Category Archives: Culture

Self-evident truth: All Men Are Created Equal


My good friend, John F. Harrison, has an excellent post available here. This is another reminder of one of the most cherished ideals symbolized by the flag of the United States of America:

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

-Thomas Jefferson (Declaration of Independence)

Our U.S. flag (and thus by extension, our anthem to it) does not stand for, or symbolize, any certain crimes, brutalities,  shortcomings, failures, or aberrations that have happened or are happening. It symbolizes a set of ideals, our founding principles, to which we should strive to align our lives and conduct.

I support the right to peaceful protest—which is one of the rights protected by our founding principles. I simultaneously point out, that someone choosing to protest the U.S. flag (and/or the anthem to it), gives the impression of them opposing or protesting the very ideals “for which it stands”—a point that my friend, John, and others, have made well.

It’s an unwise course of action to say one is standing up for equality by protesting a symbol of equality, and to claim one is standing for peaceful protest via protesting a symbol of peaceful protest. The very likely result of such is that onlookers will naturally tend to misunderstand what you’re trying to communicate. It’s tough to imagine anything other than that such a protest is not so much against aberrations, but against the very institution of America and its noble ideals.

It’s not as though the Declaration espouses brutality or racism.

The people who make their living understanding this sort of thing would call it “bad optics”—a phrase likely coined because when you draw a big salary for saying so, no doubt you need to speak with fancier language than just to say, “it looks bad.”

This is not a matter of whether or not the Constitution affords someone a free speech right that includes protesting against the U.S. flag (the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that anti-flag protests can be protected speech). It may well be a matter of whether an employment rule or contract stipulates to not make certain speech while on the company’s dime (which can mean an employee needs to refrain on company time, unless an issue is further affected by religious protection statutes that impact employers). Beyond all that, I’m talking about whether it is a wise, effective, smart way to push toward a legitimate goal. It seems not, which calls into question whether the actual goal is something other, something less legitimate.

For many Americans who love and support the noble ideals of America, and therefore stand for the symbols that stand for those ideals, such a protest looks bad. It looks legal, but wrong. It looks allowable, but bad. It makes them want to vote with their pocketbook and their feet, by boycotting the sports events where the management, owners, employers, and administrators choose to allow it to happen on the company’s dime and time.

Just because you can do a thing, it does not necessarily follow that you should do that thing. Let me conclude with words from the Holy Bible:

“I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive.

— Paul the Apostle (I Corinthians 10:23, N.I.V.) 

Sincere Pro-Lifer to Sincere Abortion Supporter

A couple of years ago, a pro-life organization in which I serve as a volunteer, West Virginians For Life (the statewide affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee) distributed a mailer regarding a then-upcoming election. A seemingly sincere pro-abortion woman, Amanda, sent her response (regarding the mailer) by way of publicly commenting at one of our pro-life websites.

Here is her brief comment and my open reply follows it:

Dear Pro lifers of West Virginia,

I just got your advertisement in the mail today telling me not to vote for Natalie Tennat [sic]. Not only am I voting for Natalie for Senate, but she is the only reason I am going to vote. Your philosophies seem to govern much around religion and your love for the Constitution, but only in so far that they pertain to you. You do not care about the rights of others. The right to an abortion, freedom of and from religion. You do not care about women and how the right to abortion, sex education and birth control is a matter of Public Health.

I believe in your freedom of speech as much as believe in my own. I do not wish anything less, or any ill will. All I ask is you refrain from making laws that do not pertain to yourself. If you don’t want an abortion than [sic] don’t have one, but when you take the access away from women you are causing harm onto them. Also, please refrain from using laws from the Old Testament to define your purpose when you yourself do not follow all the laws. Thank you.

Note: for several points in my reply (below) scholarly support is available in the “40 Years of Roe” symposium video available here.

Dear Amanda

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to the mailer.
Did you know that every time a woman has an abortion, she significantly increases her risk of breast cancer, and significantly increases her risk of future preterm delivery, and significantly increases her chance of a future baby being afflicted with cerebral palsy? Not only does a baby whose heartbeat and brainwaves are detectable lose its life in every abortion (practically all abortions happen after the baby has already reached such a stage of development), but the mother is a victim as well.

