A Baby’s Heart Starts Beating Within Three Weeks of Conception – UK Study

Key quote:

The first tick of a baby’s heart happens as early as 16 days after conception, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Oxford.

Sources:

If the US Supreme Court of the last fifty years has legalized, institutionalized, and made practically sacred a mother’s right to abortion-on-demand, what will the Supreme Court of the next fifty years do when its liberal wing is given clear and overwhelming majority status with the next few justices who will be appointed?

Do you think things cannot get worse?  Think again.

I Wonder Who the Babies Would Vote For?

Election Day is Tuesday, November 8th – just over a month away.  Here’s a comparison of where the two major candidates stand on the issues, produced by a Christian organization that studies the publicly-available information:

Faith and Freedom Coalition 2016 Voter Guide
[Editorial note, November 22, 2016: This voter guide is no longer being maintained, so I had to disable the link.]

Since babies in the womb are not eligible to vote, and since the Bible tells us to look out not merely for our own interests but for the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-4), especially when they are weaker than we are (Romans 15:1), I can’t help my attention being drawn to the issue that is listed first on this voter guide:  abortion.

Personally, I wish we had two other people from whom to choose the next president…but we don’t.  Nevertheless, it is clear to me that one of these two people, especially when Supreme Court appointments are taken into consideration, will surely keep children in the womb vulnerable to legal abortion-on-demand for the next 30-40 years.  The other might not.  Therefore, it’s clear to me for whom I should vote – if I follow Jesus’ instructions to put first the interest of those weaker than myself.

The American Belief About the Basis of Our Rights

Do our rights as Americans come from God or man?  Do they come from our Creator or do we grant them to each other?  Alas, we have to acknowledge that our fellow citizens seem unaware of the correct answer to this question.  You don’t have to be a Christian to be able to answer this question; you only have to be aware of basic American history – like the kind I took in the seventh grade.

This video clip (4 min, and 27 sec) is hard to watch because the two men are having a heated argument.  They are arguing about same-sex “marriage,” but that’s not my focus in this post.  The point to which I want to call your attention is when Chris Cuomo, the interviewer, says essentially this:

“Our rights do not come from God, your honor, and you know that. They come from man… That’s your faith, that’s my faith, but that’s not our country. Our laws come from collective agreement and compromise.”  (If you listen to 0:40 through 1:20, you’ll hear him start the statement, then later re-start and complete it.)

Now I readily admit that Chris Cuomo has an abrasive personality, but what he is saying on this subject represents the thinking of most Americans these days – certainly the elite Americans who are running things.  Obviously, anyone can read the Declaration of Independence and see that those who founded this country would not agree with Cuomo.  But that’s just the problem: if the answer is plain as day right in the Declaration but educated people and media spokesmen like Chris Cuomo act as if it’s not, what are you going to do?

The American belief is that our rights come from God and the purpose of government is to secure those rights.  To use the language of the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men… (Source:  Archives.gov)

Chris Cuomo is a well-educated man and a credentialed lawyer.  Here’s a section of his Wikipedia bio:

Cuomo was educated at The Albany Academy, a private university preparatory day school in Albany in New York State, followed by Yale University, where he obtained an undergraduate degree, and Fordham University where he obtained his Juris Doctor. He is a licensed attorney.

That his statement in this interview never seemed to have made news confirms to us that he is expressing a view that is not controversial.  The only way that you could accept his view without controversy is if you did not know what the Declaration of Independence says or if you do not care what it says.  Therefore, either one or both of these characterizations apply to the majority of American citizens today.  They considered the references to God in our founding documents to be like powered wigs – trappings of a prior age that are to be discarded like outdated fashions.

If Americans do not use the Declaration of Independence to inform their views on basic American principles, how can we be surprised when they don’t use the Bible to inform their views on basic moral principles?

God and Science

Our current secular age would have us think that science is entirely the province of secularists.  These two short videos from Hillsdale College give just a sample of the actual history of science – history that entire refutes that secular notion.

Science as a field of study is only possible because God has given us an ordered creation.  PBS and NPR would have us believe that science is no place for God.  Common sense – as well as history – tells us otherwise.

The first video lasts 1 min, 26 sec.  The second video lasts 1 min, 34 sec.

 

Is There an LGBT “Community”? | Glenn T. Stanton

Glenn Stanton is the director of family formation studies at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Yesterday First Things published this article in which he explains the term “LGBT” and why we are right to be confused by it – and especially why the term “the LGBT community” implies a degree of social cohesion which actually doesn’t exist.

