Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"In sickness and in health..." It's for more than just the flu

On May 19, 2009, my husband died. He was 57. As foreign and inconceivable as these words still appear to my present consciousness, I have awakened each morning since to this stark reality with the deepest and near palpable sense of loss imaginable. I not only loved my husband. I was also still very much in love with him when he died, which is what, perhaps, has tipped the scales towards my ultimate acknowledgement that this profound experience of losing a spouse is nothing akin to a divorce. After the failure of my first marriage, I had come to the unfortunate conclusion that divorce was like a death, except the person from whom you were now divorced was still very much alive. Now, I realize the falsity of that conclusion as I am humbly and indelibly struck by the finality of “till death do us part”.

Over the past year or so, I have watched with careful interest the struggles with cancer of the late, former White House press secretary, Tony Snow, "Last Lecture" sensation Randy Pausch, and UK reality-TV celebrity Jade Goody, as well as actors Patrick Swayze and Farrah Fawcett, and certainly identified closely with different aspects of their much-publicized scenarios as only one who is “walking the walk” can. To be sure, I was not the one diagnosed with colorectal cancer that later metastasized to the liver and to both lungs; it was my husband. But I had become his fierce and unwavering advocate, determined to remain one step ahead of his current treatment options and beat this “mistress” that threatened to consume and snatch him away at will. And we were a team. We had been college sweethearts. We had been separated for 22 years not because of a row or argument but by extenuating circumstances, without either of us knowing how to make contact directly. And we had been reunited – by God, we were certain – through extraordinary circumstances on Christmas Day 2001 when my father died, and it was only God that we determined would separate us a second time.

And, make no mistake, my husband fought the good fight. And I was proud of him, proud of how he conducted himself throughout his journey with cancer, proud of the very real inspiration he became to everyone with whom he had contact. Doctors, nurses, fellow patients, our neighborhood supermarket cashiers and checkout personnel, the neighborhood florist, fellow church members, siblings, our immediate family, and close friends can all attest to this. But, perhaps, no one knew better than I did his private struggles and the depths to which he had to dig spiritually to remain optimistic and upbeat despite endless rounds of radiation treatments, surgeries, chemotherapy sessions, alternative interventional radiology procedures, and holistic remedies. Without a doubt, there were times I was in awe of his courage and his strength, times when I knew I would have personally given up were our situations reversed. But I dared not say or imply such a thing. I was his "air" he would tell me, and I was not about to let him suffocate. My husband determined early on not to allow this disease to define his walk, his legacy, or the quality of life that he resolved to enjoy with us. Truthfully, it was not until the last five months of his valiant four and a half-year battle to remain with us that most people became aware of how seriously ill my husband truly was. And I was honored and happy to care for him and attend to the details he no longer could.

On August 24, we would have been married five years. Over the past four and a half years since my husband’s initial awareness that something was very wrong and his official diagnosis, we have looked back often to the time we got married and the vows we took on our wedding day, “…in sickness and in health…” For one hundred percent sure, neither of us were thinking cancer. I very much doubt, in fact, that any typical couple getting married does. Sure, you think the flu…or even a broken something…and yes, you’re willing to run to the corner store for Kleenex and Tylenol, and are even willing to make the proverbial chicken soup. No one’s thinking cancer. Or, something terminal. But, there we were…almost straight out of the starting gate within a few months of our wedding vows with the wind sucked out of our sail. Would we still have gone through with our marriage had we known what was coming down the pike? To be sure, we have asked that question of ourselves several times over the past few years and have come to the unmistakable conclusion: Yes, we would. Has it been an easy road? Unequivocally, no. But, somehow, perhaps because of our faith, we were able to look past our daily circumstance and see God’s grace over our entire situation, if only in bringing my husband full circle and back into my life, which is where he wanted to spend precious time if these were destined to be his final days on earth.

All of which brings me to the unfortunate recognition that not everyone would have chosen to remain together. In fact, as we journeyed through each hospital visit and stay, we became aware of the fascination we provided to several people, from doctors to nurses to patient care technicians. “We’re so glad to see you two together!” they would say, which meant what exactly, we used to wonder at first? Simply, they had seen enough to know that too many couples never make it through such a journey with illness. And we heard the horror stories of men who bolted the minute the diagnosis was given and the wife was facing a double mastectomy, or the women who left for “greener pastures” once the husband was no longer able to support the household or perform sexually as before. “Who are these people?” I would ask, if only to assuage any insecurities my husband might have in that regard.

Without question, I understand the stage of the journey that Farrah Fawcett and Patrick Swayze are now in, and I pray for a miracle for them. I know also the torment their respective partners are going through…and my heart goes out to them. Their journeys have been different with respect to the nature of their relationships. Patrick has been married to his longtime sweetheart, Lisa Niemi, for 33 years while the path for Farrah and Ryan has hardly been a straight one. And it really makes one wonder, doesn’t it, why, now, after a tumultuous but long-term 29-year cohabiting relationship, Farrah is finally saying yes to Ryan’s marriage proposal? Is it just because she knows she is dying and won’t have long to put up with his “bossy” ways? Is it because she has finally seen that commitment has been the watershed issue of their relationship? Or, is there something more fundamental to these marriage vows, when taken with our eyes wide open, which recognizes that marriage is not just about a “piece of paper”? It is a deeper, spiritual acknowledgment that you are willing to walk the walk and not just talk the talk in a relationship, and that you are in it for the long haul, “forsaking all others, for richer for poorer, for better for worse, in sickness and in health till death do you part”. Somehow, “let’s live together, baby” doesn’t quite have the same feel ultimately.

Finally, no divorce could bring the sense of peace I now have that I did everything possible to remain faithful, supportive, and committed to my marriage, and to loving my husband in the way he demonstrated so visibly every day his consuming love and commitment to me. Certainly, I rest also in the knowledge that my husband and I didn’t part because we could not reconcile our differences. And I am grateful for the life lessons I have learned throughout, the insight on and the deep compassion I have now for the millions of couples struggling with prolonged sickness and health issues within their marriage. I am a better person for having walked this walk with my husband, and I would do it again in a heartbeat because of the man he was. If I go back to our beginnings, I remember thinking from the outset what a breath of fresh air this man was. And he proved me right. He knew straight up what he wanted - me - and has continued to love me unconditionally through the years. Beyond the shadow of a doubt, I am left with a distinctly vacant feeling of having lost something extremely valuable, magnified, perhaps, one hundred-fold. But now, my children have seen a fine example of manhood and fatherhood and, as women, what they ought to expect and value in a good husband. That alone is a gift beyond compare. The rest – and our restoration – is now up to God. And He has our full attention.



Editors' Note: We note sadly that Patrick Swayze passed away on September 14, 2009 after a valiant battle with pancreatic cancer. Farrah Fawcett succumbed to anal cancer on June 25, 2009 after a near three-years battle. We convey our deepest condolences to their respective families.



RELATED ARTICLE: Coping when a partner has a terminal illness Times Online- UK, August 28, 2008
Confronting a fatal illness in a partner can put intolerable strain on a couple. But society expects saint-like behaviour. . .


RELATED ARTICLE: Taking Their Lives into Their Own Hands Gainesville Sun, By Lauren Levy- Newsies Contributing Writer, April 17, 2009
When my father was diagnosed with colorectal cancer four years ago, I was not aware of the journey this would take my family on. . . . . . Throughout this process, it has become evident that patients, especially when dealing with multidisciplinary diseases like cancer, need to be thoroughly proactive when it comes to their health care treatments; simply relying on the diagnoses of their doctors without doing their own research can cost them their lives. . .


