July 30, 2004

Faith and Politics

Steve Waldman, editor-in-chief of Beliefnet, opines that faith belongs in politics.

An excerpt (but read the whole thing):

The Left and Right have both followed the advice of the Founding Fathers at different points in history. Abolitionism and the civil-rights movement — two moral highpoints of our history — were driven by people attempting to impose their religious views on others. So is the right-to-life movement.

And some advice for those who speak out on issues of faith and morality:

There is, however, a problem with the way some religious conservatives approach the political sphere. The problem is not dogmatism, but laziness. Someone who rests the argument for a certain position entirely on the fact that his religion told him to is not really attempting to persuade. Even if one is motivated by faith, one still has to convince others using secular, or at least broad-gauge, moral arguments.

Earlier this week, in a Beliefnet article, Breakthrough for Nonbelievers, discussing Ron Reagan's speech at the DNC, Joe Conn, spokesman for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State says, "The polls continue to show that a lot of Americans are uncomfortable electing a non-believer, It's almost a de facto religious test,..." referring to the Constitutional prohibition of a religious test. Trouble is, he is wrong in his understanding of the Constitution. The Constitutional reference is a restriction of government power, not a restriction of individual liberty. No person can be considered ineligible to run for office because of their religion, but people are free to vote for whatever reasons they wish, including their religion and faith beliefs.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 12:43 PM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2004

Intimidation campaign

Susan b. Lilac Rose points me to this news story in the Washington Post, describing how a liberal religious[,lack of] group, The Mainstream Coalition is visiting evangelical and fundamentalist churches to monitor their political activity.

Tina Kohn, a member from the Unitarian Universalist Association, said "keeping church and state separate is important to her. She doesn't want a few religious denominations defining marriage - or setting other social policy - for everyone."

So is it really that important to the Unitarian Universalist Association, that religious denominations not define marriage? Let's do a little monitoring of the "Religious Left".

In April 2000, several UUA ministers and laypeople testified to the Vermont State legislature in support of the pending civil unions bill.

Here's a UUA 2004 Action of Immediate Witness, passed at the recent UUA General Assembly, opposing the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Also from the 2004 GA, a panel on Same-Sex Marriage: Finding Our Public Voice.

So, if the UUA is a religious organization, it really ought to reconsider what religious organizations can talk about regarding public policy. For all the ranting and raving about the nefarious tactics of the "religious right", the bottom line is that their opponents on the "religious left" do the exact same things, with one exception. Only one side, represented by The Mainstream Coalition, is telling the other to shut up.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 12:53 PM | Comments (1)

Ron Reagan's worldview

Following up on a post, The Secularist's Vision, citing Robert Reich and his belief that religious people should not have any say in the conduct of our country, it turns out that Ron Reagan Jr., who spoke at the DNC last night on the subject of embryonic stem cell research, claims to be an atheist.

Ramesh Ponnuru, at National Review Online, criticizes on Reagan's speech.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 12:20 PM | Comments (0)

July 27, 2004

My Kind of Elitism

Yea! A real result from a quiz that I don't share with someone else!

HASH(0x8b76e9c)
Your CD collection is almost as big as your ego,
and you can most likely play an instrument or
three. You're a real hit at parties, but you're
SO above karaoke.
What people love: You're instant entertainment.
Unless you play the obo.
What people hate: Your tendency to sing louder than
the radio and compare everything to a freaking
song.


What Kind of Elitist Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

In my house we have a piano (bought this year since we got back from China!), a trombone (which I play for my church), a guitar (which I failed to learn to play back in college, and will be given to Rebecca if she makes a commitment to practice it when she grows up), a recorder, a harmonica or two (might be lost), and I sing in our church choir, so I'll include my voice as an instrument.

(link seen first at Cut on the Bias)

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 04:53 PM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2004

Comments on the 9/11 Commission Report

I downloaded the report today (link at National Review). It's too large to read in one afternoon, but I just did a search through the document for all occurences of the word "Iraq". I've come to the conclusion that no newspaper will tell you the truth about it, they'll only tell you what they believed before the report was written. So-called "newspapers" like the New York Times only pick and choose the quotations they want their readers to see.

