Archive for May, 2013

Eichmann to Gosnell, Ragsdale on the Assist

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

 

The days fill with horrors old and new, and with the excuses of those who enable evil.

 

April 11th marked the 50th anniversary of the opening of Adolf Eichmann’s trial in Jerusalem.  Eichmann was a key man in the “final solution,” Nazi Germany’s effort to eradicate Jews from the face of the earth.

 

At the same time, bloggers, tweeters and a few journalists with intact consciences have blown away the mainstream media smokescreen covering the Kermit Gosnell murder trial in Philadelphia.  Gosnell operated an abortion shop of horrors, killing live born children and women who came to him for the “procedure.”

 

Cooperating as ever with such systemic evil are churches that measure their success by the amount of favor and access they receive from cultural, especially political, elites.  A current icon of this type is Katherine Ragsdale, seminary dean, political activist and lobbyist, cleric, lesbian activist and just about anything else a member of an elite gets to do.

 

It is very hard to listen to the Eichmann trial, read the Gosnell testimony or attend to much of anything that Ragsdale says or does.  But there are some common threads that are worth a look as our present culture stumbles closer and closer to collapsing in spasms of massive evil.

 

I. A political agenda as an alternative religion.

 

When the Israeli court offered him a New Testament on which to swear, Eichmann handed it back (short video with poor sound, but the relevant moment is clear):

 

The Nazis, too often assumed to be “Western Christians,” were into the vague gods of romantic naturalism, Teutonic myth, and even the occult.  The revealed Word of God was rejected in order to enable their agenda.

 

I’ve been searching for information on Gosnell’s religious leanings, and am finding it hard to locate.  It is enough to say that he’s a man of our age, married and divorced numerous times, and into making fast money.

 

What I can tell you, based on Philadelphia DA R. Seth Williams’ Grand Jury Report, is that Gosnell used Sunday, the Lord’s Day, the Resurrection Day of new creation and eternal life, to “terminate” the children closest to birth, in some cases at seven or eight months in the womb.  And for these, he charged his highest fees.  (Report p. 5)

 

Neighbors and prolife activists note that Gosnell ignored sustained Christian witness outside his “clinic.”

 

A look at Ragsdale’s profile, linked above, will reveal no mention of Jesus Christ or even “God,” and this at an Episcopal Seminary website.  There are political and social causes, and an alphabet of academic paper credentials.  Like Gosnell, a person of our age; like Eichmann, one who has handed back the revealed Word for some other agenda.

 

Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images… (Romans 1:22-3)

 

II. Zealotry

 

Eichmann’s bland personality led Hannah Arendt to coin the memorable phrase “the banality of evil.”

 

But his outward nerd masked an inner zealot.  Eichmann’s work to eradicate the Jews was herculean.  As pointed out by Dr. Yaacov Lozowick of Yad Vashem’s Archives, Eichmann was ordered by his Berlin superiors to suspend his extermination work and shift to covering it up before the advancing Allies could discover it.  Eichmann actually disobeyed and tried to speed up the transportation and extermination.

 

Gosnell appeared to be a jovial old neighborhood doc.  But his support for abortionism predated Roe v. Wade.  His murders were symptomatic of decades of zealotry, and his “practice” targeted women who should not have had abortions under existing state laws.

 

Ragsdale (in)famously preached,

 

These are the two things I want you, please, to remember – abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Let me hear you say it: abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done.

I want to thank all of you who protect this blessing – who do this work every day: the health care providers, doctors, nurses, technicians, receptionists, who put your lives on the line to care for others (you are heroes—in my eyes, you are saints); the escorts and the activists; the lobbyists and the clinic defenders; all of you. You’re engaged in holy work.

 

The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness, and the end of his talk is evil madness.  (Ecclesiastes 10:13)

 

III. The need for cover up.

 

Although Eichmann’s late war recklessness led to Allied discovery of “the final solution,” most of the Nazi effort was covered in propaganda.  There were state media newsreels showing happy Jews living in lovely government provided neighborhoods.  There were Jewish musicians lined up to play for International Red Cross Inspectors.

