Thursday, June 29, 2006
The girls (or their parents) have filed suit against the school, claiming they violated the Unruh Act, which prohibits businesses from discriminating on the basis of a person's actual or perceived sexuality (similar to the recent Illinois law). Now - in spite of constitutionally protected freedom of religion and freedom of association - both a California appeals court and the California Supreme Court has agreed that the girls may have a valid suit. So the school will at least face thousands of dollars in legal fees and at worst be directed to accept homosexual students or staff.
Look out - if it can happen in California, it can happen in Illinois.
June 27, 2006
Re: Comprehensive Sex Education
Based on a report that 50% of Chicago high school students are sexually active, you do have a valid concern. Is “comprehensive sex education” an effective response?
I predict that with “comprehensive sex education” in place you will soon find that 75% of Chicago high school students are sexually active. What will you do then?
After sacrificing more of your students to the false concept of “safe sex” as pushed by Planned Parenthood, will you admit that the real solution is abstinence education?
Why not get serious about abstinence education now so you can avoid sacrificing more of your students to premature sexual activity, teen pregnancy, abortion, and psychological damage for life?
“Comprehensive sex education” does not measure up to the claims made for it by Planned Parenthood, the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, and SIECUS. A serious review of their materials described as “comprehensive sex education” reveals that abstinence is not a serious component. The mention of abstinence is so frivolous that it serves only to support the false claim that “teaching a strong abstinence message” is included. Teens recognize immediately that abstinence is minimized as unrealistic.
In fact the entire focus is teaching that sexual activity is always OK as long as it is consensual and “safe.” The primary step suggested to practice “safe sex” is “always use a condom.” This approach is guaranteed to encourage more sexual activity, more teen pregnancies, and more abortions.
Teenagers educated in “safe sex” will need birth control supplies, pregnancy testing, STD testing and treatment, emergency contraception, and abortion. These are the exact services that Planned Parenthood sells. What interest would they have in “teaching a strong abstinence message” that makes these services totally unnecessary? Any teenager who accepts abstinence will not become a customer of Planned Parenthood.
“Comprehensive sex education” has a negative impact on the lives of young people. It encourages teens to disrespect their parents, become sexually active, use birth control products that threaten their health, and get abortions when they become pregnant anyway. This completes the cycle of destruction that destroys young lives and devastates their families.
The evidence that “comprehensive sex education” fails is readily available. I have provided copies of and/or links to such evidence below.
Reverse course now before it is too late. Cancel the plan to use “comprehensive sex education” in the Chicago Public Schools. The only reliable solution to reduce sexual activity among Chicago high school students is teaching a true abstinence message.
Illinois Right to Life Committee
65 E. Wacker Place, Suite 800
Chicago, IL 60601
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
[M]y question is: what is the premise here? ...Do you want to see a return to Biblical morality via the imposition of civil law? Should we punish heresy or blasphemy with jail time? Criminalize the placement of those Mary statues that Catholics like to put on their front lawn (some consider this idolatry)? Should we make people do community service or toss them in prison for that third glass of wine they had during dinner (at their own home)?I'll share my thoughts, but I'm interested to hear from others as well...
I'm not being sarcastic, I would just like to know what elements of your own personal version of what is "moral" should be criminalized (or not). Does this extend only towards homosexual conduct?
Culture Campaign's message is that Christians have a responsibility to engage the culture. Christians (including America's founding fathers) believe that God is Creator, that our freedoms and rights derive from Him, that our nation will be blessed when our leaders and citizens recognize His authority and when our laws reflect His values. Especially given the liberty we enjoy and the opportunity we have to influence society for good, we have an obligation to be salt and light.
God desires and demands, but does not directly compel obedience. Christians do not advocate Old Testament punishment for every moral sin; we do, however, desire that our national laws respect God's moral order. If we hope to enjoy God's abundant blessings, He must be recognized as Creator and designer. Human life must be protected as sacred, while justice must also be enforced against the violently wicked. God's design for marriage and family must be highly regarded and preferred. Financial stewardship must be demanded. And so on...
