This WCHS channel 8 report is either biased or hugely ignorant: it paints the Democrats’ recently defeated bill as being about “free contraception,” when it was actually about overturning the Hobby Lobby ruling, which was about (and specifically limited to) abortifacients as pertaining to an unlawful effort by HHS to force persons to pay for the abortifacients, even if against their religious convictions.
Furthermore, the report inaccurately implies that the bill was about “restoring” something that American women supposedly lost due to the Hobby Lobby ruling. That is either deliberately misleading or ignorantly misguided, as the whole point of the Hobby Lobby case was that the unlawful HHS mandate tried to impose a brand new burden on religious persons (that of paying for abortifacient coverage for employees) which was not something that American women ever “had” previously.
Since there never was such a mandate lawfully implemented against religious persons, there is nothing to be “restored.” The HHS mandate itself was not implemented by Congress. It was conjured out of thin air by HHS, and insomuch as it sought to overpower religious persons (via coercing closely-held corporations), it was against the law from the start. In other words, it was always illegal from the start. It never legally existed as far as closely-held, religious, for-profit corporations are concerned. Not only was the mandate itself unlawful from the start, but it never actually took hold—an injunction was granted. Then it was invalidated by the US Supreme Court before ever being enforced for even a single day against Hobby Lobby.
Both before and after the ruling, any American woman employed by a religious person/corporation had and still has the legal occasion to buy and pay for certain abortifacients, on her own. To reiterate, those women still have that option now. There was only an unlawful, failed attempt by HHS to create a government mandate that all corporations, even closely-held religious ones (both for-profits and non-profits), be compelled (by penalty of crippling fines) to pay for abortifacient coverage in violation of religious conviction. It was struck down, as pertaining to closely-held, religious, for-profit corporations. American women lost nothing by that ruling. There was never anything to be restored. How can the reporter be so mistaken on this?
Furthermore, it is both alarming and sad that Senator Manchin is so easily confused and so utterly mistaken on the true issues at stake here. According to the report,Senator Manchin holds that if one is a religious person then he or she is not permitted to make a profit as a corporation and still have his or her religious freedom protected. The senator is simply, sadly, horrendously wrong. Religious persons are indeed free to make a profit, even as corporations, and not check their religion at the door. So says the law, in clear language, and thus it was upheld by the Supreme Court.
There is some odd confusion regarding what’s at the heart of the Hobby Lobby case—resulting in part from [willful?] misleads by the liberal media (notice Bill calling out CBS Radio regarding blatant false reporting) and liberal politicians (for example, Hillary Clinton, the clear early frontrunner in the 2016 presidential race, proves in her response to the Supreme Court’s decision protecting Hobby Lobby from the Obama HHS mandate that she really has no fundamental understanding of what the case was about). It seems many on the left incorrectly think the case was in regard to “all” contraceptives (i.e. Hobby Lobby supposedly being exempted from paying for any contraception). Yet the Christian-owned company already pays for 16 of 20 contraceptives that the HHS mandate insists upon. Only the four that could cause the abortion of a fertilized embryo were contested. Even then, the case was not about blocking anyone’s “access” to those four abortifacients, but rather about preventing Obama’s HHS from compelling business owners to pay for the abortifacients in violation of the owners’ religious beliefs.
However, there is an underlying issue at stake, just as important as the obvious one.
Ever since America fell so far as to have many of its citizens think that only non-profit persons/entities can be permitted to hold religious convictions, this is the first time that such a bogus and dangerous notion has been tested and decided upon at the highest level. You only get one chance to have a legal “first impression” in the highest court of the land.
Punishing owners of for-profit businesses simply because they are unwilling to check their religious beliefs at the door is the edge of a legal razor blade that was bound to eventually strike at the judicial heart of our society. The precedent set here will have ramifications so far reaching that it’s practically beyond the description of words—and the timing is crucial, because the worldview of the SCOTUS justices serving at the given moment will determine where they come down on this, and likely will dictate pretty much forever afterward how related issues will be decided.
It is disturbing that four of the nine justices dissented in this case, discounting the hallowed American tradition of protecting our right to free exercise of religion. This judgment almost went the wrong way. By a margin of only one vote, freedom of religion was upheld. It is alarming that the decision was even close.
Had Kathleen Sabellius and her HHS minions not overreached at this point in history—if their challenge were to have occurred later, after additional moral decline and perhaps even the replacement of conservative justices with liberal justices, or perhaps just after gradual changing of the minds of some justices—the decision could have gone the other way. Thankfully, America got a 5-4 decision in favor of religious freedom.
The Obama Administration’s HHS department overreached so far that their unlawful demands resulted in threatening all closely-held corporations (e.g. family-owned, for-profit businesses) with massive punitive fines so steep it would bankrupt the businesses unless they comply and pay for abortifacient drugs. That forced the matter to be dealt with. Before the judgment was announced, I was quite concerned. In the end, I’m relieved that it was now and not at some later time. The forces of the left jumped the gun. At a later time the same overreach might have resulted in a bad decision instead. As it was, we got a good decision from the court.
