July 31, 2003

Balaam's doctrine

The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice teaches the doctrine of Balaam in their presentation to the National Black Religious Summit VII on Sexuality.

But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Rev 2:14 NKJV
Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:59 PM | Comments (1)

About that gay school in NYC

Tammy Bruce comes out swinging in a bold fisking of the concept of a public, i.e. paid for with taxpayer dollars, school catering exclusively to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered students.

I've been skeptical of the gay agenda for a long time with respect to how it treats our youth. I agree with Tammy Bruce, how can a teenager know incontrovertibly that they are gay? There is so much going on in their lives, many sources of anxiety. I know, I went through it too, a lot of pain, a lot of self doubt. I think that the mind is a very powerful thing, and what we do with it regarding our initial sexual experiences can shape us in very powerful ways. It is not good for kids to be encouraged to experiment with homosexuality, or any other sexual activity for that matter.

There is a Proverb which I'll quote out-of-context by itself, but I believe it is absolutely true in all we think about: "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he" Prov. 23:7. If you think you can't control yourself, you're right, but if you think God can make a difference in your life, and are willing to give your life to God, you're right and wise at the same time.

There are two things I'd like to address to the people who say it's not a choice: that we're born the way we are:
1) We're all born sinners, but that doesn't make it acceptable to God,
2) God isn't limited by how we are born. Jesus healed a man born blind, He can heal every shortcoming we offer to Him.

Mark Shea also offers his opinion on Tammy Bruce's article and this issue.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:42 PM | Comments (0)

Bumper Stickers

Some cool bumper stickers

My favorite, which doesn't appear in the list: "God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts"
I also like: "Stop Global Whining"
One I absolutely detest, also not in the list: "The Religious Right is Neither" (but longtime readers know that already), to which I reply, "And what is your opinion of the Religious Left?"

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:03 PM | Comments (0)

July 30, 2003

Religious Discrimination claim against Senate Democrats seems to be upsetting some people

Byron York nails it on the head in discussing the accusations that Senate Democrats are exhibiting an anti-Catholic bias.

People for the American Way President Ralph Neas thinks it's a low blow. He spouts opinions without supporting evidence when he says things like, "Objections to Bill Pryor’s confirmation are broad and deep and grounded in his legal philosophy and his record as a public official." He betrays his own prejudice, and the premise of his press release, with this line: “Americans cannot afford to have someone of Pryor’s extreme ideology given a lifetime position on the federal bench." That is a clear admission of a religious test for this nomination.

Democrats defend themselves by saying that our country is not a theocracy, that religious people should not use their beliefs to dictate how others live. Fine for them, that's a good argument, but it also applies both ways. Non-religious people should not be arguing that life is a non-important worthless thing that we should consider inconsequential in our respect for human rights, such as the most important right, that listed first by Jefferson: the right to life.

The Democrats argument is a ruse however, not a true argument at all. I came from a liberal religion a while back, and I've heard it all -- Christians who have deeply held beliefs should not participate in government. And yes, I heard that statement quite literally where I used to go to church, and one reason my attendance there is past tense is that I got tired of hearing them preach tolerance while vilifying legitimate Christian opinion.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 08:28 PM | Comments (0)

Summer slowdown

I've found it more and more difficult as we get into summer to keep up a pace of blogging several times a week. I've been doing more reading (Michael Chrichton's Timeline, and Ann Coulter's Treason, are the two books on my nightstand now, in addition to the two Bibles I use for Bible study.

After hearing so much about Treason this summer I decided I needed to read it for myself. Crichton's Timeline is an exciting science fiction/adventure story which falls victim to some inconsistencies common to stories in this style of science fiction. It was good though, it kept me up nights reading late.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 07:55 PM | Comments (2)

July 24, 2003

The Conservative Mind

Jonah Goldberg has an excellent column in today's National Review Online, They Blinded Me with Science, about a recent survey done at Berkeley to psychoanalyze conservatives. Recently some bloggers took Ann Coulter to task for lumping liberals, now social scientists at Berkeley are doing the same thing to conservatives.

Jonah's premise is that the whole study is worthless because liberals aren't subject to the same microscope, and he provides several examples of liberals fitting in the same mode, such as fear and aggression when it comes to bio-engineered food for instance. Let's see what I can add from my own experience.

