We saw the Planned Parenthood data for 2020, and it disturbs us. The organization performed 354,871 abortions, which is 9,199 more than the previous year. The government gave $618.1 million of federal tax money to Planned Parenthood in 2020. That does not include $80 million from the Cares Act, which was to help small businesses because of the pandemic. Other services which Planned Parenthood provides, including adoption, prenatal care, and help with miscarriages, declined by 40%.
As a Christian who works with various child-care organizations, I know of many couples in our area who want to adopt a child. As has always been true, there is a long wait time to get a child. Adopting requires laborious home studies and interviews. As the parent of three adopted children, I know the joy of having a child when you are biologically unable to conceive.
The Planned Parenthood data for 2020 is disturbing. It’s easy to oversimplify this issue, but the notion that abortion is a solution to birth control is medical nonsense. The psychological problems resulting from abortion are huge because aborting a child is infanticide. Americans are critical of other cultures that don’t protect children or even discard unwanted children, and yet our culture is doing the same thing. If you ever watch a video of an abortion, you will see that it is indeed the killing of an infant and not the removal of a blob of flesh that is simply part of the mother.
When I was a young man, Memorial Day was a big deal. There were parades, speeches, special services at many churches, and a town memorial. We were constantly reminded of the men and women who died to make it possible for us to live in freedom in the United States. In those days, in Bloomington, Indiana, where I grew up, many military veteran’s groups marched in the parade, and all the high school bands participated. After serving in the military, I found that Memorial Day had changed. It had become “the first weekend of summer.” There were no parades, and only a few veteran groups paid attention to the original purpose. What will Memorial Day 2021 be like? Memorial Day began as “Decoration Day” in 1868, three years after the civil war ended. At Arlington National Cemetery. Flowers were put on all graves, and 5,000 people attended the ceremony. General Logan, who directed the ceremony, said, “Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”
Since that time, over 1.2 million Americans have died in our nation’s wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a National Holiday by Congress. In 2000, Congress enacted The National Moment of Remembrance Act (P.L.106-579). Its charter says, “To encourage the people of the United States to give something back to their country … by encouraging and coordinating commemorations in the United States of Memorial Day and the National Moment of Remembrance.”
The National Moment of Remembrance Act suggests that at 3:00 PM local time on Memorial Day, “Everyone is to pause for a moment of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation … It is a way we can all help put the memorial back in Memorial Day.” We are in no way minimalizing the struggles for freedom and racial equity in America today, but even with our problems, how can we look at other nations and not be thankful for what we have?
On Memorial Day 2021, not understanding the sacrifices of the past has made us a selfish and self-serving people. Our ecological problems are because we want what is ours without thinking about the future. Our moral problems are because we have forgotten the teachings of Jesus Christ, which call us to live to serve others with integrity. In Luke 22:19-20, we read about Jesus instituting the Lord’s Supper as a way of helping us remember Him, what He taught, and the example He set. First Corinthians 11:28-30 warns Christians not to participate in communion without thought and understanding since “for this cause many are weak and sickly among you.”
What is true of the Church is true of America. We need a memorial to remind us of the important things. On Memorial Day 2021, let us not be so focused on our own agendas that we forget the past and what our predecessors have done to allow us to have what we enjoy today.
Apparently, the media are running out of things to talk about, so they have resurrected the claims of alien visitation to Earth. In June, U.S. intelligence agencies are supposed to release a report detailing what the government knows about Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP). Former CIA director John Brennan has stated that there have been scores of credible sightings of UAPs or UFOs that “may be piloted by a different form of life.” We have repeatedly pointed out that this is not a biblical issue. The Bible does not say that Earth is the only place where God created life.
Once when I was working in Canada, a group of people claimed that a ghost was haunting a woods nearby. One night, several of us camped out in that woods. At about 2 a.m., we saw a ghost, complete with an open mouth and two eyes. It glowed a greenish-yellow color and then vanished. One of the native Canadians in the group laughed because he knew what we were seeing. The aurora borealis (northern lights) were flickering wildly in a solar maximum, and the ultraviolet radiation caused bioluminescence in a dead tree. In broad daylight, we could see that, but at night, with our imaginations running wild, it looked totally different.
