Wednesday, June 18, 2008

DOMA and the Candidate

Back in the days when the homosexual marriage movement was getting under way, many people in the U.S. realized that gay marriages performed in one state would have to be recognized in other states because of the Privileges and Immunities Clause in the U.S. Constitution. Congress responded to this potential problem by passing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996, stating that no state had to recognize a same sex union of another state and that the Federal government would not recognize these relationships.

Ever wonder what a political candidate might think about this issue? Check the link below:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I Now Pronounce You Adam and Steve

Here's an article from National Review Online concerning the marriage crisis that we face because of the decision from the California Supreme Court that stated that restricting marriage to a man and a woman violated the California State Constitution. Christians need to be very aware that everything that we believe is under assault. I would say more but this article says it all. Here's the link:

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Why I Have Little Respect for Professional Athletes

I spent the better part of this Father's Day evening glued to my television watching the U.S. Open. Tiger Woods, playing in tremendous pain in his left knee at the beginning of the round, almost miraculously appeared to get better as the day wore on. Tiger, as usual, threw clubs during his round, muttered his usual curse words after missing a shot, in short, behaved as a petulant child. After making a 15 foot putt to force a playoff, God's gift to golf had the following exchange with Roger Maltbie of NBC Sports:

Maltbie: Now, I have to ask you about the knee. It seemed like it bothered you early on and then it seemed like it didn't bother you as much as the round progressed, different from other days. True or not true?
Woods: Uh, true. Um, took some things to kind of relieve that.
Maltbie: And adrenaline, maybe?
Woods: [smiling] That helps, too.

OK, Tiger, what did you take? If it was 800 to 1000 mg of ibuprofen that's one thing. However, if the "things" that he took included a substance such as hydrocodone, isn't that something else entirely?

Also, what about all of the children who look up to Tiger as a role model? They now know that the means justify the ends. It's OK to take whatever you need to in order to achieve your goal.

Finally, the gentleman's game of golf has been reduced to the ash heap that is professional athletics.

Do you think the major sports outlets will cover this or demand an explanation? Not a chance. Tiger will never have to answer one question. But the children will remember!

I guess there is no professional sport left that values honor and integrity over results.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

When Does Free Speech Become Hate Speech?

In yesterday's edition of the International Herald Tribune there was an article that should send shivers up the spine of any Christian. Entitled "Hate speech or free speech? What much of West bans is protected in U.S." The article can be neatly summed up in the title. What is alarming is the number of legal scholars and politicians who believe that the First Amendment privileges should be tightened to exclude items that have been designated as "hate speech." Here's the problem: Who decides what crosses the line into hate speech? For a Christian, is it hate speech to preach that Christ is the only way to salvation? Is it hate speech to attempt to convert people of other religions? Is it hate speech to insist that human sexual activity is only moral when it exists within the context of holy matrimony, that is in a Sacramental relationship between one man and one woman?

When we start to restrict what people can and cannot say (slander and libel excepted), then we simply reach a point where we are arbitrarily setting standards. My intuition tells me that traditional Christians will be negatively impacted by this more than any other group. It is a sad sign of the progression of liberalism in our society that a thesis proposing that we should limit the first amendment could even see the light of day.

Oh, yes, here's one more thing: Let's say that somewhere down the line the Free Speech clause is encumbered with hate-speech provisions. What's next? What if someone starts to think that there are other aspects of the First Amendment that should be curtailed? Freedom of religion, perhaps? What will stop someone from saying that this religion is OK, but that religion teaches intolerant doctrine? Who will be there to stop them once Free Speech has been relativized?

Be very, very concerned.

Here's the link:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Oh, oh, oh, It's Magic!

Here's a shot of our first greyhound, Golden Magic, taken when she was two years old and just adopted. Magic is now nine and going strong. She's also my favorite, but just by a nose! Visit to find out more about these greyt dogs.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Some Thoughts on Unalienable Rights I

Recently I was packing some books to take from my home to my office at the church and I came across a small volume that could easily fit in a shirt pocket. It was paper bound and had images of the American flag on the front. This small volume contained the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. I sat down in a corner of my basement and proceeded to read, "IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776. The Unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America."