Many studies have demonstrated links to not only breast cancer, preterm births, and cerebral palsy, but also depression, suicide, and divorce, just to list a few. In almost all cases, the abortion is done merely for the sake of convenience. Quite often it is done because the mother or father don’t like the gender of the baby, or because they don’t want to raise a child that might have an imperfection or disability (and often the doctors are wrong in forecasting such things). Furthermore, not only do the aforementioned detriments occur, but there is a “dose effect” in that with each repeated abortion, her odds get exponentially worse for having these issues. To watch a free online, scholarly presentation of these issues, click here:

Also, did you know that America’s infatuation with abortion is a result of the racism of the people who conjured this movement? Do you know the real history behind it? Did you know the abortion industry’s biggest player, Planned Parenthood, was once openly known by its earlier name as an American Eugenics organization? Do you know the history and motives of Eugenics? Check out – you can watch a startling documentary for free on here: (or via the site, to watch there, via a free code).

Are you aware that the abortionists use (and have used) targeting of their placement of clinics, and targeting of ads, etc, to increase the abortion rate among ethnic minorities? Did you know that before they got American women to “want” to kill their own children, they took in hand to get policies in place to sterilize American women, and did so, by the many thousands, at times without the women’s consent and sometimes even without their knowledge? And that it was especially targeted against Blacks and native American Indians?

Did you know that abortions also have noted detrimental effects on the fathers of the aborted babies as well?

You seem VERY sincere. Please consider that your accusation that we (as pro-life people) don’t care about the rights of others is simply a mistaken mindset. We care about the right to life, and right to good health, of both the women, the men, and the babies affected by the terrible blight of abortion.

I hope you will take some time to learn more about this crucial topic.

Pastor Doug Joseph
Christian Apostolic Church (UPCI)
Clarksburg, WV

Never again!

My oldest daughter, Elliana, and I just returned from a wonderful trip to Israel (February, 2017). While there we learned some amazingly beneficial bits of context for the Holy Scriptures, and we experienced many meaningful moments.

In one of those meaningful moments, we were atop Masada, where, in ancient times, Jewish families in a besieged mountain fortress chose to end their lives rather than suffer rape/abuse/slavery/murder at the hands of Roman soldiers. Josephus, a Jewish historian, described the incident (see chapter 8, here).

I was moved to tears all over again (I had heard him say so before) as I listened to our Jewish guide, Ralph Lewinsohn, explain how the Masada incident has become part of the Jewish national ethos, and how that, in light of the determined efforts of the Nazis in WWII to wipe out every Jew in existence, now the Jewish people are determined that, “Never again will we allow ourselves to be put in a position where our only choice is death or slavery. Never again.”

“Never again” is not just a heart-cry of Jewish people everywhere. It’s actually a prophecy about them, made by God Himself:

{14}  and I will bring my people Israel back from exile.

“They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. {15} I will plant Israel in their own land,
never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,”

says the Lord your God.

Amos 9:14-15 (NIV)

Some Christian believers have succumbed to a false doctrine known as Replacement Theology, which claims that collectively, adherents to Christianity have supposedly completely replaced natural Israel in the mind of God. Those who hold to that notion may think that earlier ancient Jewish returns from exile would qualify as concluded fulfillment of various prophecies that God would bring the Jewish people back to the Land He promised them. However, take note:

  • God foretold a return of the Jews to their land that would be completely permanent (see Amos 9:14-15, shown above). Regarding the Jewish ethnicity of those prophesied to be returned, see also Ezekiel 34:13 (note “their own land”).
    God Himself indicated that the same nationality of people that was exiled would be brought back by God’s own hand to the same Land from which they were exiled, and that from thence forward, they would never again be uprooted!
  • God foretold a return of the Jews to their land that would be come from every direction, north, south, east, and west, i.e. “from the ends of the earth” (see Isaiah 43:5-6).
    Earlier ancient returns from exile that were localized (such as from Babylon) cannot qualify as fulfillment of such a prophecy. By contrast, the astounding, ongoing return of Jews from all around the world to the State of Israel reestablished in 1948, certainly could qualify.
  • God foretold a return of the Jews to their land that would be accomplished by God’s own hand (see Ezekiel 20:34, and other verses already cited).
    For anyone to resist such a “return migration,” and/or the accompanying necessary right of Jewish people to dwell securely in their own ancestral homeland is to resist God Himself.