RELATED ARTICLE:
Once-fatal cancers now treated as a chronic disease International Herald Tribune, By Jane E. Brody, June 17, 2008
Fisch calls the new therapy for advanced cancer "the hitchhiker model." Time is bought by going from point A, the first-line therapy, to point B, the second-line therapy, to point C, the third line of therapy, and so on. The approach can continue indefinitely, as long as new therapies become available and patients remain well enough to withstand the rigors of treatment. But Fisch noted that adding meaningful years to the lives of patients with advanced cancer depends in part on avoiding the attitude, prevalent among some physicians, that cancer is hopeless after it has metastasized. . .


RELATED ARTICLE: Fear is a waste of time Townhall.com- Free Republic.com, By Tony Snow, September 16, 2005
Still, the last few months -- my time of surgery and chemo -- have been the happiest and most thrilling of my life. They have confirmed lessons that seem at once too good to be true, and too important and vital not to be. Here is a short inventory: Faith matters. Prayers heal. Love overcomes. People want to do good for others; they just need excuses. Fear is a waste of time. The worst that can happen is that we'll die -- which happens to everybody, anyway. Until the Grim Reaper comes knocking, we're alive. . .


RELATED ARTICLE:
A diagnosis of cancer is trying for any marriage Boston Globe, By Judy Foreman, August 22, 2005
Obviously, when cancer strikes, there's no easy role in any marriage, whether you're the patient or the spouse. What makes some marriages fall apart under the strain of cancer and others get stronger? That's a tough one, but researchers are finding some clues. . .



Posted by Donna Kassin, President & Founder- The Real Proposal magazine


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Yes, we did. But we're not ready to throw confetti

The people of America have spoken. And who among us could not feel pride at this transcendental moment in American history when we, the people, elected the first African-American president of the United States of America? To not acknowledge and savor this historic moment in a nation that once considered blacks property would be churlish. Indeed, Mr. Obama is to be sincerely congratulated. It is a historic accomplishment for him to become the first African-American to be elected to the highest office in the land, and we can understand the nation's pride and jubilance in this achievement. Many of us desired to vote for Mr. Obama not just because of its historical significance but because, to be sure, on several other levels he is qualified for the office of the presidency. But we couldn’t. And, instead, many of us find ourselves in a grieving process of sorts, not because of Mr. Obama's victory but because his advent represents a potential threat to what many in this country revere as core foundational principles that have been the cornerstones upon which our great nation has been built, and upon which we have thrived to become, certainly, one of the wealthiest and most powerful nations on this planet.

To be sure, the institution of marriage as it has been defined for millennia as the union of one man and one woman is no longer secure with Mr. Obama at the helm. Neither is the sanctity of human life, if his voting record in favor of abortion on demand at any stage within a woman’s nine-month pregnancy is to be viewed as a precursor of his intent for our laws that govern abortion and the rights of the unborn.

We have no interest in deciphering Mr. Obama's "nuances" such as when he states his belief that marriage is "between a man and a woman," and that he is "not in favor of gay marriage," while, at the same time, reiterating his clear opposition to Proposition 8 — the California ballot measure which has, at least for now, restored to the state of California the traditional definition of marriage that was usurped by a renegade State Supreme Court to include same-sex couples. Let's just look at the facts. Mr. Obama has indicated clearly to homosexual lobby groups his unequivocal determination to invoke a complete repeal of both sections of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which, essentially, defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman for purposes of all federal laws, and provides that states need not recognize a marriage from another state if it is between persons of the same sex. As a constitutional scholar, Mr. Obama knows exactly what this would mean to those, now, 30 states that have voted to amend their state constitutions to protect the definition of marriage between one man and one woman. A repeal of the DOMA would likely mean renewed challenges to the amended constitutions of these states by homosexual lobby groups, who are seemingly able to bend the ears of our state judiciaries with the kind of compassionate ill-logic and false arguments that demand legislation from the bench. This is precisely what is happening now in California, even after a clear and decisive victory — for the second time — to secure the traditional definition of marriage in state law, according to the democratic will of the people. Homosexuals typically argue that such legislative intervention is authorized by and entrenched in our constitution to protect minorities from the "tyrannical will of the majority." But isn't that the very definition of tyranny?

Further, Mr. Obama is being hypocritical — not just pandering to special interest groups — when he stands before a black church on Father's Day admonishing black fathers for absconding their financial and parental responsibilities to children they have fathered, and extolling the virtues of intact families and the critical role that fathers play in maintaining the foundation of the family while, at the same time, giving support to lesbians that want to adopt children and create families, which by their very nature remove a father from the equation.

Furthermore, Mr. Obama seems committed to becoming the most liberal pro-abortion president ever voted into office. Unbelievably, he is the only elected official on record for supporting infanticide for babies that have survived botched abortions. Therefore, can anyone doubt that, when the time comes, he will appoint to the United States Supreme Court liberal judges who reflect his ideology? More and more Americans are learning that the real Barack Obama is firmly committed to an agenda of sweeping pro-abortion policy changes, which, if implemented, could drastically increase the numbers of abortions performed, even on under-age girls without having to secure the consent of at least one of their parents. One component of the Obama abortion agenda, the so-called “Freedom of Choice Act” (FOCA, S. 1173), is coming under increased scrutiny from many quarters. The FOCA is the most sweeping piece of pro-abortion legislation ever proposed in Congress. It is a bill that would establish a federal “abortion right” broader than Roe v. Wade and, in the words of the National Organization for Women, “sweep away hundreds of anti-abortion laws [and] policies.” In fact, in his too-little-noted speech to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund on July 17, 2007, Mr. Obama said, “The first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That's the first thing that I'd do.”

Without a doubt, Mr. Obama continually demonstrates that he suffers from the same malady as so many others whom we look up to as the "intellectual elite" — he's educated beyond his intelligence yet still fundamentally lacking in wisdom. And, indeed, we cannot support a man who has declared that, should one of his daughters make a mistake and come up pregnant, he would not want to see her "punished with a baby." Without any euphemistic substitutions such as "fetus" or "tissue blob," Mr. Obama has provided further evidence of his hypocrisy — that his knowledge of what is being killed en utero through abortion is not "above his pay grade."

When all is said and done, our hope is not in a political process...or a man, for that matter. Our hope remains in God and we cannot forget that. He hasn't made a mistake. Nor has He lost control of things. And maybe His ways are, indeed, higher than ours and, eventually, all things will work together for our good. Until such time, however, unlike what Mr. Obama proclaimed in his now historic acceptance speech as our newly-minted president-elect, the issues that cause us concern cannot be swept under the carpet or just labeled as some kind of "partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long". The issues we raise are substantive and go well beyond partisanship as the very continuation of our society depends on the respect for life and the recognition that such life is best and ideally raised in a traditional family structure consisting of a loving mother and father. Mr. Obama, as our new president-elect, has now stated for the record:

“... Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House— a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, ‘We are not enemies, but friends…though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection.’ And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn— I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too...”

Magnanimity aside — if only because Mr. Obama's continuous rhetoric has, by far, trumped his performance record — we can only hope so. And we can only hope also that, because he has witnessed the power of our democracy, he will determine to uphold and act upon the clear and decisive will of the people demonstrated in California, Arizona, Florida, and 27 other states, so far, regarding the definition of marriage. Proposition 8, Proposition 102, and Proposition 2 have won by 52.5%, 56.5%, and 62% majorities respectively through the same democratic process that has now elected Mr. Obama president. Yet, even now, there are many within the media that are continuing to push their own agenda and that of homosexual lobby groups by postulating a seeming "paradox" of an election that has given the presidency of the United States to the first African-American in our history yet has failed to give "equal rights" to homosexuals. But the evidence is clear. The electorate is awakening to the marketing ruse that is being sold to them regarding homosexuality. They are awakening to the "nuanced" positions, which deceptively seek to equate clearly inherent human characteristics such as race and gender with homosexual proclivities, and to enshrine homosexual preferences as "inalienable rights" endowed by our Creator.