Atmospheric refraction or reflection off high clouds can make city lights visible many miles from the city. Earthquakes generate radiation, and some of it is in the visible spectrum. Weather balloons, flares, test aircraft, cloud reflections, satellites, planes, or drones can all become Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. With this new report, we will see a barrage of headlines from conspiracy advocates, tabloid writers, and psychics. In truth, it is more likely that the number of actual mystery objects will be very small. Jesus Christ has answers to the real struggles in life, but E.T. does not.
A federal judge has ruled against a Christian college in Missouri, and the ruling may affect other Christian colleges and universities. It involves opening the women’s dorm rooms and showers to biological males. On his first day in office, President Biden issued an executive order prohibiting “discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.” His order requires federal agencies to interpret the word “sex” to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Fair Housing Act is part of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. It prohibits discrimination in the sale or rental of housing based on race, religion, or national origin. In 1974 a provision was added banning discrimination based on sex, but it says nothing about sexual orientation and gender identity. With the new executive order, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is now enforcing the requirement based on “gender identity” and “sexual orientation” and applying it to dormitory housing at colleges and universities.
The College of the Ozarks is a Christian college near Branson, Missouri. In April 2021, the college sued the Biden administration, stating that the new executive order “requires private religious colleges to place biological males into female dormitories and to assign them as female’s roommates.” On moral and religious grounds, the school prohibits males students from female dorms and vice-versa. The federal judge ruled against the school.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) plans to challenge the judge’s ruling. Ryan Bangert is vice president of legal strategy at ADF. He says that as it stands now, “If you have a male who identifies as a female, that student must be allowed to access female dormitories,” and that includes restrooms and showers. Failure to comply could result in fines that might force the school to close. That could be especially hard for College of the Ozarks, which does not charge tuition but depends on donations and requires all full-time students to work on campus.
Few Christian colleges could withstand hefty fines for violating the new rule, and dismissing a student because of sexual orientation and gender identity could create even more issues with the government. College of the Ozarks, like other colleges, is now working on housing plans for returning and new students in the fall. ADF said in a statement that “in this case the government is clearly overreaching.”
The current ignorance about vaccines is amazing. We see statements every day, frequently in religious publications, that are simply not true. There is nothing in a vaccine that could contain a microchip, for example. There is a fundamental distrust of the government and the scientific establishment that fuels ideas like this one. There are always hucksters who will seize upon this distrust and use it to try to make money. Refusing vaccines is not new.
In 1776 Edward Jenner noticed that milkmaids frequently had cowpox, which is a virus found in cows. The milkmaids didn’t get smallpox, which was killing 30% of the population at the time. Doctors tried various attempts to stop the epidemic, but Jenner’s treatment of giving people cowpox shots was the only one that worked. But many people were refusing vaccines for a variety of religious reasons.
In America in 1809, Massachusetts passed a mandatory vaccination law. In England in 1853, the government passed a U.K. Vaccination Act. It required parents to have infants vaccinated by three months, or the parents would be arrested. This precipitated the “Anti-Vaccination League of London,” and in 1879, the “Anti-Vaccination Society of America” was formed.
In America from 1920 through the 1970s, scientists developed vaccines for diphtheria, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, and rubella. Some of those diseases, such as polio, were stopped in your author’s lifetime. I can remember iron lungs and classmates dying with polio and how we all celebrated when scientists produced the polio vaccine.
That all changed in 1982 when a documentary aired called “DPT: Vaccine Roulette.” It claimed that children had suffered brain damage from the diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus shot. It turned out that the cases used in the documentary were unrelated to the vaccines, but the media never reported that. Parents formed “The National Vaccine Information Center,” which is an organization to encourage refusing vaccines.
We must point out that there can be allergies or reactions to any drug. When I was a kid, doctors used sulfa-drugs to fight infections, and I had a severe reaction to one of those drugs. The drug was never removed from the market because I was a rare exception, and the drug benefited many others. My atheist parents did not attach any religious significance to my allergy but withheld further treatments. Some people are very allergic to peanuts, but I have not heard of an anti-peanut league.
In 1998, the National Vaccine Information Center secured a report from Andrew Wakefield, a gastroenterologist claiming that the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine caused autism. Since I have a grandson who is autistic, I was very interested in that report. It turned out that Wakefield falsified data, and there was no connection. I took the time to check out the claim, but in 2000 Wakefield’s study reached the U.S. and was immediately seized upon by anti-vaccine groups as more evidence for refusing vaccines.
