At best we are just men — and at worst

Thinking of the celebrity news of the past week and what it means in my life, I come away thinking that it is futile to put your trust in men because, in the end, they are just men. Men are fallible, born to sin and not perfect. Only Jesus is. The good words of Kevin DeYoung at DeYoung, Restless and Reformed are good to review and as he considers the case of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, although they apply across the board:

The person who thinks they are immune for the temptation, should read up on Romans 7. The flesh will sell us out in a heartbeat. Why do powerful politicians and pastors and pastor’s wives throw everything away for a few minutes of pleasure? Why did Esau sell his birthright for a mess of pottage? Because we are sinners, worse than we think, more capable of wickedness and stupidity than we imagine. You can have all the hedges of protection in the world, but without the gospel and the transforming power of Christ that comes through the word of God and prayer, we still have the same heart. “Lead me not in temptation, but deliver me from evil”–pray it every day. We all have the ability to be moral morons.
Do people who sin and are caught publicly look stupid? Sure, but they are just like us. Don’t be so proud. Pray for deliverance. And for mercy. Read the rest of DeYoung’s post and consider where you are at.

Breakthrough: Restoring sight by adult stem cell treatment

Adult stem cell technology is amazing in what it can accomplish. The video below shows how sight is being restored using contact lenses coated with the person’s own stem cells. WARNING: There is eye surgery shown in parts that may be hard to watch for the squeamish.

That is great news. Josh Brahm comments on that and points out that you should be careful when reading stories about these breakthroughs. As a headline writer myself, I can say that biases aren’t always there when headlines are written. But I also know that subtleties can be lost when readers look at headlines and don’t read stories all the way through. Also, while headlines can be innocently vague, it does irritate me when stories are vaguely written or edited. That is shoddy journalism. Saying stem cell research when it is actually adult (or ISP) stem cell research is either laziness or brazen misrepresentation. Either way it’s wrong.

The death of George Tiller is a tragedy

Abortionist George Tiller was shot and killed Sunday while at church. From the story by the Associated Press:

 

Prominent late-term abortion provider George Tiller was shot and killed Sunday in a Wichita church where he was serving as an usher, his attorney said. The gunman fled but a city official said a suspect is in custody.
The city official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the case. The official did not provide additional details.
Long a focus of national anti-abortion groups, including a summer-long protest in 1991, Tiller was shot during morning services at Reformation Lutheran Church while his wife was in the choir, his attorney Dan Monnat said. Police said the gunman had fled in a car registered in Merriam, a Kansas City suburb nearly 200 miles away.
Tiller’s Women’s Health Care Services clinic is one of just three in the nation where abortions are performed after the 21st week of pregnancy.

Prominent late-term abortion provider George Tiller was shot and killed Sunday in a Wichita church where he was serving as an usher, his attorney said. The gunman fled but a city official said a suspect is in custody.

The city official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the case. The official did not provide additional details.

Long a focus of national anti-abortion groups, including a summer-long protest in 1991, Tiller was shot during morning services at Reformation Lutheran Church while his wife was in the choir, his attorney Dan Monnat said. Police said the gunman had fled in a car registered in Merriam, a Kansas City suburb nearly 200 miles away.

Tiller’s Women’s Health Care Services clinic is one of just three in the nation where abortions are performed after the 21st week of pregnancy.

This is a tragedy, plain and simple. George Tiller did not live a life that glorified God. Like the countless babies he saw in his work, his life was ended abruptly but, unlike them, he will be held accountable before God. Hopefully, there was some realization of that in whatever time he had before he died and he repented before God. For the person who did this, they did not honor God with their actions. Robert P. George, who holds strong pro-life views and teaches law at Princeton University, speaks well when he talks about Sunday’s events:

Whoever murdered George Tiller has done a gravely wicked thing.  The evil of this action is in no way diminished by the blood George Tiller had on his own hands.  No private individual had the right to execute judgment against him.  We are a nation of laws.  Lawless violence breeds only more lawless violence.  Rightly or wrongly, George Tilller was acquitted by a jury of his peers.  “Vengeance is mine, says the Lord.” For the sake of justice and right, the perpetrator of this evil deed must be prosecuted, convicted, and punished.  By word and deed, let us teach that violence against abortionists is not the answer to the violence of abortion.  Every human life is precious.  George Tiller’s life was precious.  We do not teach the wrongness of taking human life by wrongfully taking a human life.  Let our “weapons” in the fight to defend the lives of abortion’s tiny victims, be chaste weapons of the spirit.