Mr. Obama may have succeeded in convincing a majority of Americans that a vote for him was in their best interest. But what is now clear is that he was incapable of convincing even his biggest supporters — the African-American community — to vote their interests, only as he defined them. Analysts report that the marriage measures would not have passed without black voter support, and that 70% of black voters supported the ballot initiatives on marriage. Without a doubt, this is an indication that, while many citizens voted to support a black candidate in this historic election, they did not support his liberal policy positions. Americans are defined by more than their paychecks, and this is a fact that Mr. Obama will come to appreciate more and more in the days ahead.

Finally, our nation — and, indeed, the world — has an answer to the rhetorical question of old, "Is America able to elect a Black president?" Well, yes, we can. Finally, we also have an answer regarding whether we would ever retire and move beyond the Jesse Jackson's and the Al Sharpton's as the face of leadership in the African-American community, and the incessant arguing about race relations. Well, obviously, we can. And we should. By virtue of the Afro-Caribbean roots in our diverse family tree at The Real Proposal magazine, we have an enormous interest in seeing the first legitimate African-American contender succeed in the highest office of the land...just not his liberal agenda. And were these issues not sufficient for pause, there are still yet unanswered questions regarding Mr. Obama's background and past affiliations. So, pardon us, if we're not quite ready to throw the inauguration confetti.





RELATED VIDEO: Obama Citizenship: (Ep. 6: October Surprise) You Tube.com, October 10, 2008
In "October Surprise", Molotov Mitchell interviews the plaintiff, Philip Berg, in a stunning federal case against Barack Obama. The case is nothing short of electrifying, but the mainstream media is doing its best to keep Americans in the dark. Philip Berg is a Pennsylvania attorney who describes himself as a lifelong Democrat, the former Democratic Chairman of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, an 8-year member of the state democratic committee, a former Deputy Attorney General of Pennsylvania, and a past candidate for both governor of Pennsylvania and United States Senator.


RELATED ARTICLE: Lawyer challenges Obama Citizenship? Truth or Fiction.com


RELATED ARTICLE: Efforts to Sell Obama to Pro-Life Americans Collide With His Support for Sweeping Pro-abortion Policy Changes National Right to Life Committee, By Douglas Johnson-Legislative Director, October 7, 2008


RELATED ARTICLE: Obama’s Communist Mentor Accuracy in Media, By Cliff Kincaid, February 18, 2008



Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Yes! Yes! and Yes! on California, Arizona and Florida Propositions 8, 102, and 2!

If you blinked during the mainstream media’s blanket coverage of Wall Street's recent meltdown and the government’s subsequent bailout response plan, or their heightened coverage of the 2008 Presidential elections, you may have missed the fact that Connecticut recently became the third state of our union to legalize same-sex marriage by judicial fiat. To be sure, there was none of the frenetic coverage accorded the California Supreme Court decision in May to legalize same-sex marriage in that state, or the subsequent spectacles afforded the nation by the same-sex weddings that took place en masse when the law handed down by the state judiciary took effect on June 16. But make no mistake, next to the presidential election, California Proposition 8 is the most important vote in America. It will determine the definition of marriage for the largest state in America, and it will determine whether judges or society will decide on social-moral issues.

Arizona and Florida have similar proposals on their ballots — Proposition 102 and Proposition 2, respectively — which seek to amend their state constitutions to define Marriage as the union of one man and one woman. While it is vital that these propositions pass decisively, in some cases like Florida by more than a 60% majority to ratify that state's constitutional amendment, the situation in California is, perhaps, the most critical. Indeed, Proposition 8 represents the only option at this stage to return democratic governance to the people of California who already voted by a 61% majority in 2000, through Proposition 22, to preserve marriage in state law as the union of one man and one woman. Conservative commentator and scholar, Dennis Prager, summarizes the California situation:

"...What we have here is truly manipulative. Four justices create a right, and then a sympathetic attorney general renames a proposition so as to protect a 4-month-old right that no one had ever voted to create. And the left accuses the right of imposing its values on society..."


Who knew that we would ever see the day when it became necessary to define what marriage is in America... or the world for that matter? That said, no one could follow, for any length of time, our continuing coverage on this very critical sociopolitical issue without realizing that, whether we like it or not, the on-going and increasingly aggressive battle to redefine marriage is the next civil rights frontier in America! Most people do not fully comprehend how we got to this place. Many have a distorted perspective on the issues based on what is being fed to us by the mainstream media, who are largely complicit with the homosexual agenda and follow their playbook and manifesto quite diligently in the effort to convert straight America into accepting homosexuality as anything but deviant behavior. Therefore, we urge you to spend some time going through our coverage on the issue. For, without a doubt, the blinders will fall away and it will become clear that there is a very careful, very deliberate, very well financed and orchestrated marketing strategy being executed by radical homosexual activists to normalize same-sex relationships in this country. And you will likely be outraged that somewhere along the way — while most of us who believe in traditional marriage were enjoying our precious freedoms, taking kids to soccer, ordering pizza and watching our favorite shows — we were being manipulated and vilified as society’s new "haters," "bigots," and "homophobes." But, as Prager points out:

"…These charges of "hate" against proponents of retaining the man-woman definition of marriage do not speak well for those who make them. I, for one, find it easy to believe that most opponents and most proponents of Proposition 8 are decent people. There are millions of decent people who think marriage should be redefined. I think they are wrong, but I do not question their decency. Why won't those who favor redefining marriage accord the same respect to the millions of us who want gays to be allowed to love whom they want, live with whom they want, be given the rights they deserve along with the dignity they deserve, but who still want marriage to remain man-woman?…”


Indeed, we are just beginning to get some honest answers from homosexual activists with respect to these questions. Clearly, many of them like Peter Tatchell — a human rights campaigner, and a member of the queer rights group OutRage! and the left wing of the UK Green Party — already know that homosexuality isn’t natural and are actually saying out loud now what many researchers, psychologists, and social scientists have been saying all along, which is that we ought to ignore those researchers who claim to have discovered a ‘gay gene’ because gay desire is not genetically determined. But consider now what homosexual activists like John Corvino — a philosophy professor at Wayne State University in Detroit who travels the country speaking on homosexuality and ethics — are saying now in the midst of all the deception being spouted regarding what it is exactly that homosexuals are seeking from society at large. For many years, the homosexual agenda’s intentions, goals, and beliefs have been shrouded in smokescreens of “equality,” “benefits,” and “fairness.” But Corvino provided a breath of fresh air recently by telling us, honestly, that what homosexuals really want goes well beyond tolerance. What they want, he says, is moral approval. However, Austin Nimocks — senior legal counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, a legal alliance defending the right to hear and speak the Truth through strategy, training, funding, and litigation — breaks down what this translates to for the rest of us and reminds us that, unfortunately, this is a mindset we cannot afford:

"…This groundbreaking concession now provides an opportunity for an honest public discourse on what homosexual advocates are really after. They want your heart and soul. It’s not enough to just be tolerant.

Now, I realize that you probably believe that your fair-mindedness is sufficient for any number of circumstances in life, but on this issue, you have been duped. You see, moral approval goes well beyond fairness or tolerance. It requires you to look upon the homosexual behavior of another and say to yourself and others, “That’s a good thing.” Moral approval means that you plan to teach it to your kids as righteous and true, and not just as something that other people do (and then secretly pray that you never find your kids doing). Moral approval means that you must reject other people, businesses, and persons who do not morally approve of homosexual behavior.

Most of all, moral approval means that you not only permit it in your home, but you embrace it. You applaud TV shows that celebrate it, Web sites that promote it, books that endorse it, and you may even choose to practice it. Moral approval goes to the very essence of our person.