The claim is made by leftists that conservatives are mean, judgmental people. I once saw an issue of The Nation showing John Ashcroft as a Mafia figure. Another issue from about that time showed Lynn Cheney as a vampire with blood dripping from her fangs. Hmmm, liberals are real nice, huh? I could also bring up rhetoric by Michael Moore and Paul Begala for instance. In fact, speaking of Paul Begala, but does anyone remember Begala's famous statement about Red vs. Blue America? Pure bile, blaming the Bush victory on people who commit hate crimes, conveniently leaving out similar crimes committed in Blue-state America, such as the brutal murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner by Mumia Abu-Jamal, the murder of Betty Van Patter in Oakland by the Black Panthers, and the death of a Jewish retail-store owner in New York City when his store was torched after a speech by Al Sharpton. So, liberals nice, conservatives mean? Not so clear cut to me. I think individual differences are a lot more varied than what a blanket generalization based on someone's ideology would give you.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 11:30 PM | Comments (0)

Lawsuits against gun industry

Timothy Wheeler writes in National Review Online, Litigation Without Justification Is Tyranny, commenting on the recent NAACP lawsuit (and others) vs. the gun industry.

He highlights something many readers already know, all I can add to it is we need some process to rein in these frivolous lawsuits because they do hurt innocent people. Some penalty for filing frivolous claims, such as "loser-pays", which could be waived by a judge or jury if they thought a losing case still merited a public hearing for instance. I'm sure there are weaknesses in that argument too, but in the meantime, legislation protecting the gun industry from these lawsuits certainly seems warranted to me.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 10:41 PM | Comments (0)

Unconstitutional opposition to Pryor nomination

It seems pretty blatant to me that Senate Democrats are not going to consider this in their judicial deliberations,

"The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." (from Article VI of the United States Constitution)

Senate Democrats have admitted they will only approve nominees who support Roe v. Wade to the federal judiciary. The Catholic Church considers abortion to be wrong, therefore serious Catholics are ineligible, by Democrats' standards, to serve as judges.

Senators may disagree with William Pryor on his interpretation of the law, but unless they find that he does not believe in upholding the Constitution (which is not the same thing as supporting Roe v. Wade), their vote against his nomination is an unconstitutional vote. Special interest groups like People for the American Way and the ACLU would be well-served by taking off their ideological blinders when they read the Constitution.

(link via locdog's blog. Joshua Claybourn has similar comments as mine too)

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 10:25 PM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2003

Regarding abortion and slavery

A long time ago, in a Unitarian Universalist congregation, I heard a sermon about one of Unitarianism's heroes, the Rev. Theodore Parker. Rev. Parker was an active abolitionist in the mid-nineteenth century, and was fiercely opposed to the Fugitive Slave Act. He was know to have tracked bounty hunters to their local accomodations, and, accompanied by large crowds of abolitionist sympathizers, knock on their doors, and say that their safety in that location could not be assured. In affect, the bounty hunters were run out of town. Rev. Parker was also a financial supporter of John Brown, who led the attack on Harper's Ferry, which resulted in the loss of innocent life (and several guilty ones as well).

Now, the abolitionists considered slavery to be a violation of human rights, even though that right was not recognized by our country at the time, at least not by the decisions of our Congress, which passed the Fugitive Slave Act, and our Supreme Court with its Dredd Scott decision.

Now, lets go to the present time. A large number of people believe that abortion is also a violation of human rights in spite of the fact that the Supreme Court has said that it recognizes such a right. If a modern-day pro-lifer were to undertake actions similar to the Rev. Parker's would the UUA be sympathetic to their plight? No, they would be a religious extremist. What's the difference, I wonder. Now, don't get me wrong here. I do not endorse violence against abortionists or the property in which they practice their trade. But let's look at the inconsistencies here. A nineteenth-century Unitarian preacher, acting for human rights, threatened bounty hunters looking for slaves. Today, if anyone were to take similar action, they would be branded as a religious extremist.

