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The Respect for Marriage Act Is Bad for America

Groups celebrate gay marriage after Senate vote

On Tuesday, November 29, the Senate passed the so-called Respect for Marriage Act. The misnamed Act passed by a vote of 61-36 with 12 Republicans voting for it. The Act, sure to pass in the House, will codify gay marriage into federal law which will further speed America’s race to the bottom of moral values and Christian principles. Let’s take a serious look at this legislation.

In the Obergefell v. Hodges 5-4 decision in 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was constitutional and must be protected. That case and the earlier Supreme Court’s overturning of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act gave robust rights and benefits to “married” same-sex couples. With these cases, the American justice system thumbed its nose at the historical sanctity of marriage according to God’s Word. The current legislation will forever enshrine into law the marital rights of same-sex couples without the possibility of reconsideration by the courts.

The House passed the bill last July by a vote of 267-157 with all Democrats and 47 Republicans voting for it. The Senate’s slight revision will now go back to the House for final congressional passage and the President’s signing. With the power of federal law and well-defined rights of same-sex married couples, businesses and other organizations including churches opposing such marriage will find their morals and values under constant threat.

It is sad when many individuals form opinions opposing biblical truth. It is worse when the majority of Americans form opinions opposing biblical truth. It is inviting God’s judgment and wrath on our nation when our government makes and enforces laws opposing biblical truth. With this bill, America is proclaiming that man’s law supersedes God’s law. In the Bible, God makes it abundantly clear that marriage between one man and one woman is His plan for His ultimate creation–mankind. Then He says those who violate that plan: …exchanged the truth of God for a lie…God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. Although they know the ordinance of God, …they also give hearty approval to those who practice (such things) (Romans 1).

Romans 1 is explicit about the results of corrupting God’s one woman-one man plan for sexual fulfillment and procreation. It also condemns those who approve or tolerate such behavior. Most of our culture has become convinced that, even though they don’t practice homosexuality and gay marriage, it is okay, even commendable, to ignore it or tolerate it. That is an unbiblical lie.

Senators Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Lummis of Wyoming were among Republicans voting for the Respect for Marriage Act. They claim that they believe marriage should be between a man and a woman, but that everyone’s private life should be respected and tolerated. Major religious institutions are supporting gay marriage now. The United Methodist Church, the second largest protestant denomination in America, has bought into the sham along with several other denominations. The official statement of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is, “Supportive (of the Act) as long as it doesn’t infringe on religions to believe what they choose.” Really? I am ashamed that my generation has let this societal disease creep into our culture. When it reaps its consequences, how will I explain to my grandchildren that my generation let it happen?

The train has left the station, and Bible-believers have apparently lost this one. I will pray often and more earnestly that God will use this as a wake-up call for America to start reversing course in our determination to test His mercy and patience. We should be constantly reminded of God’s words just before the flood that destroyed almost all of civilization: My Spirit shall not strive with man forever… (Genesis 6). We may be on the brink of national collapse from the weight of spiritual darkness we have allowed into our culture.

Thanksgiving Trivia for Family Gatherings

Even with all the chaos and evil around us, we have so much to be thankful for in America today. We should thank the Lord every day for the goodness, beauty, and love we are blessed to experience. As we observe the national holiday of Thanksgiving, let us be grateful to God for what we have above all other nations. Here are a dozen Thanksgiving trivia questions and answers for your enjoyment:

1. Which President made Thanksgiving a national holiday?

2. What President began the tradition of pardoning a Thanksgiving turkey?

3. What meat did the native Americans bring to the first Thanksgiving?

4. What culture produced the idea of the cornucopia, the horn of plenty?

5. About how many turkeys are eaten in America each Thanksgiving? 120 million, 280 million, or 410 million?

6. What percentage of Americans eat turkey each Thanksgiving? 65, 76, or 88?

7. What was the first department store to hold a Thanksgiving Day parade?

8. Indians from what tribe accompanied the pilgrims on the first Thanksgiving?

9. Before sailing the Pilgrims across the Atlantic, the Mayflower was used for what purpose?

10. A native American bird, the turkey was first shipped to Europe from what state?

11. How many American Presidents were descendants of Mayflower passengers? One, three, six, or eight?

12. What popular Christmas song originated as a Thanksgiving song?

Answers:

1. Abraham Lincoln declared Nov. 26th as the official Thanksgiving holiday. It was later changed to the fourth Thursday in November by Franklin D. Roosevelt.

2. Although a few earlier Presidents jokingly pardoned a turkey before Thanksgiving, George H. W. Bush established the annual tradition in 1989, and it has been done by every subsequent President each year.