Not convinced that anyone could want something that radical from you? Well, there’s no need to accept something just because I say it. Instead, look at the strategy employed by those who promote this agenda—in the courts. That alone tells you something. Courts are not sought by people who simply want you to tolerate an idea. Courts order people to do things. From just this small sample of court cases, you can see that tolerance or simple access to certain “benefits” is no longer enough. What is desired is court-ordered moral approval:…"


So, what’s really at stake in this same-sex marriage debate? For one thing, our religious liberty, as we discussed at length after the California Supreme Court ruling. And for another, our First Amendment rights to free speech. However, as R. Albert Mohler Jr., President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., reminds us, when we go out to vote YES on Proposition 8 in California, Proposition 2 in Florida, and Proposition 102 in Arizona, ours is not the odd and out-of-step position that it is typically characterized as by the mainstream media. Same-sex marriage may, for now, be legal in three of fifty states in the United States. And beyond our borders, it is legal in the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, South Africa, Canada and Norway. However, this represents a very small percentage of the world's population. Same-sex marriage is, by any measure, the exception rather than the rule. Even when legalized civil unions and domestic partnerships are thrown into the mix, the countries that consider same-sex unions and heterosexual marriages to be equal before the law represent a small percentage of the world's nations.

Keep that in mind when you observe the media's coverage of the issue. Keep that in mind as you determine to understand why Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and most every major religion as well as every civilized culture have weighed and, ultimately, rejected homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle. And keep that in mind as you vote YES to preserve the definition of Marriage. It has always been—and should continue to be— defined as one man, one woman!





RELATED BROADCAST: Preserving Marriage Foundation- Part 1 Focus on the Family.org, September 29, 2008
Radio talk show host Dennis Prager discusses the biblical foundation of marriage and offers a thoughtful examination of how that foundation is being undermined in American culture.


RELATED BROADCAST: Preserving Marriage Foundation- Part 2 Focus on the Family.org, September 30, 2008




Monday, August 18, 2008

John McCain or Barack Obama? For us, there’s only one option

Last weekend's courting of evangelicals by John McCain and Barack Obama at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church Civil Forum makes this photo we received recently of Barack Obama under the header "Photo U Won't See on FOX!!!!" even more relevant. Was this just another “photo-op” in a carefully orchestrated PR campaign to dispel the uneasy qualms of a still-questioning public regarding Obama's Christian credo in light of his Islamic fundamentalist upbringing at an Indonesian school in his formative years? We'll leave you to decide.

However, on so many levels, it is not just Barack Obama that needs our prayers. We need to pray also for John McCain, and for this country. In fact, we ought to be praying that, come November, we do not get the kind of president we truly deserve. Why? Because, as the presidential elections approach and we take a hard look at the sociopolitical and cultural landscape in this country, can we truly say that, as America's Founding Fathers wisely intended, we are still one nation...under God? Hardly. The sad reality is that both presumptive candidates for the presidency of the United States — chosen, ultimately, from a decidedly tainted pack from both sides of the Democratic-Republican divide — constitute a less-than-stellar reflection of our spiritual and moral condition as a nation, and it is delusional to believe that there isn't a leadership crisis in America.

An old proverb reminds us, "The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD," which, if applied to the upcoming presidential elections, would imply that whichever candidate prevails has been ordained for this juncture of our history. That said, however, we ought not be fooled into believing that the outcome will necessarily be "good." Sometimes, we are granted what we wish for, only to find that the very thing leads to tragic consequences, which seem destined to teach us wisdom.

At election time, it is "we the people" that decide who our decision makers will be. But, as Daniel Taylor & Mark McCloskey point out in their recent article, How to Pick a President: Why Virtue Trumps Policy, all too often we decide poorly, largely because we ask the wrong questions. Typically, we demand to know details of how political candidates are going to solve our problems. How are they going to stop the continued slide of the United States dollar? How are they going to get the troops home from Iraq? How are they going to fix Social Security, or Healthcare for that matter — essentially, what's in it for me? However, while there is value in hearing a candidate's plans and proposals, this ought to be of secondary or even lesser importance since history and experience bear evidence to the fact that few, if any, of those plans and proposals will survive the political process intact.

Indeed, many crucial political decisions of the future will revolve around unpredictable events and issues. No candidate's "policy" on terrorism, for example, foresaw or was adequate for 9/11. No candidate had a policy or ideology that would have made Hurricane Katrina greatly less painful. In fact, little over a month ago, no one contemplated Russia's invasion of neighboring Georgia and how this could affect US international policy. Therefore, a political leader must have the capacity and the wisdom to respond effectively to ever-changing and unprecedented situations. Ultimately, then, we really should vote for the candidate whom we believe has the qualities — the virtues, both moral and physical, as well as the character and integrity — to decide wisely in situations where policies, positions, and ideologies will be of little help. Taylor and McCloskey remind us that competence alone, without virtue, is poisonous; it simply makes one more effective at doing wrong. Moreover, being virtuous is an expression of competence.

Too often, we have attributed wisdom to lead to people who have merely been resourceful enough to succeed in business or some other area. We have de-stigmatized many private failures in recent years (divorce, past drug use, sexual irresponsibility). However, it is still relevant to expect that public leaders show wisdom in the choices they make in their private lives. Indeed, it is not scandal-mongering that ought to spark our interest in the private lives of public servants, but the fact that private indiscretion calls into question their public decision-making skills. It is not just intelligence or knowledge but also the practical wisdom that is necessary to respond effectively to the many political problems that involve scarce resources, or "no good choices."

In his Digging Deeper article, Thorns in a Nation’s side, Adrian Rogers reminds us of a time in Israel's history, summarized in Judges 17:6, which could surely apply to America today: “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes". That is, there was no fixed standard of morality. Without a doubt, this had serious consequences for Israel as a nation and, without a doubt, there will be serious consequences for the United States if, in choosing our "king," we continue to move away from our spiritual center towards the kind of liberal, postmodernist thought postulated in some quarters, which fools us into believing that truth is relative and can only be perceived through the senses. More and more, our leaders — and activist courts — are devising laws that call evil, good and legitimizing what is politically expedient. Rogers reminds us how we have found ourselves in this predicament:

" * We have moved from authority to relativism. We have a government today that’s run by polls—find out what people want and then give it back to them. Can you imagine Moses taking a poll in Egypt or Martin Luther at the reformation? That’s not leadership.

* We have moved from truth to pragmatism. No longer do we ask is it true? We ask does it work? It’s man-centered rather than God-centered.

* We have gone from revelation to feeling. Psychology has been substituted for theology. Sin is no longer the enemy; sorrow and sadness are. Feeling good about yourself is the number one priority.

* We’ve gone from convictions to opinions. Few people really have convictions about anything except their right to be happy.

Edmond Burke made a classic statement: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” A nation in crisis is susceptible to evil leadership, and all that is necessary for that to happen is that we stand by and let it happen. The first parable in God’s Word, found in Judges 9:8-15, illustrates this. It tells of a prophet named Jotham who told of the trees looking for a king. They went to the olive tree, but he was happy in his fatness. They went to the fig tree, but he was too busy producing figs with his sweetness. They went to the vine, but he was producing wine. They were all busy doing good things, so they went to the bramble [thorn bush]. They asked the bramble, “Will you rule over us?” He said, “I’ll be glad to.” He said, “As a matter of fact, you can rest in my shade. I’ll be a shadow for you.” A bramble has no fruit, shade, or lumber. It rips, shreds, chokes, clings, and grows and is very hard to root out, but all of these people fled their responsibilities and let the bramble rule..."

We could go on ad infinitum citing examples to substantiate the argument that, already in America, it is the "bramble" that rules. We need only look at the decisions handed down by the highest courts within the United States, Texas, Massachusetts, and California, which have given legitimacy to abortion, homosexuality, and same-sex marriage, to know that we have already arrived at that place.

