Last week GOP senatorial candidate for Missouri Todd Akin found himself at the center of a media firestorm due to a very inappropriate choice of words he made. He had been questioned about his prolife position on abortion policy, with particular emphasis placed on the hard cases, such as rape.
Akin replied that in cases of “legitimate rape” he thought the woman has a natural defense system that prevents her from becoming impregnated. This reply was so bad it actually made vice president Joe Biden look articulate in comparison.
Not surprisingly the Democrat Party has jumped all over this, using it to characterize not only Akin, but the entire Republican Party, as conducting a “war on women” via its “extreme” prolife position.
The reaction of the Republican establishment was immediate and categorical. Akin’s statement does not represent the beliefs of the Republican Party and he must resign his race immediately.
The ironic thing here is that the Dems themselves reportedly pumped $1 Million dollars into the Republican primary race in order to get Akin nominated, because they believed he would be their most vulnerable opponent. It seems their investment has paid off in spades.
But back to the issue at the center of this maelstrom, it seems quite clear that Akin’s “legitimate rape” remark was an extremely off-base way to say that the woman’s body in unable to conceive when rapes involve a lot of fear. Biologically ignorant? Yes, it is. I don’t know much about Akin, but if this was not simply a slip, and he is habitually this misinformed or inarticulate, that should factor heavily into whether someone would want to vote for him to be a US senator.
But two thing bothers me about the way this has played out. First is the level of demagoguery that has gone into this. Belief that a fear factor would play into the possibility of a woman conceiving is entirely understandable, if statistically wrong. And yet Akin’s slip has become the major meme of the Democrats this election season, with them even switching their national convention’s main theme to it.
Doesn’t this seem excessive? Women in general are at least as prolife as the general population. Romney has explicitly endorsed rape and incest exceptions, while the Republican platform calls for a human life amendment, and doesn’t mention exceptions for rape or incest, on the theory that granularity belongs to the states.
The other thing that bothers me is the completeness of the Republican establishment’s abandonment of Akin. Romney has chosen a fiscal warrior and reformer, Paul Ryan, to be his vice presidential running mate. In doing so he has signaled that he is going to make this campaign about substantive issues, and that he intends to get down to the business of making America work again should he become president. He has faced “third-rail” issues such as Medicare head-on. Predictably, he was met with demagoguery, but he has not flinched, and I would say he is prevailing and is turning the issue back on the Dems, to their great distress. Even seniors, who Democrats claim have the most to lose, are heavily endorsing Romney and his Medicare plan.
And yet on the Akin issue, Romney and company have kowtowed to political correctness. I can understand the pressure to do so. They already have been taking withering fire from the media and from Obama’s smear campaign, so I’m sure they didn’t want any more. Nonetheless I think it is a mistake to have capitulated so quickly, without parsing the issue and separating Akin’s error from his intent.
If Akin proves himself to be a capable candidate (as polls might be indicating now) and worthy of a seat in the Senate, I think the Pubs should get behind him again. If his slip is characteristic of him, then I do think he should step aside. We have about four weeks before the cut-off date for the Party to appoint a replacement.
The Dems and the media have used political correctness to chill free speech for too long. If we are going to survive as a free nation, we will need to confront and defeat that beast. Romney and Ryan have shown a lot of courage so far, regarding fiscal matters. It has served them well and I wish them well. We need the same kind of courage with regard to social issues. I believe on this issue they have fallen short.
The video above shows raw emotional pain. I could have chosen worse, but I wanted only to convey the distress our brothers are in without exalting the power of the enemy. As it is, it is hard enough to take.
The two year old “Arab Spring” was much-heralded in the western press. It began in Tunisia, which is ironically one of the less oppressive Arab nations, when a street merchant immolated himself to protest government corruption. Such is the human thirst for freedom. These people have access to the Internet now, and they see how westerners live. How you gonna keep them down on the farm?