As Christian I support and defend the Jewish national declaration that never again will any situation be permitted in which Jewish people are denied their right to exist securely within their ancestral homeland. As a Bible believer, it is the only logical choice.

Is regulation of abortion “evil,” as some pro-life people claim?

Let’s start with a fair portrayal of an alluring, albeit radical, position taken by some within the pro-life movement. The following real conversation actually happened recently on social media:

A friend posted a reasonable comment about the fact that the US Supreme Court panel in 1973, which handed down the Roe v. Wade opinion (in a 7-2 decision) had several justices who had been appointed by Republican presidents. Underneath his post, came this:

Now, a quick word about why I’m continuing my response here, instead of there, and who I’m trying to convince with this post (hint: it’s not the radical guy arguing with me on my friend’s wall).

First, any comment you make (on social media or anywhere else) that someone else has the power to delete, is one you may well see disappear, because it means you’re playing on someone else’s turf, not your own. The above conversation was under my friend’s SCOTUS post (which means he could delete my replies, though I doubt he would), and it was also under the radical person’s comment, and he’s more likely to delete my comments if either he thinks I’ve trounced his argument or he gets tired of me replying (i.e. continual one-ups in a battle over who has the last word).

Second, in any controversial issue, there will be a bell curve, in which one extreme consists of the few on the right side that agree with you and could never be convinced otherwise, and the other extreme consists of the few on the wrong side that disagree with you and could never be convinced otherwise, and the cherry, so to speak, is the huge group in the middle of the bell curve, who are open to reason/persuasion, and could potentially be convinced either way. The radical guy (arguing in the screenshot above) is clearly beyond the reach of my reasoning. Why do I say this? He’s already found what he thinks is a solid argument, and long before he ever encountered me, he had already made his argument so often that he’s what we might call “doubled down” on it, such that he’s personally vested in its validity. For him to ever hear reason and turn back now, would be, according to his words (not mine), “silly,” and committing a “sin” of adopting a position with those who “do not care” about aborted babies. His mind is already made up, don’t bother him with facts. Can someone turn back? Yes, but it’s rare. A Saul who becomes a Paul is powerful, but very scarce.

Why the radicals are wrong

If you were able to read all the way through his replies, you saw the comparison to the Holocaust against the Jews, and you hopefully felt the weight of the radical argument. You sense the allure of it, yet something does not quite sit right. I hope to help you put your finger on exactly why the argument does not sit right.

Since he already pointed to the Holocaust against the Jews in a comparison to the Abortion Holocaust of pre-born humans, please allow me to argue from that comparison, despite both Holocausts being a nightmare of grim historical reality.

The radical approach above is a straw-man argument because it presupposes that the Allies’ war against the Axis powers—the fight from without, if you will—was the only kind of war that could be waged, and furthermore, in his argument, the radical guy actually claims that was the only kind of fight that was waged! When I read the lunacy of statements such as “Abortion is legal because we do not care, just like the Germans did not care if the Jews were being murdered,” it makes me want to say, “Did you never hear of Dietrich Bonhoeffer? Have you never read of the heroes, some Christian, some Islamic, some German, who risked their lives trying to save what few Jewish lives they could, from within the Nazi system?” It would do the radical guy some good to read/watch Schindler’s List, about Oskar Schindler, an ethnic German businessman, who saved the lives of more than a thousand mostly Polish-Jewish refugees from the Holocaust by employing them in his factories. Far be it from me to point out the history, since it’s only a click away from anyone on social media.

