31 August 2012

Lincoln On Abortion In Light of the New Tolerance

What would Abe Lincoln have to say about abortion in this country?  I'm not positive, but I think I have an idea.  Below, I adapted a paragraph from a speech he made on March 6, 1860, in New Haven, CT on slavery to the idea of abortion.  I think it fits our culture rather well, being descriptive of the fear (in the New Tolerance) of pronouncing anything as propositionally wrong; this is the position of the so-called 'pro-choice' advocate.

What we want, and all we want, is to have with us the men who think abortion[1] wrong. But those who say they hate abortion[1], and are opposed to it, but yet act with the Democratic party -- where are they? Let us apply a few tests. You say that you think abortion[1] is wrong, but you denounce all attempts to restrain it. Is there anything else that you think wrong, that you are not willing to deal with as a wrong? Why are you so careful, so tender of this one wrong and no other? You will not let us do a single thing as if it was wrong; there is no place where you will allow it to be even called wrong! We must not call it wrong in the Red[2] States, because it is not there, and we must not call it wrong in the Blue[3] States because it is there; we must not call it wrong in politics because that is bringing morality into politics, and we must not call it wrong in the pulpit because that is bringing politics into religion; we must not bring it into the University[4] or the other institutions[5], because those are such unsuitable places, and there is no single place, according to you, where this wrong thing can properly be called wrong!

[1] original word was ‘slavery’
[2] original word was ‘Free’
[3] original word was ‘Slave’
[4] original words were ‘Tract Society’
[5] original word was ‘societies’

21 August 2012

Is Pedophilia A Version of Homosexuality?

I commented to a recent post on Facebook on this topic.  The punchline of the FB post was this-

Can you think of a more inappropriate place for a gay man or boy to be than surrounded by other boys? Why don't we just let child molesters teach kindergarten?

The context of the comment was a response to a recent Atlantic editorial piece that suggested that Boy Scouts be killed like rabid dogs for the BSA policy which prohibits homosexuals from serving as Scoutmasters. It was a typical leftist hit-piece and really deserves no consideration at all, other than as an example of the hypocrisy and the hate on the far left.  It was addressed by a response on Brietbart, and this is from where part of the quote came.

But I also have some problems with the implications of the comment.  Here's how I addressed it in my FB reply-

The argument from the left is that pedophilia and homosexuality are not the same thing. I think that's a true statement, to the degree that it is a sentiment more than a viable descriptor of reality. Pedophilia crosses a lot of other demographic lines than just sexual orientation. The problem is, statistical facts don't favor the sentiment wholesale. The probability of someone being a pedophile is pretty low. The probability of someone being a pedophile given that they are a homosexual is still pretty low, though it is much higher than the probability of being a pedophile given that they are heterosexual*. Correlation does not imply causation, and we shouldn't conclude that being a homosexual is a cause of pedophilia. However, we do know the statistical relationship is different, so we need to try to understand what the underlying causal factors are.

This is a complex problem and deserves a careful analysis, but in the mean time, children cannot be put at risk while we figure out the best answers to the important questions on causality.

There are two mistakes, both of them harmful, that can be made in this situation: (1) to wrongly accuse non-pedophilic homosexuals of wanting access to children for pedophilic reasons, or (2) allowing pedophiles access to children because we don't want to wrongly accuse someone of being a pedophile.

I hope the lesser of two evils is clear to everyone.
[*homosexual and heterosexual are meant in terms of the offense, not status in their 'normal' life...if 'normal life status' is considered, it appears more child-offending males are married than are single...this doesn't really add any information for obvious reasons]

The whole point of my post is this:  we can't equate pedophilia with homosexuality any more than we can equate it with heterosexuality.  Placing a gay man who is not a pedophile around boys is no more dangerous than placing a straight man who is not a pedophile around girls. Nonetheless, there are questions around this issue that remain to be resolved. One of the most daunting tasks is to find research which has been conducted in a neutral manner without an a priori agenda.  Try an internet search and see how many articles you can find that are not from either the far right or the far left, and clearly so. Isolating facts is difficult.  And all the agendas are decidedly not helpful to those seeking a legitimate answer to the questions.