We can legislate morality - we do so already. We have laws against murder, rape, theft - but also regulate drinking, drugs, gambling, bankruptcy, nudity, obscenity/pornography, etc. Those who insist on breaking laws bear a punitive and just social consequence that convicts the conscience (if it is not hardened) and teaches others about right/wrong.
Where our nation's laws have strayed from truth - for instance, in devising a right to no-fault divorce, we have weakened and then seared the conscience, we have deceived people into believing that they actually can pursue and attain happiness by following their own will...and society bears the consequence of these immoral laws with broken homes, single moms, fatherless and brokenhearted children, poverty, drop-outs, crime, etc.
Although we do not wish to compel heartless, insincere compliance with all facets of Christianity, we ought as a society to encourage people to view God's standard as the highest good both for individual and society. Those who insist on doing otherwise may, but in bearing the consequence of that choice they are reminded of the eternal consequence of rebellion against God.
That's how I would characterize the "agenda" of Culture Campaign. Maybe some of my colleagues will join in the discussion...
Monday, June 26, 2006
Outrageous costumes were abundant all along the parade route, including men in short skirts and tiaras and long-legged drag queens in knee-high boots.In Columbus, OH...
A boy along the route wearing blue tie-dye held up a sign: “2 Moms. 2 Dads. Too Cool.”In Chicago (check out this video)... Governor Rod Blagojevich called it "a celebration of the Declaration of Independence." Chicago Police Superintendent rode in the parade, as did a float full of homosexual police officers. Organizers reported 400,000 in attendance.
Rick Garcia, political director of Equality Illinois, said he expects that formal objections will be filed this week over petition signatures gathered on behalf of a non-binding referendum proposal that would ask voters in November whether the state constitution should be amended to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
An Open Letter (read the whole letter at IFI link above)
June 12, 2006
Rev. Bill Hybels
Willow Creek Community Church
Rev. James Meeks
Salem Baptist Church of Chicago
CC: * All Illinois and Chicago-land evangelical pastors and leaders
* Cardinal Francis George
* All faithful Christian souls within driving range of Chicago
RE: The Gay Games -- July 15-22
Dear Bill and James:
...Well, as an African-American pastor on Chicago's north lakefront -- with my roots running deep at Moody and other bastions of (mainly-white) evangelicalism -- I feel compelled to point out the absolutely unprecedented, rapidly-approaching moment for Bible-believing pastors of all races and denominations to take joint action for the sake of the Cross of Jesus Christ.
For over a year, it has been SCREAMING OUT for our attention…a one-time-only opportunity facing us as Illinois Christian leaders in the third week of July.
...On July 15 - 22, over 11,000 of the world's neediest souls will descend into Chicago for the Gay Games -- the enormous, quadrennial "Olympics" for homosexuals.
Over 11,000 gays and lesbians from across the U.S. and around the world!
And that's only the registered athletic participants! Not to mention the thousands of spectators, the party-seekers, the relatives, the nightclub and bathhouse crowds... a worldwide convention of homosexuals seeking fun, lifestyle affirmation, mortality denial and no-consequences promiscuity in America's "Second City" -- at the very heart of our great, but sinfully fallen, nation. Maybe I should stop right here -- but I just can't.
As our Lord makes painfully clear in the Law of Moses, and especially in Paul's Letter to the Romans, the world's homosexual population is a microcosm for all humankind. Our gay and lesbian fellow citizens embody our own most extreme, impassioned defiance of our Creator, who lovingly designed and made us in His own image, male and female. Our homosexual friends typify our own stiff-necked, fist-waving, God-cursing, me-loving selves. Scripture says:
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.But enough "hate speech" -- as "Gay Games" sponsor Channel 5 might say -- from Saint Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles. I'm writing this open letter to you (and copying it to every Illinois and Chicagoland Christian leader and layman I can possibly reach) to say, with all due respect:
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.[Book of Romans Chapter 1:18-28]
Shame on you!
Shame on me!
Shame, shame on all of us!
Not because full-throttle, all-out Pagan hedonism is about to envelope Chicago's downtown lakefront, the University of Chicago, UIC, Northwestern University, Crystal Lake, and Oak Park. It's America, after all, and America is free to sin.