In recent times, our country has been deceived into believing that there is no place for Judeo-Christian principles — grounded largely in the existence of absolute truths, in which God is the source of moral values and therefore what is moral and immoral transcends personal or societal opinion — in the governing of our nation. In our new culture of "diversity" and "tolerance" we are moving progressively towards stripping the mere mention of God from every facet of public life to accommodate all that might be offended. But as Rogers exhorts us, while the First Amendment does say, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” freedom of religion does not mean freedom from religion. As a nation, we were conceived in faith, founded on faith, and prospered through faith — the Judeo-Christian faith. Therefore, it is imperative that those who still subscribe to these values stand up for the "free exercise thereof" in America and look closely at the voting records of both John McCain and Barack Obama on the contemporary watershed issues to discern their true character, not listen to election promises and rabble-rousing rhetoric for "change." Eighteenth-century Enlightenment philosopher, Helvetius said, "When I speak I put on a mask. When I act, I am forced to take it off." And, sadly, too many voters still have not learned that lesson.

With respect to the issues surrounding marriage and abortion — areas of special interest to our publication — we find that it is Barack Obama that continues to display a hypocrite's masquerade of virtue. At the Saddleback Church Civil Forum, when Warren asked him candidly for his opinion on when life begins and the unborn should have its God given rights protected, Obama balked, claiming that "knowing when something" that is obviously living, "begins to live" was, "above his pay grade." Above his pay grade? Conservative columnist Kevin McCullough points out that, as a father, having gone through at least two pregnancies with his wife Michelle, Obama already knew that to be a lie. More likely, his response was calculated to deflect attention from the fact that he is radically "pro-choice," so much so, in fact, that he is the only elected official on record to vote in favor of denying life-saving medical care to babies that have survived an abortion attempt but are struggling for life.

Obama has also continued to spout belief in the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman, knowing fully well that he has promised homosexual lobby groups that, as President, he will support a complete repeal of both sections of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Essentially, the DOMA defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman for purposes of all federal laws, and provides that states need not recognize a marriage from another state if it is between persons of the same sex. So, he doesn’t want federal law to limit marriage to a man and a woman, and he doesn’t want federal law to protect the right of the states to decide for themselves. Is this the position of a man, especially one trained in Constitutional law at Harvard, who believes that marriage is “sanctified?”

Further, it is Obama that is being hypocritical when he stands before a black church on Father's Day admonishing black fathers for absconding their financial and parental responsibilities to children they have fathered, and extolling the virtues of intact families and the critical role that fathers play in maintaining the foundation of the family while, at the same time, giving support to lesbians that want to adopt children and create families, which by their very nature remove a father from the equation. At least, John McCain can articulate, albeit not very eloquently, that he respectfully disagrees with the homosexual lobby — Ellen DeGeneres included — that marriage is between one man and one woman, that he does not support adoptions by gays and lesbians, and has voted accordingly...consistently over the years. Obama's voting record, on the other hand, has been consistently against the Federal Marriage Amendment and laws that support the traditional family as the bedrock of society.

It can hardly be surprising, based on the editorial stance of The Real Proposal magazine, especially on such life issues as same-sex marriage and abortion, that we would be branded "conservative". However, that does not necessarily mean we supported John McCain's bid for the Republican presidential nomination. In recent years, Congressional Republicans in general — and Senator John McCain in particular — have alienated many conservatives and, certainly, we had issues with him even after it became clear that he was the presumptive conservative candidate. But, as Richard Land, head of the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, said recently, although many conservatives are lukewarm about Mr. McCain, most will vote for him in November simply because they find Mr. Obama unacceptable. “I’ll take a third-class fireman over a first-class arsonist,” said Mr. Land. Indeed, as Dennis Prager points out in his recent article, Why I Support John McCain, the bottom line for us, ultimately, boils down to this:

"... The gulf between John McCain and conservatives is miniscule compared to the gulf between John McCain and Barack Obama. This is true regarding virtually every issue of significance to America. The America that a President Barack Obama would shape, with the help of a Democratic Congress and a liberal Supreme Court, would be very dissimilar from the America shaped by a President John McCain. Conservatives who will not vote for McCain are well-intentioned utopians. They are comparing McCain to a consistently conservative candidate. The reality, however, is that McCain is not running against a consistently conservative candidate. He is running against a consistently left-wing candidate. And America cannot afford to have its first leftist president ever. It can afford liberal presidents — such as Bill Clinton, or Jimmy Carter (who governed as a liberal but became a leftist after leaving the White House), or John F. Kennedy, or Lyndon Johnson, or Harry Truman — i.e., all the Democrats who have been president since World War II. But the Democratic Party has moved well to the left of liberalism. And Barack Obama is at the left of that left-wing party..."

Perhaps, too, it is because of growing up in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic melting pot like the Caribbean and being accustomed to a black man ruling why we are not impressed at the sheer prospect of an "Obama" as Commander-in-Chief. What interests us is a prospective candidate's character, his ability and beliefs — not color...or gender for that matter. We have long learned that character isn't made in a crisis; it is revealed in a crisis, and that everybody has a worldview that has been shaped by his or her own belief system. What's more, Obama reminds us, too much for comfort actually, of Michael Manley, the Jamaican Prime Minister of the 1970s — same bi-racial ethnic mix (which was significant for a largely black Jamaican population, as is Obama for a largely white American population), same eloquence and charisma, same "change" campaign platform and rhetoric, same leftist leanings (which led to a serious flirtation with Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro, and a strain in diplomatic relations with the United States), same nationalist view of the black man's condition, same arrogance. And, indeed, one would be hard-pressed to find many Jamaicans who would now disagree that, while Manley's views were aspirational and idealistic, ultimately, he had neither the substance nor the experience to back up his election promises. In fact, many still believe it was his policies — and, especially, his arrogance — that led to Jamaica's rapid economic and cultural decline as the middle-class migrated, en masse, upon his now infamous "there are 5 flights to Miami" exhortation to whomever didn't like the direction he believed he had been given the mandate to lead the people. Well, left they did, in droves, taking their money with them, and the financial coffers of the country have never recovered.

It's interesting too, if only to us, that the current economic climate in America, reflected mostly in the declining value of the US dollar and sky-rocketing energy costs, is eerily reminiscent of the dawn of Michael Manley's regime. Most Jamaicans, in their wildest dreams, could not have foreseen or even contemplated that the Jamaican dollar would plummet from a high of US$1: JS$0.50 in the early 1970s to its present non-value (US$1: J$75.00). Largely, they invested too much faith in the mistaken and simplistic notion that this single man (who envisioned himself as a "Joshua" deliverer, as has Obama) could effect the kind of macro economic change that would alter Jamaica's "Third World" status in the world arena, which, essentially, was determined by inequities in their trade balance with other nations and their debt.

Without a doubt, there are parallels regarding the present level of external debt currently owed by this country. Does America really own America any more? What's more, the sad reality is that neither Barack Obama nor John McCain, for that matter, will single-handedly be able to turn around a depressed US economy whose strings continue to be pulled by a privately-held, unconstitutional Federal Reserve Bank, which is as "Federal" as Federal Express. Unless it is stopped, this institution, with its elitist (often, unidentifiable) board and private agenda, will continue to manipulate and rape the economy of this country through its prime lending rates and the excess money it prints and pumps into circulation with no real backing in gold or other value.

Some may scoff at the analogy of Jamaica raised in this piece, thinking that such circumstances could never duplicate themselves in the United States by virtue of its sheer economic size and power compared to Jamaica. But George Orwell's political allegory, Animal Farm, ought to remind us that, ultimately, what unfolds even within the context of a tiny "farm" typically has broader global implications. Moreover, philosopher George Santayana once famously wrote, "Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it." Therefore, we would be wise to contemplate the cautions laid out by David R. Stokes in his recent article, The Barack Bubble:

"... It might be constructive, maybe even essential, to think of the whole Barack Obama phenomenon as a gigantic bubble. It has captured pan-cultural attention and transcends the humdrum of mere mortal politics. Expectations are inflated. Rational analysis has been muted. Look, up in the sky – it’s a bird, it’s a plane no, it’s Super Senator above the political fray soaring in his designer soap bubble. The value of Barack Obama’s stock is sky high these days. His most devoted followers assume this upward trend will continue. Happy days are just around the corner. Can’t you just feel the love and unity? Not to mention the change?