So what are a few of the facts that cause one to question the causality?  Well, the first fact with which I can find almost no disagreement is, almost all sexual abuse of pre-pubescent children is committed by males, not females. The other fact which is fairly stable in the research, though it has fluctuated over time, is that about a third of sexual assaults on pre-pubescent children are on boys.

Determining which child-offenders is a heterosexual and which is a homosexual is difficult.  Self-identification is risky.  And arbitrary labelling is probably not very accurate.  For example, how do we choose to label the offender: by the gender of his victim, or the fact that he has a wife?  If he molests boys but is married (like the recent offender at Penn State), is he homosexual or heterosexual?  What if an offender (who is male) molests both boys and girls?  What do we do in the (rare) case of a male offender who is homosexual with his adult relationships but molests girls?

All these are going to be very difficult questions to answer. In the mean time, our duty to protect children outweighs our duty not to offend homosexuals who are indeed not pedophiles.

This is a divisive topic that deserves more thought.  It won't be easily answered because getting to the root of what causes pedophilia is not an easy task.  It is made even harder when the experts cannot consider 'sin' as part of the problem.  But it is a necessary task, and for many more reasons than simply finding the best policy for the Boy Scouts of America concerning who can be a Scoutmaster.

When the Law of Unintended Consequences Works in Your Favor

You may remember the scuffle earlier this year when Vanderbilt University passed a discriminatory policy (discriminating against evangelical Christian groups) in the name of tolerance.  Well, not surprisingly to those of us know know something about the history of Christianity and what happens when the church is persecuted, this ruling is furthering the Kingdom of Christ.

Here's a quote from a recent blog post by Byron Yawn-

...I have a message for the faculty of Vanderbilt: THANK YOU. Thank you so much for implementing this policy, because you have taught my church members who are students at your campus things I couldn’t have taught them in years, and you have done that in just a summer.

This demonstration of white collar persecution has succeeded in lighting a fire under their faith. Essentially, you have brought the gospel to life for them. You have turned these students into fervent prayers for Vanderbilt, interceding for the students there and for the gospel. You have provoked them into becoming fervent evangelists. They know now first hand that they are surrounded by people who are alienated from God. The fact that Christian groups are no longer allowed to meet on campus provides incontrovertible evidence that their campus leaders are hostile towards Christ and His church.

You have given them a small and appropriately Americanized view of what opposition to Christ’s church looks like. It has caused the students who love the Lord to realize that college is not a game, but an opportunity to reach the lost.

Gotta love those secular humanists at Vandy for helping to stamp out moralistic therapeutic deism and replace it with gospel-saturated Christianity.

15 August 2012

When Justice Becomes Injustice: Penn State

This morning, I heard on Al Mohler's podcast, The Briefing (which I listen to every day, and recommend you do too) that Penn State is now in danger of having their accreditation yanked by their regional accrediting agency because of findings in the Freeh Report.

Nuttiness has moved to insanity.

If this happens (which isn't likely, but possible), that means we can now add to the list of people punished for the perpetrator's sins (remember, I won't use his name on this blog)-

all 44,000 (ish) current students, and however many future students enroll until the sanctions are lifted.

How are they being punished?  Try using a degree from a non-accredited institution to get a job, or even worse, to transfer credit to another school.

Now, I'm not a softy on punishment for crime.  I'm a bit of a redneck, in fact.  I'm of the opinion that the perpetrator didn't get what he deserved.  He'll likely get some ridiculous number which will translate to a life sentence.  Think about that.  They are sending a homosexual pedophile to prison.  That's like sentencing a sex addict to house arrest at Hugh Hefner's place.  My idea of a sentence is that he should be fed (slowly) into a wood chipper, genitalia-first. So you can't argue I'm opposed to tough sentences for actual crimes.