I've always been very proud to be born a citizen of this great nation. When I think of all the people throughout the world who have made tremendous sacrifices to come here, I'm filled with awe at their courage, dedication, and belief that the United States of America held opportunities for them that far exceeded their own country of origin. These are people who would take their life savings to cross the Atlantic Ocean in the bowels of a steamship. Ellis Island will forever stand as a monument to the stubborn determination of several generations of new Americans. Other Americans came differently, fleeing communism or other despotic regimes, even floating across the Straits of Florida through shark-infested water on nothing more than boards and only the glimmer of hope that they would reach the United States where they could enjoy the freedom about which they could only dream in their native lands. When I think of these brave people, I can only cry out my thanks to God that I could be born into such a great nation, that I was spared the grueling and dangerous journey to this great land.

I sat reading the Declaration, the Constitution, and Bill of Rights, and I thought of all the people who made such sacrifices so that I could enjoy the freedom and opportunity that is the birthright of all Americans. I thought of my maternal great-grandfather who fought for the Union in the Civil War and later became a physician in his native east Tennessee. I thought of those on my father's side of the family whose blood fertilized the ground and stained the Confederate gray of their uniforms in battles far, far from home. I thought of my grandfather who landed on Normandy on D-Day plus two and my father who served in the Italian Occupation Forces. I remember with great thanks the service of my uncle, my mother's brother, Uncle Roy, whose plane was shot down somewhere in Europe and who was, as the War Department put it in a telegram to my grandparents, "missing and presumed dead." But he wasn't dead. He was in a German POW camp, one that was - fortunately for him and us - liberated by the Americans as they swept through Europe in 1944. These people and countless others who are nameless and faceless sacrificed their time, their safety, their occupations, and - in too many cases - their lives, so that I could enjoy the freedom that is found in the United States. As I read through this little book, I couldn't help but be humbled by the men and women who are, even as I write this, sacrificing their lives in strange and terrible lands named Iraq and Afghanistan for the principles in the little book that I held in my hands.

As I read my little book, I was struck by a passage in the Declaration of Independence, a passage that I, and I suppose all of us, have heard so many times before:

"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."

On the surface it seems pretty simple now, we have rights that come from God, rights that are ours by the mere fact of our birth, rights that can never under any circumstances be taken away from us, and that among them are the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

What seems simple now, however, was wildly radical in its day. The world of the 18th Century was a world that saw "rights" as something that proceeded from the authority of the state. In Europe, this frequently meant rights that were granted to the people by a monarch who ruled by God's will and with God's authority. However, those whose thoughts would frame the Declaration would have none of this. For them, the rights that were ascribed to man were a part of the very fabric of his nature and could no more be given to him by someone else than Joe could give Jim property that belonged to Steve. The Revolution that would be fought up and down the Atlantic seaboard actually had its first shot fired, not at Concord, but in these powerful words: "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."

As I was meditating on these words, I suddenly realized that I wanted to take some time over the coming months and share some thoughts with you about these rights: The rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I don't wish to present myself as an expert on this period, because I am neither a political scientist, nor am I a historian. What I am, however, is an Anglican Catholic Priest by vocation and a clinical psychologist by profession who approaches his task with a basic presupposition: I believe that a fundamentally sound understanding of these rights can only be achieved if one understands the Christian principles that are, I believe, implicit in them. Over the coming months, I plan to write a few occasional pieces on the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." These will not be scholarly. They will, however, be the thoughts and meditations of a man who has been called by God to serve at His Altar in the one nation on earth that protects his freedom to do so. While I hope that you will find some enjoyment in what I write, I pen these words primarily to offer my thanks to God who has placed me in this wonderful country for His service.

More to come...