So, imagine with me, if you will, that war can be waged on two fronts simultaneously, one working under the best strategy possible for how to abolish abortion (in WW2 parlance, defeat the Axis powers), i.e. a full frontal assault, but not one devoid of strategy, and another to undermine from within the reality of the existing system, using whatever means, regulation laws, acts to defund, prayer walks, sidewalk vigils, life chains, counseling centers, ad campaigns and social media memes, etc. (in WW2 parlance, subvert and resist the Axis powers). The radical approach claims the latter of those two is evil, because it somehow legitimizes the system, since it’s not the full frontal assault happening from without and because a lot of people are still dying. That’s just wrongheaded.

Just as the radical guy was wrong to pretend that no one in Germany cared, that none under the boot of the Nazis was working to subvert the forces of evil, and wrong to ignore the precious lives their work saved, by focusing his argument solely on the ongoing death around them as proof of their failure, so also the radical argument is simply fallacious to claim that no lives have been saved during the past 43 years of the pro-life movement fighting against the scourge of abortion. How can he ignore the evidence of some 11,000 lives saved because of the ban on partial birth abortions? Who is he getting his information from, the pro-aborts?

There is an old saying that “you only have one chance to make a good first impression.” Well, all those on the pro-life side in the current culture war should be aware that any given legal argument only has one chance for the Supreme Court’s “first glimpse” at the argument. That first glimpse, if the case gets taken up by the court and an opinion handed down, will result in a precedent being set. Contrary to what some people think, the worldview of a Supreme Court justice matters! Put simply, we need to have a pro-life Supreme Court empaneled before we have a case to abolish abortion come before them, or the case will just see the effort overturned.

Contrary to the radical’s argument, we are winning.

When I told the radical we are winning the culture war, that we’re succeeding in changing the hearts and minds of society, he expressed a state of denial and responded saying that is “so so not true.” Again, the facts contradict his argument. Just Google “millennials are more likely to be prolife” and you will get this:

Millennials increasingly oppose abortion, even if they don’t identify as ……/millennials-increasingly-oppose-abortion-even-if-…
Jun 30, 2016 – The survey found 53 percent of millennials believe abortion should be … to 48 percent who said they were more likely to identify as “prochoice.

Millennials’ abortion views trend pro-life despite self-identity, research ……/millennialsabortion-views-trend-prolife-despite-…
Jun 30, 2016 – Majority of millennials support tougher abortion restrictions, but … with 48 percent who said they were more likely to identify as prochoice.

Why Are Millennials More Pro-Life Than Parents? – The Daily Signal
Mar 4, 2016 – Millennials lean more prolife than the generation preceding them because of advances in medical technology and science, leaders in …

Surveys Show Young People More Pro-Life Than Ever Before as ……/surveys-show-young-people-moreprolife-than-ever-before-as…
Jul 11, 2016 – … People More ProLife Than Ever Before as Millennials Oppose Abortion. … are less likely than their older counterparts to identify as “prolife.

Millennials Across the United States are More Likely to Identify as Pro ……/millennials-across-united-states-are-morelikely-identify-prolife
Feb 8, 2016 – The study shows the decline is nearly equal in both the most prolife and prochoice states. The decline in the least prolife states: Vermont …

Millennials across the United States are more likely to identify as pro …
Jan 12, 2016 – Millennials across the United States are more likely to identify as … The only most prolife state on the list to see a rise in abortions is Louisiana.

Millennials: The generation most likely to oppose abortion – Red Alert …
Jan 14, 2016 – Although Americans are split down the middle on whether they identify as prolife or prochoice, abortion is viewed as less acceptable than it …

Survey: Millennials oppose abortion, yet reject pro-life title – Red Alert ……/survey-millennials-oppose-abortion-yet-reject-prolife-tit…

Jul 1, 2016 – Survey: Millennials oppose abortion, yet reject prolife title … 48 percent of millennials said they were more likely to identify as “prochoice.”

So, while I declined to try to battle for the last word in a futile argument with a radical, let me conclude with the last comment I made before breaking off with him:

It will take a lot of time and hard work to win over the culture by changing hearts and minds. We have the truth and all the science on our side. We’re winning. We’re on the same side. If we can avoid maligning each other, we will see victory.

