Web Clippings & Comments
week to June 27, 2003
The major development for the week is the relaunching of the companion
reference web site for this blog: http://www.angelfire.com/pro/kairosfocus/
. (The site was earlier kindly hosted through a service that has now had to
withdraw free hosting; over time, this new site will be migrated to full commercial
Key clippings and comments:
1. "Privacy" rights, sexuality agendas and family
During the week, there were several developments that are significant for the
Caribbean and the wider world; however, perhaps the most important probably
largely passed under the radar screens of our local media: the U
S Supreme Court's sodomy ruling, following hard on the heels of the Ontario
court's "same sex marriage" ruling. In both cases, the rulings have
in th emain been viewed in the media as civil liberties triumphs, but in fact
the critical development is the potentially damaging, or even destructive implications
for marriage and the family, thus society and civilisation itself.
Here, I was particularly saddened to hear a BBC reporter interviewing a Family
Research Council spokesman on the ruling. She asked him, in effect, to comment
on why one would want to legislate against an "act of love" done in
the privacy of one's own home. In his reply he pointed out that such activities
in fact have serious public health consequences: 52% of cumulative AIDS deaths
in the US are from the 5% of the male population that has at one time or another
indulged itself in the acts in question. That is, the law (BTW: seldom enforced)
served as a teacher/warning . . . one of the legitimate and traditional functions
(NB: The context
of the FRC spokesman's remarks is the point that: ' "The law (banning sodomy
in the state of Texas) demeans the lives of homosexual persons," Justice Anthony
M. Kennedy wrote for the majority. "The men are entitled to respect for their
private lives," Kennedy wrote. "The state cannot demean their existence or control
their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime." '
Rebutting, Kevin McCullough notes: 'What? How does it demean someone to simply
encourage them to practice good health? Does Justice Kennedy honestly believe
that sodomy (anal intercourse) is an act that shows respect to the person it
is done to? And how does it demean a person to point them toward living a moral
life? And if the state says that one cannot make consensual sexual activity
a crime - are we really ready for the totality of what that means - pedophilia,
But, as soon as the FRC spokesman had pointed out this inconvenient fact, the
BBC reporter cut him off with the claim that the Service now needed to go to
its Sports broadcast!
What relevance is this ruling to the Caribbean? Obviously, we have just seen
how one of the most respected news sources in the region is tilting the news
on this topic; in itself important for those who want their news accurate, fair,
and balanced. (Partly in response to this sort of tilting, the clippings below
will give the side you are unlikely to hear, at least at a level above that
of a semi-comical strawman trotted out only to underscore the "unwashed
But moreso, this development has not happened in a cultural vacuum: the West's
sevcularism and neo-pagan agendas have set out to reshape Western Civilisation
to suit their preferences, perceptions and expectations, and through media,
academic and intellectual power, this agenda will continue to be projected globally.
(Recall the threats of economic sanctions for several Caribbean tourism destinations
because the countries had sodomy laws and were unwilling to host "Gay cruises"
in their tourist ports.)
What of broader implications?
Bill Murray of FRC observed in the lead-up to the ruling: ". . . legislating
morality is supposed to be passe, and, as the recent Gallup poll found, mainstream
America is warming up to the homosexual lifestyle. Yet even as the homosexual
lobby praises what it sees as the enlightenment of the American people, Gallup
found that there remains a clear majority of Americans for whom the idea of
so-called "gay marriage" is still too radical. What these Americans may not
realize, however, is that the forthcoming decision in Lawrence could do to the
sanctity of marriage what Roe v. Wade did to the sanctity of life . . . . gay
activists wisely see Lawrence as their Roe v. Wade. They know that if the Court
can create a constitutional privacy interest for same-sex couples which forbids
laws such as the Texas sodomy ban, then gay activists can use the Court's rationale
to push for their broader agenda: protected rights to sex, adoption, employment,
and, of course, marriage. "
In an immediate reaction to the ruling, David Gasak adds: "With today's
decision the court continues pillaging its way through the moral norms of our
country. If the people have no right to regulate sexuality then ultimately the
institution of marriage is in peril, and with it, the welfare of the coming
generations of children. While it may feel good to some that a stigma is lifted
from a particular group, something else has been lifted - the boundaries that
prevent sexual chaos in our culture. In recent years we have seen a sharp rise
in unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, and heartbreak of every
kind. By unlocking one of society's last social seatbelts, the court has guaranteed
only one thing - more fatal collisions lie just down the road . . ."
