The 6th Planned Parenthood video has been posted. This one features a former StemExpress employee testifying that high-pressure tactics are used to encourage women to consent to donate their fetuses for research and that fetus parts are sometimes taken even without consent.
Have you heard the “pro-life” argument for Planned Parenthood? It’s being promoted everywhere by center-left journalists from Dana Milbank, to Ruth Marcus, to Damon Linker, to Will Saletan. Writing for the New York Times, Ross Douthat sums up this view:
“..even though Planned Parenthood performs hundreds of thousands of abortions each year (while lobbying constantly against any restriction on the practice), to oppose channeling public dollars to its family planning operations is to be objectively pro-abortion, because these operations prevent many more abortions still.”
Douthat then debunks this argument in multiple ways and from multiple angles. If you’re talking to friends or co-workers who are disturbed by the Planned Parenthood videos, but who think Planned Parenthood still serves “the greater good,” you’ll definitely want to read this piece.
I enjoyed reading an advanced copy of Onward: Engaging the Culture Without Losing the Gospel by Russell Moore. The book begins with a few chapters summarizing the increasing secularization in the United States (and even in the Bible belt itself), as evangelicals have shifted “from moral majority to prophetic minority.” Moore then explains how the already, not-yet nature of the kingdom of God means that our priority, as individual Christians and as churches, should be the reconciliation of sinners to God not the subjugation of those who (sometimes vehemently) disagree with us. The next chapter does a great job explaining how the culture war, in a sense, is nothing new: Going all the way back to the days of Jesus, true Christianity has always been strange and freakish relative to the wider culture. Moore writes:
The church is not to be walled up from the broader culture but to speak to it (2 Pet. 2:12), but that can only happen if, as sojourners and exiles, we have something distinctive to say (2 Pet. 2:11). We are called to “proclaim the Continue Reading…
Ed Stetzer offers an insightful break down of the latest Pew Religious Landscape Report (summarized here). The short version is this: Nominal Christianity is on the decline (with the majority of those raised in Mainline denominations defecting to an “unaffiliated” status), but within the larger category of “Christian,” there is a shift towards evangelical faith.
Here are a few nuggets:
Mark Bauerlein is a professor at Emory University and the author of an outstanding book entitled The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don’t Trust Anyone Under 30 (see commentary here). In a recent NYT article, Bauerlein laments wants happened to the role of the professor when students are more instead in a credential than an education (and more anxious about grading than eager for learning):
When college is more about career than ideas, when paycheck matters more than wisdom, the role of professors changes. We may be 50-year-olds at the front of the room with decades of reading, writing, travel, archives, or labs under our belts, with 80 courses taught, but students don’t lie in bed mulling over what we said. They have no urge to become disciples.
Sadly, professors pressed for research time don’t want them, either. As a result, most undergraduates never know that stage of development when a learned mind enthralled them and they progressed toward a fuller identity through admiration of and struggle with a role model.
Did you miss the two and a half hours of oral arguments on same-sex marriage at the Supreme Court last week? James Phillips, visiting assistant professor of law at Brigham Young University, does a great job correcting six mistakes that were made (in some cases by the Supreme Court Justices themselves).
Error Number One: Massachusetts Marriage Rates Have Stayed the Same
Error Number Two: Because Some Men Leave Their Wives and Children, Marriage Does Not Help Keep Fathers Around
Error Number Three: The Purpose of States’ Recognizing and Regulating Marriage is to Bestow Dignity on Couples
Error Number Four: The Only Harm to Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage Is Making Marriage More Adult-Centered
Error Number Five: There Is a Parallel between Brown/Loving andLawrence/Obergefell
Error Number Six: Age Restrictions on Marriage Are Equivalent to the Definitional Element of One Man and One Woman
Phillips piece is clear, compelling, and highly accessible (no legal mumbo-jumbo). Give it a read.
To hear answers from the other speakers (and a great mix of views), see the 42:09-75:40 portion of this video.
Youth is the seed-time of full age, the molding season in the little space of human life, the turning-point in the history of man’s mind.
By the shoot we judge of the tree, by the blossoms we judge of the fruit, by the spring we judge of the harvest, by the morning we judge of the day, and by the character of the young man, we may generally judge what he will be when he grows up.
“There is a story about a schoolboy who was asked what he thought God was like. He replied that, as far as he could make out, God was ‘the sort of person who is always snooping around to see if anyone is enjoying himself and then trying to stop it’. And I am afraid that is the sort of idea that the word Morality raises in a good many people’s minds: something that interferes, something that stops you having a good time. In reality, moral rules are directions for running the human machine.”
From Mere Christianity
Frank Bruni’s new book, Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania looks great, especially for upper and upper-middle class parents currently biting their nails over whether Junior will get into Princeton. For the rest of you, let me explain: Over the next few weeks, tens of thousands of “fat envelopes” (acceptances) and hundreds of thousands of “thin envelopes” (rejections) will be mailed all across the country to high school seniors hoping to get into a couple dozen of the most elite universities. The belief is that if you get into one of these schools, you’re set. After four years of hobnobbing, partying, and anxiety-driven studying, you can count on a cushy job and a clear path to a corner office. While relatively few Americans live out the extreme forms of “college admissions mania,” many more have bought into some form of this pervasive mythology. The truth? How successful a person becomes, financially and otherwise, depends far more on the person than his or her alma mater.