Join me as part of the Pro-Life Generation that will see abortion ended within our lifetime. We’re in this for the long haul. We’re in this to save as many lives as we can along the way. If regulation spares even one life, it will have been wise and right. It has spared many lives. The thousands of babies who have been spared from death, even during the sad reign of “Planned Parenthood” funding and “Roe v Wade” opinions, declare that we are on the side of righteousness.

Five [somethings] that cause [something]!

  1. Enough already with the “listy” titles: “Five behaviors that lead to early dementia,” or “Three foods that cause cancer,” or “Ten habits of highly effective leaders,” or “Seven policies that increase church giving,” or…
    Back when I first read that popular blog post on “Eight ways to increase blog traffic” (or whatever it was actually titled), and it explained how people go for short, definitive lists that make everything sound simple, and how titles that hint at that kind of list really get the click traffic, I halfheartedly tried to get on board.
    Over time, I even made some meager efforts to title some posts that way, but a quick scroll through my blog shows I was not consistent at it—yet I was never “against” it.
    Still, come on! The “listy” titles have become so prolific and so annoying that I am now crying “uncle.” Enough. Please, bloggers and click-bait sites, get back to being creative with real titles.
  2. And don’t even get me started on those other click bait titles such as “She was [something] until THIS happened!” Argh, ugh, and yuck. I have come to despise such things.
  3. While I am at it, Christians and/or conservatives: can we please, for the love of all that is good and holy and decent, stop posting links to supposedly conservative articles that display, in the advertisements, “gratuitous cleavage” / wanton near nakedness and generally raunchy, nasty stuff?
  4. And, Christians and/or conservatives: can we please stop linking (without any warning) to videos that contain seriously bad language? Yeah, that would be great.
  5. Oh, boy. I seem to have compiled a definitive list of four items, yea five items if we count this last bit that doesn’t fit, but yet we could pretend it does. No, wait, the click-bait people do that too, whenever the 13th item in their list of 13 items is not a 13th item, but just a screen that says “you’ve reached the last item, so now click here.” Yeah, I guess I am now guilty, too.  (See what I did there?)    😉

So—whatever shall I title this post?

Election message from Pastor Doug Joseph

Please LIKE and SHARE. Take just 2 minutes for this helpful info.

Speaking as a private citizen, I’m here to bring Christian believers (especially those residing in West Virginia) an important message regarding our ongoing election. We normally would say “upcoming election,” but due to early voting, it’s actually ongoing. Americans, including West Virginians, are voting early in record numbers. One estimate is that 40% of all ballots may be cast early. Whether you vote early or on November 8, be sure to personally verify that your vote choices match the tally shown on your ballot. As a Christian American, I encourage you to vote biblical values. I’m voting Pro-Life, Pro-Israel, Pro-Constitution, including Pro-2nd Amendment, etc. The next president will likely get to appoint multiple Supreme Court justices and scores of federal judges. The worldview of those appointees will determine America’s judicial climate for a generation. Whatever you do, fellow believer, don’t stay home this election. Click here for a voter guide from West Virginians For Life, to know which candidates are Pro-Life. Here are some endorsements from that list:

  • For President: Donald Trump
  • For US Congress, districts 1, 2, and 3: David McKinley, Alex Mooney, Evan Jenkins
  • For WV Governor: Bill Cole
  • For WV Attorney General: Patrick Morrisey
  • For WV Secretary of State: Mac Warner
  • For WV Auditor: John McCuskey
  • For WV State Treasurer: either Ann Urling, or John Perdue
  • For WV Commissioner of Agriculture: either Kent Leonhardt, or Walt Helmick

For WV State Senate and WV House of Delegates, simply find your senate district and house district on the list, to see the endorsed candidate.

Lately, rather than pray “God bless America,” I pray “God save America.” Do your duty, and vote!

Reality: we cannot tax ourselves into prosperity


Lady Liberty’s had about enough (me too!)


The Day a Murderer Sneaked Into Heaven

One day a murderer sneaked into heaven.