 

Eichmann showed considerable skill in generating fake identities as he escaped to Argentina after the war, and lived comfortably until detected and kidnapped to Israel by Mossad agents in 1960.  His trial might have done as much as any other event to make the Holocaust known to the world, as it was covered by the relatively new proliferation of television and over 100 victims of the “final solution” gave recorded testimony in the course of the proceedings.  It is hard for us to imagine how much of a massive global evil remained invisible just fifteen years after the war’s end.

 

The Gosnell case is revealing two massive cover ups.  The first was by numerous government and private agencies that were aware of what he was doing, and refused to intervene or report him to law enforcement.  The fact is, his clinic was finally raided for investigation of prescription drug peddling and the murders incidentally discovered.  The DA’s report linked above documents layer after layer of government inspection agencies that knew about the horror and let it go on (pp. 8-16).  In addition, a private standards auditor set up by abortion providers refused to certify Gosnell’s practice, but also failed to report it to law enforcement.

 

The second cover up is media black out of the case, most likely out of ideological desire to avoid any negative publicity for the abortion industry.  It’s taken alternative media to out the case.

 

In Ragsdale’s case, her “abortion is holy” screed was pulled off of numerous pro-abortion sites after it was exposed to the light of day.  It was not repudiated, just hidden and treasured among the true believers – and by a few advocates of honesty who saved it on their own sites.

 

“And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.”  (John 3:19)

 

IV. Government collusion

 

Eichmann was part of the government, a one-party ideological state with an evil agenda.

 

Gosnell was coddled and protected by the State of Pennsylvania and City of Philadelphia agencies that should have stopped him.

 

Ragsdale is part of “The White House Project” and has testified and lobbied in Washington for federal subsidy of the abortion industry.

 

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed… (Psalm 2:2)

 

V. The enlistment and corruption of others

 

The great horror of the Holocaust included the millions of “normal” people who went along with it in various ways.  Some were passive, choosing to ignore the concentration camp visible on the edge of town.  Many others were hands on in the violation and extermination of other human beings.  This was at the heart of Ahrendt’s “banality of evil” reaction to the Eichmann trial.  It wasn’t just his bland persona, it was his continued assertion that he and so many others were simply “cogs in a machine” beyond their control, “only following orders.”

 

Gosnell’s clinic staff were mostly women, who in some cases held other women down while he “treated” them.  One reportedly played with a live-born child for several minutes before helping to “snip” its spinal cord.  They collected money from the women who came to the office, gave bad medical advice without medical training, and were essential participants in a murder spree that victimized many other women as well as the babies of both genders.

 

Ragsdale is a seminary dean who prepares people to lead churches.  She preaches, teaches and speaks in a variety of religious and secular settings, including the halls of government.  She spreads the new, political religion in place of the revealed truth of the Word of God.  She takes well intentioned, idealistic religious people and lines them up as fodder for earthbound elites and ideology.

 

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.”  (Mark 9:42)

 

VI. Narrow interests

 

Eichmann represented a national and racial ideology.  He was all about the best for the German volk and a wider “Aryan” master race they were building.  Other races and nations were to be eliminated for the good of his group.

 

Gosnell was primarily self-interested.  The DA report to to the Grand Jury estimates that he raked in $10 – 15,000 per night via late term abortions (p. 23).  He killed babies and women as part of his “business.”

 

Ragsdale is obsessed with her gender.  A lesbian and militant abortionist, she uses the institutions that support her to foster gender based grievances, entitlements and public policies.  Well beyond what most would describe as a “feminist,” she preaches a narrow world view that serves her and those most like her.

 

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?”  (Matthew 5:43-46)

 

VII. They aren’t troubled by what they do but it wears the rest of us down

 

At Eichmann’s trial, he remained sedate while several witnesses and spectators suffered breakdowns.  The overwhelming horror he helped inflict was not “eased by time,” and the world is still troubled by the aftershocks of his Naziism and the World War it generated.

