Trump And The Muslims — The Shortsightedness Of Rage

Franklin Graham is one of the men I most admire. Donald Trump is not. How the two make common cause on the issue of Muslim immigration has me scratching my head and reaching for the migraine meds.

Both agree national security requires at least a temporary ban on immigration for foreign practitoners of Islam. Both are dead wrong – on constitutional and scriptural grounds. And this is as much a life issue as the right of the unborn to enter this world intact and alive.

To be fair, let me say again both men are calling for a temporary ban, and only until Muslims seeking to enter the U.S. can be properly vetted for their intentions and possible resources for terror. There is no doubt such vetting can and must be done. There is equally no doubt the Constitution specifically forbids administration of religious tests – for office holders – for any purpose or privilege or right.

There is simply no way to say Christians and Jews and Hindus and atheists are welcome but Muslims are not and remain faithful – or even in compliance – with our Constitution. And there is no way to justify such arbitrary discrimination while remaining faithful to the Word of God that commands particular kindness to the sojourner who comes in peace from the Pentateuch to Isaiah to the Gospels.

There is another and far more effective way that passes constitutional and Word of God muster. It works well for the Israelis – who have more terrorists attempting to infiltrate than the rest of the world combined – and it is called profiling.

Profiling violates no constitutional right, whether we speak of warrantless searches or self-incrimination. Law enforcement is forbidden to force incrimination and required to have a warrant or at least (reasonable) probable cause to detain and search suspects.

But terrorists have definable characteristics and Israel has become adept at identifying these; identifying what an individual publicly exhibits – whether clothing or mannerism or attitude – applies no force, nor is it invading privacy. Yet we Americans shrink from it on grounds of political correctness.

Possibly the most disheartening dimension of last year’s slaughter in San Bernardino is the multiple witnesses who were suspicious of the murderers and said nothing for fear of being labeled bigots. As a result, 16 (including two jihadis) are dead and nearly 30 were seriously hurt because Americans have so intimidated one another we dare not report suspicious behavior for it might bring us under suspicion.

We have so marginalized one another we force all to wait in lines at airports instead of only those who pass a terrorist litmus test and still the terrorists sneak through. This is too pathetic for my vocabulary to adequately describe.

Just as pathetic is the view that desperate times call for desperate (read unconstitutional) measures. One of the many things that distinguishes our culture from that of the jihadis is our freedom to practice thought, faith and speech as we feel led by conscience and consciousness. If we surrender that freedom, the enemies of freedom have won without firing a shot.

Don’t get me wrong — Graham and Trump are mostly right. Graham cites Pew Research studies that 8 percent of Muslim adults in America – a number equivalent to the Biblical 144,000 – endorse suicide bombings and other violence in the name of Islam. According to the Center for Security Policy, 51 percent of Muslims living in America assert their right to be governed by Sharia Law rather than by the U.S. Constitution and laws.

Graham says 29 percent of Muslim adults in America agree violence is acceptable against those who insult Mohammad and fully one quarter endorse violence against their adopted nation in the name of global jihad. This is a lot more than 144,000, and so the situation is every bit as serious as Graham and Trump contend.

It gets worse. Pew reports Muslims – comprising 1 percent of our population – commit half of all terror attacks. That makes a Muslim 5,000 percent more likely to attack than non-Muslims.

The situation is too serious for a shortsighted and unconstitutional solution. It is much too serious to shortcut or end around either Constitution or Word of God. The jihadis and potential jihadis are already here. Learning from the Israelis how to profile – should we not know – greatly reduces the danger.

Respecting the Constitution in emergent situations reduces danger to our identity as a people. Developing the guts to defy politically correct bullying and call in what we suspect reaffirms our human dignity as a people by re-assuming responsibility for ourselves, our families and our neighbors.

It also passes Biblical muster – “By their fruits you shall know them.” I like it.

Mandated Speech Precludes Freedom of Faith

California apparently gets the distinction between compelling and forbidding speech, because it is doing both.

Two newly enacted laws — AB 775 and SB 1172 — are subject to ongoing lawsuits, praise God, in actions brought by Pacific Justice Institute. The former orders pregnancy care center leaders to refer clients for free abortions, while the latter forbids counselors to treat young clients who desire healing from homosexual feelings.

Both laws are the fruit of legislative true believers – acolytes of political correctness on whom neither science nor informed compassion has any impact. These laws need to go down in flames; they are an assault on the freedom of those both for and against them.

Both address life issues in a most destructive way. The AB 775 law props up Planned Parenthood by directing business to the behemoth. In California there are too few doctors to perform 25 percent of the nation’s abortions in a state with 10 percent of its population. Imagine if Ford were ordered to refer clients to Chrysler. Escalate that to the point where life and death for some is at stake, and you see what this law does to the First Amendment and the cause of life itself.