How? By the mercy and grace of God, of course.

But why would a forgiven soul ever need to sneak in? Because a forgiven soul knows the forgiveness, knows their trespass which required it, and knows the price that was paid to grant it. The very last thing a forgiven soul would ever do is stroll into heaven like one who “owns the place”—like one who did not need mercy and grace to get there.

As I was saying, one day a murderer sneaked into heaven.

Oh, the meetings with saints of ancient ages!  Samuel, the prophet, was so wise and so careful with his words! Mordecai was so inspiring with his faith and stories of determination! Peter and John and all the disciples of the Lord Jesus practically glowed. Maturity and wisdom emanated from them with such love. Yet the chance to meet King David was particularly welcomed. What a balm it was to meet a fellow murderer, one who had likewise inflicted wrongful death, yet was granted mercy and grace, and through forgiveness managed to hobble along fairly successfully through the remainder of his earthly life, writing songs (psalms) and seeking to regain the place with God he once had and lost.

Then the murderer encountered an unexpected class of people: Joyful souls of aborted babies. Millions upon millions of them played and laughed on a velvet verge of grassy meadows beneath solemn mountains and serene skies. There, playing among them, was the precious girl this murderer had killed, in a signally selfish yet “safe and legal” procedure.

The forgiven soul (the formerly selfish soul) longed to hold the girl, longed be with her. Just as that longing foot was lifted in the girl’s direction, a voice spoke up nearby.

“You can’t,” said the voice, with both authority and anguish melted together in love. “Not until you realize that she cannot know.”

“But…” the forgiven soul stammered.

“These little ones have been spared the agony of being unwanted. They don’t know. She has never known that her life on earth was extinguished.  She has never known that the precious gift of life—her intended life on earth—was once counted as less than convenience and culture and campaigning and coy sloganeering.  You may only approach her once you are committed to not infecting her with the agony of her having been unloved.”

“So, I cannot tell her who I am? This is hell then, not heaven! I’ve not yet been forgiven,” said the forlorn yet forgiven soul. “I somehow feared it couldn’t be true.”

“No,” said the voice. “If this were hell, you would be freely permitted to inflict all manner of suffering in her heart, and then suffer in your own heart over having made her suffer. She would eventually retaliate. It is because this is heaven and not hell that such a thing will not be permitted. Because this is heaven, you may go and be with her, but only as a stranger, at first, with no past. For her there is no past to be forgotten. The past you would seek to bring her is buried beneath The Blood, and unworthy of the bringing. Leave it behind, and then you may be with her.”

After a long pause (while considering all the ramifications with a clarity that was seldom possible back on earth) the forgiven soul finally asked, “Will there ever be a time, a thousand years from now, or a million—will there ever be a point when she might finally know and yet not suffer? Will there ever be a time when a billion years of me loving her would finally empower her to hear that painful past spoken without suffering over it?”

“If such a day were to ever come…” said the voice. “Yet on such a day, you would most likely have left that past buried for so long and be so far removed from it, that you will have lost all the want to drag it up from the depths of forgetting. You will most likely no longer wish to tell it.”

“I understand.”

“Then you may go to her.”

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” (Proverbs 18:21 KJV).

A personal note from the author, Pastor Doug Joseph:

Today, January 17, 2016, is this year’s Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. During this annual event (on the third Sunday, the one nearest on the calendar to the anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade decision by the US Supreme Court), we set aside time to mourn the millions and millions of human babies lost via abortions, to pray for an end to abortion, and to reflect on and teach about the sanctity of human life, which, as a godly principle, goes deeper even than just the issue of abortion, affecting how we stand on everything from opposing euthanasia and assisted suicide, to advocating for compassionate love for children facing handicaps and for people facing various challenges and limitations. Being Pro-Life is about much more than opposing wrongful deaths. It is about loving life, and upholding the dignity of human life as a sacred gift from God. I hope you will join with me today in a generous donation to West Virginians For Life or your state’s affiliate of the National Right To Life Committee.

Freedom of choice, but not without restrictions