Search This Blog

Loading...

Monday, May 25, 2015

Faith Steps: Should Christians engage in the public arena, and if so, how?

Part II in a series of excerpts from my new book, Faith Steps, which encourages and equips people of faith to engage with friends and in the public arena on vital issues.
From Chapter One:
The leadership of Christian believers during the Bush presidency, our efforts to combat human trafficking through faith-based organizations, and Christian volunteers and ministries responding in the wake of Hurricane Katrina serve to illustrate Christians' engagement in the public square. The examples also help frame important questions about the biblical and prudential role of believers and the Church in politics and society:
What role, if any, should Christians play in influencing our government and our culture?
Does God call Christians to separate from the world for the sake of spiritual purity, or does He call us to engage the world for the sake of others?
Does shunning engagement in the public square preserve the Church's resources for the Great Commission, or is cultural isolationism a Great Omission?
Is America too far gone in the direction of secularism for Christian influence to turn her toward godly principles?
Since God is in control of history and we know how it all ends, does public policy really even matter?
To begin to answer these questions, we first must understand how our worldview drives our moral values, our laws and our lives–and how to take faith steps toward God and His kingdom....

Read more:
Amazon paperback: http://tinyurl.com/nhanq29

Kindle e-book: http://tinyurl.com/p2q8ywg

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Faith Steps: guidance in lovingly sharing God's principles, through personal discussions and public policy, by helping others consider how certain choices and behaviors will harm them or help them

Today begins a series of excerpts from my new book, Faith Steps, which encourages and equips people of faith to engage with friends and in the public arena on vital issues. From the Introduction:
Faith Steps begins with the precept that God reveals Himself to each of us–through the created world and through our conscience.
The Scriptures teach that rejecting this revelation darkens our minds (as we reject the truth about ourselves and our world) and hardens our hearts (as we reject the living God who reaches out to us).
The good news is that receiving and responding to God's revelation–by taking moral steps aligned with God's principles–keeps our minds open to His enlightenment and our hearts softened toward Him.
Ultimately these steps in God's direction, this spiritual preparation of our minds and our hearts through the decisions we make, can lead us toward a real relationship with God by His grace, through faith in Jesus Christ.
Faith Steps offers guidance in lovingly sharing God's principles, through personal discussions and public policy, by helping others consider how certain choices and behaviors will harm them or help them.
Faith Steps calls followers of Christ to examine, from a biblical and practical viewpoint, God's plan for government and the opportunity and responsibility of His people to reach their neighbors through public policy. This book offers a faith perspective on a host of vital issues from abortion and assisted suicide to stem cell research and human trafficking and more. It also encourages each of us to examine not only how we are presenting our perspectives publicly, but also how consistently we personally mirror the example and commands of Jesus Christ.
God creates every human being in His image. From a public policy standpoint, this means that we honor and protect human life at every stage of development, especially when individuals cannot protect themselves. From a personal standpoint, it means that as God's image-bearers, we need to walk consistently with His principles if the image we reflect is to help others better understand Him.
May God open our eyes, soften our hearts and enlighten our minds so that we may reflect His image and glorify Him in all we are and in all we do.
 Faith Steps is available:

Amazon paperback: http://tinyurl.com/nhanq29

 

Kindle e-book:

http://tinyurl.com/p2q8ywg

 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Why Americans want to end abortions of pain-capable, viable developing babies


The US House of Representatives has just passed H.R. 36, the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” by a vote of 242-184-1.  238 Republicans and 4 Democrats (Cuellar, Langevin, Lipinski and Peterson) voted yes.  180 Democrats and 4 Republicans (Dent, Dold, Frelinghuysen, Hanna) voted no.  One Republican (Hice) voted present. The House also defeated a motion to recommit that would have added a health exception to the bill by a vote of 181-246 with 3 Democrats voting no (Cuellar, Lipinski, Peterson).
 
Here are some video clips of members advocating for passage:
The office of House Speaker John Boehner provided a crisp summary of why Americans want this bill:

This week marks two years since the conviction of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who was found guilty of murdering three babies by severing their spinal cords following unsuccessful abortions. It’s estimated that Gosnell similarly killed hundreds of other live babies over decades at his clinic, which the local NBC News affiliate dubbed a “House of Horrors”:

In addition to the murder charges, the 72-year-old [Gosnell] was found guilty Monday of involuntary manslaughter in the overdose death of former patient Karnamaya Mongar.

Gosnell was also found guilty of several other crimes including one count of infanticide, two counts of conspiracy, 21 of 24 counts of abortion of an unborn child of 24 weeks or more and 208 of 227 counts of violation of informed consent of an abortion.