3. Deer (venison)

4. The Greek culture made the cornucopia popular in mythology.

5. 280 million

6. 88

7. Not Macy’s. It was Gimbel’s.

8. Ninety Wampanoag Indians were at the first Thanksgiving.

9. A wine hauling vessel

10. Florida. The Spaniards brought it back to Spain.

11. Eight. John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant, James Garfield, Franklin D. Roosevelt, George H. W. Bush, and, therefore, George W. Bush.

12. Jingle Bells. James Lloyd Pierpont wrote the song to commemorate the Thanksgiving Day sleigh races at Medford, Massachusetts.

Midterm Elections Reveal the Spiritual State of the Union

This 2022 midterm election was supposed to be the turning point that would put America back on the path of moral sensitivity and spiritual awakening. Sanctity of life, law and order, personal responsibility, and family values were all on the ballot. Although there were gains from the Christian perspective, they were far short of expectations. Our nation that proclaims “in God we trust” showed little regard at the polls for that motto.

The recent Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade drew several states to voter referendums on solidifying abortion rights. Kentucky, Vermont, Michigan, Montana, and California each proposed various amendments ensuring abortion access. Abortion rights prevailed in all five states. Kansans had already approved an abortion rights law in August.

Crime is a crisis in America, particularly homicides and drug trafficking. Yet, crime prevention was not a winning election strategy this year. Republican Lee Zeldin of New York ran on a strong anti-crime campaign against the state’s Democratic governor, Kathy Hochul. Hochul had been strongly criticized by both parties for her liberal bail reform laws. Yet she won by more than 300,000 votes. In Pennsylvania, Senate hopeful, Dr. Mehmet Oz, ran largely on conservative crime policies. His opponent, John Fetterman, aside from his health issues, carried a lot of soft-on-crime baggage including fighting for record clemency and early release of prisoners. Fetterman won by five percentage points. Nation-wide exit polls showed that only 11 percent of voters said crime was a top issue influencing their votes.

The priorities of other moral and spiritual issues were reflected in the candidates chosen. Americans are reluctant to define Democrats and Republicans by their religious association. But it is inescapable. The Democratic platform is substantially more liberal in its alignment with biblical principles and values. The Republican platform is much more reflective of those principles and values. So, when the midterm “red wave” was predicted, it portended a trend back to the moral and spiritual traditions many believers were hoping for. It was looking like a victory for personal freedoms, family values, and general biblical precepts. Then there was last Tuesday. There were many more Democrats elected than the polls predicted. The red wave was more of a red ripple.

The Republican anticipated super-majority in the House turned into a potential razor-thin advantage. The The expected Senate majority may be reduced to 50-50 again depending on what happens in the December Georgia runoff. The perceived Christian conservative movement just didn’t materialize. Christian values are not being played out at the voting booth. The question is whether we are a Christian nation anymore. Among voters nationwide, only 4 in 10 say they attend religious services at least monthly. Only a fifth say they go once a week or more. About a third say they never attend. Most Democrats say they attend religious services even less frequently. Seventy percent say they go to church less than monthly. Among Republicans, 46 percent attend at least monthly. So, over half of Republicans have little commitment to their faith. Furthermore, voter apathy among Christians is prevalent in America with only two-thirds of registered voters voting.

From these observations, I have to conclude that Americans in general have little desire and motivation to recover from our downward spiral burdened by moral weakness and spiritual indifference. The problem is not the candidates, the strategy, or the finances. The problem is the voters. Only God can ignite the souls of His people to lead the course correction of a nation. Usually, He only does that after true repentance and desperately crying out in prayer for His intervention. Isn’t it time to step up, share your concern with others, and change the spiritual state of the Union? Aren’t your children and your future generations worth that?

Arkansans: Don’t Oppose Issue 3 by Overreading!

Many Arkansas voters who strongly support religious freedom are opposing Ballot Issue 3, the Arkansas Religious Freedom Amendment, for an invalid reason. Social media frenzy and distrust of government is causing a paranoia among some Christian voters that could stop a state constitutional amendment benefiting religious freedom. Let’s look at this issue more closely.

In 2015, the Arkansas legislature passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Act 975. This Act mirrors federal law and the laws of many other states protecting religious freedoms. It simply endorsed religious freedom specifically for Arkansas. It states that government cannot substantially burden a person’s religious liberty unless it is necessary to further a compelling governmental interest and the government uses the least restrictive means possible to further its compelling interest. That is on the books now, but the legislature and courts can always remove it rather easily in the future. That is why it needs to be ensconced in the Arkansas Constitution.

