Friday, July 21, 2006

Mt. Soledad Cross in Judicial Crosshairs

Evidently the only way to save the concrete cross at Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial in San Diego is through Congressional legislation. The cross, was has been present at Mt. Soledad for almost 100 years, was slated for destruction by activist judge Gordon Thompson in May. Judge Thompson has been trying for 15 years to get rid of the historical cross.

Mount Soledad is a prominent landmark in San Diego. According to Wikipedia, the 822-foot-tall hill lies between Interstate 5 to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is mostly within the community of La Jolla where the northern and eastern slopes form a sharp escarpment along the Rose Canyon Fault. The community of Pacific Beach is on the gentler southern slope. Commercial aircraft approaching San Diego from the direction of Los Angeles often use Mt. Soledad as their point to start the downwind leg of their approach to San Diego International Airport.

Just east of the summit of Mt. Soledad is the questionable 29-foot-tall cross (43 feet tall, including the base) which was erected in 1954. A cross has been on the site since 1913. Architect Donald Campbell designed the present latin cross in recessed concrete with a twelve-foot arm spread in 1954. In 1998, after the sale of the cross and the land it stands on to the nonprofit Mount Soledad Memorial Association, the cross was transformed into being the centerpiece of a newly erected Korean War Memorial.

Three different shaped Christian crosses have been constructed since 1913 on city government property at the apex of the Mt. Soledad Natural Park in the Village of La Jolla.

The original cross on Mt. Soledad was erected in 1913 by private citizens of La Jolla and Pacific Beach, but was stolen in 1923 and later in the year of 1923 the wooden cross was affixed back in the ground on Mt. Soledad Natural Park only to be burned down by the Ku Klux Klan.

The second cross was erected in 1934 by a private group of Protestant Christians from La Jolla and Pacific Beach. This sturdier, stucco-over-wood frame cross was blown down by blustery winds in 1952.

The third and current 29-feet tall cross on top of a 14-feet tall stepped platform, and was installed in 1954. It still stands today. A windstorm damaged one of the flimsy constructed cross members in 1955 and the concrete structure had to be repaired.

Evidently, 75% of San Diego’s residents support the cross remaining on their city property, but that hasn’t stopped judges from laying siege to “government of the people.”

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the U.S. District Judge, Gordon Thompson Jr., declared that "It is now time, and perhaps long overdue, for this Court to enforce its initial permanent injunction forbidding the presence of the Mount Soledad Cross on City property.” Such a statement shows the arrogance of the judiciary in many respects. Not only can they invent laws from thin air, but according to Judge Thompson, the judiciary also now has the constitutional power to enforce injunction. I always thought that power belonged to the Executive Branch. Will the courts soon be commanding armies?

This case has been as much about the judiciary’s war on the people’s right to rule themselves as it has been about religious bigotry and discrimination. San Diego’s residents have tried numerous ways to retain the cross, while complying with judicial edicts. Yet, nothing short of obliteration of the cross seems to satiate these robed magistrates.

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders has asked President Bush to exercise the federal government’s right of eminent domain. Yet, the President seems reluctant, so several Representatives introduced federal legislation to protect the citizens of San Diego from judicial tyranny. Wednesday, the House of Representatives intervened, and by an overwhelming and bi-partisan vote of 379-74, they approved a bill that would transfer Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial to the federal government.

The judiciary has a recent, unsatiable appetite for contravening the will of Americans to govern themselves. Their abuses seem to me to be far more grievous than those committed by King George III of England. To paraphrase Judge Thompson’s words, “It is now time, and perhaps long overdue for Americans to enforce their constitutional right to govern themselves, forbidding the presence of unconstitutional rulings from meddling and usurping judges.”

P.S. There are many books on the judiciary’s insane usurpation of their role in American government worth reading. Here’s one by a great Missourian, John Stormer.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

President Bush Vetoes Stem Cell Research Funding

Kudos to our President for exercising his constitutional power of veto on the embryonic stem cell bill. President Bush has saved America from a moral freefall. In an era of confused politicians, it is refreshing to see our President acting from a clear moral conviction.

Two of the goofiest comments this week were from Senators Arlen Specter and Orrin Hatch.

Snarlin’ Arlen, no friend to pro-lifers, continued to maintain his pro-death convictions. Back in 1996, during his presidential run, he stated “I want to take abortion out of politics. I want to keep the Republican Party focused on the vital economic and foreign policy issues -- and leave moral issues such as abortion to the conscience of the individual. I believe abortion is an issue to be decided by women -- not by big government.”