Whatever direction the American Unitarian Association's moral compass pointed to on the issue of slavery in the nineteenth century, it most certainly points in the opposite direction on the issue of abortion today.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 11:31 PM | Comments (2)

Moral Clarity and the Middle East

William Bennett, in today's National Review Online

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 11:04 PM | Comments (0)

Another item on the UUA GA

Oops, one more entry. How could I neglect to mention their 2003 Actions of Immediate Witness?

AIW 1 AmeriCorps
AIW 2 Depleted Uranium Munitions
AIW 3 Global HIV/AIDS
AIW 4 Public Hearings on Iraq
AIW 6 Women's Rights

My comments:
AmeriCorps: a failed program from the start. It doesn't seem to me that it would work for a lot of people. Getting people to volunteer for the same activities that others are sentenced to do involuntarily is kindof self-defeating. Save the money, lower peoples' taxes, and a lot of this stuff would happen anyway without liberals using the taxpayers' wallets to fund their pet projects.

Depleted Uranium Munitions (no comment)

Global HIV/AIDS: a better approach would be programs like Uganda's ABC program, which stresses abstinence, instead of the Planned Parenthood / SIECUS program of making sex as easy and widespread as possible by thrusting condoms into everyone's face and telling them to go out and use them.

Public Hearings on Iraq: the UUA was opposed to the Iraq war, and I bet they already know the results of the public hearing they're looking for. They don't want objective hearings. They want a witch-hunt, just like their spiritual forebears did in Salem so long ago. They're still Puritans at heart, even if the theology has changed.

Women's Rights: drop the belief that the partial-birth-abortion ban is a violation of womens' rights already, it's not true. Anyone who talks about a right to abortion doesn't know what human rights are. I'd also like to know how they come up with the idea that encouraging marriage is a violation of womens' rights, as marriage benefits women and children. Also Title IX is just a quota program which has had its own negative consequences (and I'm sorry to hear that the Bush administration is giving in on this issue)

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 11:00 PM | Comments (0)

Democracy vs. Socialism

Paul Crespo, Democracy & free markets vs socialism, in today's Townhall.com. It isn't about fascism vs. communism -- it's liberty vs. totalitarianism.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 10:29 PM | Comments (0)

Bill Bright

I note with sadness the passing of Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. I was involved in CCC back in my college days, and found fellowship with them rewarding. One thing I liked a lot about it was leadership training; it wasn't just about going to church, it was about building Christian leaders. Leaders who could witness to the public, who would build fellowships of fellow Christians and teach them to be leaders as well. I had some trouble with the witnessing to complete strangers part. I did it, but I have considerable trouble doing it now, especially since most of the people I talk to each day are at work, and I don't know how well it would go over there. There is a role in the body of Christ for this type of witnessing, even if I don't feel particularly well cut out for it.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 10:24 PM | Comments (1)

Uday and Qusay Hussein killed

Uday, Qusay Hussein are killed in U.S. raid on house in Mosul

Should I rejoice or contemplate the operations of God's hands silently? I do not believe that God is neutral between good and evil, nor do I believe that we cannot know the difference, as those who believe in "no-absolute-truth" proclaim. I am pleased that the people of Iraq will no longer be subject to the tortures these two men inflicted.

The LORD is King forever and ever; The nations have perished out of His land.

LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble;
You will prepare their heart;
You will cause Your ear to hear,

To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
That the man of the earth may oppress no more.
Psalm 10:16-18 NKJV

May we be humble in the knowledge that God is our judge as well.

UPDATE: Just read this, and now I understand what the author of Psalm 137 was probably feeling, when he wrote this post-exilic imprecatory psalm.

O daughter of Babylon, who are to be destroyed,
Happy the one who repays you as you have served us!
Happy the one who takes and dashes
Your little ones against the rock!
Psalm 137:8-9 NKJV

I don't particularly like to think about the image portrayed by these two verses, but I think it was written for men like these.