Issue 3 in this election, the Arkansas Religious Freedom Amendment, is virtually the same wording as the existing Arkansas statute. It was drafted by two of the most conservative Christian members of the Arkansas legislature and passed as a recommended amendment by a large majority of the House and Senate. The objective was to strengthen and protect religious freedom as well as make it very difficult and unlikely for the government to intervene in religious matters.

The hang-up for some voters is the exception for government to intervene. This exception is absolutely necessary. Something like it is included in every religious liberty act and amendment in the country, and rightly so. Otherwise, the government would not be allowed to act against cults, fanatics, and even terrorists who claim to be acting according to their religion. What if someone proclaimed spouse beating was a religious right. What if a group decided it was against their religion to pay any taxes? What if an entire religious sect said their beliefs do not allow pictures of themselves under any circumstances? Wouldn’t we want the government to take these “religious freedom” claimants to court or deny them other freedoms as a result of their claims? That is why the exception clause is necessary but extremely restricted by the phrases “compelling interest” and “least restrictive means possible.”

Organizations that are supportive (or FOR) Issue 3 include Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, and Alliance Defending Freedom. Organizations that are opposed (or AGAINST) Issue 3 include ACLU of Arkansas, The Arkansas Public Policy Panel, and The Freedom From Religion Foundation.

My concern is that we could lose a highly advantageous opportunity to advance religious liberty in Arkansas over the misinterpretation of a sentence that will always, by necessity, be a part of any religious freedom statute or amendment. Even if one remains convinced the exception clause in this proposed amendment is a red herring that negates its intent, the amendment’s defeat would just take us back to the existing statute that says the same thing but is more vulnerable to government interference.

Let’s not cut off our nose to spite our face. Vote “FOR” Issue 3.

Vote Morally

Moral compass vote

All election polling considered, the top issues on voters’ minds for the 2022 mid-terms are inflation/economy, future of democracy, abortion, crime, and immigration. The common issue that overlays all of these is morality. Every voter’s moral compass should be the determining factor of how he or she votes. Votes for political candidates should not be based on any characteristic other than how they view the issues. And every issue is ultimately a moral issue. The question is: what is moral?

Over the course of my baby-boomer generation, moral principles have shifted from being rooted in biblical truth to being based on popular opinion. We as a nation must return to absolute truth and abandon relative truth, or opinion. Absolute truth has one source: the Bible. When God created everything that exists in the universe, He established an absolute truth. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” We may misinterpret or misapply the scriptures God gave us, but they are always the truth. Yet, most people today make their own false truth based on convenience, pleasure, greed, and experience.

Problems with inflation and the economy are largely caused by greed and poor work ethic. Worries about a fractured democracy and election fraud are outgrowths of political posturing for advantage and power. The abortion issue amounts to sacrificing the life of one person to enhance the lifestyle of another. Crime is nothing less than extreme greed and hateful retaliation. Illegal immigration is blatant disregard for drug-smuggling and killing as well as human trafficking. In every aspect of these issues, truth is being subverted to the selfish needs and wants of immoral people in our country.

Governmental favor toward gay marriage, redefining gender, transgender rights, abortion, lawlessness, human trafficking, illicit drug use, open borders, frivolous spending, indebtedness, and much more is blatant disregard for absolute moral truth in America.

Christ followers throughout this country have a responsibility, an obligation, a biblical mandate to uphold moral truth. One of the most critical arenas for this action is the election process. The afore-mentioned moral issues are on the ballot this November. Some are actual proposals to be voted on while others are candidates’ partisan platforms that either support or deny biblical moral truth. Know each candidate’s political platform. Pay close attention to what a candidate advocates. Vote only for candidates that will support absolute moral truth consistently.

Only God can save America. If He is willing to rescue our great nation, much of His work will likely be though the efforts of His people to purify their leadership at every level. This is done mostly by voting according to absolute moral truth.

Arkansas Recreational Marijuana Initiative. STOP IT!

Arkansas Recreational Marijuana Initiative

The off and on-again Arkansas Recreational Marijuana Initiative is on the ballot for the November 8 election. This would be an awful law and a continuation of our great state’s slippery slide into further problems of morality, safety, crime, health, family issues, and the economy. Here is a quick summary of what is at stake.

In 2016, the majority of Arkansas voters approved a similar amendment that legalized the medical use of marijuana. Many predicted this acquiescence to the THC proponents would not end there. So, here we are only six years later facing that prophetic eventuality. A group called “Arkansas True Grass” has collected over 192,000 petition signatures, more than double the 89,151 required to place the initiative on the ballot. The Arkansas State Board of Election Commission had disqualified the ballot initiative name as misleading. However, what seemed like a reprieve for opponents of the proposed amendment was reversed by the Arkansas Supreme Court a few weeks ago. Arkansas voters will vote next month for or against legalizing recreational marijuana throughout our state.

