Monthly Archives: April 2011

Same sex marriage and incest, why neither should be legitimized

A friend of a friend posted the following picture on Facebook recently and it elicited a rather rich and lively discussion.

Graphic: States That Allow Same-Sex Marriage Vs. States That Allow Marriage Between First Cousins

The graphic and related articles attempt to convey the absurdity and hypocrisy of states which allow marriage between close cousins (like gypsies) which poses a host of health risks, but disallow same sex marriage which they assume is sterile and safe.

Well here’s my take.

The definition of marriage is predicated on a biological reality. It predates government and as such any law designed to arbitrarily redefine it based on subjective premises (ie. what is being referred to as “love”) are about like passing a measure to redefine words we simply don’t like.

There is a reason blood tests were required for obtaining a marriage certificate and why first cousins are barred from marrying in certain states. That is the biological possibility of children, the only public reason for marriage existing as a separate institution and not simply another contract between private parties.

Same sex “marriage” should be opposed for the same reason that we should oppose marriage between close relatives and multiple partners (bigamy). It is self-destructive for the consenting adults involved and it is harmful to any offspring that may result or be obtained (in the case of SSM).

The essential public purpose of marriage is to bind parents to children and through that to preemptively protect their rights. Specifically, their right to enjoy the company of both of their biological parents.

At this point many same sex marriage proponents like to argue that the institution of marriage is in a dismal state of repair as it is. That most marriages today don’t last.

Yes, it is true that the state of marriage today isn’t very strong, but this should be a reason to seek to strengthen marriage, not weaken it further.

Laws serve to both punish undesirable behavior as well as promote desirable behavior. Yes, we were sold no-fault divorce for the same reason you mentioned with the additional guarantee that it would have no further ill effects on marriage in general. It didn’t. What it did do is lead to an unprecedented rise in divorce rates overall and a further expansion of government into private lives through the family court system .

Same sex marriage has been shown in countries where it is legal to also expand government intrusion into private lives. The main goal of legalization of SSM is to make the public affirm homosexuality. We have good evidence for this from two primary sources. From countries where it is legal and only ~2% of the homosexual population (which, itself, is only about 3-4% of any given population) decide to get married. And from the writings of GLBT leaders themselves.

Same sex marriage has also been shown to make an already unhealthy lifestyle even more unhealthy. Statistics show that the majority of homosexuals who do decide to get married don’t use protection since they figure they are in the clear with regard to diseases like AIDS, but they end up putting themselves at greater risk for the more “common” health problems. Additionally, since promiscuity is a prominent part of the homosexual lifestyle (again, taken from their leaders’ words), it would be wrong for us to think that same sex marriage resembles natural marriage in anything other than a superficial and fleeting feeling of love.

We should also point out that homosexuals are not prevented from forming unions and calling them marriages today. They can have civil ceremonies, draw up contracts, live together, etc. What they cannot do right now, without redefining marriage, is force others to affirm their union as normative or prevent people like myself from speaking out against it.

Redefining marriage would be a violation of the public trust.

The benefits of marriage are granted by the public in order to encourage stable marriage relationships. When we treat marriage as if it were merely a registry of friends with benefits it both weakens marriage and encourages abuse of it at the same time. It’s weakened by people not taking it seriously and it is abused by people enjoying the benefits afforded to marriage relationships with no intention of providing the taxpayers (society in general) any return on their investment. Sure, there are free riders in any system but it is generally a bad economic policy to encourage and expand free riders.

So among other things I would say that SSM should be opposed simply because it is a poor public investment. It offers no returns and costs the money and freedom of other 97% of the country.

Many proponents of redefining marriage seem to assume this is merely a religious argument. I’m not sure why that is since the data available to us holds no religious convictions of its own.

Both the data of what most marriages enjoy (higher levels of self-reported happiness and satisfaction, not to mention financial stability, etc.), as well as what the ideal public purpose of marriage is (afterall, laws shape what society values and doesn’t value). Not to mention the plethora of studies that are coming out about the benefits children have by enjoying the company of both their biological parents.