And back on earth, those who should be watching more closely, and asking tough questions, seem to have temporarily (we can only hope) suspended their capacity for serious investigation while following the bubble-beacon here, there, and everywhere. What does it say about legacy mainstream media outlets when it is left to the likes of Katie Couric to ask the man from Illinois an actual tough question with a measure of ferocity (at least for her)? Here is the problem, though. No one, not even Barack “The Man Promising Personalized Pieces of Blue Sky” Obama, can possibly sustain the level of near universal affection and acclaim indefinitely. Human glory tends to be a fleeting thing - especially the political variety. In fact, the issue is not if Obama’s bubble will burst, but rather – when. And when it does, there will be a lot of unhappy American campers.

There is a saying: “Motivation without implementation produces frustration.” In the political arena this means that when someone inspires people without eventually following through, the result is significant disenchantment. Barack Obama’s style over substance campaign is very much a bipolar candidacy. We are seeing the manic phase now. Stay tuned for the depressive future..."

The presidential elections are still almost three months away. But, contemporary economist and conservative pundit, Thomas Sowell, perhaps, best explains what already lies at the root of our "Obama fatigue":

"Many years ago, when I was a college student, I took a course from John Kenneth Galbraith. On the first day of class, Professor Galbraith gave a brilliant opening lecture, after which the students gave him a standing ovation. Galbraith kept on giving brilliant opening lectures the whole semester. But, instead of standing ovations, there were now dwindling numbers of students and some of them got up and walked out in the middle of his lectures. Galbraith never got beyond the glittering generalities that marked his first lecture. After a while, the students got tired of not getting any real substance..."

Despite even conservative prognosticators that it will be "President Obama" in 2009, can we really afford his Presidency? If nothing else, the Saddleback Church Civil Forum — video highlights of which are embedded below for your convenience — demonstrated clearly that John McCain has lived a much bigger life than Barack Obama. That’s not necessarily a slam at Obama; John McCain has lived a much bigger life than most people. But, still, McCain's experience made Obama look small in comparison. And at 3:00AM, even as his fellow Democrats have pointed out in their own campaigning, we would much rather it was not Obama who answered the call that could count for America's safety.

When all is said and done, we are no longer impressed with images of how our political leaders worship. Certainly, it is God that judges the heart of a man. But, for far too many politicians, such potential "photo ops" are for sheer political expediency. Too many of them are false prophets disguised in sheep's clothing. What's more, does being a Christian automatically deem one fit for the Presidency? Absolutely not. As Pastor Doug Giles rather irreverently points out, Obama may be on fire for Jesus, but his voting record substantiates it might just be the Jesus of his own imagination.





RELATED VIDEO: Obama Speaks to Churchgoers on Father's Day Posted by The Associated Press, YouTube.com, June 15, 2008


RELATED ARTICLE: Barack Obama: The 2004 “God Factor” Interview Transcript — Interview conducted by Cathleen Falsani ("God Girl"), Chicago-Sun Time religion columnist, April 30, 2008


RELATED VIDEO: Money, Banking and the Federal Reserve


RELATED VIDEO: FIAT EMPIRE - Why the Federal Reserve Violates the U.S. Constitution


Monday, July 28, 2008

Greg Laurie's Tragic Loss: Where, O Death, is your sting?



A few weeks ago on June 25, 2008, at our local church, my family and I had the pleasure of listening to mega-church pastor Greg Laurie as he gave his testimony of how he came to know Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. A close personal friend of our local pastor, Pedro Garcia, Greg obviously gave our church priority as he made the rounds, essentially to promote the national release of his autobiographical work, Lost Boy: My Story. To be sure, I was intrigued also in a professional capacity. His Bastard Hippie to Power Preacher story was already making the news wires, and I felt compelled to attend. His is an incredible story of God's grace and redemption, and I walked away from that service determined to highlight and chronicle the event, and his message, in one of the blogs for this magazine. Without a doubt, his childhood story of fatherlessness and chronic family dysfunction is riveting and contemporary, and falls within the scope of The Real Proposal magazine. Yet, for some inexplicable reason, I felt in my spirit the need to wait — that, perhaps, the "story" had not yet fully unfolded. Now, I understand why.

On Thursday, July 24, 2008, Greg Laurie suffered every parent's worst nightmare. His much-beloved son, Christopher, 33, was killed in a tragic motor vehicle accident on Riverside Freeway in Corona, California, when the station wagon being driven by Christopher collided with a Department of Transportation tractor in the car pool lane. Even more poignant is the fact that Christopher is survived not only by his loving parents, Greg and Cathe, but also his very pregnant wife, Brittany — who is due in November — and their infant daughter, Stella, who turned two on Saturday, just two days after the accident. As it turns out, Greg Laurie's Lost Boy story is destined to become only part of his testimony to the world. Indeed, the real story of Greg Laurie became abundantly clear on Sunday, July 27, 2008, three days after the devastating loss of his son, when he got up in front of his 15,000-member strong Harvest Christian Fellowship congregation to declare unequivocally and with great forbearance to the world, "I still believe." To be sure, the video above bears witness to what must be his finest moment as an evangelist, that defining hour — given, perhaps, only once in a lifetime — when the world looks on to see how personal tragedy and horrific circumstances challenge our faith in a loving God who has declared, "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."

On so many levels, and specifically through this tragedy whether he yet realizes it or not, Greg Laurie has already been elevated to a higher level of calling. It is our hope that he takes the time and space to do whatever is necessary to mourn the loss of his son. But there can be no doubt that he has now been given a broader platform to reach the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. And there can be no doubt that he has been equipped with an even greater capacity to present God's plan of salvation, which gives the world hope for eternity through the belief that death has been swallowed up in victory. What's more, there is also further opportunity to connect with countless others who have suffered significant loss but who find themselves not quite as able or equipped spiritually to navigate the minefield of recovery. Many parents, even those who know God in a personal way, are deeply challenged when a child dies. To be sure, not everyone has the strength, the capacity, or the wisdom to comprehend Job's cry — echoed by Greg Laurie — in the face of similar adversity, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away: may the name of the Lord be praised."

Inconceivable as it might be to even contemplate, how exactly does one survive the death of one's child? Indeed, how does one survive when life dictates the loss of several children to unrelated causes, as was the fate endured by Stephen R. Marsh and his wife, Winifred — the parents of five girls, Jessica, Heather, Courtney, Robin, and Rachel, three of whom have died in early childhood? Stephen writes, "The death of a child is a terrible loss that destroys many families. Often the fate of a family or some of its members hangs by a thread." And this is clearly a sentiment reiterated by Carol Staudacher in her BeliefNet article, The Journey Through Sorrow: When a Child Dies— Surviving the death of dreams, in which she articulates a parent's deep sense of loss:

"... As a parent, you're supposed to be the provider, the nurturer, the protector, the mentor, the guide. You invest love and hope and certain beliefs in your son or daughter. But most of all, you do not outlive your child. When tragedy strikes and you do bury a child, you're faced with reconstructing a life that has been suddenly robbed of its parental responsibilities and joys..."


What's more, the deep personal sense of loss in not limited to the parents whose child dies. As Donna Lamb, LSCSW writes in her article entitled, Surviving the Death of a Child:

"...Numerous secondary losses accompany the death of a child, including loss of the family as it existed prior to the death. Surviving children lose the emotional, and perhaps physical, availability of their parents, grandparents “lose” their children to parental grief and spouses lose the support of each other–each whose emotional plate is so full that they cannot be there for the other. The impact of a child’s death on a marital relationship cannot be underestimated. Neither parent will be the same person as they were before the death..."