Here are just a few reasons why you should vote NO on this constitutional amendment*:

  • The harmful THC concentrations in marijuana have more than doubled in the U.S. over the past decade and have increased the risk of psychosis (2022 study published in The Lancer).
  • Self-harm rates, including suicide, rose 46% among men ages 21-39 in states that have legalized recreational marijuana (2021 report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association [JAMA]).
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the CDC report that, after alcohol, marijuana is most often associated with impaired driving leading to traffic accidents. Unregulated use will increase Arkansas highway accidents and fatalities. Due to the increase in traffic accidents, your automobile insurance premiums will also increase.
  • In Colorado and other states where recreational marijuana has been legalized, organized crime and drug cartels have greatly increased their distribution of stronger illicit black market pot to the growing population of users. Soon after Colorado’s legalization of marijuana, the state’s governor announced, “We are not making any extra revenue from this…we’ve spent millions and millions of dollars, and we still haven’t gotten people to realize you’re taking some serious risk when consuming marijuana, certainly as a teenager when your brain is still growing so rapidly.”
  • A 2021 study published in Addiction found that, when pregnant mothers used marijuana, their babies were 35% more likely to be born preterm, have a low birth weight, and be smaller. A 2022 study published in JAMA found that, when pregnant mothers used marijuana, their children faced an increased risk of mental disorder.
  • Since the legalization of marijuana in some states, ER visits and poison control calls have increased as a result of children accidentally eating food laced with the drug. According to CDC, secondhand marijuana smoke contains THC and can be harmful to infants, children, and others exposed to it.
  • Although industries can prohibit marijuana use in the workplace, use just before work can still cause on-the-job accidents, costly production errors, and reduced productivity.

For these and many other reasons, why would The Natural State want to add a dangerous, unhealthy, and expensive law to its constitution? Aren’t we dealing with enough problematic issues already without inviting another? Ours is a beautiful and wonderful state despite our struggles with poverty, education, health, crime, and family breakups. Legalizing recreational marijuana would seriously worsen those struggles. It would in no way improve the quality of life for Arkansans.

Go to the polls early or on November 8 and vote against the Arkansas Recreational Marijuana Initiative–Issue 4–for the future of our state.

*Some of the points of this list were extracted from the Arkansas Family Council blog.

Christians Alone Can Determine Election Outcomes

Vote biblical values

It’s a fact. There are 168 million registered voters in America. Of that number, over 90 million identify as Christians. As many as 40 million registered Christians, or more than one-third, typically don’t vote. Another 15 million eligible Christians are not even registered. If those 55 million Christians voted their biblical values and principles this November and in 2024, the aggressive drive toward socialism and decadence in this country could be abruptly reversed. Here is what we must do immediately.

Every Christian in America must pause to remember that they and their nation-wide Christian family have the numbers–the power–to be Christ’s ambassadors in salvaging our crumbling heritage. God has given us the ability and responsibility to lift this country out of the mire of liberalism, wokeness, debauchery, and lethargy. …We are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making His appeal through us… (2 Corinthians 5:20). We shirk that providential ability and responsibility every time we fail to vote. Therefore, I believe it is a sin to not vote if able.

The Bible teaches that Christians should hold each other accountable. If we know a brother or sister is not representing the Lord boldly, we are to gently point out that failing and encourage them to be responsible. Brothers and sisters, if someone is overtaken in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual, restore such a person with a gentle spirit. (Galatians 6:1a). If we know other believers who are not registered or are not planning to vote, it is our duty to call it to their attention and urge them to prayerfully vote their biblical values and principles as representatives of Christ.

One way to encourage other Christians to vote is to sign up to the letter writing campaign, “Write Now,” with the My Faith Votes organization. Click here to go to their website and commit to send pre-written letters to specific Christians from a data base who have neglected to register or vote. I just completed hand-addressing 100 such letters. You can do as many or as few letters as you desire. Check it out! The deadline for signup is September 29, just a week away, so hurry.

Finally, I appeal to you to share this post with your circle of friends and loved ones. The message must get out to remind all Christians that it is their biblical responsibility to represent Christ in electing leaders who will govern according to biblical values and principles. God gave us our America that, despite our failures, has historically been the most powerful, most prosperous, yet the most benevolent nation in the world. Now, we have allowed that status to degenerate and are racing toward disaster. The only hope for America is Christ. He is calling on us to revive our country according to the plan He has for us. We can rise to the call, or we can sit back and watch the demolition. Don’t fail to vote, and don’t let your brothers and sisters fail to vote.