For many years whenever I would hear that a nation didn’t have the cultural underpinnings for democracy, I thought that was absurd. Self determination is hard-wired in our psyche, I reasoned. But I was naïve of spiritual strongholds that repress truth and freedom. Since then I’ve learned the bitter truth.
As I studied the history and foundations of Islam, I became aware that the faith was spread by the sword and does not support precious rudiments that we take for granted, such as freedom of conscience and of worship, and even the most basic human rights.
Islam has the middle east in a vise, and its grip is tightening. When Mubarak was deposed in Egypt, we were told democratic elections would ensue, and human rights would be the top priority. The Muslim Brotherhood promised it would not field a candidate for the presidency. But it did, and won. He had promised he would appoint a Christian and a woman as vice presidents. That promise was forgotten, as a fellow traveler Islamist was instead chosen. And quickly, president Morsi has deposed the secular generals and replaced them with Islamists. The Islamic takeover of Egypt is nearly complete (parliament is disbanded, all that remains it to pack the judiciary). It was done in a few short weeks, without a shot being fired. The goal is to impose Islamic law on the nation, in preparation for the dominating worldwide caliphate rule the Muslims hope for.
In all this, the Copts have been severely distressed, being outnumbered 9 to 1 by Muslims. With all Mubarak’s faults, at least under him the Copts had some minimal protection. Now they have virtually none. Every day they are driven out of their homes, they are killed, their daughters are abducted. The police could hardly care less. There is no one to turn to. Egypt is on its way to becoming another Pakistan.
Who will help? Obama? He’s the one who let the Iranian patriots twist in the wind when we had a golden chance to get rid of the worst regime on the face of the earth at minimal cost. He’s the one who occupies himself with celebrating Islamic feasts in the White House, and apologizing for America to the Muslims on their soil before he was even inaugurated, and who couldn’t bother to fill the post of advocate for religious rights for two years. Look at what this Christianity-professing man does, not what he says.
The Copts seem to be on their own. Most of those who can are leaving Egypt. The rest are stuck.
All I can say is that we need to hold these people in our hearts before the Lord. For as the Bible says, we too are “in the body”, as susceptible to abuse as are they. I look at the current scene and I marvel at how much has changed since my early days. I never would have thought American society would become so morally dumbed-down, hardened and coarse; that the media and all our institutions would become so cravenly biased against truth and human rights, the very foundations of our freedoms. But it is indeed upon us.
If we don’t turn this thing around very soon, it will be too late. As the beneficiaries of free will, God let’s us have our way when we insist. But we do not get to separate consequences from choices. We have fallen to this low estate because as a nation we have spit in God’s face. It has been a progression for many decades, but it has been accelerating more and more, until now we are almost out of control. We are falling apart on the inside, and cannot stand before our enemies on the outside. The Bible word for that is judgment. It may be reversible, but the window for doing so is open only for a short time.
I have quite a bit of traffic here from people looking for modules for theWord. TheWord is an excellent free Bible program that I strongly recommend. It has a learning curve, but stick with it and you will be rewarded, and the program can be used at a simple level right away. It’s under active development and there is a nice user support forum where the author is active.
So by all means you can do a search here for theword as a tag, or Bible Software as a category, to find several sources of free modules. But if you want to go directly to the largest repository there is, see David Cox’s site, http://www.twmodules.com. I haven’t counted, but there has to be over a thousand free ebooks there, enough reading to drive you batty if you let it. Seriously, this is a great resource.
One very ugly story today in the Guardian. It’s ugly in two ways: first, for the story that is told, and second, for the way that story is told.
The story is that minorities are alleging a massive attempt to deprive them of the vote. The way it’s told is that the leftist Guardian first trumps up the allegations with hyperbolic rhetoric, assuming they are all true, and then gives only a thin gruel of substantiation at the end, after the reader already has been programmed. Classic manipulation of public opinion.