So what does it say? I read that Iraq and Al-Qaeda did approach each other several times, but never made an agreement for a "collaborative operational relationship". I read that while Iraq may not have participated in the planning or support for what happened on 9/11, Richard Clarke was concerned that Osama bin-Laden might attempt to seek refuge in Iraq if his arrangements with the Taliban were disturbed.

What this implies is that there was a lot of uncertainty, not the mendacity that pundits like David Corn claim. Where would bin-Laden go? Is Iraq going to give him sanctuary? Bottom line is there were good reasons to believe Iraq would have been willing to hide him from us.

Unfortunately, the major findings of the report are going to be ignored. Here's something I found, something I bet the editors of The Nation and Mother Jones disagree with:

Recommendation: Just as we did in the Cold War, we need to defend our ideals abroad vigorously. America does stand up for its values. The United States defended, and still defends, Muslims against tyrants and criminals in Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. If the United States does not act aggressively to define itself in the Islamic world, the extremists will gladly do the job for us.

I'll have to read more later, but I don't know if I can read every single page. This report is huge, and it's not easy reading either. Given some of the controversy generated by the commission, I'm not sure if it's worth it, however, based on what I read today, it is a lot less partisan than I expected it to be.

Since I provided a David Corn link, let me provide a link or two to others who disagree with him:
From National Review:
Rich Lowry
Byron York
and The Wall Street Journal.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 11:29 PM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2004

The Case for a Creator interview with Jonathan Wells, author Icons of Evolution

Picking up the book again, I'm moving on to chapter 3, where the author interviews Jonathan Wells, of the Discovery Institute of Seattle (which is a think tank dedicated to much more than promoting Intelligent Design).

The subject of the chapter is Jonathan Wells' fisking of four icons of evolution:

  • The Stanley Miller experiment, where amino acids are formed by shooting electric sparks into a container containing a supposed recreation of earth's early atmosphere,
  • Darwin's Tree of Life, which draws life on earth in a shape similar to a tree, and implies that all life on earth had a common ancestor,
  • Ernst Haeckel's Drawings of Embryos, sketches of embryos which show striking similarities between humans, fish, chicks, pigs in early development.
  • The Missing Link, the archaeopteryx, a creature with the wings of a bird, and a lizard-like tail and claws. This fossil is claimed to be the evidence of a link between reptiles and birds.

    The Miller Experiment
    Jonathan Wells says that the significance of the Miller experiment depends on the accuracy of the recreation of earth's early atmosphere, and in this regard it fails. "Miller chose a hydrogen-rich mixture of methane, ammonia, and water vapor, which was consistent with what scientists thought back then. But scientists don't believe that anymore....The best hypothesis now is that there was very little hydrogen in the atmosphere because it would have escaped into space. Instead, the atmosphere probably consisted of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and water vapor." Strobel asks Wells what happens if you repeat the experiment with those components, and Wells tells him you'll get organic molecules, but not amino acids; what you'll get is formaldehyde, a toxic substance.

    Going on from there, Strobel asks what if amino acids could be produced somehow - maybe we're wrong to throw out Miller's hypothesis; could amino acids produce life? Wells replies that it is a long way to go from a soup of amino acids to a living cell. He asks Strobel to think about what is involved by considering putting a single living cell in a sterile salt solution, and then poking a hole in it so that its contents leak into the solution. All the components of life are there, indeed more than the Miller experiment actually produced, but there is no life there; it's just a solution of molecules. It's not enough to have the molecules at hand, they have to be put together correctly, a mind-boggling task.

    The bottom line of all this is that natural selection may offer an explanation of how life changes, but it is woefully inadequate in explaining how life first began. Strobel quotes another origin-of-expert, Walter Bradley, a former professor at Texas A&M University, "I think people who believe that life emerged naturalistically need to have a great deal more faith than people who reasonably infer that there's an Intelligent Designer."

    Anoter way of perceiving the problem of life's beginning is to imagine yourself walking along the beach, and suddenly you see the words of Homer's The Iliad written in the sand. No reasonable person would conclude they were the product of random motions of waves on the sand - we recognize the vast improbability of that. We know that another person was there before us and wrote those words in the sand. The components of our cells, including our DNA, is much more complicated than words written in the sand, yet naturalists continue to deny that an intelligent being "wrote them down", insisting they are the product of random motions of molecules from a long time ago. (This example is from Lee Strobel's previous work, The Case for Christ)

    The other topics from the list will be covered in future posts.