Where Is America’s Queen Elizabeth?

Queen Elizabeth II

I join the United Kingdom, America, and much of the rest of the world in mourning the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. Her grace and many other admirable attributes have been a consistent reminder of what public service should be. As I have watched the tributes and honors pour into the media, I cannot avoid the question: what American statesman has earned such respect? Where is America’s Queen Elizabeth?

At age 14, this heiress daughter of King George VI and the Queen Mother made a public radio speech expressing true sympathy to wartime evacuees. During World War II, Princess Elizabeth joined the women’s branch of the British Army becoming a mechanic and military truck driver. In 1952, she ascended to the throne at age 25 with minimum fanfare. During her reign, she hosted almost every free world leader including 13 American presidents. Her gracious hospitality was unmatched by any other royalty or head of state. More than a ceremonial figurehead, as Commander-in-Chief of the British military forces, her wisdom and grit served her nation decisively through many crises. During her numerous trials and setbacks over her seven decades reign, she maintained an unwavering resolve while demonstrating impressive empathetic and moral character.

This monarch deferred her glory to that of her Lord and Savior. She was a close friend of Billy Graham and often shared her faith publicly. In a nationwide broadcast shortly after becoming queen, she requested, “Pray for me…that God may give me wisdom and strength to carry out the solemn promises I shall be making, and that I may faithfully serve Him and you all the days of my life.” Just last month, she proclaimed in a speech, “throughout my life, the message and teachings of Christ have been my guide and in them I find hope.”

The life of Queen Elizabeth should be the standard by which we Americans assess our leaders. But we fall woefully short. I was four years old when Princess Elizabeth became queen. Since that year, I have witnessed 14 American presidents. I deeply regret that I can’t name one that has had the moral character, the dignity, the resolute but gentle spirit, the respect of the nations, and the love of the governed that is descriptive of this queen. I have had favorite presidents, Ronald Reagan topping the list. But I sadly wonder whom in the last 70 years could we Americans celebrate in the manner earned by Queen Elizabeth. Where is America’s Queen Elizabeth?

It is a shameful indictment of our great nation that we can’t seem to raise up key leaders who have the moral character, the fortitude, and the wisdom along with the faith, the gentleness of spirit, and the empathy we so desperately need. Surely we have men and women of that caliber who can unify and lead 330 million people to the solid, righteous high ground necessary to maintain our status as the world’s benevolent superpower God has purposed us to be. May we pray aggressively for and seek leaders of this quality–leaders whose lives will eventually be passionately celebrated, leaders with the dignity and virtues of Queen Elizabeth II.

Biden’s Starkest Polarizing Speech

President Biden’s Soul of America Speech

Almost every time Biden has spoken publicly as president, his rhetoric has been divisive. But his so-called “Battle for the Soul of the Nation” speech on Thursday night was his most blatant attempt yet to polarize Americans. With the opportunity to lead our nation toward unity, he instead characterized half the country as extremists that threaten the foundations of democracy.

The president attempted to stir emotions by using the venue of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall. However, the aura of himself against a dark red-lit background with two marines at attention was reminiscent of another leader in Berlin in the 1940s. The scene sent chills down my back. How dare the President of the United States dishonor the sacred birthplace of our freedoms in this way.

His attempt to distinguish between MAGA Republicans and other Republicans fell flat. Whether individual Republicans are Trump supporters or not, we all crave to “make America great again.” His accusation of Republicans living in the past is descriptive of his own obsession with Donald Trump since entering the White House. I am in the court of almost all Republicans yearning to return to the past before record inflation, pervasive crime, open borders, limitless sexual immorality, woke cancel culture, unchecked government overreach, frivolous government spending, weakened military, broken international relationships, and legitimate threats from the two superpowers who detect weak leadership. He wants us to look to the future, but his future is something I can’t bring myself to look at.

Basically, the speech labeled everyone who opposed him and other Democrats as enemies of the republic who do not respect the Constitution. Surely this speech will be seen as an unveiled threat to every conservative, their children, and grandchildren. I hope this gauntlet thrown down will be a wake-up call for all patriotic Americans to at least do one positive thing the president called for: vote, vote, vote this November and in 2024. Yes, President Biden, there is a battle for the soul of America, but America’s enemy is not MAGA Republicans, it is the radical socialist movement by you and other Democrats to transform our great nation.

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