Posted by joelfuhrmann at 10:13 PM | Comments (2)

Kucinich comments on Rep. Chris Smith

Congressman and Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) says my Congressional representative, Chris Smith, will throw women in jail for having abortions. Boo! Well, he did apologize later, but the Democrat attacks on those holding pro-life views are getting rather shrill. Let me just get this off my chest: There is no such thing as a right to abortion, the very concept contradicts the notion of a right to life. Anyone who says that abortion is a right which must be defended has a similar mindset of those who in the nineteenth century defended the right to own slaves based on another egregious Supreme Court decision.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:48 PM | Comments (0)

NAACP/Brady campaign lawsuit against gun industry dismissed

The NAACP/Brady campaign lawsuit against the gun industry was dismissed yesterday. A while back, the jury in this case (whose verdict was advisory, not binding) acquited the gun makers who were targeted by this lawsuit. Yesterday, Senior Federal District Judge Jack B. Weinstein found that the industry could not be shown to have targeted minority communities, though he had some critical words for the marketing practices of the manufacturers. I remember from my first look at this case, that the judge was believed to have an anti-gun background and it was thought likely that he would decide against the industry in spite of the jury's advisory verdict.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:34 PM | Comments (0)

July 21, 2003

Religion and Western Civilization

Back in my agnostic days, there was a philosophical idea I bandied about, along with my UU comrades, that religion was basically superstition, but that it may have had some credible contribution to society in contributing moral order. The beliefs were relatively unimportant (reinforcing the UU tradition of letting everybody create their own theology) - it was the rituals that bound people together.

"Not so!" says Rodney Stark, author of For the Glory of God: How Monotheism Led to Reformations, Science, Witch-Hunts, and the End of Slavery, reviewed in Christianity Today by David Neff.
From the review:

"So, then," Stark concludes, "let us finally be done with the claim that religion is all about ritual. Gods are the fundamental feature of religions." This is a sociology of religion that takes seriously what people believe. Stark knows that beliefs have consequences. They can even change the course of history. And in the book's final sentence, Stark claims that in the ways he describes, "Western civilization really was God-given."

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 07:27 AM | Comments (0)

July 17, 2003

UUA General Assembly - Social Witness Statements

Last post on the UUA General Assembly.

The UUA is firmly on the side of same-sex marriage.

Human Rights and Peace The UUA wants the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be the basis for building peaceful relations among nations. This sounds good on the surface, except for one thing: the United Nations cannot enforce them, nor is it even trying to. The United Nations, by trying to avoid war at all costs, is actually supporting tyrannical regimes which have no intention of abiding by this Declaration.

One other thing about rights: the Declaration includes several items, such as Social Security, health care, and education, which involve economic transactions between individuals. This is a radical departure from the view of rights held by our American founders, who believed that rights were what you were given by your Creator, and did not depend in any way on the taxation of other people.

Also, the UUA has come out with a Statement of Conscience on Economic Globalization

Here's the summary:

Economic globalization has helped countless people attain higher standards of living. It has also marginalized and impoverished innumerable others and has resulted in environmental degradation and the depletion of natural resources. Economic globalization brings many benefits, but its benefits have been inequitably distributed and have not reached many ordinary people around the world. Seeing the world as an interconnected web challenges us to turn from self-serving individualism toward a relational sense of ourselves in a global community of all living things, and toward practices that help create economic structures designed to serve the common good. We are called to bring our Unitarian Universalist principles to our understanding of economic globalization and to help mitigate its adverse effects.

This is a much less liberal statement than the one they were throwing around last year, apparently there are still some moderates hanging around in the UUA. However there are a few myths repeated in this summary which deserve fisking.

It has also marginalized and impoverished innumerable others and has resulted in environmental degradation and the depletion of natural resources.

The claims of environmental degradation and depletion of natural resources are not true. In fact, environmental degradation and natural resource depletion are greatest in those countries which do not have free economies.

Seeing the world as an interconnected web challenges us to turn from self-serving individualism toward a relational sense of ourselves in a global community of all living things, and toward practices that help create economic structures designed to serve the common good.

Yeah, grand goals these UUs claim, as did every socialist tyrant of the last hundred years, from Lenin and Hitler to Castro and Mugabe. Grand goals to create a utopian society, serving the common good, and killing about a hundred million people in the process, and quashing the hopes and dreams of innumerable others. The best way to serve the common good is to let each individual determine for themselves how to do so.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 10:53 PM | Comments (0)

NCC urges US accomodate North Korea

The Institute for Religion and Democracy notes that the National Council of Churches is urging the US to accomodate the North Korean regime

NCC statement

So my understanding is, this regime is threatening its neighbors with war, and we're supposed to help them? And we're supposed to give them more foreign aid so they'll have more money for their weapons programs while their citizens are starving to death? (Don't think that any of that foreign aid will reduce any suffering over there - it won't)

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 10:22 PM | Comments (0)

Linda Chavez on the NAACP

Linda Chavez says that the NAACP has lost its vision.