In the end, there is simply no good reason, and a host of bad ones, to redefine marriage just to make a small group of people feel better about their chosen lifestyles.

EDIT:
What I find disheartening is that liberals almost unilaterally fail to deal with any of the available evidence on this subject and, instead, stick to faulty arguments and rhetoric. It seems the only strategy a liberal has is to characterize their opponent as bigoted, hateful, etc. as if someone couldn’t possibly have a principled objection to a demonstrably unhealthy lifestyle like homosexuality. In order to make any progress on this issue we, as a nation, need to seriously consider stopping the hate, on both sides, and start the debate.

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Making the Case for Life: Pro-Life Apologetics

Making the Case for Life: Pro-Life Apologetics from Darius Hardwick on Vimeo.

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A (very) brief intro to apologetics

[HT Defend the Word]

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Ayn Rand’s Objectivism lampooned in a one act play

“Mozart Was a Red” is, to my knowledge, Murray N. Rothbard’s one and only play. It is a form unusual for him, but one well suited to its subject: the cult that grew up around the novelist Ayn Rand and flourished in the 60s and early 70s. For the principal figures of Rand’s short-lived “Objectivist” movement were indeed like characters out of some theatrical farce.

The transcript is here.

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Book review: Radical Together by David Platt

I have read a lot about David Platt’s first bestseller, Radical, so when I saw his latest book, Radical Together, on the list of books to review for booksneeze.com, I jumped at the chance.

Radical Together is meant to explain how to take what David wrote in his first book, Radical, and live them out. To do that David uses a lot of examples by way of illustration, mostly from his mega-church, Brook Hills.

David begins by telling how he and his family ended up at Brook Hills following the devastation wrought by hurricane Katrina. David uses this incident to introduce us to the notion that God sometimes does radical things to get our attention. Like flooding an entire city, destroying lives and property and displacing millions.

For us the flood depicts the radical call of Christ to Christians and the [local] church. When Jesus calls us to abandon everything we have and everything we are, it’s almost as if he is daring us to put ourselves in the flood plain. To put all our lives and all our [local] churches, all our property and all our possessions, all our plans and all our strategies, all our hopes and all our dreams in front of the levee and then ask God to break it. To ask God to sweep away whatever he wants, to leave standing whatever he desires, and to remake our lives and [local] churches according to his will.

David then talks about how he reluctantly came to be the pastor of Brook Hills. He was asked to preach one Sunday and the people there liked him. But he didn’t want to go because he didn’t think he was qualified. David uses this story to express a concept from Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God bible study, that God operates on a mystical plane and that we should expect to find God in whatever it is we don’t want and are (or think we are) wholly unqualified to do.

All of this is in the first chapter where David is describing a problem found in most churches where people are busy but their business is not necessarily geared towards productive ends.

I mostly agree with David’s assessment but he seems to equivocate a lot between church as the body of Christ and church as a particular 501c3 non-profit organization.

At the same time we were studying James, we were going through our church budgeting process. To be honest, I hate budget season. As a pastor, I believe this is when the church comes face to face with hoe prone we are to give our resources to good things while ignoring great need. Christians in North America give, on average, 2.5 percent of their income to their [local] church. Out of that 2.5 percent, churches in North America will give 2 percent of their budgeted monies to needs overseas. In other words, for every hundred dollars a North American Christian earns, he will give five cents through the church to a world with urgent spiritual and physical needs. This does not make sense.

From this David draws the conclusion, which appears to have formed a large part of his previous book, that American Christians are greedy and materialistic. Never mind the fact that Americans out-give all other nations on earth. Unfortunately David seems to think that Christians are required to tithe (exactly how does a charity “earn” anything?) and that local church businesses are the best, if not only, means of giving aid and comfort to the poor. Oh, and we are also told that the people we should be primarily concerned with are the poor in nations other than our own.

From here David begins building his case for what he considers a radical Christian life. Put simply, that life is spent asking the same question Charles Sheldon asked in his book In His Steps, “What Would Jesus Do?”