Not because we all stayed mousey-quiet as the Gay Games Machine rolled over scores of morally rudderless corporate sponsors like WMAQ-TV, Walgreens, Kraft, Sidley & Austin, American Airlines, Ernst & Young, Harris Bank, AT&T, AON, Exelon, UBS, CNA, etc. Sure, we're a day late and dollar short once again with our witness as Christian leaders, but that's not the worst of it.
Not because we stayed lamely mute as our state's Springfield leaders enshrined homosexual behavior as a protected "human right" a few years ago. Wisely or foolishly, some of us narrowly define our jobs to recuse ourselves from leadership on public policy questions, so that's not even the worst of it.
My friends, here's where we've really fallen down: Chicagoland is about to receive tens of thousands of desperately-needy gays and lesbians who -- like all straights who willfully reject the Lord Jesus Christ -- are facing a harsh, lonely, agonizing, horrific eternity without Him. Homosexuals are coming here from the four corners of the earth -- voluntarily, at their own expense, gathering right on our doorstep in just five [now less than four--Ed.] weeks…... And so far as I can tell, we orthodox Christian pastors and leaders have done virtually nothing to prepare!
NOTHING - NADA - NIL in terms of prayer, welcoming plans, hospitality, promotion, P.R., training, materials, food, literature, etc.
ZIP - ZERO - ZILCH to exploit this amazing opportunity to share the powerful Gospel of Jesus to our lost gay brothers and sisters, apart from which none can be saved. Perhaps not since Sodom and Gomorrah has so much of the world's homosexual population been concentrated in one place. Because our Lord is in charge of the fire and brimstone, however,I think we're called now to rain-down something else on this global gay parade: The love of Jesus.
Maybe Lot's wife was fated to remind us of what Jesus demands us to be here in our fallen, sinful, depraved, and sexually-confused world: Salty witnesses, savory testimony to the King of Glory. And yet, it seems we're about to drop that ball big-time with respect to the Gay Games. How is it that we pastors can help collect 350,000 signatures for the Protect Marriage Illinois initiative to deter same-sex unions in Illinois... but we can't seem to make ready our flocks for the world's homosexual community, gathered on Chicago's lakefront?
Rev. Meeks, we got no game -- for the Gay Games?
Rev. Hybels, we have no suburban Christians willing to minister to these lost souls?
Everyone: Are we going to sit back and let Fred Phelps [of "God Hates Fags" notoriety--Ed.] and his picketing, gay-bashing, funeral-crashing, hate-mongering followers masquerade as the uncontested face of Christianity for the world's media gathered on Chicago's lakefront? Brothers please correct me if I'm wrong. Maybe you, the G-8 [a pastors' group in Chicagoland] and other evangelical leaders have something going to which I haven't been privy. Maybe I didn't get the memo.
But I fear that there is no memo; that we've all fallen down here on our duty to lead. Chicago was the springboard of Dwight L. Moody, Billy Sunday and Billy Graham -- giants of American evangelicalism and evangelism. They wouldn't have let this moment pass.
Chicago is the home of Moody Bible Institute, Wheaton College, Trinity International University, Christianity Today, Willow Creek, Salem Baptist, Moody Church, Pacific Garden Mission, Unshackled, and countless mission boards. How are we mobilizing?
Chicago is the home of Bishop Ford; Pr. Jeremiah Wright; Bill Hybels, James Meeks, Michael Easley, Erwin Lutzer, James McDonald, Bishop Arthur Brazier and Joe Stowell. Cardinal Francis George, one of Roman Catholicism's most faithful, orthodox leaders, leads one of the country's largest Catholic Archdiocese. My friends, what are we going to do about this moment at hand?
Here's something fascinating I read the other day, that may be applicable:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the World to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.What do you think, could this be applicable to the Gay Games? At Moody Church, where I served for a while, we were fond of saying that we were Believers who could change the City -- in a City that could change the World. If this is still true…where is the evidence concerning this historic opportunity.[John 3:16-17]
We're like so many ostriches, closing our eyes, jamming our heads down into the sands of North Avenue Beach -- or simply fleeing Illinois for sultry Michigan beach vacations and Bible conferences and retreats, hoping all those obnoxious gay people will just go away.