Stephen R. Marsh indicates in his essay that, after such loss, it is only through loving and understanding, and by the pure knowledge of God — without hypocrisy and without guile — that families can be supported in their pain and aided on the path to healing. And, indeed, it is our profound belief as well that we are called into such places of adversity, not for our devastation, but to overcome the circumstances and, ultimately, show others the way out. The Bible declares that the rain falls on the just and the unjust. Therefore, the difference has to be found in how, as Christians, we navigate the mud puddles as well as the storms of life.

To say, within the context of a national media blitz to promote his Lost Boy work, as well as his church's upcoming, world-renowned Harvest Crusades — which kick off at Angel Stadium this August 15-17 — that the eyes of the world have been focused on Greg Laurie would be an understatement. Which is all the more why we are grateful for the powerful images Greg and his family have presented so far of God's grace and sufficiency, which God Himself has declared is sufficient for the day. We pray for the Laurie family right now that they rise to the challenge that God has allowed to their door. May they rest in the assurance that Christopher was no Lost Boy in this life, and neither is he in the next. May they find healing and recovery through God's amazing grace and their commitment to finish the race that has been set before them.

In closing, I am reminded that, through the prophet Isaiah, God challenges us to remember, "The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find peace as they lie in death."

Rest in Peace, Christopher Laurie.



EDITOR'S NOTE (08-01-08):
A private memorial service was held for Christopher Laurie on Friday, August 1, 2008 at 11 a.m., Pacific Time. You may watch the service by visiting Harvest.org, or clicking here. You may also pass along condolences and thoughts for the Laurie family by posting comments on Greg's blog.

RELATED SITE:
The Christopher Laurie Memorial Fund

RELATED RESOURCE: Greg Laurie Archive World Net Daily

RELATED VIDEO (BELOW):
Lost Boy: The Documentary Trailer.



(To order the 90-minute film version of Lost Boy: The Documentary on DVD, click here or visit The Real Proposal e-shop)




Saturday, June 7, 2008

Gospel Music Responds to Same-Sex Marriage


Our first reaction was, “This has to be a joke!” Our second, “A spoof, maybe?” For to be sure, this unbelievable video posted on You Tube, which was brought to our attention by one of our readers (Thank you, Trevor) could hardly be how the Church proselytizes to the homosexual community. Could it?

As can be imagined, this video has stirred up quite a bit of controversy since it was posted on May 13. And, as could only be expected, this nifty little jingle has evoked intense feelings of resentment and downright hatred from viewers sympathetic to the homosexual cause. “F***ing hicks,” postulated one commentator. “You make me wish every human was gay so that our species would stop producing the likes of you.” Hardly a convert.

Did gospel singers Lewis & Lewis truly intend this video to be a way of ministering the Bible’s message to gays and lesbians? If so, they missed the mark...by a long shot. Indeed, it doesn't take rocket science to figure out that such “creativity” would have served only to anger the very community to which Christians ought to be reaching out. To be sure, it lacks any message of redemption or love, which brings to mind a favorite maxim of one of the elders at our local church: “If it doesn’t point to Jesus, what’s the point?” From pulpit sermons to street evangelism, if not done in the gracious and compassionate spirit of Jesus Christ, “…what’s the point?”

Indeed, our editorial stance on this particular issue — highlighted in our recent piece, Responding to Homosexuality & Gay Marriage: ‘Love the Sinner. Hate the Sin’ — underscores our clear belief that the Church has been called to demonstrate to the homosexual community a love that is clear, a love that is consistent, and a love that is compassionate, while proclaiming the uncompromising truth of the scriptures regarding homosexuality. In that piece, we featured a powerful address by Joe Dallas, a former homosexual and gay rights activist who, prior to renouncing his gay lifestyle, worked with the Metropolitan Community Church — a well known, well funded, pro-homosexual organization, largely staffed by openly gay and lesbian clergy. Dallas asserts that many Christians are afflicted with the “Jonah Syndrome,” meaning they hold homosexuals in contempt and resist demonstrating to them the love of Christ.

Quite correctly, Dallas calls upon the Church to repent of this sin while admonishing them not to be intimidated by the gay rights activist movement into silent submission. Many homosexuals are already suspicious of the Church, viewing Christians as pew-warming hypocrites with a self-righteous agenda, who can never truly love them or understand their struggle. In fact, many of them who have never darkened the door of a church look at the Fred Phelps “crazies” at Westboro Baptist Church, who choose every propitious moment to announce to the public, “God hates fags” and “AIDS cures fags,” and believe that this is an accurate reflection of the Church’s stance on homosexuality. Never mind the fact that there are many Christians themselves who are left wondering which Bible is being taught at that church! Indeed, we agree with Dallas; the Church is very adept at ringing its hands over the sins of our culture. Yet, within its very walls lurk evils that rival anything seen in Washington…or Hollywood, for that matter. Moreover, homosexuality is not the most heinous sin; it is only one of the myriad malpractices discussed in the Bible. Yet, people continue to rank homosexuality at the highest levels of their “worst-sin” hierarchy, perhaps because it is an affliction to which 97% of the population, typically, cannot relate.

The above notwithstanding, we should not mindlessly dismiss the message because of the messenger. A video like Come on Down to the Farm might not be the best form of ministry outreach. Nevertheless, it takes a direct stand on a truth that is self-evident, which is being silenced in the name of political correctness. Feminist Gloria Steinem once famoulsly declared, “The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off!” And the crux of the matter is that marriage, for several millennia and in every known culture and religious tradition, has constituted the union of one man and one woman, ultimately for the ordered purpose of procreation and the perpetuated existence of humanity. Even within polygamous societies, each marriage undertaken has still been within the confines of one man and one woman. Historically, marriage has been about uniting families for socioeconomic enhancement, empowering the economic and military success of kingdoms, and guaranteeing society the next generation. It is only within the past hundred years or so, and specifically within Western society, that love has become the prevailing criteria for marriage. And with a roughly 50% divorce rate, in which many of us have experienced firsthand the fallout of love growing cold, it is still open for discussion whether this has been an advantageous shift.

In any event, with battle lines drawn between gay rights activists and traditional marriage proponents, are we really surprised that such a response like this video has emerged from the “religious right”? Newton’s immutable third law surely applies to this blistering same-sex marriage controversy as much as it does to physics. For every action, there is bound to be an equal and opposite reaction, and this video is an unmistakable religious backlash against the media’s liberal leanings in favor of the LGBT agenda and their assault on traditional marriage. As discussed in our previous blog entries, the media has assumed a definitive and umistakable role in propagating and selling homosexuality to America. And as groups like Soulforce demonstrate, gay rights activists are becoming increasingly militant in their efforts to desensitize and convert the minds of the young and old alike in straight America into accepting what is clearly an unhealthy lifestyle. With a mission that states, “Cut off homophobia at its source — religious bigotry,” could gay rights activists really expect no reaction from the Church? With images of gay nuptials and portrayals of same-sex relationships bombarding the public at every turn, to the point where even in the privacy of home, conservative Christian heterosexuals can no longer turn on the television without being confronted by these issues, could they really expect no reaction from the Church? With having to explain to young children why “Adam” and “Steve” are kissing in a manner that, to them, surely constitutes inappropriate conduct, or how “two daddies” or “two mommies” came by the child they are raising, could they really expect no reaction from the Church?