 

Gosnell just kept grinning and killing despite investigations, protests and the manifest suffering and carnage his senses imbibed almost nightly from those he was supposed to be “helping.”  His victims include women living with permanent physical damage, including the inability to have children.  Not to mention the long term emotional and spiritual damage the victims of his evil must carry.

 

Ragsdale is promoted in every sense of that word, no matter how extreme or evil her pronouncements.  Pew sitters giver her a pass because she’s a priest; the culture sees academic credentials; politicians see a constituent and donor organizer.  The church she “serves” continues a stupendous decline, while she rolls in job opportunities, speaking engagements, lesbian ceremonies and accolades from a “tolerant” culture.  Any who would disagree with or critique her are dismissed as intolerant or neurotic un-persons.

 

“And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.”  (Matthew 24:12)

 

I don’t think I’m violating any confidences to say that most of us at SF are finding it very hard to cover the Gosnell trial, as relevant and pointed as it is for the kinds of faith and culture issues we engage here.  It all becomes too much some days.  I’m exhausted just reading and typing this superficial look at its implications.  Gosnell, monstrous as he is, is but a microcosm of evil pervading the church and the world.

 

Pray for us.  Pray for yourselves, the church and the world.  Pray for our enemies.  And read and pray the Word of God,

 

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;

we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 8:31-39)

 

And keep doing the Word as well,

 

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.  (Ephesians 5:11)

Homosexuality and Theology of the Body

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

by Fr. Peter West

(HLIWorldWatch.org) – Polls show that most young people today, even those who identify themselves as Christians, have no problem with “same-sex marriage.”

If young people today are at all aware of what the Catholic Church teaches about marriage and human sexuality, what they think they know is often only a caricature of the truth. They see it as simply a set of prohibitions established by men. But what the Church actually presents is a vision of the beauty of marriage as a sacred union between one man and one woman who are committed for life and open to the transmission of new human life. With this vision, “same-sex marriage” is an oxymoron, making about as much sense as a “squared circle.”

“Same-sex marriage” has been presented to the public as an issue of fairness. But the worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal. Leaders in the homosexual movement have themselves admitted that the promotion of “same-sex marriage” is a device to destroy the institution of marriage. A poster at a homosexual conference called the National Conference on Organized Resistance in 2008 read “Marriage is the proverbial burning building. Instead of pounding on the door to be let in…queers should be stoking the flames!”

Of course, our understanding of marriage has been damaged by the fruits of the sexual revolution: no-fault divorce, cohabitation, contraception, sterilization and abortion. What is our problem with changing the definition of marriage to accommodate same-sex couples? Are we being “unfair”?

Blessed Pope John Paul II reflected on love, the nature of the human person, marriage as a vocation and the purpose of the body in a series of lectures from 1979 to 1984 during his Wednesday audiences which he called the “Theology of the Body.”

With regard to marriage, John Paul referred to Our Lord’s teaching. When Jesus was asked a question about marriage and divorce, He referred back to the beginning – to God’s original purpose for marriage.

Jesus said:

Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate (Mt. 19: 4-6).

John Paul recognized that at the root of the current cultural divide is confusion about the nature of the human person. There are two basic competing philosophies in the world today. One sees man as the result of a blind process of evolutionary development. The other says that man was created by God in his image and likeness, giving man a supernatural origin and destiny. One philosophy sees man simply as perhaps little better than a barnyard animal, but basically incapable of controlling his impulses. The other sees man as being capable of discipline and love.

Isn’t it true that every healthy person desires to love and to be loved? It is also true that oftentimes people look for love in the wrong places. Particularly with sins of a sexual nature, men are seeking to satisfy a natural desire that God has given us to fulfill his plan for love. Our desires are often distorted because of original sin and our tendency to selfishness.

All love flows from God. Christ reveals man to himself, showing man his dignity and teaching him to love. By loving others we become free of our tendency to selfishness.

Further, the human body was created by God. He created sex as a beautiful physical demonstration of love between a husband and a wife. Sex is part of the original creation that God found to be very good (cf. Genesis 1, 31). Any prohibitions about sex are meant to protect God’s original plan for marriage, sex and family life.