Self-described liberal Kirsten Powers wrote at the time:

What we need to learn from the Gosnell case is that late-term abortion is infanticide. Legal infanticide. That so many people in the media seem untroubled by the idea that 12 inches in one direction is a “private medical decision” and 12 inches in the other direction causes people to react in horror, should be troubling. …

[M]edical advances since Roe v. Wade have made it clear to me that late-term abortion is not a moral gray area, and we need to stop pretending it is. No six-months-pregnant woman is picking out names for her “fetus.” It’s a baby. Let’s stop playing Orwellian word games. We are talking about human beings here.

Science and modern medicine show that unborn babies are capable of feeling pain by 20 weeks, or five months, in the womb.

That’s why the House will vote today on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36), which protects unborn children from abortion after five months.

According to public opinion surveys, a majority of Americans – including majorities of independents, women, and people 18-29 years old – support such a measure:

  • 60 percent of adults (including 59 percent of women) prefer restrictions on abortion after 20 weeks. (Quinnipiac, 11/14)
  • 56 percent of adults (including 51 percent of Democrats) back restrictions on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, with an additional 10 percent supporting even greater limits. (Washington Post-ABC News, 7/13)
  • 59 percent of Americans either strongly or somewhat favor a federal law banning most abortions after 20 weeks. (Huffington Post/YouGov, 6/13)
  • 52 percent of people 18-29 years old support banning virtually all abortions nationwide after 20 weeks. (United Technologies/National Journal, 6/13)
  • 64 percent support a law prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks. (The Polling Company, 3/13)
  • 64 percent think abortion should generally be illegal after the first three months of pregnancy. (Gallup, 12/12)

Friday, May 8, 2015

Breaking News: US House will take up bill to ban abortions after babies can feel pain

Breaking News: This just in from pro-life colleagues in Congress:

Action:

Support abortion anti-pain bill - HR 36

Ban abortions of developing babies at the stage in which they can feel pain.

The US House of Representatives will consider H.R. 36, the “Pain-Capable  Unborn Child Protection Act,” next week.  Pro-life Members have rallied around new safeguards for the mother and the baby.  The legislation that recognizes unborn children’s capacity to feel pain at 20 weeks and provides legal protection at that point. 
The bill as scheduled for the floor contains numerous new pro-life provisions as well as a requirement that adult sexual assault victims receive medical treatment or counseling at least 48 hours prior to a late abortion.  In addition, such treatment or counseling must be provided by physicians or counselors that are outside of the abortion industry. In cases of rape or incest of a minor, the abuse must first be reported to either social service or law enforcement. 
Other new strengthening provisions include a born-alive infant protection requirement that requires a second doctor be present and prepared to provide  care to the child if he or she is born alive and that the child must receive the same level of care as would any other premature infant.  The baby must then be transported and admitted to a hospital. 
The woman is also empowered with a right to sue if the law is not followed, and is provided with an informed consent form that notifies her of the age of her baby and the requirements under the law. Abortionists are explicitly required to follow state mandatory reporting laws and state parental involvement laws. 
Finally, abortionists are required to report any late abortions done under the exceptions to the Center for Disease Control and such data will be compiled into an annual public report.

Action:

Support abortion anti-pain bill - HR 36

Ban abortions of developing babies at the stage in which they can feel pain.
 
See also Weekly Standard article

Thursday, May 7, 2015

My new book, Faith Steps, helps Christians communicate with secular audiences on controversial issues

http://tinyurl.com/nhanq29
Just published my new book, Faith Steps, on faith and personal and public policy choices.