David Limbaugh on Legal implications of judicial activism:
Alluding to 2nd US President Adams's remark that the US Constitution would
only work with a religiously-rooted, moral people, Limbaugh commented: "[Adams]
meant that for the Constitution to serve as a long-term guarantor of our freedoms
the American people, by and large, would have to guide themselves by absolute
moral standards - not ones that shift with the sands of political correctness
. . . Judicial activism is grounded in moral relativism and sustained by the
notion that there are no moral standards that cannot be bent or broken to conform
to society's ever-changing moral condition. When our constitutional freedoms
are planted in the unstable footings of moral relativism, they are but a step
away from extinction. This is what Christians mean (and what Adams meant) in
saying that no matter how brilliantly crafted our Constitution, it will not
survive as a liberty-preserving instrument without moral underpinnings. Indeed
our liberties are insured by limitations on government rooted in moral absolutes
. . . "
Derrick K. Olliff and Dewey H. Hodges respond to Daniel Helminiak's Gay
"In this age of cultural pluralism and ethical minimalism, Christians
who, consistent with biblical revelation, publicly declare certain activities
to be sinful have met with severe opposition. The opposition intensifies when
those activities involve "consenting" individuals and do not involve outright
violence. To denounce those activities is, it is thought, to violate the culture's
"absolute" and "invariant" laws of tolerance and inclusion. Homosexual behavior
has fast become one of those activities. Surely, it is maintained, those who
oppose such a personal, voluntary practice are either "homophobics" in need
of a culture lesson or religious bigots deserving scorn. This type of uncritical,
emotional response has grown strong in today's secular culture. An even
more alarming issue, however, is the gain of support for this response within
the Christian community. Christians themselves are, in growing numbers, sacrificing
biblical truth on the altar of humanistic relativism . . . "
rebuttal (link not currently working) : http://members.aol.com/stephven/rebutt.html
response to attempted rebuttal: http://www.crta.org/social/response_to_helminiak_2.html
"Our original paper ["A Reformed Response to Daniel Helminiak's Gay Theology,"
Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics (http://www.reformed.org)] presents
many arguments against pro-gay theology as espoused by Daniel Helminiak and
others. Therein, we also present a case for the orthodox position of the Christian
faith concerning homosexual behavior. Helminiak has recently written a paper
intended to be a rebuttal to ours, but in so doing he failed to refute any of
our arguments, leaving our case untouched. Moreover, we believe honest scholars
will see that he has done his position a disservice by his extremely poor scholarship,
numerous misrepresentations, wild accusations, unwarranted assumptions, and
numerous logical fallacies . . ." [NB: very typical of the Spongite ilk.
For my own experience of this, cf. http://www.angelfire.com/pro/kairosfocus/resources/1st_Easter_Timeline.htm]
"Is Sexual Orientation Fixed at Birth? The best overall
summary of most respected researchers is that homosexuality (like most other
psychological conditions) is due to a combination of social, biological, and
psychological factors . . ."
"Gay criticism has not addressed the classic family configuration"; it has
merely "asserted away the considerable evidence" for the existence of family
factors. Studies which attempt to disprove the existence of the classic family
pattern in homosexuality are "convincing only to those with a need to believe."
"Serious scientists have long known that a simply "genetic" cause for
homosexuality was highly unlikely, but the mass media conveyed the misimpression
of genetic causation to the general public. In the Globe article, prominent
researchers admit the distinct limitations of the "born that way" theory. "Gay
gene" researcher Dean Hamer comments, "It is the same for every human behavior--environment
matters for extroversion, smoking cigarettes, just about anything you can name."
Interestingly, Dr. Hamer--himself a gay man--adds that science remains "just
as clueless" as ever about the environmental influences on homosexuality. Dr.
Hamer's statement is consistent with a position taken by most gay advocates,
who flatly deny the existence of evidence that points to certain family and
social influences on homosexuality. (Gay advocates almost invariably either
say "I was born that way," or "How I became gay doesn't matter.") Only prominent
gay writer Andrew Sullivan has publicly given credence to the Freudian model
of homosexual development . . ."
2. CJET 2003 Publication:
The Volume 7 of the Caribbean Journal of Evangelical Theology was issued at
JTS/CGST's Graduation Friday. In it there are several articles of interest to
thinking Christians, and they are written at a quite readable level generally
Humility: The Devalued jewel of the Human Psyche
The Missionary message of First Thessalonians
Ecclesiastes: Mission in a Post-Modern/Post-Christian World
Ethics, Reformation and Development in the Caribbean (Online version here)
Theology and Culture in canonical-Historical Dialogue
Critical Review of Spong's "Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism."
3. Natural Gas Shortages Expected
"Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham warned Thursday that severe natural
gas shortages and high prices are "a national concern that will touch virtually
every American." Abraham, opening an industry summit on natural gas, acknowledged
there are few steps that can be taken to increase natural gas supplies. But
he said the Bush administration sees the emerging crisis as a top priority and
will try to mitigate any effects."
This may, of course, be very relevant to Jamaica and to Trinidad. The former
country has been thinking about shifting to Natural Gas and the latter has abundant
4. ME Watch: Is the Mohammed Al Dura Death as often reported in the media?
"In one of the messages Osama bin Laden released after the Sept. 11 attacks
and the subsequent U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, he began a list of indictments
against "American arrogance and Israeli violence" by saying, "In the epitome
of his arrogance and the peak of his media campaign in which he boasts of 'enduring
freedom,' Bush must not forget the image of Mohammed al-Dura and his fellow
Muslims in Palestine and Iraq. If he has forgotten, then we will not forget,
God willing." But almost since the day of the episode evidence has been emerging
in Israel, under controversial and intriguing circumstances, to indicate that
the official version of the Mohammed al-Dura story is not true. It now appears
that the boy cannot have died in the way reported by most of the world's media
and fervently believed throughout the Islamic world. Whatever happened to him,
he was not shot by the Israeli soldiers who were known to be involved in the
day's fighting -- or so I am convinced, after spending a week in Israel talking
with those examining the case . . ."
let us see where the truth eventually comes out on this matter.
5. ICOC Watch
Over the past week, the representatives of the ICOC tradition on Baptism have
abandoned the discussion thread: http://forums.delphiforums.com/ICCdiscussion/messages?msg=6780.1
6. Douglas Goodman Scandal & Trial
Love Herald this week reports a troubling scandal and trial affecting one of
the largest evangelical churches in the UK, a trial that harks back to the 1980's
Okay, see you next week.