How to Make an Award Meaningless . . . or Worse

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian award given to American citizens. It should be reserved for those who have embodied the quest for genuine liberty, and who have warned against threats to that liberty. That’s why President Reagan gave one of these medals, posthumously, to Whittaker Chambers, a man who put his personal reputation, his career, and possibly even his life, on the line when he revealed what he knew about the underground communist network within the U.S. government. That’s what this medal is supposed to signify.

President Obama has made a mockery of this award. Yes, I realize that the president has the prerogative to award this to whomever he wishes, and political beliefs are going to influence those choices, but sometimes a line is crossed. Let me talk about three of this year’s recipients.

Very few people have ever heard of Dolores Huerta, but conservative commentators lit up the internet yesterday with information about Huerta the president cleverly chose not to share. Here are some highlights:

  • Honorary Chairman of the Democratic Socialists of America, the largest socialist organization in the U.S. and the principal U.S. affiliate of The Socialist International
  • Professed Marxist
  • Believes the War on Terror is really a war on immigrants
  • Board member for the following radical groups: Feminist Majority, Latinas for Choice, the Center for Voting and Democracy, and Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting [the name sounds good, but it’s another Media Matters-type organization]
  • In 2006, she said, “Our theme will be: Republicans hate Latinos”

Giving a medal of freedom/liberty to an avowed Marxist is the ultimate in oxymorons. The two couldn’t be more opposed. Yet what this reveals is that the president himself holds the same views. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be honoring her.

Another recipient was former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. Now, what could be wrong with honoring a man who served on the highest bench in the land? That would only make sense, right? Superficially, yes. But the philosophy Stevens brought to the Court was of the farthest-Left variety. He even gave an opinion on a partial-birth abortion case that said to deny a woman the “right” to have her unborn child put to death while being birthed would be to deny her “liberty” to make such a decision. Stevens said nothing about the right of the unborn child to have liberty. The unborn child didn’t matter at all to him. His concept of liberty is radical licentiousness. Licentiousness is a rather long word; let me simplify it: sin. So now we have a Presidential Medal of Freedom winner who won’t even protect the life of an unborn child at the very point of birth. This is tragic . . . and laughable, if one can truly laugh at the plight of innocent children.

I’m not aware of the list of recipients over the past years, but I’m sure Stevens is not the only pro-abortionist who has been so honored. It’s just that in this case, his decisions have made their mark on an entire nation. His influence was not indirect, but direct. He is one of the reasons we still fight the fight against partial-birth abortion. Giving him a medal of freedom is hypocritical at the least; an abomination might be a better term.

Another recipient was singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. This one is almost comical to me. Weirdly, as befits his persona, Dylan showed up to receive his award wearing sunglasses. Well, you know, those White House lights are pretty bright. One may be tempted to ask just what Dylan has done to deserve this award, and to be placed on the same pedestal as Whittaker Chambers. I’m certainly asking.

I grew up in the sixties. I remember Dylan and his songs quite well. The songs were all of the protest variety. Some are catchy, even though the sentiments expressed are classic left-wing. I can understand why people may enjoy some of his songs. It’s more of a stretch to imagine anyone enjoying his voice—nasal, whiny, strange.

Let’s be honest: Obama gave Dylan this award because he likes the protest movements of the 1960s and sees Dylan as a symbol of the counterculture. Obama still lives in the spirit of the 1960s; that’s where he is most at home philosophically. It reminds him of his own Marxist tutors and the influence of radical activists like Saul Alinsky.

One commentator jokingly suggested the real reason Obama thought Dylan deserved the award can be seen in light of his own autobiography, which reveals our president as a regular pot-smoker in his youth. Perhaps, the commentator noted, he really liked one of Dylan’s songs better than the rest: “Everybody Must Get Stoned.”

Sad.

If you want to know what kind of president we have—what his underlying beliefs are, and how he wants to transform this nation—all you have to do is look at his choices for the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His choices diminish the meaning of that award, even as his presidency demeans the office itself.