We are not simply “ghosts in machines” as some philosophers and pop stars have claimed, but we are both body and soul. This has profound implications on who we are and how we interact: Because human beings are a composite of body and soul, we can express ourselves spiritually through the body. Because of this sex can never be purely biological. There is a language expressed in sex: it says I love you; I give myself to you without holding anything back; I commit myself to you for life; I open myself to the possibility of having children with you. Sex before marriage is really a lie. The couple’s body language says I give myself to you completely, but they are unwilling to make the commitment to each other that this love requires.

This is why, far from denigrating sex, the Catholic Church teaches that sex within marriage is actually holy; in fact, she has raised marriage to the level of a sacrament. The Catechism of the Catholic Churchsays, “The matrimonial covenant by which man and woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole life is by its nature ordered to the procreation and education of offspring. This covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.” There is nothing “unfair” about honoring this covenant.

Through Christian love given and received God gives the marriage partners a sharing in his life and helps them grow in grace and spiritual maturity. Physical intimacy that is open to life becomes a sign and pledge of spiritual communion.

In part two, Father West will discuss the implications of these truths about men and women, and about marriage.

 

Rob Bell and Andrew Wilson – Homosexuality & The Bible – Unbelievable?

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Please Mr Keller, this is not the time for philosophical niceties over gay marriage

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

 

Tim Kellerby Julian Mann

 

One hopes he was misquoted but London Times columnist Tim Montgomerie does not invent quotes. In an article entitled ‘The Bible Belt is becoming a force for good’, he quotes ‘influential New York pastor’ Tim Keller as saying: “You can believe homosexuality is a sin and still believe that same-sex marriage should be legal.”

 

That quotation comes in a disturbing section in Mr Montgomerie’s article: “Let’s start with one of the great moral causes of our time: gay marriage. The majority of American Christians still oppose this civil right (sic) but opinion is changing among younger churchgoers: 44 per cent of evangelicals (sic) under the age of 30 favour allowing gays and lesbians to marry. Some take this view because they see nothing wrong with homosexuality. Others support same-sex marriage laws because they don’t believe it is right to impose their own religious views on others.” He then quotes Mr Keller as representing the latter tendency.

 

Mr Montgomerie, who until recently was executive editor of ConservativeHome, is a strong supporter of UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s bid to legalise same-sex marriage.

 

Mr Keller’s fine distinction may fit in well with the world of New York philosophical intelligentsia. But for Christian public sector workers in both the US and the UK facing the sack because they will not support same-sex marriage the question is not an academic one. Nor is it for clergy facing law suits for refusing to take same-sex weddings.

 

Read here

BREAKING: Kermit Gosnell convicted on 3 of 4 counts of murdering babies, killing 41-year-old woman

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

 

By Ben Johnson, LifeSite News

 

A Philadelphia jury has found late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell guilty of murdering three of four babies in his capital murder trial.

 

He is also guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 abortion death of Karnamaya Mongar, a 41-year-old legal immigrant who died when his untrained staff administered an overdose of sedatives.

 

 

The jury found Gosnell guilty of murdering Babies A, C, and D. Gosnell quipped Baby A, who was photographed by one of his employees, Andrienne Moton, was big enough to “walk me to the bus stop.”

 

 

Jurors found Gosnell had committed first-degree murder when he allowed the babies to be born alive, then “snipped” their spinal cords with scissors — a practice his employees said they saw him perform “hundreds” of times.

 

 

The verdict, which was announced this afternoon in the courtroom of Judge Jeffrey Minehart, means Gosnell will face the death penalty at sentencing.

 

 

The “not guilty” count related to Baby E, who uttered a noise before being killed. Jurors could not determine conclusively that such a sound represented a sign of life.

 

 

“Even if not on every count, I am thrilled today by the guilty verdict in the Gosnell murder trial,” said Bryan Kemper of Stand True Ministries. “I have waited many years for justice to be served on behalf of babies being killed by abortionists.”

