the controversy over a state college course’s “Jesus stomping” assignment, and the suspension of a student who refused to take part.

Guided by his instructor’s manual, a professor in an intercultural communications course at Florida Atlantic University asked his class to write “Jesus” on a piece of paper, fold it up, and stomp on it. One of the students refused, citing his religious convictions, and was later suspended from the class.

The University issued an apology for the exercise, saying it won’t be repeated, but also claimed it was voluntary and that no student was punished for failing to participate.

On March 26, Scott called for a thorough investigation, asking the state higher education system to look into the incident and to pinpoint or create, if need be, policies to keep such exercises out of Florida classrooms, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.

The Republican governor described the exercise as “intolerant to Christians and those of all faiths who deserve to be respected as Americans entitled to religious freedom.”

In a video statement released by the university, Charles Brown, the senior vice president for student affairs, said the university was “deeply sorry for any hurt” caused by the incident, admitting that with academic freedom comes “a level of responsibility which we did not uphold” in that specific circumstance. 

“We are truly sorry that this incident occurred,” he said.

This action by professor Deandre Poole was offensive. The freedom of religion cannot be “stomped” on or infringed upon in our classrooms. Were the students required to stomp on other religious entities? Was it just Jesus?

The exercise called "Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach, 5th Edition,” has students write the name “Jesus” in large letters on a piece of paper, put the paper on the floor, face up, and after a brief period, tell them to step on the paper. 

“Most will hesitate,” the manual says, according to news reports. “Ask why they can’t step on the paper. Discuss the importance of symbols in culture.”

Whether or not this exercise was intended to help with cultural issues educators should be teaching respect closely held religious beliefs of all people.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Video celebrating abortion's 40th anniversary causes outrage and pulled

Abortion supporters celebrated the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade by posting an offensive ad online, but it appears that the ad has been removed.

The video, posted by the Center for Reproductive Rights, opens with a shot of Necessary Roughness star Mehcad Brooks sitting in a chair holding a drink in one hand and a red rose in the other. Looking directly into the camera he begins with a special message.

“Oh, hey, baby, did you think I forgot? ... How could I forget our anniversary?”

The “anniversary” he is referring to is the 40th year of Roe v. Wade, the legalization of abortion on demand. Clearly this ad thinks that this is something to celebrate. As the actor puts it, “All these years so many people said we'd never make it. They've been trying to tear us apart. . . Put limits on you, on me, on us.” And then he roars with laughter.

“We're going to be standing right by your side, today, tomorrow, and the years to come,” he promises. “Because that is how much you mean to me, baby.” And again, he roars with laughter.

Eric Metaxas wrote in his Breakpoint column that when he first watched the ad he thought it was a spoof.

“It employs the ugly racial stereotype of a smooth-talking predator celebrating his freedom to use women at zero cost to himself: Hey, baby, hook up with me—and then go have an abortion. Are they kidding? No; this was no spoof,” wrote Metaxas.

The Center for Reproductive Rights’ website declares that reproductive freedom is something we’ve all got to fight for, but this distasteful ad seems to sexualize the act of abortion.  The image of Brooks is still there but the video is gone.

Pro-life advocate Jill Stanek wrote on her blog Jan. 29 that the ad vanished from CRR’s website. However, she stated that nothing ever completely disappears from the web once other Youtube users have posted the video.

“It got tens of thousands of views, but from all the wrong people. The commenters were overwhelmingly appalled, and “dislikes” overwhelmed the number of likes on Youtube by a considerable factor,” wrote Stanek.

This ad promoted the exploitation of women without shame. This was perhaps an all-time low for the pro-abortion movement.

Not to be left out, the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) has come out with their own video. They asked forty photographers to capture the next generation of “choice.”

“Choice is the utmost act of selflessness and compassion for and by humanity,” is the quote next to a photo of Heidi Niemala by Kiki.

Really? Giving life to an unborn child is the selfless, compassionate act for humanity.

The video doesn’t sink as low as “Happy Anniversary, Baby” but it does make abortion look as simple and easy as getting a new pair of jeans.

It seems that 40 years has not made us smarter. It’s just made us more selfish and depraved. The value of human life continues to deteriorate while the innocent pay the price.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tebowing's out, Kaepernicking's in

Move over, Tim Tebow, Kaepernicking has become the new meme and it's about idolizing yourself. Humility and has been replaced with an arrogant self-kiss. Read what Marvin Olasky says about this change.


Kaepernicking replaces Tebowing

by Marvin Olasky

The Associated Press declares that Colin Kaepernick, who quarterbacked the San Francisco 49ers to a playoff win over the Green Bay Packers on Saturday, “is quickly becoming a household name, and his touchdown celebration—flexing his right arm and kissing his biceps—is trending all over social media. Tebowing? No, call it Kaepernicking.”

Tim Tebow’s thanks-be-to-God posture after touchdowns is out, Kaepernick’s thanks-be-to-self demonstration is in. Tebow deflected genuflections to him and said all credit goes to God. AP quoted San Francisco running back LaMichael James saying about Kaepernick, “All the credit goes to him.”

I have nothing against Kaepernick, who has strong legs and a strong right arm: He played a great game. Tebow also has strong legs but not that strong and accurate an arm—but he led Denver to some great comebacks last year. Now, after a year in which the New York Jets acquired him and then weirdly left him on the shelf, “Tebow is on the side of the road holding a ‘Will QB for Food’ sign.”