    *****
    A big thank you to David Heddle (He Lives), for providing me with a copy of a presentation he gave on Intelligent Design. His material complements Lee Strobel's book rather well.

    Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 10:56 PM | Comments (0)
  • The Conservative Youth Movement

    A Look Into the Conservative Youth Movement (link via Jonah Goldber @ The Corner)

    I agree with the writer. I don't think there is anything special about youth, as a class, except for one thing: they're our future.

    Young conservatives should also begin taking an active role in government because they represent the future of conservative thought. This is not to say that they should feel entitled to destroy the trustworthy conservative thinkers such as Buckley, but young conservatives should not feel frightened or intimidated to express their opinions. Mr. Goldberg may not realize it, but the errors made today will be transferred to the thinkers of tomorrow. Where will America be in 10, 15, or 20 years? What will happen if gay marriage is made legal or Americans take stem cell research too far? Those are things that worry me. .... The Republican Party should by no means be re-invented, but it could very easily be re-marketed. For too long, liberals have had success with many young people in teaching that the Republican Party is a party of bigotry and evil. It is far from it; this is the party that freed the slaves in 1863 and freed the Iraqis over 150 years later. Conservatives should explain to America that they are for families and opportunity, not division. This is something I have always believed to be true.

    I'm not sure if re-marketed is what I'd call it, but I agree with the writer here too. What I think should be done is to vigourously stand up to those who continue to call Republicans inconsiderate, stupid, and worse. I thought the Republicans did a good job in 2000. Take the conventions for instance. When it was revealed that the Democrats had a quota for every race and sexual-orientation, their claims that the Republicans were doing it just for show should have been tossed out the window. Unfortunately our media just lapped it up as if it were true. The truth is that it is the Democrats who treat diversity like a three-ring circus. At the Republican convention, the people who took to the stage were there because they were qualified. And yes, there was diversity - plenty of it.

    Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 05:10 PM | Comments (0)

    July 21, 2004

    Outfoxed

    My former congregation, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton, is hosting a viewing of the movie Outfoxed, which argues for the censorship is extremely critical of Fox News. Looks like they've joined the MoveOn crowd. Of course, this doesn't prevent them from criticizing politically-active Christians of blurring the distinction between church and state.

    UPDATE: A review of Outfoxed from OpinionJournal.com.
    ANOTHER UPDATE: I haven't seen the movie, nor will I do so, so I don't know firsthand that it argues for the censorship of Fox News. I thought I read that somewhere, but I can't find the link, so I've changed the wording of one of the sentences in the original post. The original is still there, just struck out so you can see what I originally said.

    Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 10:51 PM | Comments (0)

    Redefining Marriage Away

    David L. Tubbs and Robert P. George, in City-Journal, Redefining Marriage Away.

    Marriage used to mean loving one person, forsaking all others. Will it mean the same if homosexual unions are called marriages? The authors argue, no, it won't.

    Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 12:33 PM | Comments (0)

    Handling Classified Information

    I can't believe it. Sandy Berger claims to have inadvertently discarded classified information! A long time ago, in the previous century, I worked for a defense contractor. I didn't have a security clearance, but I had to learn all the rules for handling it, just in case. If I ever broke one of these rules, losing my job would be the least of my problems.

    #1 rule: You're responsible for it, only viewing it if you need to know, and for protecting it.
    #2 rule: You're not to take it out of secure areas without following very strict rules regarding keeping it safe.

    This sounds very serious. Either Sandy Berger is incapable of handling secure documents, or he was intentionally trying to hide evidence from the 9/11 commission.

    Joe Carter, the evangelical outpost, has similar testimony of the importance of protecting classified information.

    Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 12:32 PM | Comments (0)

    July 20, 2004

    Another note about Spiderman 2

    Here's an interesting thought about the movie I didn't realize till I was home and thinking about it. I don't think it's a spoiler so I'll mention it here without hiding it: The play Mary Jane stars in, The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde, is based on character deception and mistaken identity, a fitting backdrop for Peter Parker's deception in hiding his identity as Spiderman from Mary Jane, and in resolving his own problems with that dual identity in the end.

    Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 09:57 PM | Comments (0)

    Fathers & Leaders

    Maggie Gallagher, interviewed by Christianity Today, on Raising Up Fathers.