Her conclusion:

There is much work left to be done if the lives of America's poorest blacks are to improve -- but the NAACP seems to have little interest in tackling the really tough issues. Instead, its leaders would rather blame racism and Republicans, and look to government to solve the problems of a community whose only hope is to heal itself.

Also mentioned in the article is how the Democrats running for President find the NAACP to be irrelevant, as they didn't show up for a NAACP townhall. (I've read elsewhere they are scheduling make-up meetings) Scott Ott, Scrappleface, finds the explanation: The Democrats thought the NAACP invitation was sent from a hate group! After all, only an insensitive clod would use the word "colored" as a race description.


Posted by joelfuhrmann at 08:09 PM | Comments (0)

July 16, 2003

UUA General Assembly - The Ware Lecture

Mark Byron and Ben Domenech both have blog entries discussing Julian Bond and the NAACP convention (and Ben provides a link to the Washington Times news coverage).

Here is the text of the Ware Lecture, delivered by Julian Bond at the Unitarian Universalist Association's 2003 General Assembly last month.

Professor Bond is very angry, and he lets loose with a lot of unchecked, emotional rhetoric. Much of this lecture fisks itself. I nearly fell out of my chair when I read this statement:

Senator Trent Lott uncovered a running sore, that not coincidentally is also almost 50 years old, that if allowed to fester, threatens to imperil our very democracy.

It is the dependence of the Republican Party on the politics of racial division to win elections and gain power. By playing the race card in election after election, they've appealed to the dark underside of American culture, to the minority of Americans who reject democracy and equality.

Julian bond accuses Republicans of playing The Race Card! And this comes from the chairman of the organization that accused Presidential-candidate Bush of complicity in the murder of James Byrd because Texas didn't have hate crime laws. And the hate-crime mentality would have you believe that the lack of hate crime laws constitutes evidence of inequality, even though James Byrd's murderers were convicted and given death sentences or life (and they were white too-so there is no racism in that sentencing). Julian Bond is too blind with rage to speak compentently here.

I think I know what Bond is speaking of in his criticism of those "who reject democracy and equality". He is criticizing those who think that convicted felons should not be allowed to vote because that would undermine respect for the rule of law. He is criticizing those who respect equality under the law and equality of opportunity, but also respect freedom, individual rights, and the right of individuals to pursue their goals, and realize that government programs that assure things like equality of paycheck and equality of standard of life will compromise those values.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 12:03 AM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2003

UUA General Assembly

The Unitarian Universalist Association recently held its 2003 General Assembly. Here are some highlights:

Family Values – Law and Marriage in the 21st Century. UU ministers talk about how the denial of marriage to gays constitutes a denial of their human rights. An actual enumeration of rights denied is never given, though hurt feelings are discussed. Maybe UUs consider hurt feelings to be a violation of their rights. That case has been made successfully before, literally, right here in New Jersey, in a case of racial speech.

New Congregations: New Definitions of Christianity. An organization called The Magi Network has taken on the mission of planting new UU Christian churches. They don't believe Jesus is the eternal Son of God, and they believe in Universalism, but they are critical of the coolness toward Christianity exhibited in most congregations of the UUA. The Magi Network has much in common with another UUA-spinoff called the American Unitarian Conference.

Abolition Today: Ending Modern Slavery. I am actually pretty impressed by this presentation. The UUA recognizes slavery outside of America - finally! A couple of years ago, while researching slavery and racism (in the context of the Durban anti-racism conference held in September 2001, the week before 9/11 - anyone remember that?), I did a Google search for Sudan on the UUA's website and got 0 hits. It's not like the issue didn't exist. The Institute for Religion and Democracy had a program Church Alliance for a New Sudan, dedicated to the issue. It is good to see that the UUA is finally cognizant that all is not well in the Third World.