Throughout Radical Together what struck me the most was how ordinary the message was. While I respect David’s desire to call people to live lives that are more consistent with their stated Christian beliefs, what I kept thinking was how neurotic a person who actually takes David’s (or Sheldon’s for that matter) message seriously.

Through Radical Together it seems like the overall message is to go out and make big changes. That thinking about the problem and are fully planning and, as Jesus said, counting the cost are something we should avoid in favor of, basically, living in the moment.

The only bright part of David’s book was where he brought up and championed the home/small church model. It was refreshing, though somewhat perplexing considering the context, to read a mega-church pastor advocating the employment of all believers equally in the body of Christ and that meeting in a small intimate context is more conducive to the discipleship we are called to practice among the body of Christ.

In the end I wouldn’t recommend Radical Together to anyone to read. If you want to read a “get busy for Jesus” book you would do better to read Sheldon’s classic, In His Steps. Or better yet, throw off the existentialism inherent in the notion that in order to truly follow Christ one needs to be “radical”.

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What’s wrong with teaching “gay history”?

California bill SB48 is touted as another step in combatting discriminatory practices by teaching students about the contributions to humanity made by gays, lesbians, and transgendered persons.

“Most textbooks don’t include any information about (lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender) historical figures or their civil rights movement, which has great significance to both California and U.S. history,” the bill’s author, state Senator Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, said during a news conference Thursday.

“This selective censorship sends the wrong message to all young people, and especially to those who do not identify as straight,” said Leno, who is openly gay.

Leno, however, begs the question when it comes to teaching GLBT issues in an age appropriate manner. As child psychologist Miriam Grossman testifies:

Personally, I think this whole situation underscores the need for robust voucher programs to empower parents to opt their children out of things like this.

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John Lennon on socialism

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A different kind of Christianity

Brian McLaren, a rockstar pastor in California, describes “A New Kind of Christianity”. However when he’s done deconstructing every central tenet of Christinaity as defined by Scripture, its quite clear that what he’s really offering is something completely different he’s calling Christianity.

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Movie review: To Save A Life

As a rule I tend to avoid explicitly Christian films like Facing the Giants, Flywheel, Fireproof1, and To Save a Life. However every now and then I make an exception to that rule. Most of the time I am merely reminded why I maintain the self-inflicted rule in the first place, but every now and then I run across a movie like To Save A Life and it makes up for all the rest. Well, at least it reminds me why I make the ocassional exception.

The movie begins with the funeral of Roger, a kid with no friends and no hope. One of the 31,000 teenage suicides that happen in the US each year.

At the funeral is Roger’s former bestfriend, Jake. Jake and Roger grew up together but in highschool, Jake decided to ditch Roger in order to become more popular.

Jake and Roger are broken, and through the course of the movie we come face to face with the frank brokenness of many characters. And this is where the rest of the story unfolds. Tracing lines of brokenness with the looming question of whether anything is capable of making a real, lasting difference.

The raw honesty in this movie is refreshing. Its not like the marital fight scene in Fireproof where nary a curse word is to be heard. No. In To Save A Life, the imperfections and frailty of the main characters hit you like a 2×4 between the eyes.

Through Jake’s perepsective we encounter a number of issues including; teen suicide, peer pressure, drugs, drinking, sex, pregnancy, divorce, betrayal, and even cutting.

And unlike many movies where the main character undergoes a mostly linear character progression, Jake regresses during the film. Showing us that a mended heart can break itself again.

Overall we are introduced to the notion that brokenness is best dealt with in community. But not just any community. Along with various types of characters we are shown varying types of communities.

There are the drug addicts, the popular crowd, the outcasts, the youth group, and the Christians. I particularly enjoyed how the movie dealt with the difference between the youth group and the Christians, those performing religious observance and those seeking a genuine relationship with a living God.

And even through the youth minister’s advice and dialog annoyed me at some points. Overall he proved to be a solid character with a love for those he serves and a desire to see them grow and mature.

This is one of those films that should be shown to every teen and pre-teen in America.

  1. Ok Fireproof wasn’t all that bad. []
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Top five environmental disasters that didn’t happen

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