    I like this quote, and it's very similar to that statement from Spiderman 2, by Aunt Bea, about heroes sometimes having to give up their dreams:

    The reality of family life is that men have to really give quite a lot to women and to children in order to make things work. They have to give up a lot of autonomy, give up a lot of the power to do whatever they want whenever they want. They have to give up lots of income and their mission in life.

    Both men and women are happier and more effective if men see this as a manly role. Most commonly, it's a ceremonial title—it's an indication that this man has agreed to take responsibility for this family. And I think men need to be honored and supported in that. But if you use the idea of headship as a reason to believe you should get your way in family life, you've missed the whole point.


    Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 09:50 PM | Comments (0)

    July 19, 2004

    Spider-Man 2

    Amy and I went to see Spider-Man 2 yesterday. Possible spoilers ahead, so I'll hide the rest, except for this link I found worthwhile (over at Touchstone)

    I thought it was a great movie, but there were parts of the movie that bothered me a little bit. They laid it a bit thick with Peter Parker's irresponsibility and poverty early in the movie, and I felt like it dragged on and on there. On the other hand, I'm glad MJ got to see Spider-Man as Peter Parker. There was a lot of tension there with Parker unable to talk freely with Mary Jane about his feelings for her.

    I noticed strong similarities to Superman 2, with the superhero retiring to find true love, only to be forced to put his suit back on to fight the evil that can only be fought by those with the power to do so. I had mixed feelings about that - I was happy that Parker was taking action to be a responsible person, yet I knew that he was still denying who he was, and the power and responsibility he was given. I just hope that in a subsequent movie, he'll find a way to pay the rent and hold a job.

    The bit of the speech by Aunt Bea about heroism and giving up one's dreams was thought-provoking. Is it an American ideal to give up one's dreams? I'm not sure I know - America was founded by individuals and for individual rights, however, the Founders also gave up their dreams to achieve it. (And people who claim they were just rich white men trying to protect their property are flat out wrong - most of those men who were trying to protect their property lost it, along with their families, in the war). While it may or may not be an American ideal to give up my own dreams, it is however, a Christian ideal. As Oswald Chambers puts it, my priorities as a Christian are first to God, second to God, and third to God. There isn't any room in a Christian walk for personal ambition. This isn't to say that one can't be a success in business and still be a Christian, but I sincerely believe one should dedicate one's profession, and its fruits, to serving God. Aunt Bea's statement that there is a hero in all of us sounds good, but for the Christian, that hero is Christ, who redeemed us. "You are my Lord, my goodness is nothing apart from You" (Ps 16:2). That's not to say that people can't do good things from man's point of view, but from God's point of view, our best works are just filthy rags.

    No thoughts on Dr. Octopus in particular, except that he was done real well. I wondered how they would do that and the special effects were entertaining there.

    Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 11:29 PM | Comments (0)

    Thoughts on the weekend's most notorious story

    Everyone's linked to this, so what can I add?

    First off, like Susan b., I used to call myself pro-choice. I had a different route to my turnaround however. All the talk about it being a rights issue, similar to slavery, started to sink in. I started to realize, who am I to deny that an unborn child is not a living being, with as much right to live as I? The conversion wasn't immediate, but I noticed myself nodding in agreement as I heard the argument, and I found myself in sympathy with those who defend the right to life for those who cannot speak for themselves.

    Now, to add something to the discussion I haven't seen elsewhere, here are descriptions of several women who claim to be feminists.

    First, Amy Richards (link via Michelle Malkin), and of course, the first link listed above, detailing her decision to kill two of her three unborn children.

    And for another point of view, here are quotes from several feminists, who opposed abortion, including Susan B. Anthony and Ellen Stanton, who founded the feminist movement in America.

    Three lies of popular culture today:

  • All feminists are pro-choice. (Susan B. Anthony said otherwise)
  • Pro-life people are uncompassionate. (yeah right, like all of us who adopt do it because we want children to suffer? And how is killing two of three unborn so that one doesn't have to shop at Costco supposed to be an example of compassion? That's just plain selfishness, pure and simple)
  • Abortion is a basic human right. (how can a violation of the first right, life, be a basic human right?)

    Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 10:48 PM | Comments (0)
  • July 15, 2004

    The Case for a Creator - Does evolution imply atheism?