 

 

7 Leadership Paradigms Needed for Church Growth

Friday, May 10th, 2013

7

I speak with churches everyday who want to grow again, but nothing they do seems to work. Many say it’s a vision problem, but I disagree. The church may not be living it, but we have the clearest, best defined vision of anyone. (We are to make disciples.) The obvious problem to me of these church is they aren’t really doing anything new. They do the same things they’ve always done, maybe tweaking some minor aspect, but for all practical purposes, it’s the same.

But, honestly, that’s not the primary reason for a lack of growth, in my opinion. I have learned that if you want to have an culture susceptible and open to growth, there are some common paradigms necessary. You have to think certain ways. In most every situation, an absence of certain actions or mindsets on the part of leaders keeps the church from moving forward.

What are some of those paradigms?

Here are 7 paradigms needed for church growth:

Lead with leaders – Of course you need followers too, but most people are looking for leadership, especially about things about which they don’t know. In any group you’ll have a few who are ready to move forward with the changes needed and a few who are opposed to any change you bring. The rest of the people are looking for leadership. Lead with those who are ready to move in a positive direction.

Prioritize your time – You can’t do everything or be everywhere. Let me say that again. You can’t do everything or be everywhere. That doesn’t ignore the expectation placed on you as a leader, but it does recognize your limitations. By the way, the quickest way to burnout and ineffectiveness is to ignore this one.

Never waste energy – When something is working, put fuel into it. All cylinders go. That makes sense, right? Momentum feeds momentum. Yes, in keeping the previous one that means you’ll have to ignore a few things to do the very best things. But, usually the most energy will be in a few key places at a time. Never fail to capitalize on those important moments in time.

Embrace change – You have to live in the tension of change if you want to experience growth. Change is never popular with everyone, but when you resist it, you are resisting the opportunity to grow. More of the same may be comfortable, but it seldom produces the excitement necessary for growth.

Make hard decisions – Don’t be naive. Growth brings change. Change brings momentum. And as exciting as that can be not everyone will be excited about it. If you are going to achieve the vision you’ll have to be willing to stand the test of time. That won’t be easy. With some decisions you make you’ll be choosing who buys into the vision and who doesn’t. Be willing to make the hard decisions and you’ll keep the church open to idea of growth.

Build healthy teams – You can’t do it alone. You can probably control a church that’s not growing. You can control people who don’t think for themselves. But, if you want to grow, especially grow long-term, you’ll need to surround yourself with healthy people who build a healthy team environment.

Refuel often – I find the more we are growing and the more change is occurring, the more I have to get away and gain perspective. Renew. Recharge. Sometimes even re-engage. I can’t lead for growth if I’m drowning in the demands of the present.

I don’t know that this is an exclusive list, but this is a good start. Which are you missing?

Smart Bombs & Dumb Policies, Both are Destructive

Friday, May 10th, 2013

From FRC

The headline in today’s New York Times was “Sexual Assaults in Military Raise Alarm in Capital.” The Washington Post had the same lead story which cited this alarming fact: “The estimated number of military personnel victimized by sexual assault and related crimes has surged by about 35 percent over the past two years.” At a press conference on Tuesday President Obama said he had no “tolerance” for this behavior and has ordered the Secretary of Defense to prevent these sex crimes and send a message to victims of sexual assault that “I’ve got their backs.” What could have possibly brought about such a surge in sexual assaults? Could the radical social policies pushed by the Obama Administration onto the military be a factor? The Post and the Times failed to mention that two years ago was when the 1993 law against open homosexuality in the military was repealed.
The reports on the 35% increase are based on survey data that included a 33% increase in men reporting “unwanted sexual contact” (almost all of which comes from other men). FRC was mocked in 2010 for noting that same-sex assaults the year before were roughly three times higher than the rate of homosexuality in the general population–and for predicting that those rates would rise if the 1993 law were repealed. The Pentagon’s report released yesterday said that male victims were now 12% of all victims making “unrestricted” reports, and 13% of those making “restricted” (confidential) reports–both higher than in FY 2009.