Let's look at the list of who's been punished so far-

  1) the perp (that's a good thing)
  2) the school president and athletic director (fired, awaiting trial; probably a good thing as they bear some culpability
  3) Joe Paterno (probably should have lost his job, but many of the other penalties were over-zealous)
  4) Every football player at Penn State since 1997 (all victories erased; absolutely terrible injustice...what did they have to do with the crimes?)
  5) Students and supporters at Penn State since 1997 (same as the previous point with regards to athletics)
  6) Local businesses (who will suffer greatly under the football sanctions for the next four or more years)
  7) The local economy, and thus everyone in State College, PA (you don't yank sixty million dollars out of a small-town economy and expect nothing bad to happen in that small town)
  8) The victims of the perpetrator (yep...with the insanity of the broadcast punishments, don't expect the unfortunate victims to go peacefully into the night...some kooks will blame them for the hardships that are unfairly brought on those listed above...this won't be fair but it will negatively affect the victims of the crimes of the perpetrator)
  9) The Truth (everyone is afraid to speak up for the not-guilty who are being punished right now...people like me, but who have a bigger voice, will take a lot of flack for defending Penn State even though Penn State is not a pedophile)

And just as importantly, look who is not being punished so far-

  1) Other minor players who directly facilitated the abuse (because of the lack of time and thoroughness of the Freeh Report, and the school's insistence to grab it and run with it (no pun intended), a careful investigation of the details has not yet happened...this almost surely means that some of the more egregiously guilty are walking away without sanction).
  2) Individual trustees who, in the interest of covering their own rear-ends, have not pursued remedies more favorable to the innocent.

Criminal activity has taken place in college athletic programs in the past.  Remember the Baylor basketball player being murdered by a teammate over an alleged drug deal?  What about the rapes we hear about on an almost-annual basis out of some of the other powerhouse schools?  Where's the precedent for what happened to Penn State?  Is the rape of a co-ed any less damaging to that person than the rape of a child?  Is the murder of a student any less criminal than what the perpetrator did?  All of them are terrible.  All of them deserve a swift, but accurate, application of justice.  But should we vacate Baylor's 30-win season in basketball because of what happened there in 2003?  That's within the time-frame of how long Penn State suffered.

Before we are done, we may see as much injustice in response to the crimes as we saw in the crimes themselves.  And that's criminal.

13 August 2012

Mass-Media Worship

I tease my kids (though with a sense of irony) about watching their favorite shows on Disney Channel and such.  I walk in from work, and finding them watching an episode of the latest teen idol fad doing something inane, ask them how many brain cells they've killed today.  They look at me like I'm a dork.

We've restricted these shows to no more than an hour a day during the summer, and one episode during the school year, and that only after the homework is done.  But they don't seem to get it, in spite of my repeated explanations.  Of course, I was the same way, except the shows were Gilligan's Island, Hogan's Heroes, The Brady Bunch, etc.  I didn't get it either, and didn't figure it out till much later.

Here's a pretty good way to stating the point...I just wish I could get my kids to agree.

09 August 2012

Neat Article on Allyson Felix's Father

Most everyone knows that Allyson Felix won the gold medal in the women's 200m in London.  Not many know about her dad.  He's a professor at John MacArthur's Master's Seminary.

Here's a neat short article about them.

Here's another article with some more details about her life.

01 August 2012

You Cheat, You Lose

I'm very amused by some of the reactions to the expulsion from the Olympic Games of 8 badminton players who cheated.  (Yes, cheated...purposefully losing a match to improve your draw in the next round is cheating.)

Then, in a classic effort of self-justification, some are blaming the problem on the tournament format.  That's like Adam blaming God for giving him the woman.  Didn't work then, won't work now.

Here's a summary story.

Have Some Chicken Today

Chick-fil-a Report: The restaurant on Coulter in Amarillo is a madhouse. It sits in a Lowe's parking lot, and when I got there at 10:55, the CFA lot was full and the Lowe's lot (about 4 acres) was a third full, all parked in the CFA corner. Lines were out the door, but service was brisk and everyone inside was much more friendly and conversational than normal, even for the TX panhandle. Lots of smart-phone cameras...expect to see film from many on the various social media outlets later.

The Amarillo Police Department was present, but so far there wasn't any trouble.  Based on the Twitter traffic I'm seeing, there doesn't seem to be much of a boycott...more of a buycott.  In at least one city (Wake Forest), the crowds are so large, the police are having to direct traffic.

I bought CFA for the entire office. Stand up for the first amendment and go to Chick-fil-a today! 
This isn't about religion folks, it's about free speech.