    Chapters 1 and 2 of Lee Strobel's book, The Case for a Creator, set up the framework for the discussion that follows, namely: is our universe the product of a designer or did it happen randomly? Is it possible to believe in what looks like a random process but was the work of a designer (theistic evolution).

    Strobel introduces several quotes from scientists who think it is possible to believe in evolution and God, such as biology professor Kenneth R. Miller, of Brown University who declared that evolution "is not anti-God." Strobel goes on to say in opposition that that is not how evolution is presented. The foundation of natural selection theory is that it is by nature undirected, and that rules out a supernatural force directing the process. I've read works by Carl Sagan, Stephen J. Gould, and others who insist that there is no plan in natural selection, there are no morals in nature. This seems to be pretty hostile to the idea of a living, knowing Creator to me. Stephen C. Meyer, director of the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute confronts the contradiction, "To say that God guides an inherently unguided natural process, or that God designed a natural mechanism as a substitute for his design, is clearly contradictory."

    It all comes down to one's worldview ultimately; is mankind here by accident or on purpose? In the book of Isaiah, the prophet testifies of the work of the Lord:

    For thus says the Lord, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: "I am the Lord, and there is no other.Is. 45:18 NKJV

    Words like "established it", "not in vain", "to be inhabited", indicate that the creation was a deliberate act of an intelligent being with a goal in mind, not a random event with nothing preceding it. The Christian worldview differs fundamentally from that of the materialist.

    Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 11:24 PM | Comments (1)

    July 13, 2004

    Summer blogging ...

    with a 1-year-old is rather difficult sometimes. Apologies to regular readers who may want more frequent updates, especially those who, like Jonathan, want to see me continue the The Case for a Creator review.

    We've been enjoying being outdoors more. We took Rebecca to her first baseball game on Sunday evening. The Trenton Thunder vs. the Norwich Navigators. Talk about bad timing: we left the game at the end of the 8th inning, score tied 4-4, because Rebecca was getting real squirmy and restless. We figured the game would probably go into extra innings. Trenton won 7-4 with a 3-run homer in the 9th inning.

    Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 11:10 PM | Comments (0)

    The Secularist's Vision

    Last week, Joe Carter The Evangelical Outpost linked to an NRO article by Ramesh Ponnuru, Robert Reich's Religion Problem. Robert Reich is quoted as saying,

    "The great conflict of the 21st century will not be between the West and terrorism. Terrorism is a tactic, not a belief. The true battle will be between modern civilization and anti-modernists; between those who believe in the primacy of the individual and those who believe that human beings owe their allegiance and identity to a higher authority; between those who give priority to life in this world and those who believe that human life is mere preparation for an existence beyond life; between those who believe in science, reason, and logic and those who believe that truth is revealed through Scripture and religious dogma. Terrorism will disrupt and destroy lives. But terrorism itself is not the greatest danger we face."

    This is similar to what many Unitarian Universalists and Humanists believe: that Christians are out to destroy America, to take us back to the dark ages, take away womens' rights. I've even heard some of them blame Christianity for the Holocaust, rhetoric very similar to that heard this year during the discussion of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ.

    Since Robert Reich's views are so similar to those of the Unitarian Universalists, he was featured as a guest speaker at their recent General Assembly. Here's his presentation, Reason: Why Liberals Will Win the Battle for America, which is actually a plug for his latest book by the same title. It's sort of interesting that he is so critical of Christians for promoting their values, and yet here he is promoting his own. Of course he is free to do so, and his ideas deserve consideration. But what he denies in his TAP piece is a place at the political table for people of faith. And that is an unconstitutional religious test, and not an American value at all.

    Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 10:57 PM | Comments (0)

    July 10, 2004

    Election Warning to GOP: Hand Is Quicker Than the Eye

    There’s a tendency right now by GOP leaders, right-wing radio hosts, Fox News commentators, and conservative bloggers -- to attack Senator Kerry and Edwards by pointing out how boring Kerry’s speeches are, how blowsy and empty Edwards' resume is, and how shallow the Democratic candidates’ policy ideas are for the future.

    These reactions miss the point.

    Democratic voters had a choice in the primary campaign. They frothed over Iraq, wailed over health care, and spewed over Bush’s very existence. Yet they turned away from the intense Howard Dean and insisted on that gray shadow: John Kerry.

    Why?