But my dear brothers, WWJD?
I think he'd be downtown on the lakefront July 15-22, loving those homosexuals as people created in His own image condemned by sin and the Law just as we were till someone lovingly shared the good news w/us and God in His mercy turned our hearts toward Him.
He'd be just as tough as the nails we all drove through his hands -- hating the sin, but deeply loving the sinners.
He'd be an annoying nudge to all of us, sometimes slow and distracted, red and yellow black and white disciples.
And He'd probably be far less gentle on us all than I'm being right now! So, I think we simply have no choice. We MUST do something. And right now, I'm praying hard that you and others will take up this cross too; it's way too heavy for me alone.
Not long ago, Uptown Baptist got plaudits from Mayor Daley, plus BBC and NPR coverage, because summer crime figures dropped when our church set up a stand that offered "Free Lemonade and Prayer." Interestingly, addicts, alcoholics, prostitutes, gays, criminals, etc. took up both offers. For some, it changed their lives. (I can brag about this because I had nothing to do with it; it happened before I arrived as pastor).
So, subject to any better suggestions at this late hour, here's what I respectfully propose that we as Illinois Christian leaders are now going to do about the Gay Games. We are going to "come out of our prayer closets," and deploy our forces for:
The Gay Love Offensive
...Whether or not we like it, the Gay Games are coming in a few short weeks.
Your little brother trying to have a significant impact For Dad,
Michael N. Allen
Queer history and historical figures, the presence of positive queer role models -- past and present -- the contributions made by queers to various epochs, societies and civilizations and legal issues relating to (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) people, same-sex marriage and adoption.That's the curriculum that homosexual activist Murray Corren envisions for Canadian schools...and it is the curriculum that will be implemented in British Columbia because, after homosexual partners Peter and Murray Corren filed a human rights complaint alleging "systemic sexual discrimination," they were awarded an unprecedented contract whereby they will exert influence over the development of a pro-homosexual curriculum for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Even more disconcerting (if that's possible?),
Murray Corren has also said that stricter regulations preventing parents from removing their children from the classroom when homosexuality or other similar issues are being discussed, will also likely be introduced under the new curriculum. The Correns have long been fighting against the right of parents to discern when and how their children learn about issues pertaining to sexuality.Friends, if we don't get serious here in the US, this is the curriculum our own children will be subjected to - and we won't have an opt-out right either.
(For more on this story, see this LifeSite article.)
“Give all of our citizens the sense of dignity for all human life, including the unborn, those with various afflictions, and the aged and the infirmed,” au said. “Grant that we and all the people of our nation and world have the grace to maintain our liberties in your righteousness and peace in Jesus.”Recommended Action: E-mail Richard Mau and thank him for praying that Illinois citizens would again recognize the sanctity of every human life!
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
I've been waiting for someone to put this filthy, heinous act in context for our nation, to call for a time of mourning, to evoke national outrage, to proclaim our intent to execute justice on the barbarians who would perpetrate such an atrocity.
It's Wednesday night (after mid-week Bible study, where not a word of these deaths was mentioned, not a prayer for their loss) and I'm still waiting...
What's wrong with us? We are so overcommitted, moving so quickly, that we refuse to take even a few hours to reflect or search for meaning. We go on eating and drinking, conducting business as usual, running our kids to baseball games and birthday parties, without so much as a tear for these young men, without natural righteous anger toward the evil brutes who put out their eyes and slit their throats. Am I the only one wondering why we don't seem to care?
Perhaps not coincidentally, I received an e-mail today from yet another pastor informing me that the leadership of his congregation has decided that they will have no overt preparation for or response to the Gay Games in July. This is at least the tenth church to make that call. I can't tell you how disappointed I am. Don't get me wrong - I'm not advocating any kind of ugly reaction, but can somebody explain to me how the entire Christian community can sit back and allow FIFTY THOUSAND homosexuals from all around the globe to descend on our neighborhoods while we utter not one peep?