That’s how AOL columnist David Whitley put it, adding, “Millions love to love him. Millions love to hate him. … I never got why people so resented such a clean-living prince of a young man. But they did, and the cultural divide made Tebow perfect cannon fodder for today’s media machine.”

ESPN’s James Walker similarly asked, “Will Tim Tebow be out of the NFL entirely next season? That notion isn’t as far-fetched as you might think. The Jacksonville Jaguars, a team reportedly linked to Tebow, said this week that they have no interest in acquiring the hometown favorite. That does not bode well for Tebow’s NFL future.”

Is Tebow good enough to be a long-term NFL quarterback? I have no expertise here, and the answer may be no, but former New York Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff put it this way during an interview with WQAM in South Florida: “If you incorporate him in different facets of your offense, I think he can be a factor. That’s what I felt we were going to do, but we never did it.”

Teams are apparently concerned that Tebow’s fame will be a “distraction,” but—let’s face it—sports teams are in the circus business. Normally, they want publicity: The 49ers are already making Kaepernick the face of the franchise. Why not Tebow? And as far as his football skills, he was not long ago a first-round draft choice. Both in college and in the NFL he has shown the ability to come through in the clutch.

Two caveats: First, I’m not saying that Tebow is a model for all Christian athletes—many love and honor God without being publicly demonstrative. Second, I don’t want to say the lack of interest in Tebow among NFL teams indicates a general anti-Christian bias, because the prime theology among many owners and coaches is a desire to win.

I am saying that an anti-distraction bias by itself doesn’t explain Tebow’s exile: It will be a great mystery if none of the 32 NFL teams wants him. I’m also saying that worship of Man rather than God is now our national religion: Kissing your own biceps is more acceptable than bowing before our Creator. 

Marvin Olasky is the editor-in-chief of WORLD Magazine.


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

‘Eat Mor Chickin’ on August 1; extend a sandwich of tolerance to critics

More than half a million people have joined in support of the national “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” set for Wednesday, Aug. 1, an event that has no official ties to the company.

Controversy surrounded the company when Chick-fil-A president, Dan Cathy, said that his company was “guilty as charged” when it comes to supporting “the biblical definition of the family unit.”

Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor and 2008 presidential candidate, organized “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” to combat what he referred to as “vitriolic assaults” on the company.

The issue, Huckabee said, is about free speech and religious liberty. Chick-fil-A's critics have participated in "hate speech and economic bullying," he said. The Chick-fil-A president's personal beliefs, Huckabee said, reflect the beliefs of many Americans.

"I just didn't know that people who are Christian, who have [a Christian] worldview, had been disenfranchised," Huckabee said.

Chick-fil-A, Huckabee noted, has not been accused of discriminating against its customers or employees.

Huckabee said the goal for the day is simple.

“Let's affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick fil-A on Wednesday, August 1,” wrote Huckabee.

Even Billy Graham has offered his support to restaurant.

"I want to express my support for my good friends Truett Cathy and his son Dan Cathy, and for their strong stand for the Christian faith. I've known their family for many years and have watched them grow Chick-fil-A into one of the best businesses in America while never compromising their values,” said Graham.

He also said that as a son of a dairy farmer he, plans “to ‘Eat Mor Chikin’ and show my support by visiting Chick-fil-A next Wednesday.”

In response to Huckabee’s initiative, some gay activists are promoting Aug. 3 as National Same-Sex Kiss Day at Chick-fil-A.

Perhaps a second movement among supporters will be to stop by the closest Chick-fil-A store that day too. Show your tolerance with grace and offer to buy a boycotter a great chicken sandwich. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Broccoli is the front runner Obama’s health-care

According to Joe Palazzolo, Washington Times, the vegetable reached meme status after March arguments in the health-care case in which Justice Antonin Scalia said to Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli,  “Everybody has to buy food sooner or later, so you define the market as food, therefore, everybody is in the market; therefore, you can make people buy broccoli,” he said.

There are a dozen mentions in the Supreme Court’s health-care decision.

Perhaps the green vegetable may see a health-care tax in its future as it goes from cliché to a mandated dinner supplement.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Blind Chinese human rights advocate heading to the U.S.

Blind Chinese human rights advocate Chen Guangcheng will be arriving in the U.S. at Newark, New Jersey airport around 6:30 p.m. May 19. His wife and two children are with him.

“After years of enduring physical and psychological torture, imprisonment, and hate, the man, Chen Guangcheng, who defended Chinese women from the crime of forced abortion, is finally free,” Representative Chris Smith said in an e-mailed statement.

Chen, a 40-year-old self-trained lawyer who has been blind since childhood, was imprisoned and then placed under house arrest for exposing forced abortions under China's one-child policy.

He escaped April 22 and sought refuge at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing for six days before being transferred to a hospital in Beijing.

Chen, speaking to the House congressional panel that oversees international human rights through a translator, said, "I want to extend my gratitude and thankfulness to all those who care and love my family and myself and our situation, especially to the American people who show they care about the policies and justice — those are universal values — I am very, very grateful to all of you.
"I'm not a hero. I am just doing what my conscience asks me to do. I cannot be silent. I cannot be quiet when facing this evil against women and children. This is what I should do," Chen said.