In light of these times, it is only logical to expect that those in favor of traditional marriage would fight back, especially for our nation’s young, whom they believe are blindly accepting the gay culture as normal rather than an aberrant sexual lifestyle. A recent poll reports that, for the first time ever, a majority of California voters favor same-sex marriage — a finding that pollsters describe as a milestone driven by younger people. Again, are we really surprised? Generation X has been indoctrinated by postmodernist thought and fooled into believing that truth is only what can be perceived through the senses. In his column, Retreating to a defensible position on gay marriage, Rod Dreher of The Dallas Morning News explains this emerging shift:

“The course of Western history for the past 700 years has been toward the liberation of the individual and his desires. . . America is the modern nation par excellence. Here's the catch: Absent a binding source of authority, you can't pick and choose so easily where to draw freedom's line. The 1960s sexual revolution advanced the frontiers of liberty into the bedroom. Under the guise of privacy rights, contraception and abortion gained constitutional protection. When the California Supreme Court calls same-sex marriage a right because it is ‘integral to an individual's liberty and personal autonomy,’ it is only ratifying a deep cultural change that's already taken place. Is this why banning gay marriage doesn't make sense to young Americans? Yes, because they've grown up in a culture that presents sex and marriage principally as a matter of personal choice and individual fulfillment. This is a perfectly reasonable ethic for a sensate culture.”


Truth has seemingly lost all objectivity, and the concept of absolute truth seems a lie to most. But as George Orwell also famously declared, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” So what exactly is the truth?

The Real Proposal magazine impenitently adheres to the belief in an absolute moral truth grounded in Judeo-Christian principles. We have established a platform from which we intend to approach the issues in an intelligent and instructive manner, without compromising our message grounded in this truth for the sake of political correctness. Elizabeth Cady Stanton captures our philosophy when she wrote, “Reformers who are always compromising have not yet grasped the idea that truth is the only safe ground to stand upon.”

Yet, in our efforts to expose and discredit the lies that are being packaged, perfumed, gift wrapped, and sold by the gay rights movement to heterosexuals and homosexuals alike, we have determined not to lose sight of the collateral damage that ensues from this “culture war” within our nation. As Dallas declares,

“I must remember, when I am tempted towards real hostility towards lesbians and gays, who…say how hateful and bigoted we are, when I am tempted to pull out all the stops to steamroll them the way they are trying to steamroll us, I am reminded Jesus said Himself, ‘My Kingdom is not of this world.’ There are more important things than temporal victories. The eternal souls of the people we oppose are certainly more important that any sociological victories that we can attain.”


Therefore, in this raging mêlée for America’s soul, we cannot endorse inappropriate strategies on either side of this debate (this video included) for the sake of momentary gains if it means losing the ones we are trying to reach. And isn’t reaching “the lost” the challenge of the Great Commission with which the Church has been assigned?


(Contributing Writer: L. A. Levy, Intern)



RELATED ARTICLE (PDF):
How Should We Respond to Homosexuality- Part 1 By Joe Dallas, March 18, 2008

RELATED ARTICLE (PDF): How Should We Respond to Homosexuality- Part 2 By Joe Dallas, March 18, 2008


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

School’s in (especially for John McCain): A “conservative” defense of Marriage



Anyone who saw the live Ellen DeGeneres interview with John McCain after the California Supreme Court ruling on same sex marriage, who has some kind of rudimentary understanding of the real underlying issues surrounding same-sex marriage, and who truly understands how high the stakes are in this on-going battle, would have been hard pressed to restrain themselves from "laying hands" on Mr. McCain with far less than religious intent. This is the “conservative” candidate for the presidency of the United States, who cannot, when asked, give a clearly articulated argument in favor of his foundational beliefs in the institution of marriage? He is an embarrassment. And so are his handlers, who allowed him to wander into "Ellen" territory ill-prepared. Indeed, did they expect that he would make an appearance on a television talk show hosted by a widely popular, openly lesbian comedienne one week after a landmark California Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage in that state and the issue would not be raised?

Columnist Paul Edwards analyzes the embarrassing spectacle Mr. McCain made of himself and makes the arguments Mr. McCain should have been, and needs to be, apprised of before contemplating another trek into gay rights territory:


". . . Rather than defend marriage on moral principle as the union of a man and a woman for the purpose of procreation, the establishment of the home as the basis of a civil society, and as a union entered 'before God' in accordance with His laws, McCain offered a compromise, emphasizing that, 'people should be able to enter into legal agreements' for the purpose of sharing insurance and decision-making. He pointed out that same-sex couples are not denied such legal benefits and should be content with the legal status of civil unions. Such a position leaves unstated all of the conservative principles relative to the defense of traditional marriage, the first principle being that marriage is not primarily a legal contract, but is fundamentally about reproduction, valued by the state because it provides a context for the rearing of children who have been birthed as a result of the sexual union of a man and a woman, thus securing the future for a stable and free society.

Ellen denies these fundamental principles of marriage, arguing for same-sex marriage on the basis of erotic love, grounding her argument in the mistaken idea that marriage is a civil right denied to gays and lesbians in the same way this country denied the freedom of slaves and the suffrage of blacks and women: 'I think that it is looked at—and some people are saying the same—that blacks and women did not have the right to vote. I mean, women just got the right to vote in 1920. Blacks didn't have the right to vote until 1870, and it just feels like there is this old way of thinking that we are not all the same. We are all the same people—all of us. You’re no different than I am. Our love is the same.'

There is absolutely no correlation between the equality denied blacks and women and marriage being denied to gays and lesbians. All humans, regardless of ethnic or gender differences, have been endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights on the basis of their common humanity. When Ellen argues that 'we are all the same people' she is absolutely correct that, in terms of our humanity, we are all equal. But she misapplies the equality standard to sexuality, insisting that there is no difference between the erotic love and relational commitment of homosexual persons versus that of heterosexual persons. She couldn’t be more wrong.

Love-making for same-sex couples results only in physical and emotional satisfaction while the same cannot be said of heterosexual love-making, which carries with it the possibility of procreation. No such possibility exists in a homosexual union.

Ellen is equal to me in terms of personhood and the individual human rights that accompany personhood. It is a fundamental denial of the human person to deny blacks and women equal status. But no one is denying Ellen and her lover status as persons or the rights that inure to them as human persons by denying a right to marriage. The rights of marriage are granted to those who can meet the biological standard necessary for entering a physical union that, all things being equal, can produce offspring. This is the fundamental nature of marriage. Any other benefits of marriage are subordinate.

To say that because we share the same rights as human persons we are the same in nature, physicality and even sexuality is to deny reality. I am not the same as Ellen in terms of human biology. She is a female and I am a male, and as such there are fundamental differences between us that are naturally innate which, even with radical surgery, cannot be changed. As Michael Medved has said, ''Sex change' procedures do nothing to alter the most important distinctions between males and females, and blur only a few external characteristics.' Even advances in biotechnology have not succeeded in changing the basic fact that the female body is capable of carrying and bringing to life the seeds of reproduction, a feat the male body cannot accomplish. To argue that marriage for those of same-sex attraction is a fundamental human right in the same way as suffrage is nothing more than changing the subject. John McCain allowed Ellen to change the subject and in doing so demonstrated that he is a poor apologist for conservatism on one of the key issues that really, really matters. . ."


In previous blog entries, we have highlighted how gay rights activists have mastered the art of the ad hominem argument, which obfuscates the substantive issues at hand by effectively changing the subject. Essentially, such tactics further the real, self-serving agenda of the LGBT movement. But the intrinsic issue of gay marriage is ultimately about whether or not we, as a society, will confer the moral equivalence of heterosexual relationships to homosexual unions. As one of the posters to our last blog entry — Anais65 — declared,

"Same-sex marriage, as Ellen brought the debate between herself and McCain down to, is not about 'my relationship' versus 'your relationship.' Public policy is not about specific individuals. Likewise, public policy regarding marriage is not about any couple in particular. Marriage is about future generations, and about the ideal setting in which future generations are raised. Sure, some same-sex couples can do a half-decent job at raising kids, while some heterosexual couples screw-up their kids royally. But again, public policy is broader than any specific couples, and should be based on noble ideals that transcend all of us—you, me...even Ellen and John McCain."


Anais65 gets it. So what's Mr. McCain's excuse?