Criminalizing pro-lifers

brutality-152819_640In France, it is illegal to attempt to disuade anyone from getting an abortion.  It is also illegal to demonstrate against abortion, to give information about alternatives to abortion, and to espouse the belief that abortion is immoral.  Pro-life expressions could result in a fine of 30,000 euros and two years in jail.

So says Denise Burke, who makes the point that those who once claimed to be “pro-choice” are now “pro-coercion” in seeking to silence and criminalize advocates for life. [Read more…]

I’m off to Finland

Helsinki_from_sea_with_Cathedral_and_Finnair_SkywheelToday my wife and I fly off to Finland.  I will be giving lectures at an apologetics conference and speaking at two universities.  I’ll also be meeting with the confessional Lutherans there, including Rev. Jujana Puhjola.

Earlier, I was in Denmark and Norway, and then Denmark again.  As I said then, the image of the secularist Scandinavians is not completely true.  I have been meeting lots of very devoted Christians.  My book Spirituality of the Cross has been translated into the Scandinavian languages and it’s getting some readers.  I am touched at the thought that I might be used in some measure to be part of a revival of Christianity–indeed, Lutheran Christianity–among the delightful people in these fascinating countries.

So what does this mean for the blog?  I am not going to take away from my Scandinavian moments by constantly monitoring the internet and blogging all the time.  I am not sure of my internet connections, seeing as how at least part of the time I’ll be in the deep woods.  But I’ll post when I can.  I probably won’t be able to post as many items every day.  There may be days when I don’t post any at all.  But I’ve got some very interesting posts scheduled to come up through the week.  I’ll be back in the states the first of May.

You might say a prayer for us from time to time.


Photograph of Helsinki with Lutheran Cathedral and Finnair Skywheel by Kotivalo (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

WELS president on the two versions of the Luther movie

711x400-Prez-TogetherNot only did the writer/producer of the new Luther movie, Mark Trinklein, weigh in to explain why there are two versions.  So did the president of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, Rev. Mark Schroeder.

He explains that it had nothing to do with fellowship issues or theological concerns about the other version.

Read his comments after the jump.

I appreciate both gentlemen for participating in this blog and for setting the record straight.

Sorry that we here at this blog and on FaceBook jumped to some conclusions.  Please share these explanations in your circles.

[Read more…]

Tensions growing with North Korea

Kim_Jong-Un_Photorealistic-SketchPresident Trump has been threatening military action against North Korea, and no one thinks he’s bluffing.

Three U.S. aircraft carrier groups are headed to the Korean peninsula.  Vice President Pence is in Seoul, co-ordinating with the South Korean government.

North Korea remains defiant.  An earlier missile test–that they were told not to try–was a failure, but officials vow to conduct more tests every week.  The foreign minister said that any military response from the U.S. would result in nuclear war “on the Korean peninsula,” evidently a threat to strike South Korea. [Read more…]

The writer and producer explains the two versions of the Luther movie

275x315-LutherAdWe reviewed the new dramatized documentary, Martin Luther:  The Idea That Changed the World, and then expressed puzzlement  when we learned that it existed in another version, A Return to Grace:  The  Life and Legacy of Martin Luther. 

In the comments and on FaceBook, we discussed why there are two versions, with the latter being the version screened in Wisconsin Synod churches.  We did a lot of speculation about whether there were fellowship issues or theological concerns behind the changes that were made.

I am very grateful that the writer and producer of the film, Mark Trinklein, weighed in at the comments.  He explained why there are two versions.  He said that the movie was, in fact, designed for multiple versions and that they are planning new ones for Europeans, Chinese, grade schoolers, and other kinds of audiences.  He did say that they denied the request of a television network to “remove the religious material”!

Also weighing in was Rev. Mark Schroeder, the president of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.  His comment is worth a separate post, which we will post tomorrow.

Again we see that we should always “put the best construction on everything.”  Read Mr. Trinklein’s explanation after the jump. [Read more…]

Gorsuch’s first week will feature LCMS school

Rubber_mulch_playgroundJustice Neil Gorsuch is now on the Supreme Court, and one of the first cases he will hear in his first week involves a Lutheran preschool:  Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Pauley.

At issue is whether Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Missouri, can take part in a state program that gives shredded tires to schools in order to cushion their school’s playgrounds.

The Missouri Constitution says that no state money whatsoever can go to a religious entity.  And those shredded tires represent money.

At issue, though, is the heritage of the anti-Catholic Blaine Amendment in the 19th century, which is an obstacle to school choice programs.

I am sympathetic to the church and school.  But do  they have a leg to stand on?  Doesn’t the Missouri constitution say what it says?  If Justice Gorsuch rules against the church, that wouldn’t necessarily mean that he is weak on religious freedom, just that this case is pretty straightforward against the church’s position.  What line of argument would you make in support of the church’s case?

See George Will’s take on the case. [Read more…]