Where is our shock at the flaunting of perversion in our faces? Where is our instinctive sense of protection for our children? And most importantly, where is our sorrow for the destruction of 50,000 lives and souls, bound for eternal hell unless they come to faith in Jesus Christ?
I shared these emotions with my dear friend...and I offer her remarks to you, in part because she replied with the same scriptural idea that was reverberating in my mind...
My apologies if this is a bit depressing, but I'm really wondering tonight, and I am both sad and afraid - for our nation and especially for the church: What will it take to wake us up?
I've been thinking a lot about what it would take for our churches to get involved. So far, killing 4000 babies every day, Christians beginning to lose their jobs for taking a stand for God's law, laws muzzling the churches, the imminent legalization of same-sex marriage, pornography on tv and even in our public schools, human cloning, and even dehydrating brain damaged people to death, barely elicits a yawn.
...God tells us that in the time of Noah people were marrying and giving in marriage. In other words, life was simply going along as usual...
I suspect it was the same with Christians in Nazi Germany - simply going along with 'life as usual' making whatever adjustments necessary to continue to get along.
It reminds me of when Jesus admonished the religious leader that they diligently studied the Scriptures but were completely oblivious to the 'signs of the times'...
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
So here's your opportunity to make a real difference:
A special meeting will be held to review the opt-out program and to accept parental input!
Forest View Educational Center
2121 S Goebbert Rd
Arlington Heights, IL 60005
- Thank Dr. Schuler for being gracious enough to meet with parents!
- Attend the meeting and bring your concerns along with constructive ideas on how to improve the opt-out policy.
- If you can't attend, leave your input here as a comment. We'll see that your remarks are included in Thursday's discussion.
The Association... believes in the importance of observances, programs and curricula that accurately portray and recognize the roles, contributions, cultures, and history of these diverse groups and individuals.As AFA puts it, "Translated, that means the NEA will promote homosexual marriage in every avenue they have available, including textbooks, to all children at all age levels and without the permission or knowledge of parents. Their plans will include every public school in America."
The Association believes that legal rights and responsibilities with regard to medical decisions, taxes, inheritance, adoption, legal immigration, domestic partnerships, and civil unions and/or marriage belong to all these diverse groups and individuals.
- Forward this information to friends and family, especially anyone with a child in public school.
- Send an e-mail expressing your opposition to this policy to your state NEA rep.
- Encourage teachers to join an alternate union (for example, CEIA) where their dues won't be used to promote anti-Christian positions.
Monday, June 19, 2006
Are you willing to stake eternity on what she believes? Romans 1 does not refer to the practice of homosexuality as a "gift" (she does) but as shameful, unnatural, indecent, and perverted and warns against approving of it. The same passage of scripture condemns greed, gossip, insolence, disobedience to parents - and says that those who practice such sins deserve death. (To be clear, that kind of judgment is God's to execute, not ours.) I Corinthians 7 calls homosexuality "wicked" - along with adultery, greed, and drunkenness. Just as the church warns against these other harmful attitudes and behaviors, we must uphold God-ordained marriage and proclaim His perspective (not hers) on all other sexual relationships.
According to the Reuters article,
Asked how she reconciled her position on homosexuality with specific passages in the Bible declaring sexual relations between men an abomination, Jefferts Schori said the Bible was written in a very different historical context by people asking different questions.
"The Bible has a great deal to teach us about how to live as human beings. The Bible does not have so much to teach us about what sorts of food to eat, what sorts of clothes to wear -- there are rules in the Bible about those that we don't observe today," she said.
Her remark reveals either an ignorance of the purpose of Levitical law or a disregard for the authority of the Creator over his creation (or both). Israel was indeed required to follow strict dietary code - most likely for their own physical protection against disease. But those restrictions were lifted in Acts 10-11 when God declared all foods (and believers of all nations) clean. Jesus Himself had already pronounced (in Matthew 15, where He also foretells the destination of blind guides and their followers) that "What goes into a man's mouth does not make him unclean, but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him unclean." His teaching is repeated in Romans 14, where Paul teaches that "the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit."