Take your medicine but put your trust in God

Albert Mohler gives sound counsel regarding the recent case in the news about the parents who refused allowing their son to get chemotherapy to treat his cancer due to religious reasons:

As a Christian theologian, my concern is also directed to those who oppose medical treatment on what are claimed as biblical grounds.  The Bible never commands any refusal of legitimate medical treatment.  I am unspeakably thankful for modern medicine, for antibiotics and anesthesia and chemotherapy and dialysis and diagnostics.  The list goes on and on.  There is no Christian prohibition against legitimate medical treatment.  I believe that God heals, that we should pray for healing in Christ’s name, and that our lives are in God’s hands.  I believe that all healing comes ultimately from God, but that He has given us the blessings of medicine for the alleviation of much suffering and the treatment of disease.  There is no conflict here.

There are serious issues of medical ethics in the case of some treatments, even as there are excruciating dilemmas that confront physicians, patients, and parents.  Those must be acknowledged, but they are not the issues at stake in these cases.

In these cases I advise what the great Reformer Martin Luther advised — take your medicine and put your trust in God. For parents, this means to give your child the best care that modern medicine can offer, and to entrust your precious child to God and to God alone.

 

HT: Tim Challies

Iran blocks access to Facebook in run-up to June elections

Put this in the keeping-up-with-the-times category. Repressed countries like Iran can’t let technology get away from them. By all means, let’s “dialogue.” From the BBC America:

 

Facebook
Facebook says it is investigating reports of the ban

Iran’s government has blocked access to social networking site Facebook ahead of June’s presidential elections, according to Iran’s ILNA news agency.

ILNA suggested the move was aimed at stopping supporters of reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi from using the site for his campaign.

Facebook, which claims to have 175m users worldwide, expressed its disappointment over the reported ban.

So far there has been no comment from the authorities in Tehran.

‘Access not possible’

“Access to the Facebook site was prohibited several days ahead of the presidential elections,” ILNA reported.

 

Mousavi registers at the interior ministry in Tehran
Mr Mousavi was Iran’s prime minister when the post was abolished in 1989

It said that “according to certain Internet surfers, the site was banned because supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi were using Facebook to better disseminate the candidate’s positions”.

CNN staff in Tehran reported that people attempting to visit the site received a message in Farsi that said: “Access to this site is not possible.”

Facebook expressed disappointment that its site was apparently blocked in Iran “at a time when voters are turning to the Internet as a source of information about election candidates and their positions”.

Mir Hossein Mousavi, a former prime minister, is seen as one of the leading challengers to incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the 12 June elections.

His page on Facebook has more than 5,000 supporters.

 

The campaign to bring change to national security

From Jim Geraghty, at NRO, on President Obama’s campaign speech on national security Thursday:

Obama mentioned the conviction of Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, but did not mention his sentence. Upon hearing that an admitted al-Qaeda sleeper-cell member who studied chemical weapons is free to leave prison in 9 to 15 years, this “try them all if we can” may not sound so reassuring to the American people.

Beyond that, there was this glaring contradiction in Obama’s speech. He lamented the past decisions — even half-sneering that the previous administration had left “a mess” — but then said that when all the reviews were finished, there would be some prisoners who could not be tried, who could not be shipped to another country, and who could never be released. And they . . . will be detained indefinitely, he admitted.  So it is okay to hold some people for the rest of their lives without trial, but only if the president has determined that they are a serious threat to U.S. national security. Thank goodness this administration’s approach is so different from Bush’s!