Opening excerpt:

Today’s most important acronym expands and contracts like an accordion with seemingly no rhyme or reason. From LGBT, the inclusive train of letters has now swelled to LGBTTQQIAAP2S.

I only mention the article because the one thing that this alphabet-soup group of people seem to have in common is that they see Jesus, the Bible, and us as their enemies.  Thus their desire to put Barronelle Stutzman, Melissa Klein, Jack Phillips and others out of business is the characteristic that unites them more than any other.

I hasten to add that there are probably some individuals who, while technically qualifying for one of the letters in the group name, don’t have any animus toward others and may not even wanted to identify with the group.  After all, it is primarily a political lobby – that is, a “special-interest group” – and not a social, ethnic, or familial grouping.

(5-minute read; 928 words)

Source: Is There an LGBT “Community”? | Glenn T. Stanton | First Things

Statistics Can Be an Effective Way to Mislead People

Mark Regnerus, professor at the University of Texas in Austin, wrote the article linked below:  “Media Gush over New Study, Only to Find Same-Sex Parents More Irritated with Their Children.”  As for the new study to which he refers, a typical headline from mainstream and social media outlets has been “Same-Sex Parenting Has No Negative Effects on Children’s Health, Study Finds.”  The purpose of the Regnerus article is to show just how inappropriate that headline actually is.

The Regnerus response begins with this sub-heading:

The social science on same-sex households with children isn’t settled. It’s just plain unsettling.

In the article, Regnerus exposes some of the statistical techniques used to present social science studies in such a way that they seem to support politically-correct social policy.  Specifically, he describes how a recent study of same-sex “families” is being used to reinforce views that a closer look at the study won’t reinforce.  He also shows how a negative aspect of same-sex parenting, identified by the study, is being downplayed by those who don’t want to admit negative aspects of same-sex parenting are possible.

This reminds me of the old saying, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”  It also reminds me of a book that I recall being given to read in college for my introduction-to-statistics class:  How to Lie with Statistics.  The point of both is that it is easy to fool people with statistics.  This is because 1) statistics can be easily manipulated, and 2) statistics sound so…well, “factual”!

Though this article is well-written, it still can be considered a little tedious to read by those of us who did not grow up wanting to be statisticians (though anyone who thinks that same-sex parenting is not a problem needs to read it).  Regnerus does, however, show us specifically how statistics are being manipulated by the enemies of biblical authority to make us think that we can’t trust what God says about the proper way to do marriage.  We don’t need a social science study to know that human beings are best ushered into the world, and into adulthood, by a dedicated mother and father.

Beware of social science studies.  They not all bogus, but they’re certainly not all right.  Most of all, beware of social science study headlines – for sometimes they are all we have time to read.  And when you read the headline, you’re not reading the data – you’re reading someone’s interpretation of the data.  I would trust a headline from someone like Mark Regnerus, but there are many statisticians and writers who are either unknown, or who have proven themselves unworthy to be trusted.

(a 6-minute read; 1,547 words)

Source: Media Gush over New Study, Only to Find Same-Sex Parents More Irritated with Their Children | Public Discourse

Men: Take heed to your influence!

“When mom follows Jesus, 17% of time her kids do too. When a dad follows Jesus? 93% of time his kids do too.”

Yes, we’ve heard stats like this before, but it’s good to be reminded.

The State of Religious Liberty in America

The video below was recorded Thursday, February 25, 2016 at Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee.  It was one of the sessions held at the annual convention of the National Religious Broadcasters, this year called Proclaim 16.

Although I was familiar with most of the information presented in this hour-long panel discussion, it still struck me with great force.  There were three reasons for this impact: 1) religious liberty in America has reached a twilight stage, 2) the three protagonists on the panel are such profiles in courage, and 3) it made me think of all the other tee shirt makers, pharmacists, florists, and workers from other occupations who are suffering real loss in life for the name of our Savior but about whom there are no videos.

If this issue of religious liberty has not yet touched your life, it will.  I hope you will find an hour to watch this video (56:46).  We can be light for the Lord in this cultural moment, but only if we understand how dark things have truly become.  Please give your greatest attention to Greg Stormans (the grocery store owner from Olympia, Washington), Blaine Adamson (the tee shirt maker from Lexington, Kentucky), and Barronelle Stutzman (the florist from Richland, Washington).  Also, the lawyer Kristen Waggoner speaks quite eloquently on their behalf.