    Because when an incumbent seeks re-election, the election is not about the challenger. The election is about the incumbent.

    It’s about Bush’s record, his policies, his competence or incompetence, his vision -- or lack of it. The Republicans whine: “The more voters see of Kerry -- the less there is to see.” But Republicans are looking in the wrong place. (Magicians call this “misdirection.”) Critics of the Democrats are failing to see that the Presidency’s the thing.

    Kerry will not offer much in terms of policy alternatives -- and this will drive his critics crazy: they’ll scream that Kerry’s ideas are vacuous, unspecific, vague.

    Their shouts will vanish in the fog.

    The challenger would be more important if Kerry ranted like Al Gore -- drawing all eyes to himself. Democrats would then lose the election. But, instead, Kerry impresses like a hazy pall on an overcast day. Don’t look at his face. His hand is moving. His finger’s on the trigger….

    Look where he’s aiming.

    As Kerry becomes cloudier and paler -- he’ll offer criticisms of Bush’s handling of Iraq and the economy and health care. The fact that the CIA bungled everything will be irrelevant. Who among the general public knows or understands the spooks, anyway? The spys are out of sight -- that’s their MO; their work is as murky and fuzzy as Kerry’s blueprint for the next four years.

    Kerry’s potshots against Bush are the real deal: they’ll be explosive; they’ll become artillery rounds as the campaign heats up -- turning into nukes before this thing is over. Kerry’s proposals are nothing at all. Rather, he’ll ask: “Why did we go to war on the basis of false information? Are we winning, yet? Why can’t we just go back to normalcy and have peace?” His guns speak for him….

    His attention is on the target.

    What the Republicans had better start doing -- for the sake of the moderate swing voters in the center -- is to explain why people should vote to re-elect Bush.

    They need to explain why the Iraq war is being fought, why the President’s long-term policy approach to combating terrorism is sound, why the President is decisive and serious about security, and why it matters that Americans should make a commitment to staying the course.

    It has to be made clear that there’s a meaning to our travails, a passage through the storm. Our way of life is precious. If we want it, we must fight for it.

    But the main snag, here, is that Bush, his associates in his administration -- and many in the Republican Party across the country -- haven’t been explaining things for some time. One gets the impression the GOP is exhausted, rundown, overwhelmed. There’s no fire in the belly. This isn’t preparing us for the future. The Reagan funeral revealed the fact that we’re yearning for leadership. Where is it?

    Right now, if they thought it would work, Republicans would go to church and pray for political salvation….

    Democrats would sell their souls….

    Guess who’d win.

    Posted by Rick Penner at 04:05 PM | Comments (0)

    July 09, 2004

    A same-sex family child speaks out

    Maggie Gallagher tells of a grown-up child of same-sex parents, and the child wasn't happy with the arrangement. Anecdotal evidence of course, but how many kids are truly happy with it?

    (link via National Review Online's The Corner)

    Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 12:36 PM | Comments (0)

    Wow

    Wow.

    (link via Drudge Report)

    Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 12:32 PM | Comments (0)

    July 06, 2004

    Kerry's abortion statement

    Very late to this story,that John Kerry believes that life begins at conception, but he still supports abortion, because he can't be put out to tell anybody that would be wrong.

    I think this should be obvious to everybody, but apparently it isn't to those who claim to be personally opposed to abortion, but support abortion-on-demand; Why do we have laws in the first place? All laws restrict human behaviour in some way or another, and ultimately our laws reflect what our lawmakers believe to be right, and to restrict behaviour that they believe to be wrong. If John Kerry truly believes that he shouldn't let his personal beliefs influence his work as a Senator, then he should resign his position in the Senate. After all, who is he to judge?

    Of course, that is what is often called anarchy, or what John Locke called the "state of nature", where no government exists to protect the rights of man, and survival is biased in favor the strong and against the weak. When "rights" are made up to allow any behaviour for one's convenience or pleasure, with no regard of the consequences for others, we get closer and closer to the point where government does not protect our rights, the first of which is life itself.

    Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 10:16 PM | Comments (0)

    July 02, 2004

    18 months old!

    Today Rebecca is eighteen months old, and on July 5, she will have been with us for six months. This time has really been a blessing for us - learning what it is like to love someone who literally needs us, and to relate it to how God loves us. It's also been exciting to see her grow up - the growing process seemed so slow at first, but now we look back and can see she's not the same girl we first held in our arms back on January 5.