To question God's condemnation of homosexuality, to compare it to dietary restrictions simply because both are mentioned in Leviticus, one must ignore His consistent position on homosexuality (and the entire moral law) in every age. Christians must teach this truth, not because we consider homosexuality an especially depraved sin, but because we must declare the whole counsel of God. We all sin, but the first steps toward salvation are to acknowledge God as Creator, to acknowledge His righteous law as good for us, to acknowledge that we fall short and that sin is destructive both in this life and in the one to come.
Ms. Jeffers Schori prefers and promotes her own wisdom in place of God's Word. Galatians 1 teaches that a different gospel is really no gospel at all, even if it were delivered by angels. As it becomes more and more socially unacceptable to speak truth, we must determine to please God and not men.
Allen Lichtenstein, general counsel for the ACLU of Nevada, had read theInteresting - I didn't hear anything from Mr. Lichtenstein after discovering that the Unitarian Church was promoting its pro-homosexual religious views on Prospect High School's website. Apparently only the religious speech of Christians is restricted...
unedited version of McComb's speech and said district officials did the right
thing by cutting McComb's speech short because her commentary promoted religion.
Lichtenstein said that position was supported by two decisions by the 9th U.S.The 9th Circuit, you say? What a surprise...NOT.
Circuit Court of Appeals, in 2000 and 2003.
As my friend and I were talking late at night, I made some reference to sex and she said "Oh, my kids don't even know what that is." She said that when her older daughter was ready to go off to college, she sat her down and told her about sex. At first this struck me as unbelievable, but upon reflection, I realized that the deep peace I so enjoyed at her home derived from the innocence that had been so vigorously protected - little TV watching, lots of reading and Bible study, piano lessons, and chores (including growing their own organic produce).
Her kids are not isolated or socially inept. On the contrary, they are intelligent and thoughtful, engaging, respectful, joyful; they clown around and laugh, free from the corruption that most of "my" kids are bathed in each day at public school.
Why are we so anxious to replace that innocence with worldliness and lust?
Sunday, June 18, 2006
I didn't think it was funny at all. I think public school drug and alcohol awareness programs and assigned reading with pornographic passages in them have something in common. They inadvertantly end up teaching a certain percentage of kids 'how' - kids who would not have known 'what' before, let alone 'how'.
In an effort to 'prepare' kids for life, I think the schools often end up destroying the innocence that once served to protect them. Board member Mimi Cooper's characterization of the content of the 214 books as useful for creating 'teachable moments' is completely wrongheaded. What are we teaching them - other than giving them idea that this kind of destructive behavior is common and therefore 'normal' and perhaps expected?
Thursday, June 15, 2006
According to McHenry County Blog (June 15 post entitled "Gay Games Get State Taxpayer Subsidy of $296,616"), Chicago Games, Inc.—the official name of the Gay Games—will receive $296,616 out of the Fiscal Year 2006 budget, which ends June 30.
How did that happen?
Several months ago, Gay Games applied for $450,000 in grant money (translation: your tax money) from the Illinois Tourism Marketing Partnership Grant Program. The total amount requested was $450,000 - the other $150,000 could be delivered from the Fiscal Year 2007 budget which commences in July.
Express your opposition to the use of tax money to promote homosexuality by e-mailing Governor Rod Blagojevich and by writing letters to your local newspapers.
While you're at it, thank Crystal Lake's State Rep Mike Tryon for publicly opposing this subsidy.
Click below on "1 Comments"
for an update on this story!
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Although I'm tempted to elaborate on the parallel to our own national and religious apathy and consequent 40 year wandering, I will instead draw your attention to the character of Caleb.
The LORD said of Caleb, "He has a different spirit and has followed me fully."
Could the LORD say the same of you or me? Do you have a different spirit? Do you follow Him fully? Or does it depend on the cost?
Caleb had so much confidence in his submission and obedience to God that he could say, "I wholly followed the LORD my God."
After a 40 year wait, Caleb approached Joshua to remind him of the covenant God made to Moses concerning Caleb's inheritance. At 85 years of age, Caleb told Joshua, "I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming."