So why are we reporting on this in DoesGodExist.today? First, Christians are to serve others and do the best we can to promote well-being in all of those created in God’s image. That means we need to check out the stories and make sure the data supports what people are saying. We can not trust the news media, and TV programs promote hoaxes of all kinds, from Bigfoot to UFOs to miracle health substances.
Secondly, Christians should embrace anything that relieves suffering and avoids the pain of disease. Jesus had naysayers in His day. He would cure someone by a miracle, and His opponents would try to explain it away rather than admit He was God’s Son. Don’t blindly embrace the claims of anyone, but check out the facts. Vaccines are not made from aborted babies, and they do not contain fetal cells. Vaccines save thousands of lives, even though occasionally someone will have an adverse reaction to them.
One of the peripheral issues to the COVID-19 pandemic has been the question of whether the government can shut down worship gatherings if it perceives they are spreading disease. There was a legal battle in California because the state had passed a law that said no more than three households could gather for religious services. Religious leaders said that the ruling stopped most Bible studies, prayer meetings, and other services in people’s homes and meeting places. The same law allowed more than three households to gather in hair salons, retail stores, movie theaters, and restaurants. Is it more dangerous for people to gather for religious purposes than for those other activities? Is there a legal bias against Christianity?
Early in the pandemic, the Supreme Court said that limiting worship to three households complied with the First Amendment. With the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in September and conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett taking Ginsburg’s place, the court changed direction. On April 9, 2021, the court ruled the state could not restrict religious worship and that the same precautions used for businesses had to must apply to churches.
It does seem that the double standard of allowing movie theaters to operate and shutting down religious activities involving the same number of people is inconsistent. Legal bias against Christianity is certainly an issue here, and the problem is far from settled.
An interesting battle is going on in the Indiana state legislature, which could affect the rest of the country. Senate Bill 263 would make it illegal to restrict the right to worship even during pandemics or natural disasters. The statement made by those promoting the bill is, “The right to worship is guaranteed by the United States and Indiana constitutions, and no one has the right to infringe on that right.”
This is a complex issue. Telling people they can’t assemble because they might get sick or make someone else ill puts the government in the position of deciding who can worship and who cannot. Which is more important, having the right to worship anywhere, anytime, and in any way you wish or having authorities decide when and where to allow worship? The potential for abuse is very high either way.
We suggest that carefully following the biblical teachings and examples would solve this issue. The first-century Church did not own buildings and worshipped in small groups in private homes. Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). The need for large groups with elaborate services and many participants is a product of church entertainment, not the worship of God.
No one can take away our right to worship if our worship is doing what the Bible encourages us to do and following the example of the first century Church. There are interesting legal questions in this discussion, but the right to worship is not threatened no matter what the legislature decides.
One of the most challenging decisions for a woman to make is what to do with an unwanted pregnancy. The difficulty of this decision is evident from the “no show rate” for abortion appointments, which can be as high as 75%. Tragically, the abortion industry has become taxpayer-supported.
Planned Parenthood has released numbers in a report for the years 2017-2018. That organization operated 590 locations and performed 332,757 abortions. Their total income for the year was 1.67 billion dollars, of which $563.8 million was in tax money. Because it is a business, Planned Parenthood has to produce an increasing number of abortions or run out of money and have to close. Since 1995, 37% of Planned Parenthood locations have closed, and many of them closed for financial reasons.
By their own data, 96% of “pregnancy resolution services” are completed with abortions without regard for the mental and emotional issues of the women involved. They report only one adoption referral for every 117 abortions. Those numbers tell us that Planned Parenthood is not a service-oriented organization but an industry that must create a market to secure income. We have reported on data about abortion clinics selling baby parts as a source of income for this industry.
The abortion industry has been involved in lobbying politicians to approve their activities and fund them. We now have a president and vice president who approve of abortion and funding organizations like Planned Parenthood. Because of the sensitivity of this issue, it is difficult to get politicians to deal with the facts. The reality is that our political system is now endorsing infanticide. Attempts to defend abortion by claiming the fetus is an extension of the mother’s body do not have scientific support. Morning sickness is because the woman’s body recognizes that the baby is not a part of her body, and her immune system reacts to it. Genetically, the baby is 100% human when the sperm fertilizes the egg.
Educating the public about the facts of the abortion industry and providing alternatives to abortion remains the best that we can do. Our society has now endorsed infanticide, and involuntary euthanasia is the next step in getting rid of inconvenient humans. Scholars like Peter Singer, the Ira W, DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, call for euthanizing the physically disabled and mentally ill. The question is whether this is the kind of world we want to live in and leave to our children?