American Morality: The Latest Survey

The Gallup organization has just released its newest survey of Americans’ moral values. One needs to look no further than this survey to comprehend why our culture is changing. I know people may be tired of hearing Christians bemoan the state of morality in society, but from a Biblical perspective, it’s obvious we’re in deep trouble, and this could signify the death of our society eventually. Here are the highlights:

  • The survey shows that 52% of Americans now find homosexual relations as morally acceptable. This is why taking a strong stance against homosexuality elicits such politically correct outrage. I also heard this week that another poll indicates this number has risen since the president verbalized his support for same-sex marriage. Whenever civil government takes sides on an issue, it can also influence the culture. In this case, those who are morally confused find solace in accepting the new morality because the government says it’s okay.
  • Sex outside of marriage is just fine say 59% of our fellow citizens. Well, why not? If you follow the cultural trend as showcased in the movies and television programs, it’s simply a fact of life. Rarely do you see anyone resisting sex at any time with anyone prior to marriage. I remember when dating didn’t used to be associated with an active sex life. It used to be, well . . . dating. Now the assumption is that dating is inextricably linked with sexual relations, and that it would be “puritanical/Victorian” to believe otherwise.
  • How about having a baby outside of marriage? The stigma for that has nearly disappeared with 54% not finding anything wrong with it. Yet the bad effects of absentee fathers is well documented. About 70% of all children born in the inner cities are without fathers. How’s that working out?
  • Remember when doctor-assisted suicide was endorsed only by the likes of Jack Kevorkian? Now 46% of Americans see no problem with it. This is moving us slowly toward acceptance of euthanasia.
  • Stem-cell research from human embryos finds support from 59%. This is distinguished from overall stem-cell research, which is becoming increasingly successful using adult stem cells. In spite of that, 3 of 5 Americans don’t object to harvesting unborn children for their stem cells, even though there’s no need to do so scientifically. This whole argument for using embryonic stem cells has always been a cover for promoting abortion.
  • So this leads logically to the statistics on the moral acceptability of abortion. How are we faring on that issue? This is one of the brighter spots of the survey, which indicates a trend against viewing abortion as moral. Only 38% say they favor abortion. That’s certainly movement in the right direction, while we seem to be drifting away from Biblical standards in other areas. Yet it’s still sobering to realize that nearly 4 of 10 Americans don’t find the taking of innocent human life as repugnant.
  • Fully 69% find divorce to be moral. There are some gray areas here. I do believe there are some Scriptural grounds for legitimate divorce, but I know most of those surveyed aren’t taking Scripture into consideration. They just like the idea of an easy path to break a vow. Again, we are experiencing the sad effects of this lax approach to what should be a lifelong commitment.
  • There’s another category that should help balance most of this sorry list, but I’m afraid it’s not what it appears to be. It should be encouraging to discover that only 6% of Americans believe it’s okay to have an extramarital affair, but here’s where we find a dichotomy between what people say and what they do. While 92% indicate they believe this is wrong, there’s a large segment of that 92% that violates what it says it believes. Hypocrisy is another factor in our moral degeneration as a people.

Government is not the solution to this current state of affairs. All government can do is try to set moral boundaries. If people, by and large, don’t believe in those boundaries, no law will suffice. That means it all comes back to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Only the good news about how to restore our broken relationship with God can bring people out of moral darkness and into His light. Our primary task remains: teach and model Biblical truth.

Media-Ignored Stories

I wouldn’t blame you if you’ve missed a couple of really big stories lately. The reason you may have missed them is that they have rarely been mentioned in the mainstream media. The first is a potential constitutional earthquake. Reporters who say they are devoted to the First Amendment for its free-speech protections are strangely silent when it comes to religious freedom, particularly when their beloved Obamacare and “right-to-choose-abortion” beliefs may be smacked down.

Forty-three Catholic agencies have initiated lawsuits against the Obamacare mandate that they violate their religious beliefs by offering both contraceptive and abortifacient drugs to employees—and to students in the case of colleges.

If they can win these cases, religious liberty will continue to be protected. If not . . . well, you be the judge.