Apparently, Caleb had not heard about luxury Christian retirement communities. No, even at 85, he was eager to fight and to receive what God Himself promised to him. In fact, he had a very specific request: Caleb asked for the hill country of Hebron. Why?
Hebron was the land of the Fathers - where Abraham met Melchizedek, where he buried Sarah, and where his own body was laid to rest. Caleb longed to finish his life in the promised land and to rest with the Patriarchs...and so he did.
"Therefore Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb...because he wholly followed the LORD, the God of Israel."
I long to rest with the Fathers, with the NT saints, with my LORD. Do you also? Then let us first, like Caleb, put on a different spirit, wholeheartedly following the LORD, counting the cost, vigorous for war...for there is much to do.
"We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can surely do it."
(These ideas were presented in a lovely and articulate sermon presented by a young man in my congregation. They have weighed in my mind for weeks. May God bless and keep him, and make him fruitful all the days of his life.)
Monday, June 12, 2006
Check out Poison in our Libraries. Here are some of the books to which parents have objected:
- It's Perfectly Normal, aimed at elementary age students.
- Push, the story of a young girl who is pregnant with her father's child.
- A book advertised as being "the most controversial young adult novel ever," which describes an adolescent boy's love affair with a teacher and two teens who become addicted to heroin. That book won an award as "an outstanding book for children."
- Choke, another sexually explicit book once featured in Playboy magazine
- Girl Interrupted, "a book about an 18-year-old who ends up in a mental asylum and has a number of conversations with mentally disturbed people -- conversations of the most graphic sort, especially sexually...The f-word [appears] 30 times on one page, and this is being given to freshmen in high school as literature."
The article will inform you about the troubling role of the American Library Association and provides six questions that a parent can ask a principal or school administrator - so ask them!
In conversations with my teens and their friends this weekend, I saw something emerging that I never noticed before. We had 8-10 teens in our living room and I asked them what they thought about the assassination of al-Zarqawi. Not a single one of them knew who he was! However, all of them knew the positions of at least one of their teachers had taken on this “book ban” issue; and many of these students were familiar with the positions of 2 or 3 of their teachers.
I find this quote from the Daily Herald curious: “It didn’t have to be orchestrated. It didn’t have to be manipulated,” John Hersey High School English division head Chuck Venegoni said. “They have minds of their own.”
It seems as though some of our educators choose to indoctrinate instead of teach.
Leslie Pinney, a member of the Arlington Heights-based Township High School District 214 board, didn't deserve the tarring she got when she tried to exercise board control over what students are required to read.
...she wasn't trying to tell students what they "can" or "cannot" read, as at least one student put it. She wasn't trying to "ban" books from the classroom or the library...
Get it straight: When a teacher makes up a required reading list, he is making a judgment about what is good for his students.
This is not a neutral action. It is giving official sanction to a value judgment. That parents can have their kids "opt out" of the list is not an adequate response to complaints about its content, no more than an opt-out option for non-believing students makes mandatory school prayer acceptable.
Pinney was doing what an elected member of an Illinois school board is obliged by law to do: set education policy...
For those telling her to shut up and go away, a compulsory remedial logic course would be in order.
- Go to their website and read the entire commentary.
- Forward the link to all your friends.
- E-mail Dennis Byrne and copy the Chicago Tribune, thanking him for this wonderful defense of Leslie Pinney's approach to her responsibility and the parents who agree with her concerns. (If your e-mail includes your name, address, and phone, they may contact you about publishing it.)
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Where Were District 214's Men of God?
An Ironic District 214 Twist
Interesting developments on Prospect High School's website:
PRIDE YOUTH, which according to other websites still meets at Countryside Unitarian Church, is NO LONGER among the links at Community Counseling Resources on Prospect High School's website.
Who made the decision to remove that link?
When was the link removed?
Why was it removed?
However, it's not all good news...
Prospect High School still provides a link to P-FLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays)…and guess where they meet?
