Saturday, June 7, 2014

Ignorance is Bliss in a World of “Trigger Warnings”

            Should college professors refrain from discussing abortion because the topic might upset someone in their classroom?  After all, what if a student has had an abortion?  Understandably, a discussion like this might trigger strong emotions and make the student feel trapped.  Perhaps, if potentially offensive topics like abortion are going to be broached, professors should warn students in advance.
            This kind of reasoning is fueling a growing movement on U.S. college campuses to require professors to issue so-called “trigger warnings” – explicit warnings alerting students to potentially upsetting material.   At the University of California, Santa Barbara, the student government this spring formally called for trigger warnings.  And now, students at colleges around the country are doing the same.
Now, trigger warnings seem reasonable when a professor is about to show a graphic film depicting rape.  But, what about slapping warnings on classics like “The Merchant of Venice” for containing anti-Semitism?  Or, telling students to beware of Virginia Woolf’s “Mrs. Dalloway” because it addresses suicide?  Society once considered it a professor’s job to challenge students’ often parochial and narrow worldviews.  But now, that’s being sacrificed to create a kinder, gentler American university.  Our students may remain na├»ve and mistaken, but let’s face it: ignorance is bliss and reality bites. 
This new movement reveals a lot about the state of American society.  A society that seeks psychological bliss at the expense of truth likely is a society that knows it’s wrong, but refuses to face it.  The girl who’s had an abortion doesn’t want to know that pre-born babies are actual persons.  Similarly, the hedonistic co-ed who suspects his life has no meaning doesn’t want to wrestle with downers like depression and suicide. 
Yet, as comforting as delusion may be, only truth can set a person free.  Truth reveals faulty worldviews.  As Nancy Pearcey writes: “When a person’s worldview is too ‘small,’ there will always be some element in human nature that fails to fit the paradigm.”  And, it’s this incongruity that often leads people to consider altering their worldview.  At least, it used to – before students chose to bury their heads in the sand.  

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Planned Parenthood Exposed

     The group’s name sounds innocuous – even helpful. But, make no mistake, Planned Parenthood is neither. According to a just-released investigative report, it’s a tax-payer funded, baby-killing machine that protects rapists and sex traffickers; facilitates race- and sex-selective abortions; lies to women about the development of their pre-born children; and lobbies for infanticide.

      These crimes and deplorable practices are outlined in “Lies, Corruption, and Scandal,” a report documenting a six-year investigation by the pro-life group, LiveAction. The probe relied mainly on undercover investigators who visited Planned Parenthood facilities in numerous states. What they discovered is shocking, especially given that Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, receives about 540-million dollars in federal funding each year.

      In one sting, investigators posed as 13- to 15-year-old girls impregnated by men in their twenties and thirties – clearly statutory rape. Reportedly, every Planned Parenthood facility these investigators visited was willing to provide secret abortions to facilitate this abuse.

      In another sting, investigators posed as pimps managing underage female prostitutes from foreign countries. The pimps requested that these girls get reproductive health care, including abortions. Again, Planned Parenthood staff was more than happy to oblige. In fact, one manager even coached the pimps on how to make their ring “look as legit as possible.” “If they’re minors,” the manager said, “put down that they’re students.”

      The report documents other abuses – employees promising to kill babies should they survive an abortion; staff willing to take donations for the express purpose of reducing the black population; counselors telling pregnant women that their babies will feel no pain during an abortion.

      That this parasitical and morally depraved organization is allowed to operate is an affront to the laws of this land and the decency of its people. That our tax money actually provides nearly half of Planned Parenthood’s funding is a national outrage and scandal. 

Click here to read the full report. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Most Misquoted Verse in Scripture

            I’m convinced one of the most misquoted verses in all of Scripture is Galatians 3:28.  Biblical feminists call this passage “The Magna Carta of Humanity.”  And, they use it to argue that, in Christ, all gender distinctions are abolished.  Yet, this interpretation of the verse is fundamentally flawed.
The verse states, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”  Taken alone, I can see how someone might understand this verse to be advocating a social order in which race, class and gender cease to exist.  But, taken in context, the verse clearly is addressing salvation, not social organization. 
The Apostle Paul wrote Galatians to confront so-called “Judaizers,” who were teaching that faith in Christ is not sufficient for salvation; observing Jewish laws is also required.  Before the verse in question, the Apostle Paul states that “all are sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”  And, immediately after the verse, Paul writes, “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.”  Clearly, Paul penned Galatians 3:28 to show that salvation is available to all, regardless of earthly status.
But, some argue, Paul’s statement had a secondary meaning.  In addition to teaching equal access to salvation, he was also removing racial, class and gender distinctions.  Yet, this doesn’t jibe with other things Paul said and did.  For example, Paul circumcised Timothy, who had a Jewish mother, so he wouldn’t offend other Jews.  Clearly, he believed Timothy retained his Jewishness.  Paul also gave gender-specific instructions to husbands and wives – as well as to men and women serving in the church. 
But, these contradictions don’t deter biblical feminists.  They simply negate them by elevating their dubious interpretation of Galatians 3:28 to supremacy over other Scriptures.  So, biblical scholar F.F. Bruce writes that “if (gender) restrictions are found elsewhere in the Pauline corpus . . . they are to be understood in relation to Galatians 3:28, and not vice versa.”   
This is absurd.  There’s nothing within the text of Galatians 3 to suggest that Paul wanted to abolish sex roles.  Plus, there’s ample evidence elsewhere indicating the exact opposite.  So, I suggest we stop misquoting Galatians 3:28 and start being faithful to the author’s intent.  