Then there is the embarrassing story that is developing in the Democrat primaries. Are you even aware there are Democrat primaries? They haven’t been a matter of news before now since the president has no formal opponent. Yet, in the West Virginia primary a convicted felon received 40% of the vote, in Arkansas, an unknown on the ballot also got about 40%, and in Kentucky, with no one else on the ballot but Obama, the “undecided” choice on the ticket received 40% as well. Does that sound like a Democrat electorate that is solidly behind reelection? Maybe they’ve been contemplating their leader’s real record:

This is no threat to Obama’s renomination, but it’s an early signal of what he may face in the general election. At least, that is my hope.

The Blind Man Can See Clearly

The saga of Chen Guangcheng is not over. For those who haven’t been following this story, let me summarize. Chen is a blind Chinese human rights activist. China’s policy of limiting the number of children a family can have has led to many forced abortions. Chen’s “crime” was to expose this unbridled government genocide against innocent children. China’s history of disrespect for human rights is well documented.

For this activity, he was sentenced in 2006 to four years in jail. When that sentence expired in 2010, the government kept him under house arrest, turning his home into a fortress of walls, security cameras, and armed guards. Somehow, Chen escaped this house prison and made his way to the American embassy seeking protection and asylum.

This became an embarrassment to the Obama administration in the person of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who didn’t want to offend the Chinese government. Chen’s fate hung in the balance for a few days until he was supposedly allowed to emigrate to the United States as a student. He’s still in China, in a Beijing hospital, and until he actually arrives in the US, his friends and supporters don’t know whether to believe it will happen.

The Obama administration kept Chen twisting in the proverbial political winds for quite some time as it tried to figure out what to do.

Good relations with China almost trumped the life of a brave individual pointing out the abuses of Chinese policy. But then why would Obama care much that China forces abortions? Given his own stand on the issue, I doubt that concerns him. He doesn’t mind turning a “blind” eye to what China is doing. It’s more than a little ironic that the blind man has clearer vision than those who say they can see:

This is only one of a multitude of reasons why this president must be turned out of office this November.

Movie Review: October Baby

Christians don’t need to be embarrassed anymore by the quality of films depicting a Biblical worldview. The Narnia movies have made that clear, and there have been others lately with explicit Biblical themes such as Robert Duvall’s Seven Days in Utopia. The most recent entry into this genre is October Baby. I saw it last night; it was superb

How would you feel and what would you do if you discovered at age nineteen that you were adopted and that the only reason you are alive is that you were the result of a botched abortion? Further, you realize that all the health issues you’ve experienced throughout your life are due to being born prematurely? The protagonist in the movie, played very well and poignantly by Rachel Hendrix, is tortured by the thought that her life has little value. She begins a search for her birth mother, but is devastated by the rejection she finds at the end of the quest.

Yet, in the midst of her despair, redemption comes. It doesn’t come in a preachy manner, but as a natural development in her understanding of true love, starting with God’s and, by extension, to the parents who sacrificed everything to give her a new life.

There is little forced or artificial here. Character is central to the story. If you watch and listen with an open mind and heart, you can’t help but be affected and drawn to the forgiveness offered by the One who loves better than anyone else.

When the closing credits roll, don’t leave just yet. The actress who portrays the birth mother, the one who tried to have the abortion, begins to offer her personal testimony. Shari Rigby knows the part only too well; she didn’t have to act because it was her own story. She tells it with emotional power. Don’t miss that.

Solid plot; well-developed characters; a message of God’s redemption and the value of life—October Baby delivers on all three. I urge you to support this effort to show our decadent culture the essence of genuine spirituality. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

The Real War on Women

We’ve been treated to a media blitz about the presumed Republican war on women. All it took to set it off was for Rush Limbaugh to use derogatory terms to describe a Georgetown law student who was pushing for government-provided contraception, supposedly because it was too expensive for her and her ideological soulmates who apparently believe they should be free to have taxpayer-sponsored sex anytime, anywhere. As noted in a previous post, Limbaugh apologized for using those terms, but it does him no good on the Left to have done so.

Meanwhile, we have countless examples of Leftists using far more insulting and obscene words to describe conservative women. One of the most blatant is Bill Maher, whose word choice I refuse to print in this blog, particularly the vitriol he has used to describe Sarah Palin. He, and others like him on that side of the spectrum, show no remorse whatsoever for their verbal abuse.