About Faith Steps

  • Should followers of Christ avoid politics as worldly and corrupting or fully engage in public policy and cultural influence?
  • In an increasingly secular culture, how can people of faith understand and communicate on vital issues and also protect freedoms of faith, conscience and speech?
  • Has the United States permanently torn its tether to faith values, or could a spiritual and cultural movement lead the way back to faith?
Such questions form significant challenges for followers of Christ in twenty-first century America. Faith Steps looks to time-tested yet often neglected biblical principles to construct strategies for personal authentic Christianity and winsome and effective engagement with those outside the faith.
Each decision we make and action we take--to choose good or choose evil, to acknowledge God or not--either takes steps closer to God or further from Him. These faith steps determine the quality of our temporal lives and our ultimate destiny.
Sex … abortion ... stem cell research ... assisted suicide ... religious freedom ... human trafficking. The stands we take and the choices we make on vital issues, as individuals and as a nation, matter now and for eternity.
Faith Steps encourages Christians to personally adopt biblical stances on social and ethical issues and also to boldly and respectfully engage our neighbors and our culture--not as political partisans but as wise and winsome ambassadors.
Followers of Christ can influence a nation to take faith steps toward God, by communicating biblical values to a secular audience in the universally understood terms of self-interest--harms and benefits. Yet we also must lead with our deeds to help others accept our words.
The goal is to move the nation toward the good and God; to keep minds open, hearts softened and soils fertile; and to lay a foundation for spiritual reformation.
Decisively rejecting the stifling notion that Christians should remain mute on controversial social issues and shun the political arena, Faith Steps reveals the biblical mandate and framework for courageous and compassionate engagement with our neighbors and our culture.
Faith Steps translates and condenses complex issues and suggesting strategies to help followers of Christ engage neighbors and colleagues. This book will help anyone interested in moral values and public policy issues--from seasoned culture warriors to political bystanders--to (a) better understand the issues and (b) effectively communicate with others by presenting common-sense and respectful messages that focus on meeting the needs of others.

To get your copy:

Amazon paperback: http://tinyurl.com/nhanq29
 

Friday, May 1, 2015

House victory on DC law discriminating against pro-life, faith-based organizations

Rep. Diane Black
Last night the House voted 228-192 to pass H.J. Res. 43, disapproving of D.C.’s Reproductive Health Nondiscrimination Act. Please note that the number of Republican no votes in the earlier email was incorrect. The correct totals are as follows: 225 Republicans and three Democrats (Lipinski, Peterson, Cuellar) voted in favor of H.J. Res. 43. 179 Democrats and 13 Republicans (Coffman, Curbelo, Costello, Dent, Dold, Gibson, Hanna, Jolly, Katko, McSally, Meehan, Reed, Stefanik) voted no.  Following are video clips from the debate:
Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) – opening
Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX)
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO)
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ)
Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO)
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)
Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA)
Rep. John Fleming (R-LA)
Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA)
Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA)
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC)
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC)
Rep. Diane Black - closing
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement applauding House passage of H.J. Res. 43:
“America was founded on the principle of religious freedom, and faith-based employers deserve the ability to hire people who share their beliefs. The measure passed by the D.C. Council, however, discriminates against religious and pro-life Americans, violates their conscience rights, and runs completely counter to the ‘free exercise’ clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. As a proud pro-life Catholic, I condemn this form of discrimination and urge the president to reconsider his veto threat of our joint resolution.”
NOTE: Under Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution, Congress has direct oversight of the District of Columbia. Under the Home Rule Act of 1973, Congress has the authority to review – and disapprove – all policies passed by the District of Columbia City Council and signed by the District of Columbia Mayor.
In December, then-Mayor Vincent Gray urged the City Council to postpone voting on the so-called Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act (RHNDA) “until significant legal concerns … are resolved.” Gray, a Democrat, wrote that:
“the bill raises serious concerns under the Constitution and under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA). Religious organizations, religiously-affiliated organizations, religiously-driven for-profit entities, and political organizations may have strong First Amendment and RFRA grounds for challenging the law's applicability to them. Moreover, to the extent that some of the bill's language protects only one sex's reproductive health decisions, that language may run afoul of the Fifth Amendment's equal protection guarantee. … While I applaud the goals of this legislation, as currently drafted, this legislation is legally problematic.”
Coverage:
Washington Post: House votes to strike down D.C. law banning reproductive discrimination

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

US House to take up measure to block DC's abortion ideology coercion of faith-based groups

Rep. Diane Black
US House of Representatives leadership has added H.J. Res. 43 to the schedule for floor debate tomorrow and a likely vote either tomorrow or Friday.
H.J. Res. 43 is a resolution of disapproval sponsored by Rep. Diane Black to prevent implementation of the Reproductive Health Nondiscrimination Act (RHNDA). RHNDA was adopted by the D.C. City Council late last year and transmitted to Congress on March 6 for a Congressional review period of 30 legislative days. The law will be enacted at the expiration of the 30 day period unless a joint resolution of disapproval is enacted. On April 21 H.J. Res. 43 was approved by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on a party line vote of 20-16.
RHNDA could restrict the First Amendment freedoms of pro-life organizations in two ways:
1.       Force a religious or pro-life advocacy group to make personnel decisions inconsistent with their sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions about the sanctity of human life.
2.       Mandate that religious and pro-life advocacy organizations provide insurance coverage for surgical abortion.