Without Evangelicals, Where Would Trump Be?

Only when I considered the numbers below did I come to realize just how much a difference evangelicals are making for the candidacy of Donald Trump.  Evangelicals!

Here are the results of the February 20, 2016 South Carolina Republican Presidential primary, with the percentage of the vote achieved by each candidate, according to NBC News:

  1. Donald Trump 33%
  2. Marco Rubio 23%
  3. Ted Cruz 22%
  4. Jeb Bush 8%
  5. John Kasich 8%
  6. Ben Carson 7%

Political experts deemed this to be an emphatic win for Trump.  How then was he able to achieve it?

The percentage of all voters who identified themselves as “born-again or evangelical Christians” was 72%.  Here’s how that large number of evangelicals distributed their votes:

  1. Donald Trump 33%
  2. Ted Cruz 27%
  3. Marco Rubio 22%
  4. Jeb Bush 7%
  5. Ben Carson 7%
  6. John Kasich 5%

Therefore, Trump won 33% of all voters and, within that total, 33% of evangelical voters.  Doing the math, this means that his 33% of total voters can be broken down into 24% from evangelicals and 9% from all other voters (for his total of 33%).

What does this tell us about the importance of evangelicals to Trump?  Without them, he would have finished in single digits – 9%.  That is, instead of finishing first, he would have finished in or near last place.  Last place.

Evangelicals are swinging this election for Donald Trump.  Moreover, they are not making the difference between Trump finishing either first or second; rather, they are making the difference between Trump finishing first or last.  First or last!

In other words, without evangelical support, Trump would not even be in contention for the Republican nomination.  He would be hearing the same pleas to get out of the race that Ben Carson is.  He would be a mere also-ran.

Therefore, Trump desperately needs evangelicals to succeed in his quest for the presidency.  The question is, why do so many evangelicals think they need him?  Why do they trust an unprincipled man who is obviously pandering to them?  Why are they eager to put into great power a man who has spent most of his adult life lending his support to those who oppose the values of the kingdom of God?

As I said in No Salvation in the Ballot Box, I will vote for the Republican nominee even if it is Trump because, while he might not keep his promise to resist abortion, the Democrats are sure to support abortion with every ounce of power they have.  Nonetheless, I cannot help being shocked that so many of my brothers and sisters in Christ don’t recognize that Trump is clearly the least desirable Republican candidate from the standpoint of advancing God’s priorities and seeking His blessing for our fellow citizens.  The abortion issue is by no means the only issue that matters, but it is the most important issue (because it is a matter of life and death for those involved), and abortion is an issue that illustrates the problems with Trump that affect the other important issues.  That is, he doesn’t even demonstrate a sufficient knowledge of the issues he talks about; much less does he demonstrate any history of being on the right side of those issues.

Let us not be asleep, church; let us love the Lord our God with all our being, and let us love our neighbors as ourselves.  If we cannot find a good person for whom to vote, we vote for the lesser of the evils presented to us.  For if we stay home and don’t vote, we risk the chance that we and our fellow citizens will end up under the greater evil.  I hope many evangelicals will come to their senses before Tuesday.

Half of Churchgoers Are Trusting in the Sexual Revolution More Than in the Bible

A recent survey by the Barna Group (as discussed in the articles below) reveals that approximately half of American churchgoers seem to have accepted this tenet of the sexual revolution:  “As long as it’s between consenting adults, any kind of sex is fine.”

I am not saying that half of American society believes this.  I am not saying that half the people who call themselves Christians believe this.  I’m saying that churchgoers – a subset of these two groups – embraces this anti-biblical sexual ethic.

Thus you should be aware that half the people who tell you that the Bible is authoritative don’t believe what it teaches about sexuality.  In the Bible, sex is for marriage.  Period.  How can they make such a decision and still profess loyalty to the God of the Bible?

The second article below, in its discussion about young people being willing to make a pledge to “wait until marriage” while their parents did not want them to make such a pledge, shows that the root of the problem is with the baby boom generation (my generation), not those that have followed.

God, please forgive my generation for being darkness instead of light to our children. Let us repent while there’s still time.

Facing the Sexual Revolution,” by Terry Mattingly, February 3, 2016 (3-minute read; 710 words)

Follow-up article:  “Facing the Sexual Revolution’s impact, even among ‘active’ members of red-pew flocks,” by Terry Mattingly, February 6, 2016 (4-minute read; 804 words)