Morality as politics

The Pew Research Center has conducted a study finding that 64% of church goers heard political issues being preached from the pulpit.  Those “political issues” included abortion, homosexuality, religious liberty, the environment, and economic inequality.

Now those are mostly moral–not political–issues.  Churches have always taught about sexual morality and respect for human life.  They have also addressed issues of social morality.  That is not being political.  The Pew study found that only 14% heard political candidates being promoted or criticized.

What’s interesting here is that the researchers consider moral beliefs to be nothing more than political positions.  To be sure, government dictates about morality gives them a political dimension they normally would not have.  This is especially true when the government requirements run counter to the church’s traditional moral teachings.  Of course the church must push back against that.

But the problem isn’t churches meddling into politics.  It is the government meddling into morality.

[Read more…]

Doctors push back against assisted suicide

Vermont has a law allowing for physician-assisted suicide.  State agencies are interpreting the law so as to require doctors to tell their patients about this option.  Also, doctors who don’t want to kill their patients must refer them to another doctor who will.

A number of Vermont doctors have decided to fight these requirements and are suing the regulators that are forcing them to violate the Hippocratic oath. [Read more…]

ELCA makes new accord with Catholics

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (the theologically liberal Lutheran denomination) has arrived at a new accord with the Roman Catholic Church, focusing on church, ministry, and eucharist. Read the document here.

After giving all of the agreements that were found, the document gives the issues of disagreement that remain:  the papacy and women’s ordination (which ELCA practices).

That would sound like Missouri Synod Lutherans, who agree that only men may be ordained into the holy ministry, are even closer to Rome than the ELCA, disagreeing only on the authority of the pope!

To be sure, there would be quite a bit of agreement even with the LCMS on church, ministry, and eucharist–though also quite a lot of disagreements that have been papered over.  (Find them.)

If the ELCA wants to heal the breach with Rome, I would encourage them now to discuss abortion, gay marriage, and sexual morality.  The differences would be much greater, though perhaps in the name of ecumenism the ELCA would change its permissive teachings. [Read more…]

Trump’s ideology test will require belief in gay rights

In a major speech on immigration and fighting ISIS, Donald Trump said that he would set up a system of “extreme vetting” for immigrants who wish to enter the United States.  This would include an ideological test to measure the extent to which the immigrant agrees with American values.  These will include belief in gay rights.

The tests will also require belief in gender equality, tolerance, and pluralism.

Notice the shift in what “American values” means.  So all Americans throughout our history, including the founders of the nation, before the recent rise of feminism and the gay rights era, did not have “American values.”

Then consider:  Would Donald Trump let you get into the country? [Read more…]

The Zika mystery & Zika abortions

Some women who get Zika have babies with severe birth defects, but some don’t.  In Brazil, some regions plagued with Zika have a huge percentage of babies with microencephaly.  But adjoining regions also plagued with Zika don’t.  Also, young, black, and poor women are being hit especially hard.

So researchers are now investigating whether Zika does its damage by being paired with other factors.  There had been speculation that the birth defects were caused by a government-administered pesticide.  But researchers have confirmed a direct link between the virus and the birth defects.  Still, things may not be so simple.

Now that Zika has come to the United States, 15 babies have been diagnosed with microencephaly related to the Zika virus.

Also of concern:  Zika, which is spread by mosquitoes or sexual contact, is being used as a pretext for abortion, even late-term abortions, since microencephaly can’t be diagnosed until late in the pregnancy.  Read Zika Outbreak Could Reignite Abortion Debate.

[Read more…]

“Chariots of Fire” and the vocation of athletics

A rabbi writing in the Wall Street Journal offers reflections on Chariots of Fire, the 1981 movie about Olympic runners Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams.  The movie, of course, is about athletics as VOCATION.

Read an excerpt from the column after the jump, whereupon I offer some reflections about it, including the difference between Liddell’s Calvinist understanding of the vocation of an athlete and what a Lutheran view would add.

[Read more…]


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