This is the man who gives no thought to the pain and suffering of babies in wombs who die violent, painful deaths. So, it wasn’t surprising that Specter wanted to force Americans who oppose using human embryos for scientific research to fund it.

What was surprising was that Senator Specter became Scientist Specter, butchering basic biological facts in the process. CNN carried a story of his sparring with Senator Sam Brownback on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday program. When pressed by Brownback about when life begins, Specter snorted “"It certainly doesn't start in a laboratory dish. This potential for life on these embryonic stem cells cannot begin to occur unless it's implanted back in a woman. We know for sure, life does not start in a laboratory dish."

There you have it. Life cannot begin in a laboratory dish. During the process of in vitro fertilization, scientists extract eggs from a female donor and fertilize them with male sperm. When that happens, the newly fertilized egg begins cell duplication. All of this happens “in a laboratory dish” (hence the Latin term “in vitro” … “in glass”). But Specter doesn’t think its life. Even with the cloning process known as somatic cell nuclear transfer, once the egg’s 23 chromosome cell nucleus is removed and replaced with the 46 chromosome human cell nucleus and electrically stimulated, the new embryo begins cell division just like the in vitro method. Scientists cannot differentiate the embryos. They both look alike and they both are human.

And Specter further violates basic biology by saying human embryos are merely “potential for life” even when implanted into a woman’s uterus. What was it my grandma use to say? “Oh what tangled webs we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” Specter is right at home devaluing human life. His abortion views have conditioned him never to consider human life as human life unless the baby is fully born. Someone who supports babies having their skulls crushed and arms ripped off through abortion will certainly have no trouble supporting the destruction of tiny humans at the earliest stage of development.

The real surprise came from Orrin Hatch. Of course, he had already jumped overboard from the pro-life ship quite some time ago. But his quote to US News & World Report was very striking. First, he continues the political trick of trying to divide pro-life leaders from pro-life grassroots. Then he says, “But with rank and file people, countless have come up to me and said, 'I support you ... your position is very pro-life because you want to help the living as well as the unborn." Yeah right, keeping telling that to yourself Orrin, and you might actually believe it. There may be a few “pro-life” folks who would say such a thing. But thoroughly pro-life people understand this issue very clearly. Of course we want to help the living too. That’s why many are fighting so hard for adult stem cell research. With its miraculously breakthroughs in treating 72 significant diseases and illnesses, we know well this is hardly the time to distract attention and divert funding from a proven method of cures.

True pro-lifers know, on the issue of embryonic stem cell research, the issue is helping the living AT THE EXPENSE OF the unborn. This we will not allow. Any research for cures that destroys one human for the benefit of another is immoral. Senator Hatch wants to prevent he is helping both unborn and living. However, embryonic stem cell research requires the death of the developing human embryo. That is not remotely pro-life.

There is but one choice for Christians who will remain committed to Scripture. If we will defend God’s law of the sanctity of human life, we must oppose embryonic stem cell research.

[For information on Missouri's upcoming vote on a constitutional amendment regarding embryonic stem cell research, go here.]

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Seeing the Real Jesus

In praying through a prayer guide for our youth and their sponsors who are in St. Louis this week, partnering with area metro churches in teaching VBS, I came across this wonderful reminder from 1 John 3:2 “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.” Yep, heaven keeps some secrets. God hasn’t told us everything. He’s revealed only a portion of His plan for us. I know quite a bit of my future in heaven, but God has chosen ‘no comment’ about many other things.

The next verse gives us a small glimpse of our future. “We know that when He appears we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” I can’t wait for that day. I try hard to understand Jesus as He is; I struggle to see Him through the lens of scripture. But I often wonder if I’m seeing Him rightly. I understand well the limitations of personal experiences and the hazards of personal biases. I’m a Missourian, a thorough mid-westerner, Anglo-male, conservative, theologically trained, always-been-in-church, Republican leaning, country-boy-at-heart, etc, etc. At the end of every day and every Bible study and every sermon, there’s a nagging thought at the back of my mind. Have I seen Jesus rightly? Did I tell the truth about God?

I wonder this because I know my handicap. My sin reminds me of my propensity to declare Jesus as I want Him to be, or as I think He is. One day, I won’t have to hope that I’ve seen the real Jesus, I’ll know it! I’ll see my Savior, not as I think He is, but in reality, “as He is.” What a day…glorious day, that will be! How sweet the truth of scripture!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Founding Pastors Weren’t Silent

Just a few weeks ago, we celebrated our nation’s independence.