Mohler: Obama avoids the issue of abortion itself

Alber Mohler says that President Obama, in his address at Notre Dame, talked about talking about abortion but never addressed the issue itself. Rather, he gave some evasive phrases:

Mr. Obama went on to call for “Open hearts. Open minds. Fair-minded words.” In the end, the President’s comments were entirely about how Americans should discuss or debate abortion. There was no serious consideration of abortion itself. President Obama merely talked about talking about abortion.

This was a moral evasion and an insult to the importance of the issue. If the President had actually addressed the issue of abortion — if he had actually even offered a defense or rationale for his own position — he would have dignified the issue. Instead, Mr. Obama issued what amounted to a call for civility.

When the President called for Americans to agree that, while differing on abortion, “we can still agree that this heart-wrenching decision for any woman is not made casually,” he failed to make clear why this is so. If the unborn baby is not a person who possesses an intrinsic right to life, why is the decision to abort so “heart-wrenching?” If the fetus is just a collection of cells, why the angst? Furthermore, does the fact that a decision is “heart-wrenching” make it right or rational?

Taking issue with Obama’s speech at Notre Dame

Don’t worry, this isn’t demonizing. It’s just taking issue with some of the things the president said Sunday during his commencement speech at Notre Dame. From Wesley Smith at Secondhand Smoke:

President Obama spoke at Notre Dame today, an invitation that created divisions within the Catholic Church that are beyond our scope or concern here. But in reading about the president’s speech, I was reminded of how adept Obama is in saying one thing while doing just the opposite; such as claiming in his speech to support a conscience clause for health professionals on the issue of abortion (which would also apply to assisted suicide, etc.). From the story:

He called for an effort to “honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded in clear ethics and sound science, as well as respect for the equality of women,” Obama said.

Obama plans to revise a Bush-era “conscience clause,” which would cut off federal funding for hospitals and health plans that didn’t allow doctors and other health-care workers to refuse to participate in care they believe conflicts with their personal or moral beliefs. Women’s health advocates and abortion rights supporters say it creates a major obstacle to family planning and other treatments.

No, Obama–or at least his administration (is there a difference?)plans to revoke the Bush conscience clause, not revise it. That is hardly honoring heterodox thinkers’ consciences.

And if we are going to base policies on “sound science,” how about starting with the biological fact that embryos and fetuses are living human organisms? Alas, during the campaign, then Senator Obama said such determinations are above his “pay grade.” (Not anymore, they’re not.) Pretending that human embryos and fetuses are not “human life” (what are they, Martian?) may not resolve these contentious ethical issues, but if our policies are going to reflect “sound science,” so that we can create policies based on “clear ethics,” then the biological facts should quit being fudged.

Know what you’re buying: Judges who have empathy vs. rule of law

Lady JusticeFrom Thomas Sowell in National Review Online:

That President Obama has made “empathy” with certain groups one of his criteria for choosing a Supreme Court nominee is a dangerous sign of how much farther the Supreme Court may be pushed away from the rule of law and toward even more arbitrary judicial edicts to advance the agenda of the Left and set it in legal concrete, immune from the democratic process.

Would you want to go into court to appear before a judge with “empathy” for groups A, B, and C, if you were a member of groups X, Y, or Z? Nothing could be farther from the rule of law. That would be bad news, even in a traffic court, much less in a court that has the last word on your rights under the Constitution of the United States.

Appoint enough Supreme Court justices with “empathy” for particular groups and you would have, for all practical purposes, repealed the 14th Amendment, which guarantees “equal protection of the laws” for all Americans. 

We would have entered a strange new world, where everybody is equal but some are more equal than others. The very idea of the rule of law becomes meaningless when it is replaced by the empathies of judges.

Barack Obama solves this contradiction, as he solves so many other problems, with rhetoric. If you believe in the rule of law, he will say the words “rule of law.” And if you are willing to buy it, he will keep on selling it.

Those people who just accept soothing words from politicians they like are gambling with the future of a nation. If you were German, would you be in favor of a law “to relieve the distress of the German people and nation”? That was the law that gave Hitler dictatorial power.

He was just another German chancellor at the time. He was not elected on a platform of war, dictatorship, or genocide. He got the power to do those things because of a law “to relieve the distress of the German people.”

When you buy words, you had better know what you are buying.