These are Friday's (June 27) highlights, more to come later.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 11:01 PM | Comments (0)

July 10, 2003

Womens' Day at the Range

On Saturday August 2, my gun club will be conducting a special event: Womens' Day at the Range, an annual event where we offer shooting instruction, gun safety, and food to all the women to want to learn how to handle guns.

Any women readers of this blog who are within a reasonable distance of West Windsor (close to Princeton - central New Jersey) are welcome to come on out. Look at the link for info and registration info.

Men are welcome to come on out too, but you'll be put to work. This day is dedicated to letting the women have the range to themselves.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:13 PM | Comments (3)

Distracting blogging

Here's something I note is happening in my life, and I wonder if it happens to others too. I sometimes get so worked up over an opinion that I find it hard to settle my mind down. I need a quiet-time before going to bed - I used to do my Bible study before blogging, thinking it was more important, now I do it after, preferring to have some peaceful reflection before retiring. However, I find that sometimes something hits me that I find hard to get out of my head. It is especially annoying when I'm trying to have a quiet time in the morning. I want to concentrate on talking to and listening to God, and I find my mind wandering, often onto the political discussion of yesterday's blogs.

So bottom line is, I love to talk, and to blog too (though I wish I could do it in less time), but I find it a distraction too. How do you other Christian bloggers deal with it, or is it just me?

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:04 PM | Comments (6)

July 09, 2003

Links to Iran-related blogs

Writer's block has set in, so let me link to some other fine bloggers who I read regularly.

Susan b. has a fine collection of Iran-related linking, start here with this reprint of an open letter from the blogging community in support of freedom in Iran. Work on down. She credits the open letter to Dean's World, who credits it to Random Jottings.

Rev. Mike's House of Homiletic Hash has an excellent column, including a timeline of Iranian history from 1979 to the present.

And National Review's Michael Ledeen has been cited countless times today. Here's his column.

And for a view from the left, here's the view from CounterPunch, an online socialist rag, blaming it all on American Imperialism, and thinking the students are American pawns. Typical anti-American view from that crowd, so far out of left field, they're in France.

Let's not leave on that sour note however. Writing in National Review, Pooya Dayanim writes on the upcoming Judgment Day in Iran.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 08:13 PM | Comments (3)

July 08, 2003

Campaign Fundraising

The Nation is critical of President Bush's fundraising, Billionaires for Bush [not viewable from mhtml-blocking browsers]

Byron York, writing in National Review Online, says the campaign finance reformers just got what they wished for.

There is one glaring contradiction between the two articles. The Nation asserts that all of President Bush's funds come from $1000 or $2000 checks. Byron York cites a report from the Center for Responsive Politics which says that among people who give less than $200, 64% of their support goes to Republicans, while million dollar supporters give 91% to Democrats (million dollar supporters? - I assume to multiple campaigns, what's the limit for that?) Who's right? The math is a little tricky, I suppose there is a way to parse the sentences in such a way that both could be true, but it's not likely. Given how the left always distorts the issue (as shown in the next paragraph, and other ways), and that Michael Moore has repeated them, I think the claims by The Nation are probably just overheated rhetoric with no basis in fact.

One common misinterpretation of how money influences politics is that contributions by individuals to political campaigns get reported as if they were given by their employers, according to Alison Hayward. I find this last fact amazing in that it blames corporations for the aggregate wishes of individuals, but I find that a common complaint of the Left. If a leftist doesn't like public policy, they blame it on a powerful special-interest group, even if that organization is composed of American citizens who just want their voice to be heard and not drowned out by the special-interest groups of the Left who are trying to take our rights away (case in point: the gun control debate, where the Million Mom March was portrayed as a David fighting the Goliath of the NRA. What they always forget to mention is the fact that the NRA is composed of American citizens, and is not an alien force determined to destroy America)

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 10:58 PM | Comments (0)

Iran

Well, tomorrow is the big day for Iran-related blogging, and I don't know what to say. I've planned to write something, but as the day approaches I still suffer from writer's block on this issue.

