Exemptions to the contraception mandate have been expanded under the direction of Matt Bowman, an attorney with the Department of Health and Human Services. President Trump has followed through on his promise to defend religious freedom by making sure business owners that object on religious or moral grounds to birth control pills, abortion pills, and sterilization are not forced to provide such things to their employees.
The purposes of these expanded exemptions is to widen the scope of protections for business and charities with religious opposition to providing contraceptive products. Obamacare has always contained these protections for churches, but other employers, such as religious non-profits, charities and Christian-owned businesses had no protections. This made it possible for the government to force groups like The Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of Catholic nuns, to pay for contraceptives.
Mark Rienzi, senior counsel with The Becket Fund, pointed out that refusing to give exemptions to religious employers was a divisive move by the previous administration:
“The new rule is a victory for common sense. The previous administration pursued a needless and divisive culture war … It should be easy for the courts to finalize this issue now that the government admits it broke the law.”
The new rule is also a step in the right direction to correct the mistakes of the Obamacare mandate concerning how pregnancy is viewed. A recent article explains how the abortion lobby slandered pregnancy in order to advance their agenda: Continue reading
The NFL has been a ratings and revenue powerhouse for quite some time. Sports in general has enjoyed a prestigious place in our culture for years. Some would say that it has become a detrimental distraction to families that needs to be reigned in (I’m among those holding to this opinion).
As of late, however, sports, and the NFL has been in decline.
We’re all familiar with the now highly publicized and politicized NFL protests started last year by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick decided to kneel for the national anthem rather than stand with his hand over his heart. He said it was a symbolic protest against racial violence and police brutality against minorities. From there it sparked a controversy that has continued from last years’s NFL season to the present.
This year the story intensified as President Trump weighed in by saying that NFL owners “should fire” players that protest the flag and the national anthem. That single comment by the President has caused more controversy, tweeting, news coverage, and arguments than perhaps any single comment concerning this entire issue. That either tells us how powerful the president is, or how much the mainstream media doesn’t like him. You decide. Continue reading
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to ban late-term abortions; President Trump says he will sign it.
Continuing the wave of pro-life legislation, the U.S House of Representatives has once again passed the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This bill, previously passed in 2015, seeks to make abortion after 20 weeks illegal.
This is a common sense piece of legislation in that it seeks to make it illegal to dismember unborn children capable of feeling pain while they are in the womb. Regardless of whether you support abortion or not, the idea of allowing an unborn child be dismembered should be repulsive. This is not a “blob of tissue,” or a ‘clump of cells,” this is a human being capable of feeling the same pain you and I feel.
A recent article carried the sentiments of Rep. Chris Smith as he echoed the belief of a majority of Americans that agree abortion after 20 weeks is barbaric and should not be tolerated. Smith said:
“Overwhelming majorities of Americans—some 60-64% according to pollsters—support legal protection for pain-capable unborn children. Today we know that unborn babies not only die but suffer excruciating pain during dismemberment abortion—a cruelty that rips arms and legs off a helpless child.”
I’m having a hard time thinking of a scenario in which it would be appropriate to kill an innocent human. It’s an even harder scenario to consider when the human in question is capable of feeling pain and being subject to extreme torture. Any person that claims to represent the civil liberties of other humans has no choice but defend the unborn or admit that he or she is a hypocrite. Continue reading
The “Romans Road.”
The “Sinners Prayer.”
A lot of different methods have been used to teach people the steps of salvation. It Is reasoned that if people have a quick, easy, catchy way of remembering these steps that they will be able to use them if they are asked about being saved. The intent is good, but it’s also lacking. There is a distinct lack of doctrine and theological underpinning in many of these methods. In the end, I’m afraid most people have little to no understanding of the process of salvation and how critical each step is to that process.
The “Order of Salvation,” or, “ordo solutis” as it is referred to (a latin phrase simply meaning “order of salvation”) is the step by step process by which salvation occurs. Dr. Derek Thomas, writing at Monergism.com, shared the definition of ordo solutis used by Louis Berkhof:
“The ordo salutis describes the process by which the work of salvation, wrought in Christ, is subjectively realized in the hearts and lives of sinners. It aims at describing in their logical order, and also in their interrelations, the various movements of the Holy Spirit in the application of the work of redemption.” Continue reading
I have little experience with incarceration. I’ve never been in jail. Unless you count the one time I sat in a jail cell in Appomattox, Virginia listening to a historian discuss the Civil War. I was there of my own free will and I walked out as soon as the presentation was over.
For millions of Americans, though, prison is “home.” The number of Americans in prison continues to grow. The crimes for which prison is now a mandatory sentence also continues growing. Perhaps its time to have a conversation around the theological (and economic) implications of a growing prison population.
A recent article states that “1 in 4 Americans has a criminal record.” A full 25% of all Americans now has a criminal record. That statistic is hard to wrap my mind around. This means that when I look around my neighborhood and see 7 of my neighbors mowing their yard, washing their car, or walking their dog, at least 2 of them have a criminal record. This also means that when I look around my church on Sunday morning, a lot of people have a criminal record.