As of this writing, U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller has ruled against the clinics protesting AB 775 (an appeal is pending). She agreed with the clinics that it threatens the First Amendment and will cause irreparable harm to them – the two needed elements for a successful legal action – but she overrode the Constitution because she decided the interest of the state in providing abortion information to clients justifies her constitutional bypass.

In other words, she says the state may trump the Constitution that provides and shapes its legitimacy.

The logic is not lost on legislators and Judge Mueller. Yet believing the right to kill a sacred trust, they sacrifice the Constitution to what they see as justice. Such is the obsession of true believers, the Joseph McCarthy’s of today. Like McCarthy in the ’50s they must be stopped by a body politic led by an aroused Body of Christ.

SB 1172 is another life issue, albeit concerning sexuality. It doesn’t get more horrific for adolescents than the sometime struggle over hetero versus homosexual attraction. California leads the nation in suicide; this is one of the prime triggers. Add in the reality that life is about free choice – for freedom Christ set us free is how Galatians 5 puts it – and you have a fundamental life challenge.

True believers in California are convinced Frankenstein-like therapists and bigoted family members are waiting to pounce on teens coming out as gay and are determined to protect them. But the law forbids treating young people who come out of self-professed need and consigns them to gay activists who maintain there is no way out – and should not be. This logical absurdity is lost on the true believers. The constitutional protection of the professional’s right to make informed and conscientious decisions on treatment based on expertise and conviction? That never seems to come up for zealots.

PJI first took the issue to the trial court as the free speech issue it is. They lost at both lower and appellate levels. They are back in court on free exercise; most or all of the counselors affected are Christians. They believe they have a strong case because the language of the law itself targets Christians.

Granted, films like 2014’s The Imitation Game illustrate the barbaric practices of a bygone era seeking to force homosexuals to adjust to a socially correct template for sexuality; some of them were driven to suicide. But that nightmare ended before the Vietnam War got seriously started.

Today the shoe is on the other foot and the bullies of our era are the gay activists and their allies. They, too, are driving the innocent to self-destruction in the militant dash to enforce conformity to a new and even more death-dealing social template. If the Constitution fails to guarantee life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – it is nothing but a piece of paper if good men and women do not rally for its integrity – it is time for the people to remember the ultimate source of our liberties and stand duty in the name of that source.

How do we do that – whether we stand against compelled speech or for speech forbidden?

The prayer piece is self-evident; if we are Christians we are to pray without ceasing per 1 Thessolonians 5:17 and pray blessing on our enemies per Romans 12:14. Standing – literally – with those impacted by these laws is just as evident for Christians or not, and splashed liberally throughout the New Testament letters. But the most important piece flows from the praying, the blessing and the standing.

The Great Commission calls us to go forth in the power of the Spirit not just to preach salvation for the humble, but to demonstrate the power of the submitted life. That is the core of teaching one another to obey all things He commands. That, and the challenge to be ambassadors of the very reconciliation we have received.

The takeaway is abundant life for ourselves and for those we once thought enemies.

 

A Referendum For Life

California is now one of five states whose governments actively promote the death of their citizens.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed ABxs15 – the legalized suicide law – stating he would not want to be left in prolonged agony. Brown knows – or would if he listened to dozens of medical professionals who testified before legislative committees – that no one need be left to such a fate. Palliative care – management of incurable conditions to assure comfort until the end – has advanced to the point chronic agony can be eliminated.

Seniors Against Suicide, a partner in the Californians Against Suicide Coalition, launched a Veto Referendum effort to place the question on the 2016 ballot, an effort that failed to gather enough signatures by deadline.

The course of legalizing assisted suicide in California is as ghoulish as the law itself. A young California woman named Brittany Maynard became suicide’s icon in 2014; she suffered from glioblastoma, a disease both painful and fatal in late stages.

Maynard published plans to die in 2015 before the disease ran its full course, and moved to Oregon to commit suicide legally. Two days before her scheduled death – long before the pain began – she announced a desire to live. The next day someone other than Maynard posted on social media she was “back on schedule” and the next day she was dead.

The circumstances were so bizarre that sponsors pulled the bill from consideration before a vote could be taken.

Within days of her death a cure for the glioblastoma she so feared – using adult stem cell therapy – was announced. Since adult stem cells use no fetal tissue, it appeared life had won a great victory. However, backers of legalized suicide snuck the bill onto an appropriations measure and slipped it past publicity.

The ghoulish aspects of this law transcend one suspicious death. Records show non-terminal patients take their own lives at an accelerated pace wherever assisted suicide gains legitimacy. In Oregon alone, the rate jumped 49 percent.