The struggle for right is far from over, though. My friend and fellow author, John F. Harrison, summed things up powerfully when he said to me recently, “It irks me that people are so unclear on the issues, and the mainstream media is deliberately making them unclear. This was never about ‘access’ to contraceptives or anything else. Or have we become so infantalized by the nanny state that we believe we only have ‘access’ to something if it is provided free by the government or paid for by a third party?”
It’s common knowledge that 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, right? Only problem: That stat is wrong.
Have you ever quoted the facts about the 50 percent divorce rate? Yeah? So have I. Have you ever lamented the fact that the divorce rate was the same in the church? Or that most marriages are just hanging in there, not vibrant and happy? … I had no idea that every one of the statistics I was quoting—statistics that fit both with conventional wisdom and what I saw reported in the media—were nowhere close to true…. [read more].
“In recent years, many churches have dropped all images of war in favor of a peace treaty with the world. We speak of Jesus as a healer and leader, but not Lord and King. We shout grace, whisper repentance and make inordinate attempts to ingratiate ourselves with those who oppose us. We retreat into silence in the face of horrendous evil and hope it will all go away….” [read more]
“Views on sexuality among young adults are dramatically different from previous generations. As a Boomer, I thought I was part of the generation that ushered in the sexual revolution. But I had no idea that views on sexuality would change so dramatically with the generation of my three sons. The implications for local congregations are staggering…” [read more]
This was loosely based on a true story, except I was trying to get Siri to put my phone in a “do not disturb” mode. (That was before Apple had ever added such a feature. I think I’m the sole cause they did.) I had worked all day, all night, and all day, and had only a few minutes to grab a quick nap before having to get up again. I tried every way I could get to Siri to stop my phone from ringing for 40 minutes and then have her switch my phone back to normal. (I was concerned that putting my phone in silent mode would hinder its regular alarm feature. I’m still not solid on that.) After many attempts and many ever weirder replies from Siri, I exhaled with a “Pffhh” of frustration. Siri replied, and I quote, “There’s no need to curse.” At that point I remembered I was arguing with a computer program, set the regular alarm, and went to sleep. True story.
PS: The Siri quote, “I’d rather you didn’t,” is also based on a true story. One day she got things so turned around she actually said that to me. I cannot now remember the exact weirdness, but it was up there with the weirdness of “There’s no need to curse.”
The age of the earth is hotly debated among Christians today. This issue is not really whether God created Adam but whether our planet is as old as most secular scientists insist. The conflict is that the text of Scripture does not appear to allow for anything like millions or billions of years—and if the scientific dating techniques are as accurate as portrayed, then it is difficult to take the book of Genesis at face value.
Institute for Creation Research (ICR) teams have conducted thorough technical research on the dating processes, and there is plenty of scientific evidence indicating our planet is much younger than the supposed 4.6 billion years secular naturalism suggests.
The focus of this article is to challenge Christians to trust the integrity and accuracy of God’s revealed Word over the interpretative suggestions of secular scholars and scientists…. [Read more]
Recently (not long after my wife and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary), I was interviewed by Perspectives magazine (the official publication of Indiana Bible College) on the topic of strengthening marriage. There were five key areas in the interview:
IBC: Current research shows that divorce is at an all time high—about the same for Christians as non-Christians. What does your church do proactively to strengthen marriages and families?
Joseph: Trying to keep proper focus on everything that needs attention is a bit like trying to keep 50 plates spinning atop 50 poles. Every church must needs have “a lot of irons in the fire.” At Christian Apostolic Church, we have a Marriage Ministry Dept, with an elected couple leading it. We schedule marriage retreats from time to time (Dr. David Norris and Sister Nancy Norris are tremendous at this; highly recommended) and other marriage events. We teach on marriage-related topics in Sunday School—both in the adult class for those already married, and preparatory lessons in the college & career class and high school-age class. Marriage topics often enter into preaching and teaching in other services besides Sunday School. To help families with their financial wisdom, we host a campus of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (highly recommended). We celebrate National Marriage Week annually, and basically do all we can to move forward in this vital area of understanding.
IBC: Do you recommend or require premarital counseling? Do you do this yourself?
Joseph: Yes, I do premarital counseling, teaching from a curriculum I culled from various sources and corroborated with Scriptures. It takes quite a few hours to teach and usually requires three to four sessions to accomplish it. For first-time young couples planning to get married, I insist on it before agreeing to officiate their wedding. We have occasionally abbreviated or waived this for older folks who were entering into a biblically-allowable subsequent marriage.
IBC: In your opinion, what are the three or four most important elements for building a strong marriage?