Hossein Derakhshan writes in his weblog that if we want to help Iran, then we've got to know about it. I'm going to do that. Here's another link from Hossein Derakhshan's site to help. (Thanks to Rev. Mike's House of Homiletic Hash for the link)

Well, I just thought of something I can write about, a historical reflection:

I was a senior at Texas Tech University back when the Iran hostage crisis erupted. I was a active Christian and churchgoer at the time, even participating in Campus Crusade for Christ there. There was a lot of anger and resentment over the hostage crisis, among other things, and a lot of it was directed at President Carter as well as the Iranian theocracy.

I was returning from a job interview one night, and struck up a conversation with a man who was flying to Lubbock, and then catching a bus to meet his wife in some other town there in West Texas. As fate would have it, he was Iranian, just married to an American woman, and would soon be returning the family to Iran. I felt some pain inside for the decision his wife had made, but I stifled it, telling myself to listen to this man and not judge him or his wife -- they had their own reasons for their decisions and it was not for me to criticize or judge.

When we arrived in Lubbock, one of the Campus Crusade for Christ leaders, Ramiro, was to pick me up at the airport. We were very close to the time that my Iranian friend would have to be at the bus station, so close in fact, that if he had to hunt down a taxi, he might not make it. Since Ramiro was right there to pick me up at the gate, we offered to give him a lift. Again, as fate would have it, we arrived at the bus station just in time to see his bus pulling out of the bus station. Our Iranian friend was now without a ride to his destination, and sortof stranded. He could have obtained a hotel room, but I invited him (I think this was a challenge from God, actually, I was a bit afraid, both for me and for him) to stay at my dorm, and we would get him where he needed to go in the morning. He accepted the offer.

Now throughout this time, we shared our faiths with each other; I, a Christian, he, a Muslim (are they Shiite Muslims in Iran? I think they are, could be wrong though - gotta learn stuff like this). He had a picture of the Ayatollah Khomeini in his wallet. In all this talk however, I think I spoke from my heart, telling him why I believed in Jesus. I didn't shove a tract in his face or anything, but I may have spoken to God's grace being evident through Christ's death alone.

The one thing that bothered me the most about the whole thing was that this happened during the height of the hostage crisis, and the atmosphere in my dorm was really tense. A common picture posted on students' dorm rooms showed Marines hoisting a flag and inserting it in a certain part of a prominent Iranian's posterior. Not very friendly. I told my Iranian that he should not tell anyone where he was from or he could be in big trouble. I think he understood the danger, and we got him to his next ride the next day with no trouble.

I hope my witness that day was full of grace and truth, and I hope that my words found good soil in that young man's heart.

Earlier this year, I started a program of fasting and praying both for spiritual revival in my church, but also the nation and the world. During the war against Saddam, I fasted on Wednesdays and Fridays (and it almost exactly corresponded to the Lenten season). Now I just do it on Wednesdays, and I will dedicate tomorrow's prayer and fasting to Iran and the goal of freedom in Iran.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 07:47 PM | Comments (1)

Bad surprise

First thing I hear when I come home today, from my neighbor "Look in your back yard". Big surprise, and a bad one at that -- a very large portion of a tree came crashing down into my neighbor's yard. So large it's too heavy to pick up. Got to get a chain saw or hire someone to remove this - also some property damage to pay for. Ouch. Well, I'm thankful for what didn't happen. It happened this morning after everyone in the block had gone to work, yet early enough that his kids probably weren't up and about, so there weren't any people in the way. The branch looks like it landed in just the perfect angle so that it barely touched my neighbor's house, so the only damage is to a fence and some inexpensive yard furniture. Given what could have happened, I think I got off easy.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 07:05 PM | Comments (0)

July 02, 2003

Independence Day

I'm off to the Poconos immediately after work tomorrow, so this will be my last post until next week.

To all my American readers: Have a happy Indepence Day and be sure to spend some time giving thanks for the sacrifice that everyone who signed this history-changing document gave for their country.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 07:19 PM | Comments (0)

Serrin Foster speech highlighted in Crisis Magazine

Today Joshua Claybourn cites this article from the Washington Times claiming that 51% of women now support restricting abortion only to cases of rape or incest, or keeping it illegal altogether.

While reading the website for Feminists for Life of America today, I found a link this article in Crisis MagazineAgainst the Grain: A Day in the Life of Serrin Foster
Serrin Foster's work as president of FFL probably has a lot to do with this cultural change in America.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 07:15 PM | Comments (2)