    One thing we saw on television about a week ago was pretty moving. A show on MSNBC called Ultimate Explorer featured China's Lost Girls, and highlighted a group of people adopting girls from China. Turns out they were in the same city Amy and I were! It was very exciting to see the room where we were sitting and waiting to make our adoption vows, and then to see the same woman who administered them to us.

    Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 10:57 PM | Comments (0)

    Reviewing The Case for a Creator

    I've been rereading Lee Strobel's book The Case for a Creator, and am finally going to start a multi-part review of it. I've been reluctant to start though, mainly because I feel so ignorant about so much of the creation / evolution / intelligent design discussion.

    Rather than jumping right into the book, I'm going to talk a little about how my beliefs have changed. I've always respected science, believing that honest inquiry will always find the truth. The key word there is honest, of course. The search must be conducted without bias, and where bias is found it must be questioned. There was a time in my life where my beliefs caused me to doubt God's role in creation. There was a later time where I reevaluated that doubt and believed in God again. When I renewed my faith, evolution wasn't an issue. I came back to faith because I saw that faith in God strengthens the family. I was soon confronted with the evolution issue however. Since I believe in God - should I also believe in His testimony? in His works? If I believe the Bible, do I have to believe in a literal six-day creation process, or can it be six ages and a very old earth? Can I believe in both the process of natural selection and God? My beliefs have slowly been changing, and I am definitely being led away from the attitude that I can believe in natural selection and God, though I still believe in an old earth and that the days are actually long periods of time. The main reason for that is what naturalists claim - to paraphrase Stephen Jay Gould, there is no morality in natural selection. If that is the foundation for natural selection, I've got to reject it out of hand, because I believe in a God who created something He called "good", indicating a process with a goal, not random. I also find the argument for a natural origin of life to be very weak. Whether natural selection may be valid for explaining some changes to existing life, it does not explain how life was first formed.

    (to be continued)

    Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 10:28 PM | Comments (3)

    July 01, 2004

    Stanley Kurtz: Contact Your Senators for FMA

    Stanley Kurtz urges everyone to contact and tell their Senators to vote for the Federal Marriage Amendment.

    I did, and got a response from Senator Lautenberg:


    Thank you for contacting me about the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment. I appreciate hearing from you on this issue.

    The United States Constitution provides the framework for our government and the foundation upon which our laws are based, and it is the primary guarantor of individual freedoms. It is a document of critical importance, and I believe it should be amended only in extremely rare circumstances.

    The Federal Marriage Amendment that has been introduced in Congress provides that "marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any State, nor State or Federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups."

    I believe that this proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution on marriage is unwarranted. Current federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act, P.L. 104-199, prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages and allows individual States to recognize or refuse to recognize such marriages performed in another State. Furthermore, proposed civil union laws in several States, including New Jersey, provide significant benefits, such as health and retirement benefits, to gays and lesbians in a demonstrated, committed relationship.

    Finally, with the exception of prohibition of alcohol -- which was repealed -- this would be the first amendment to our Constitution that expressly restricts individual rights. This would be a most unfortunate shift in the heritage of our Constitution as a symbol of civil liberties and the use of amendments to expand individual rights.

    For these reasons, I do not support the initiative to pass a Federal Marriage Amendment. Thank you again for contacting me.

    I disagree with the Senator on the need for the amendment, but I find it revealing that his statement "this would be the first amendment to our Constitution that expressly restricts individual rights" seems to imply that his interpretation of the Second Amendment, that it doesn't apply to individuals, is incorrect.

    Come to think of it, he has also written to me to state his opposition to the Washington DC school voucher bill, stating that it violates the separation of church and state, a liberal interpretation of the First Amendment that restricts individual rights. Ok I know - this is real loose thinking, but so is the argument for the right to homosexual unions.

    While I'm in favor of the FMA, ultimately the Constitution is just a dead letter in the hands of an activist court. Liberal courts will find ways to circumvent anything - they've made up a right to abortion, and the word isn't even in the Constitution. A misleading word or contrasting thought will be interpreted in a way which makes a command just a suggestion or creates a new right ex nihilo. What we really need is integrity on the bench, judges who interpret words according to the meaning of their authors.

    Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 10:18 PM | Comments (0)