It is a short road from assisted death to euthanasia; the Netherlands and Scandinavian nations rode that road to its end some time ago. In this country we already face the spectre of killing babies who survive abortion, not to mention the harvest of body parts by Planned Parenthood.

All these things are the inevitable components of a culture of death. It is the only destination once we designate human arbiters of life and death.

California’s death backers claim safeguards against mistakes, miscommunication, mental instability – and mercenary friends and family. Truth is the law does not require a psych evaluation of the patient, nor even a mental health professional signing the death request. There is no re-opening the question before death begs all questions, and no way to confidently declare a person six months from death – as the law provides.  An anonymous person posted Brittany Maynard’s “re-dedication to death” on social media. Even the Netherlands, where defective infants are put to death under suspicious circumstances, has more protection.

No Californian is guilt free in the culture of death we have created – through the government we elect yearly. We lead the nation in elective abortion, suicide, and the historic massacre of indigenous peoples. Yet we have a golden opportunity to walk the path of repentance on behalf of our state. This referendum represents such an opportunity.

The Hebrew prophet Jeremiah was a sinful man like the rest of his people. Yet when God called him, he turned away from earned status – first his personal inadequacy and then on behalf of his people. Our God is a God of do-overs; by Chapter 32 of his book, Jeremiah knows Israel is going down despite his post-repentance efforts and he asks God, “What now?”

God tells him to go to his home village of Anathoth where there is a piece of Real Estate he is to buy. Jerusalem and the nation are about to fall and God wants His servant to engage in land speculation? No. God plans to redeem the nation and each of her people who turn to him for life. Jeremiah has already made that commitment and God offers him a ground floor chance to participate in the redemption.

We in California have the same opportunity in the face of our culture of death; we can choose life and become first fruits of the rollback of that culture into a culture of life.

Let each of us Google the Californians Against Suicide Coalition, our local senior advocacy group, or any Catholic church – they tend to take the lead in life issues – and sign their petition. Then let us vote this grisly law off the books and begin the road back to a culture of life.

Churches Sue Over California’s Imperious Decree

 

It was a shockingly gross violation of the First Amendment when California’s Department of Managed Health Care ordered churches to pay for abortions requested by their employees.

Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a civil liberties lawsuit on behalf of three Southern California churches, but the mandate is not just unconstitutional. It flies in the face of recent Supreme Court rulings striking down regulations requiring abortion coverage that conflict with religious faith. It also violates federal rules prohibiting states receiving federal funds from requiring abortion coverage in a benefits package, whether or not faith is an issue.

Of course it should be no shock in our time to discover government is the most lawless constituency in the land. My prayer is this lawsuit does more than just succeed; may it set state government flat on its back with heads rolling over the wasted public funds spent defending it.

Taking matters in reverse order, the suit should succeed because of the very lawlessness of government at all levels, though it may fail for that reason. ADF filed a complaint with the feds when state bureaucrats ruled in August, 2014. Although the mandate is a clear violation of federal rules, the national bureaucrats sided with their state-based cousins, and ADF then sued.

Attorneys called the state action nothing short of strong-arming and one pastor represented in the suit vowed he would go to jail before he would pay for abortions.

The first issue is simplicity itself: Government under the 14th Amendment is required to follow its own rules. Yet this doctrine is nothing more than a piece of paper until hundreds of thousands of professing Christians – and otherwise freedom-loving Americans – show the courage of Pastor Jack Hibbs. Our constitution is not paper under glass in Philadelphia; it is literally “we the people.”

The second issue is as simple. Are we a nation of laws, or of men in power with big guns behind them?

Officials at all levels and all political persuasions love to tout the U..S Supreme Court as the ultimate arbiter of law in our land. The Court – beginning with the Hobby Lobby case – has repeatedly ruled in Obamacare litigation that government cannot force people to violate their faith to provide abortion coverage to employees.

Yet California’s Department of Managed Health Care issued its edict in the full knowledge it was violating the law as interpreted by their beloved SCOTUS. The bureaucrats know their resources are orders of magnitude above those of their victims. They can do as they please for as long as it takes to navigate the full-court press of the court system. It is time they were pressed down like olives pressed for their oil.

Most potent is the constitutional issue itself. The First Amendment is clear that government may not encroach on freedom to hold, teach and practice religious faith subject – except in extraordinary cases – to nothing but the dictates of the conscience of the practitioner. Courts have held that where a compelling public purpose presents faith may be restricted.

For example, polygamy, child abuse, and snake handling are fair game for government even if the religious exemption is claimed; healthy families, safety for children, and public health are compelling in their urgency. Since no one is preventing anyone from obtaining an abortion – churches are simply refusing to pay for them – there is no legitimate government interest at stake.