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Is Single Adoption Helping or Hurting?

           A Facebook friend of mine recently posted that she’ll never help someone find a lost dog again.  Apparently, after a short search, she and the owner found the dog.  But, instead of coming, the dog bolted.  The two followed – only to witness the dog run in front of a car and get hit.
This awful story highlights a well-established maxim in charitable work:  often our helping – as well intentioned as it may be – only ends up hurting. 
            I thought of this principle recently when hosting a program on single adoption – a practice that’s become increasingly prevalent.  In the 1970s, less than four-percent of all adoptions were by single adults.  But today, about 28-percent are – the vast majority being by single women.  Given that there are more than 120-million orphans in the world, many see this as a positive development.  But Keith McFarland, an author and missionary to Uganda, warns against it.  God established the mom-and-dad model of family because neither is expendable, he argued.  Though he admits some children overcome mom and dad deficits, he says orphans are the least likely to do so.  Given their profound identity and abandonment issues, orphans desperately need both parents to heal and thrive.
            Of course, single adoptive parents argue that one parent is better than none – and they have a point.  But, are the realities of single parenting, like putting children in all-day daycare, really acceptable when working with traumatized kids?  Certainly, fatherless homes are a reality in our world.  But, as McFarland argued and studies show, fatherlessness perpetuates fatherlessness.  Though certainly there are exceptions, we need to face the fact that this solution often fails to help.
I agree the orphan problem is so huge that it requires everyone’s help and creative solutions. But, not everyone has to adopt; some of us can play support roles.  Plus, overseas adoption isn’t the only solution; truth is, it’s the most expensive one.  Some charitable groups instead are investing in villages with large orphan populations so couples there can adopt.  Some are even establishing orphan communities, enabling adoptive couples to care for up to 12 orphans each.  These, to me, seem like strategies with the best chance of actually solving the orphan problem – and ensuring that our helping doesn’t hurt. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Film on Traditional Family Ignites Protest

           Who knew a film simply promoting the traditional family would spark angry protest?  Apparently, though, merely suggesting that a man and woman should marry, raise children, and remain committed for a lifetime is enough to unleash vitriolic blogs – and a petition for theaters to cancel the movie.
The film in question is called “Irreplaceable” – a documentary produced by Focus on the Family.  It explores two questions:  What is family? And, does family still matter in today’s society?  Twenty years ago, these questions would have been rhetorical.  Today, they’re rendered hate speech!
Shalom Rosenberg writes at Change dot org that this supposedly “innocent documentary” is actually “anti-LGBT propaganda.”  He says it’s produced by “hateful bigots” and urges theaters nationwide to cancel their showings.  Reportedly, one theater in Ohio has done just that.
I actually saw an advance screening of “Irreplaceable,” which Rosenberg did not.  The film makes no mention of gays or lesbians – not one.  Instead, it honestly evaluates what’s gone wrong with the family and explores how this breakdown is devastating both individuals and society as a whole.  The film doesn’t point fingers at an evil world or gay lobby.  Instead, it invites viewers to join the narrator on his own soul-searching journey.  In the end, “Irreplaceable” presents a compelling vision not just of family, but of God. 
Still, this ill-informed negative reaction shows what a lightning rod traditional family has become.  This shouldn’t surprise us Christians.  God established marriage and family as the means for societies to flourish.  They’re also the primary symbols for comprehending the Godhead and understanding how Jesus relates to His church.  Wipe out marriage and family – and essentially, you destroy society, as well as the means for rightly perceiving God and how we relate to Him.  No doubt, that’s Satan’s intent.
That’s why “Irreplaceable” and its companion curriculum are so vitally important.  It’s also why my family will be attending one of 700 simultaneous screenings of “Irreplaceable” in theaters nationwide this Tuesday evening.  I hope yours will, as well.