You will recall that certain political elements – read, Democrats catering to their special interest groups – have consistently resisted commonsense attempts to protect the integrity of the vote in America. You can hardly make a large purchase without a corroborating photo ID, but somehow requiring this level of validation is construed as being antithetical to our personal freedoms when used to prevent voting fraud.
So too, there has been a long history of denial of voting rights to those convicted of a felony crime. We may argue that the law should be made more flexible, but we can hardly deny that there is some basis in logic to keep those of poor character out of the voting booth.
We are in great danger of losing all confidence in our electoral system. And if that happens, then rioting begins. From buying off voters with amenities in Chicago – the city of “vote early and often” where Barack Obama learned down and dirty machine politics, to deceased voters somehow continuing to exercise the franchise, to the fraudulent registration lists of ACORN doing their work on the public dime in the name of voter participation, vote fraud has increasingly become an endemic part of the American fabric. It is a cancer eating away at the public trust, until now we barely have any.
But evidently we haven’t seen anything yet. Remember the painfully divisive aftermath to the election of 2000, when Al Gore would not let go? That will be nothing compared to the ugly racial rhetoric that’s ahead. It will be impossible to level any criticism of Barack Obama without being branded racist. I know this will happen because it already has been happening. It has happened to me, and it has probably happened to you as well.
If you search the pages of this blog you will see where I once pleaded that we inaugurate Allan West immediately. But that won’t count to exonerate me of racism because West, who is Black, is a conservative. One is considered Black by liberals only if he is liberal and accordingly endorses racial identity politics.
It’s been a great nation. We’ve had quite a run. But as Lincoln (and Jesus) warned, divided we cannot stand. Here we have identity groups going outside the country to bring external force to bear on it in order to implement their own agenda. It is widely believe that even Obama himself, the hope and change guy himself (even there I wanted to say “boy”, as I normally would colloquially do, without regard to the race of the person, but I flinched because of our supercharged racial atmosphere), is going to run an unprecedentedly divisive campaign, scorching earth in order to preserve his sinecure. This is nothing less than the potential demise of the nation, and immanently so.
While this is sad, and we should do all we can to prevent it, it presents an opportunity for the church. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken, and shaken we are. But this is the time to rise up and bear witness to Christ. Our power is not rooted in politics, but in the Spirit. So many people are needy, and not just financially. Families are falling apart. The world is an increasingly dangerous and evil place. Even the heralded Arab Spring is being shown to have only cleared the way for Islam to rear its ugly head. Real hope is a scarce commodity indeed. People need strength to face their challenges and live their lives.
At the same time, however, the church itself continues to be shaken, so much so that we wonder how we will be strong. There is only one answer: we must abide in the secret place of the Most High, the place of immunity. From that place of rest we will be refreshed, and the Lord’s power will be perfected in us.
Do not fret at the evil around us. The evil one is certainly having a measure of success now, but his day will come. God has not abandoned us. His hand weaves its way through history, and through our circumstances, working all things to our good (Romans 8.28). He will not be thwarted.
These are difficult times, but those who know their God will be strong and do exploits (Daniel 11.32). let’s join together in prayer and keep one another strong. Christ is in our midst.
As a kid I was a comic book junkie. I started out with Superman and Batman, and couldn’t get enough. When my mother held me to three comics per week, that’s what I brought home each Sunday – plus a couple more hidden under my shirt. As I progressed through my teens, I did taper off, but there were two heroes who were very hard to say goodbye to: Thor and Green Lantern.
I was a little excited earlier this year when I heard that movies of both my old heroes, Thor and Green Lantern, were coming out this year. I generally don’t go to the theater, and I finally got around to renting the Thor DVD this weekend. So this review might be old hat to you. And if you haven’t seen the movie yet, be aware this will contain some serious spoilers.
One thing is preeminently clear from watching this movie: its creative principals are well-conversant with the Bible story. The parallels between Thor and Christ are pervasive, and other characters also line up closely with biblical persons.