John Adams was one of the most prominent of our nation’s founders…a passionate patriot and well recognized by historians both contemporary and from antiquity as being one of the most significant leaders of American independence. In fact, one popular modern historian, David McCullough, has written an entire book on John Adams, who served two terms as our nation’s first vice-president and then one term as our second president.

But John Adams himself declared that the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Mayhew and the Rev. Dr. Samuel Cooper were two of the individuals "most conspicuous, the most ardent, and influential" in the "awakening and revival of American principles and feelings" that led to American independence.

The legendary Minutemen were led by the Rev. Jonas Clark and many of those Minutemen were deacons in his church.

The Rev. James Caldwell was a key leader of military forces in New Jersey.

And the Rev. John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg led 300 men from his church against the British as one of Washington's most trusted generals.

Pastor Lemuel Haynes, an African-American pastor, was involved in several major Revolutionary battles and became an ardent admirer of George Washington, regularly preaching sermons on Washington's birthday.

John Witherspoon, the Presbyterian divine from New Jersey, signed the Declaration of Independence.

Jacob Duche, John Mills, William Graham, Azel Roe, John Steele and hundreds of other pastors, did their part to lead their congregation into a righteous war.

Pastors have always been the key instruments in cultural issues. As a lesson from the Revolution, pastors must search the scriptures regarding Missouri’s proposed constitutional amendment on embryonic stem cell research. I have no doubt that pastors faithful to the sanctity of human life will reach the same conclusions I have regarding the evil of this practice. We must exhort our congregations to engage in this battle. We must do all we can to see an enemy stopped and life protected.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Cloned Embryos Are Human

In a letter to the editor (July 10) of the St. Joseph News-Press entitled “The Debate Continues”, a self-proclaimed member of the mis-named Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures reminded me of the mantra of the pro-death crowd.

He tried to warn “attempts to associate it [the proposed constitutional amendment legalizing cloning] with abortion are misguided…” But then he completed his sentence with “…since abortion is the termination of a pregnancy…”

Oh yeah, that tired, old devilish mantra raised its head again. People holding a pro-death philosophy can’t help themselves. For them, abortion is “termination of a pregnancy”. They never want to focus on the human life—the innocent, beautiful developing baby within the womb. There is only one way a pregnancy can be “terminated” and that is for the baby to be destroyed by some grotesquely violent abortion procedure. But this fellow has learned the mantra well—never talk about the baby.

That’s why I thought it ironic that he used that same logic to make his case for embryonic research being different from abortion. He called developing human embryos “…blastocysts (a microscopic clump of approximately 150 cells)…” Boy, isn’t that familiar? The baby is only a “fetus” or “mass of tissue” and now the embryo is a “blastocyst” or “microscopic clump of cells”. Pro-death advocates always use name-calling and re-labelling. African-Americans, Jews, babies have all been re-labelled to permit the most evil abuses mankind has ever known.

Fundamentally, we are dealing with a HUMAN embryo in the constitutional amendment. Advocates insist the embryo must be killed and not implanted into a mother’s womb and pride themselves thinking that is the moral high ground.

The writer displayed his stark and empty logic. Cloning “with the intention of creating a human being” is immoral. Cloning to kill an embryo is moral. No thank you sir. Intention does not determine morality. Few, if any drunks ever intended to kill someone when they drove their cars into their bodies. Intention isn’t the issue. Facts are. And factually, scientifically, somatic cell nuclear transfer creates a human life.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Has It Come to This?

OK. Blogging has become hard work. I don't know if my passion has waned or if my creative, thoughtful juices have dried up, or if I'm over-whelmed with other things. But in an effort to keep this blog semi-active and not spend time developing my own thoughts, I offer this joke I came across:


A Highway Patrolman pulled a car over and told the driver that because he had been wearing his seat belt, he had just won $5,000 in the statewide safety competition.

"What are you going to do with the money?" asked the policeman.

"Well, I guess I'm going to get a driver's license," he answered.

"Oh, don't listen to him," yelled a woman in the passenger seat. "He's a real smart-mouth when he's been drinking."

This woke up the guy in the back seat who took one look at the cop and moaned, "I knew we wouldn't get far in a stolen car."

At that moment, there was a knock from the trunk and a voice said, in a thick Spanish accent, "Are we over the border yet?"


I do not intend for this to become some cheesy joke shop. Of course, some of you think my postings are both cheesy and a joke.

Oh well.

Monday, July 03, 2006

“We shall not fight alone. God presides over the destinies of nations, and will raise up friends for us. The battle is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave . . . Is life so dear, or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

That famous quote is from Patrick Henry's "War Inevitable, 1775" speech. It’s great to be an American. May God fight with us as we continue to face enemies.