Joseph: I would summarize these three as 1. Prayer, 2. Preparation, and 3. Priorities:
Prayer: The most important element is to pray from your youth up for God’s help in preventing you from marrying the wrong person, and for His help in choosing the right mate. Then, don’t settle for anything less than God’s best choice for you. This means saying no when other people falter and say yes. Don’t even date someone who does not seem worthy as a potential marriage partner! One must prayerfully, carefully choose a mate for life only after securing a certain word from God that they are right for you. Caution must be used because while one is infatuated with a “love interest” it’s all too easy for our heart to deceptively fool us into thinking we’ve heard from God, when He has not spoken.
Prepare yourself for marriage emotionally and financially. Avoid the “Hollywood” lies, myths, and stereotypes, and realize you won’t be able to change your partner’s annoying habits and hangups. Many old-timers assure us all that it’s a terrible mistake to think (before you marry) that you can change someone after the wedding. Work hard (by budgeting, and being frugal and careful) to make sure you go into your marriage debt-free, hating debt, and already having either a nest egg toward a downpayment for a home, or a plan already worked out for a home. Dave Ramsey recommends waiting for at least a year after marriage before buying your first home, just to give time to get settled into marriage and good money-management habits, and, as he puts it, to learn just how close to your in-laws you can afford to live! (Smile.)
Prioritize by building your marriage on a solid, biblical foundation of commitment to God first, your partner second (as a higher priority than one’s children—that’s important), family third, and then church, work, and all else coming afterward. Keeping God number one is a foundation both partners should share in common. Making a marriage work without that is very tough.
IBC: What is the greatest enemy of marriage and families today?
Joseph: The Bible addresses each gender’s area of weakness. For example, while both genders are taught by the Scriptures to love, respect, and submit to each other, men, in particular, are told to “love your wives, even as Christ loved the church” (see Ephesians 5:22-33). This points to a weakness; often we men don’t love our spouses as we should. After we “get the prize” (having gotten her married to us), we often stop treating her with affection and tender love as we did while courting. Women crave emotional intimacy more than men. They really need that from us. Men, on the whole, ought to give more attention to doing better in this area.
Likewise women, in particular, are told to “respect and obey” their husbands (again, see Ephesians 5:22-33). This points to an area of weakness. Many women don’t realize how powerful their words and treatment are in either building up their man, or tearing him down and destroying his sense of self-worth. And while women usually crave emotional intimacy more than physical intimacy, for guys it’s the other way around. We usually crave bedroom action and have need of it more often, while, regarding emotional intimacy, we’re like camels are with water. We can seemingly drink a little emotional intimacy and then go for years in the “desert” without any more. That’s no trouble for us men. In either case, where the man is not actively “loving” his wife, or the woman is not carefully “respecting and submitting” to her husband, there will be serious problems, often resulting in the destruction of the marriage. The final blow is often dealt by infidelity (either emotional or physical), but the underlying issue was there long before the infidelity began.
IBC: What book(s) (other than the Bible) do you recommend a couple read if they are struggling in their marriage?
Joseph: Without a doubt, the book on this topic I’ve recommended more than any other, next to the Bible, is Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the Bible by Jay E. Adams. It’s only a 100 pages long, but it’s so powerful because it points readers back to the Scriptures, giving them an in-depth, guided look into how very much the Bible has to say about these important areas. (In fact, I blogged about this very book recently.) The Word of God is powerful, and not only is it not silent about these topics, but it says much more than many people realize—even more than most preachers realize. This is a must read book. Get it. You won’t be sorry. Every preacher should have to read it, especially pastors.
Discovery Institute’s “Censor of the Year” award recognizes success in choking off free speech on evolution and intelligent design. To be given on Darwin Day, February 12, the prize this year will go to University of Chicago biologist Jerry Coyne, author of the popular blog Why Evolution Is True. In 2013, Coyne was instrumental in pushing Ball State University in Indiana to formally ban teaching about the scientific theory of intelligent design (ID). The move represents a milestone in the drive to punish critics of Darwinian theory.
Is the latest delay of ObamaCare regulations politically motivated? Consider what administration officials announcing the new exemption for medium-sized employers had to say about firms that might fire workers to get under the threshold and avoid hugely expensive new requirements of the law. Obama officials made clear in a press briefing that firms would not be allowed to lay off workers to get into the preferred class of those businesses with 50 to 99 employees. How will the feds know what employers were thinking when hiring and firing? Simple. Firms will be required to certify to the IRS—under penalty of perjury—that ObamaCare was not a motivating factor in their staffing decisions. To avoid ObamaCare costs you must swear that you are not trying to avoid ObamaCare costs. You can duck the law, but only if you promise not to say so.
[“That’s the good thing about being president. I can do whatever I want.” – President Obama joking about getting a restricted-access tour of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.]