It’s ironic that even as special effects have gotten more and more spectacular, they are losing their novelty and ability to hold the viewer’s interest. Gone are the days when effects could carry a film. A story will sink or swim based only on the old sure foundation of plot and character development. And so, though the effects in Thor are pretty good, they fade into the background. The real story is the spiritual development of the hero.
Thor is a brash young man destined for the throne. His father, king Odin, is old and wise and good. In his swagger, Thor retaliates for a wrong done to his kingdom, and unleashes a deadly war upon his people. For violating his fealty to the king, Thor is stripped not only of his power, which is embodied in his hammer, but of his position as heir to the throne as well. And he is cast out of his own realm and banished to earth, to live his life as a mortal.
The hammer follows him to Earth, however, and embeds itself in a rock. Thor immediately plots how to get to it and reclaim it. The moment finally comes when it is in his grasp. He smiles as he reaches out for it, tasting the power that will soon be his again. But Thor’s father had pronounced an oath over the hammer, whereby it could only be wielded by one who is worthy of its power. In what Thor thought would be his moment of triumph, he cannot free the hammer, try as he may. He cries what sounds like the death roar of a mighty lion, and falls to his knees, defeated.
If that weren’t bad enough, now taken captive, Thor is visited by his younger brother, Loki. Loki informs him that his father is dead. Thor’s foolishness and banishment has caused it, and their mother has decreed that Thor may never return. All of these are lies. Loki represents the satan figure in the story, who enviously rebels in order to rule, but his motives seem more confused than those of his biblical counterpart, in that he somehow thinks he is trying to please his father.
Once a mighty wild stallion, Thor now is broken. In tears, he expresses touching remorse for his actions and the woe they have brought on his loved ones. It was here that we began to see one aspect of the Christ story in action. I thought of the pain of the Cross, where everything went wrong for the Lord Jesus; where He suffered for sins He did not commit, and it seemed that even His Father had rejected Him. Thor’s loss at this point is complete.
Thor is now a changed man. He begins to adapt to his new mortal life by serving others in small ways, such as waiting tables, and he does so with servanthood joy. Finally, when Loki sends a robot to Earth to kill Thor and everyone else, Thor walks up to the machine and offers himself without resistance, as long as everyone else will be left to live. The robot takes him up on the offer – and kills him.
This is deep Gospel territory. What came to mind at this point were Michael Card’s “El Shaddai” lyrics, Your most awesome work was done, through the frailty of Your Son. Jesus laid aside the power and immortality of divinity in order to become a man and suffer like us, for us. He wrested the kingdom back from satan not by means of indomitable power, but by reestablishing the legal right through the humble obedience of self-sacrificial love. Thor’s death was a moving moment. (The film, directed by the Shakespearian, Richard Brannagh, had a noble feel almost throughout.)
But as Thor’s mother says at one point, there is a reason for everything the king does. Odin sent Thor into banishment to break his pride, and as soon as Thor dies, the father’s oath over the hammer is invoked. The hammer breaks loose from the rock it is embedded in, and flies into Thor’s hand. Thor is raised from death, and is restored to his former position and power. This, of course, is a picture of the resurrection. Thor goes on to stop the war he had triggered between kingdoms, and he does so sacrificially again, at the cost of destroying the way back to Earth, cutting him off from the woman he has come to love.
At the movie’s end, Thor and his father are reconciled. Thor is humble and aware of his need for wisdom, and he recognizes its rich endowment in his father.
I found the plot details and the dialog a bit hard to follow the first time through, but one advantage of the DVD is the ability to watch the film again on the cheap. The second time was much richer for being able to connect more of the dots. This movie is a winner at several levels, particularly the spiritual. That compliment comes from one who generally no longer bothers with most movies because of their low redeeming value.
If you enjoy seeing the Gospel story played out in different ways, and are looking for ways to relate it to those in our culture who are not conversant with the Bible, the movie Thor might well be something you would be interested in.