Regular Monthly Meetings
Date: 3rd Monday of the month
Time: 7:00 - 9:00 pm
Place: Countryside Unitarian Universalist Church,1025 N. Smith RoadPalatine, IL 60067 (847) 359-8440, Between Northwest Highway (Rte 14) and Dundee Road (Rte 68) on Smith
Call: Deb at (847) 358-3994 for additional information
Note that this group provides a webpage actively promoting their position on religion.
They advertise for Welcoming Religious and Spiritual Groups (and note their link to gaychurch.org).
They claim that "Ex-Gay" ministries can be "harmful."
And they label groups like Eagle Forum and IFI as "anti-gay."
And yes, the Palatine P-FLAG site provides a link to PRIDE YOUTH - which, as was previously noted, leads to sites about erotica, gay bars, and "barebacking" - not suitable for teenagers.
The same folks that elevate the "sacred value" of "separation of church and state" are using a tax-payer funded, government sanctioned, public school website to promote THEIR religious views.
Parents and taxpayers in the Prospect High School area, how does this sit with you?
Parents and taxpayers throughout Illinois: What's going on in your public school?
Five adult citizens eloquently and boldly addressed the District 214 school board on Thursday evening in support of Leslie Pinney's concerns.
- A Father of 5 from Elk Grove Village - Attended May 25 meeting and observed "a well organized filibuster" by students rather than a debate among adult taxpayers. Concluded that the resulting decision is "grievous": Graphic materials were sanctioned as appropriate. Regrets his own lack of attention to the rapidly changing culture in our public schools and fears what has made its way into homes and schools.
- A Father from Itasca - The decision was a "travesty." Implored that schools not try to open kids' minds with bestiality and torture.
- A Mother and Teacher from Arlington Heights - Attended the meeting but received a number in the 300's and was unable to participate because students dominated the microphone. Manipulation of students was shameless, with one student stating that his teacher offered extra credit to students for showing up. Referenced Mimi Cooper who was quoted as saying that these books were necessary to prepare students for life, but the speaker rebuffed that idea and said "I do not encounter this" in my adult life. The materials are "not honorable nor uplifting." We pay the salaries of teachers and the board is elected to represent our will.
- A Father from Arlington Heights - Requested a copy of the opt-out policy. Wallflower is written at a 4th grade reading level, Fallen Angels at 4th grade, others at 6th grade. Asked for a written response from Dr Schuler as to why teachers are selecting books that are not challenging to college bound students.
- A Mother from Mt Prospect - Was at May 25 meeting until the end. The idea that "we must trust our teachers" contradicts "critical thinking." Asked for a copy of the criteria by which the books were selected. Noted that students were coached, recalling that one student said that a teacher spent 90 min of class time advocating for the books. This woman's son came home from such a discussion uncharacteristically upset with his parents because his teacher told him that his parents don't trust him and are trying to control his life.
A reporter apparently told the parents that it was her understanding that some of the salacious books are used to entice poorer performers to read. (Contrast this with the argument made on May 25 that the books are necessary preparation for AP and ACT tests...inconsistent.)
Other board members gave reports on what events and ceremonies they attended and joked about whether their gowns were pressed for them. Leslie Pinney spoke of attending a ceremony, saying that graduation is the most gratifying aspect of school board service.
Leslie went on to share her reflections on the previous meeting…
She urged teachers and administrators to adhere to the controversial issues policy which requires teachers to consider whether less controversial materials could still achieve the class objectives.
She highlighted the problems with the opt-out program which were cited by parents, students, and recent graduates and suggested that parents be included in developing a new policy which would ensure that families are able to opt out without embarrassment, discrimination, punitive assignments, etc. She asked that the new policy be ready for implementation at the beginning of the new school year.
Leslie expressed genuine appreciation and enjoyment of each one of her colleagues and their unique perspectives, saying she believes all want what is best for students and families, but added that she continues to be troubled that her colleagues believe these books have literary value so high as to supersede the controversy they cause.
When Leslie concluded her statement, Bill Dussling appeared visibly angry and said, "I don't know if that was a board report or a condemnation of our service..." and went on to say that he didn't know how to take it, that criticism of his fellow board members upsets him. "That's my reaction."