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a child of hell as you are” (Matthew 23:15). Did Jesus use hate speech when He spoke those words?
In today’s world, making any negative statement about the LGBT lifestyle might put you in jail or at least under threat of a lawsuit. Sweden passed a law in 2003 and Finland in 1995 demanding discipline for anyone who says anything negative about the lifestyles of others. J.K. Rowling, the popular author of Harry Potter fame, has been “canceled” in England because she stated that males cannot become females. The question is not whether she is right or wrong, but whether in society today it is permissible to say anything critical of anyone else. George Orwell wrote, “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
Those of us who are Christians and try to follow biblical teaching do not believe that anything in the scriptures qualifies as “hate speech.” What Jesus said in the passage above is not hate. We need to define what the phrase “hate speech” means. Webster simply says hate is “strong dislike.” We would add that the words “hate speech” describe what leads to physical action against a person. Most people would say it is okay to hate an idea. We can hate the idea of rape or prejudice without an individual being involved. When Jesus taught his followers to turn the other cheek and to love their enemies, He was certainly not advocating hate speech.
Did Jesus use hate speech in Matthew 23:15 when He expressed rejection of the Pharisaical system that injured other people as well as themselves? We have the moral teachings of the Bible because alternatives to those teachings hurt others and damage the people who promote those alternatives. No one following the teachings of Jesus would do any physical harm to anyone, no matter what their lifestyle. This is in stark contrast to the alternative teachings that would enact beatings, imprisonment, and even death.
In 1906, a British writer summarized Voltaire’s philosophy with the statement, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Others have repeated that phrase many times to describe the freedom of speech principle. Did Jesus use hate speech? No, and neither should His followers.
We live in a world where freedom of speech is becoming threatened, and those in power are trying to limit what someone can say. Ultimately Christians may be faced with the same situation that Peter and John faced in Acts 4:19. Their response to those who would shut down their freedom to speak was, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
There are many similarities between the events of January 6 in Washington D.C. and the biblical account of what happened to Jesus Christ. We can learn some lessons from Holy Week and January 6, 2021.
People of both political parties came to Washington D.C. on that Wednesday morning with a feeling of optimism and renewal. As Zechariah 9:9 had prophesied, Jesus came into Jerusalem riding on a donkey, an animal of peace, not a horse which was an animal of war. The people’s response was to spread palm branches, a symbol of triumph and victory, in front of Him.
Jesus began his tenure in Jerusalem by throwing the religious crooks out of the Temple (Matthew 21:12-13). He initiated good things by healing the blind and lame (verses 14-15). Some good leaders came to Washington D.C. on January 6 to allegedly do some good things.
The people’s actions in Jerusalem brought jealousy to the establishment, who thought they were losing control. They challenged Jesus’ authority and tried to put him at odds with the Roman courts (Matthew 21:23-27). When that failed, they secured an extremist’s support to advance their cause (Matthew 26:14-16).
On January 6, extremists were motivated to attack the authorities in power resulting in violence. Not only was there damage to the physical structures of Washington, but several people died. The people of Jerusalem were motivated to accept and even promote the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. At the same time, the politicians washed their hands and turned their backs on the violence that was being carried out.
There are many lessons from Holy Week and January 6 in Washington that are hard to miss. No matter what your political beliefs or religious convictions, or lack of them, the comparisons are strong.
People are crazy. Humans can be led, and their price is cheap. Judas sold out Christ for what in our money would be about $120.
Whether they are secular or religious, most politicians will stop at nothing to advance their own standing. Breaking religious law (read Leviticus and Deuteronomy) or violating the U.S. Constitution is easy when it involves greed, jealousy, and power struggles.
Journalists are biased and interpret the news rather than reporting it. As you read Matthew 26:59-60, you find two false witnesses saying that Jesus said, “I am able to destroy the temple of God.” That was a half-truth. The witnesses and the religious leaders interpreted that to mean the Temple made of stone when Jesus had made it clear it was His body. The news media on all sides of the January 6 event interpreted the news.
The similarities between Holy Week and January 6 end withthe resurrection of Christ. Even today, many people deny the evidence and maintain their conviction that Jesus was a fraud. Some people will not change their political agenda no matter what the evidence. Indeed, the importance of “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21) cannot be over-emphasized.