We have state policy clashing with faith tenet. State and federal Constitutions say faith trumps government – and the state bureaucrats know this if they passed high school classes in American government. This suit should succeed in reversing the ruling and pinning back bureaucratic ears.

Our rights are not granted by Constitution; they are gifted by God and recognized in Constitution as sourcing a higher power. These issues seem political, and politics is either beneath the spirit realm or more pragmatic, depending on whom we question. But this higher power presents Himself as a person passionately concerned and involved with people where they live and work.

This person says He came that we might have abundant life – right here – and feeds our physical hunger for bread and wine – at picnics and weddings – as readily as He feeds our hearts with precepts and concepts. He calls us to honor those in authority at the same time He sometimes calls us to sue and defy them. He calls us to forget what our comfort zone used to look like.

He says this because (Luke 12:32) He deeply desires to give us His Kingdom right here on earth.

That is worth whatever sacrifice of personal comfort may be required.

 

Texas And The Victims Of Abortion Will Be Heard

The Supreme Court will take up a case focused on the Texas law ordering abortion doctors and clinics to have admitting privileges in local hospitals before abortions can be legally performed. Clinics are also required to qualify as outpatient surgical centers; abortion is an outpatient surgical procedure. The law was challenged by abortion rights groups and Planned Parenthood on grounds that a woman’s right to abort is thwarted wherever doctors lack privileges. Under the law, most Texas abortion facilities would be closed; a similar Mississippi law closes the state’s only clinic. Texas argues – successfully so far – that it is nothing but good standard medical practice to expect practicing physicians to prove their competence through having admitting privileges – this is what privileges connote. Texas was upheld in the district court and on appeal to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. The abortionists have appealed to the Supreme Court, and the court has agreed to hear the case.

The issue is not clinics closing. Nothing in the law prevents doctors from obtaining the privilege to admit patients to a hospital in their area. The incompetence of the docs may prevent it; medical incompetence would be the most common reason for a patient needing admission following an abortion.  Any competent doctor can get privileges anywhere – the hospital makes money on each admission. But the principal argument for abortion on demand – in 1973 and today – is the prevention of death and disease from so-called back alley abortions. Yet the incidence of infection, sterility, and death to post-abortive women is unchanged since the procedure was legalized by the Warren Court. The Texas and Mississippi laws address that anomaly by requiring only competent doctors to perform the procedure. This is in sharp contrast to California – home of the most abortions and the highest per capita rate of abortion in the nation – where abortions performed by non-doctors are now authorized. Will anyone guess where the most complications occur?

The crux of the legal case will be the Casey Standard, a proved-to-be unworkable compromise emerging from a 1992 case striking down a Pennsylvania law. The court held that states could restrict abortions, but only if the restrictions were not imposing “undue burden” on women. The lawsuits claim the laws in question establish an undue burden. The standard has never been defined, and – until now – the Supreme Court has refused to address it except to allow state bans on partial birth abortion. President Obama vetoed a federal law banning the practice and has vowed to do it again.

The crux of the Godly case is quite different. These laws are designed to ensure a woman’s safety. Yes, they are adopted by legislatures determined to lessen the carnage of abortion across the board, but reality is the incidence of infection or other life-threatening complications remain unchanged because most good doctors prefer to practice life-saving medicine; this is fruit of the pro-life movement. It is the reason states like California find themselves so short of doctors willing to abort babies that they permit non-doctors to do what cannot legally be done to animals by anyone but a veterinary doctor. The doctors who cannot make a decent living are left with their patients – mother and child – at their mercy.

Our God came in human form that we might have abundant life – every life has a value and destiny all its own. These laws save the lives of the mothers, even if they deny life for their children.  Back in the secular arena, nothing could be more reasonable than requiring a standard of care that is axiomatic for any other medical procedure.

I am not innocent. At age twenty, I helped two friends obtain abortions years before Roe v Wade. The babies were not mine, but my highest value was having your friends’ back. I found a doctor, borrowed money, and did everything but have the abortions myself. When I met Jesus in 1970, He did not rebuke me for 1968. He did guide me into a church that practiced the ancient rite of confession. When I knelt, I heard Him audibly. All He said was, “Don’t forget about the abortions.” In that instant of absolution, I knew two things – abortion is the taking of innocent human life without excuse, and I dared not judge another as I have not been judged.

The good news is we have a chance to whittle away at the abortion colossus in these cases before the Supreme Court. The better news is that we Christians are God’s Body, not His Brain. While we fight the scourge of abortion, we had better recall His Word to judge not lest we ourselves be judged.