Ironically, crime and arrest rates are down from where they were in the 90’s, according to a White Paper at Prison Fellowship’s website. And yet, the number of crimes being punished with prison sentences is growing. Continue reading
Culturally speaking, it’s a strange time to be alive. The upside down nature of our society makes it curious for anyone retaining a modicum of common sense and reason. Perhaps one of the most peculiar sights to behold is the idea that someone’s imagination is more valid than their reality; that their desires are more “real” than anything else.
This cannot be seen more clearly than in the transgender movement.
Here is a movement dedicated to making the imagination and desires of people as real as the chair I’m sitting in. A group of people that are confused and, some would say, mentally disturbed are being held out as the next great group of civil rights heroes. Somehow I think Martin Luther King Jr. would disagree. What King and other civil rights activists fought for were inherent rights based on reality: all people are equal regardless of the color of their skin. I don’ recall King encouraging anyone to change the color of their skin. Skin color, like gender, is biologically verifiable, determined at birth, unalterable.
At one time in history we as a society would have confessed the same about gender. Our elementary education in biology would have asked and answered questions related to gender with absolute truth. It seems the gray area is getting larger though, in our effort to normalize anything and everything.
Imagine my surprise when renowned psychiatrist Dr. Paul R. McHugh, formerly the psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins recently claimed that transgenderism is a “mental disorder.” How dare he say such hurtful things. Doesn’t he know that our society doesn’t care about facts and biology? Doesn’t he know that our imaginations and desires are more important that centuries of verifiable, empirical evidence? Continue reading
In 2012 a cake artist named Jack Phillips politely declined to create a cake for a same-sex wedding. The couple requesting the cake were previous customers of Phillips’ cake shop where he had created cakes for other events for the couple. But this time, Phillips said his faith would not allow him to celebrate an event he believes is a sin.
As you can imagine, the couple sued, saying Phillips discriminated against them. The baker in Colorado was now in the middle of a lawsuit that became a national story and has continued to gain attention to this day. What makes this is interesting is that, according to a recent report, other bakers in Colorado were permitted to refuse to bake cakes due to the message being promoted.
For Phillips though, it was never about attention or anything else superficial. Phillips simply wanted to live out his deeply held religious convictions at his business. Now, Phillips is fighting to avoid being forced to violate his religious convictions under threat from the government.
I’ve written about the lawsuits brought by homosexuals against Christians on many occasions. I’ve read their stories and considered their position as Christians seeking to live and do business according to their faith. A question I’ve often pondered is: what would I do if a local business owner refused to serve me because I am ____? Continue reading
The video below is not for the logically challenged, reason-void, or any other person lacking the ability to understand coherent arguments. What the video below is for, is to show the absurdity of the pro-abortion position.
When Ben Shapiro came to the UC Berkeley campus it was to much media attention and fanfare. UC Berkeley is not known as a campus that champions free speech and diversity of ideas. In recent years it has become ground zero in many respects for liberal indoctrination, safe spaces, intolerance, and snowflake culture. In short, it’s not the kind of place Ben Shapiro will find a warm welcome.
Nonetheless Shapiro went to speak and answer questions from students.
One exchange in particular has captured the attention of media that are calling it an “epic takedown” of the pro-abortion position.
The student asked why Shapiro thought a “First-trimester fetus has human value?” Continue reading
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma brought unprecedented devastation to the United States. Just weeks after hurricane Harvey brought more than 40 inches of rain to Houston, flooding the city and displacing hundreds of thousands of texans. Hurricane Irma, the strongest storm ever measured in the Atlantic Ocean carved out a path of destruction in Florida hard to imagine.
In the wake of these two great storms is death, destruction, floods, and lives that will never be the same. But if you were watching closely, and paying attention, you saw two immutable facts about God on display during these storms.
As I scrolled social media and my news feed perusing articles from across the country reporting on the devastating effects of these hurricanes, one thing continued to catch my eye. People, sharing the details of their encounter with nature’s fury before, during and after their tangle with the hurricanes included God in their thoughts. Continue reading
If you’re like me you’ve never given much thought to the concept of price gouging. You simply assumed it was bad and harbored appropriate disdain for those taking advantage of a bad situation. As Christians we should be able to think biblically about issues in our culture like price gouging so we can respond appropriately. I want to take a few moments to think through this idea and see if we can apply biblical principles in a way that makes sense.
Let’s understand first what price gouging is.
Price gouging is the deliberate raising of prices on essential goods in the aftermath of a disaster (such as a hurricane). Essentially, it is a result of supply and demand interacting with each other at a time when conditions make demand abnormally high while making supply more difficult (and costly) than normal. The result is $10 per gallon gasoline, $30 for a pack of water that normally costs $4, and $200 for a hotel room that normally costs $100.
We are initially incensed at the idea of charging a higher price during an emergency. Any ethical human being naturally thinks that during an emergency we should be willing to help people in need by charging less, or giving goods away for free. But how do we think biblically about the pricing of goods during an emergency?
First we need to admit that there is an ethical component to economics. Some would have us believe that economics is nothing more than numbers, it’s math. But for Christians, we need to look past the numbers to the ethics (and even theology) behind the numbers. For instance, economic principles drive political philosophies and viewpoints. No one would assert that political philosophies are not ethical, or moral. So we can’t assume the forces behind political philosophies and principles are not equally ethical and moral. Continue reading