There’s a Scriptural axiom that comes to mind when contemplating this episode:

But as I’ve said countless times before—what can we expect? Those who disparage Christian beliefs have little or no conscience anyway, and surely have no desire to change their stripes. We have to get used to the double standard. What makes it particularly disreputable in this case is that Maher has donated $1,000,000 to the Obama SuperPac. Calls for the Pac to return the money go unheeded.

Lost in this dispute is the real war on women that is being waged in this country. A couple of cartoonists were able to pierce the verbal fog and point to the real outrage:

The slaughter of innocent lives trumps any sleight the Left may perceive. This is the real war on women.

Legislating Morality–Part Two

In yesterday’s post, I explained what I believe to be a self-evident truth: all legislation deals with right and wrong; therefore, we always legislate morality. The only question is whose morality will we legislate.

Today, I’d like to offer some examples that may not be as clear-cut as murder, theft, and fraud. For instance, there was a short time in American history when prohibition went into effect—the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages was banned by constitutional amendment. It didn’t work. That amendment was overturned by another amendment later. While it may have been well-intentioned, hoping to diminish the damage done to individuals and families by drunkenness, it wasn’t really enforceable. Neither is all alcohol condemned in Scripture; the key is to not give oneself over to the sin of drunkenness. I believe the law should instead, in a case like this, penalize public drunkenness due to the specific dangers it creates to the community.

What about drugs? Many draw a parallel between alcohol and drugs, and say they are the same and should be handled identically. However, in my view, there is rarely any reason for a person to take a drug, outside of a doctor’s prescription, if that drug’s primary effect is to impair one’s connection to reality. A person normally has to imbibe a certain amount of alcohol to reach the same state that one drug dose will create. The drug itself has no nutritional value; there’s rarely any reason for taking it other than the desire to get high, thereby endangering others. I have no objection to the drug war, so-called, as long as it is effectively enforced.

Abortion, to me, is not an ambivalent issue. This is the taking of innocent life. I would like to see the law come down hard on those who perform this “service,” in order to restore the concept of each person as inherently valuable, made in the image of God. It would also stop the downward slide of our society into hardheartedness and the development of what the Bible calls a “seared conscience.”

Homosexuality is probably the most controversial moral issue at present, particularly now that there is movement toward homosexual marriage. Our society has shifted significantly on this in the past thirty years. As someone who takes Scripture seriously, I cannot condone personally the practice of homosexuality. I believe it is a sin. But then comes the question as to when a sin becomes a matter for the civil government to punish. All criminal acts [at least those in accord with the Biblical understanding of crime] are sinful as well; not all sins are criminal acts. Pride is one of the most deadly of all sins, but we don’t pass laws putting people in prison for demonstrating pride and arrogance [Congress would be nearly emptied]. That’s something God deals with directly, and it’s the church’s responsibility to confront such an attitude.

Some will disagree with me, but I don’t think it would work very well to criminalize homosexuality. I would prefer that to be a moral issue that the church confronts, and that we work to salvage the lives of those who have trapped themselves in the sin via genuine repentance and God’s redemption.

However, there are some points at which government should play a role with this moral issue. First, it should never allow homosexuality to be accorded some type of special status in the law, and neither should it punish those who disapprove of the practice. Unfortunately, the first has occurred, and the second may be on the way. Already one courts ostracism if one speaks openly of homosexuality being a sin. Frankly, another four years of an Obama administration may see an attack on blogs like mine that refuse to bow to political correctness. We could expect as well an attack on churches that continue to be faithful to what Scripture says about this sin.

I have no problem at all with setting a standard in society by legislating against homosexual marriage. It not only makes a mockery of the original intent of marriage, but it marks the beginnings of the destruction of the family, which is the cornerstone of society. Although some try to deny it, the next step will be to legalize anything that anyone considers a marriage. Last week, I saw a news report about a women who fell in love with a building that might be demolished, so she “married” the building—in a wedding dress, no less. Absurd? Unthinkable? Not anymore.

Christians still have a voice in this nation, not only within the church, but also in civil governance. We have just as much right as anyone to argue for the kind of moral standard we believe is essential for the spiritual health of the society. Yes, morality will be legislated, one way or the other. For the sake of our future as a nation, it had better be Biblical morality that wins in the end.