December 31, 2006

2007: (Real) Evangelicals Must Stand Up

In 2007, the church is in desperate need for real evangelicals to take a stand. Our culture would rather that evangelicals continue their decline toward the left, no longer caring to focus on the issue life and human dignity, but rather to trade those causes in for efforts that appear to be no cause at all. In 2006 we saw Jim Wallis come out strong without much of a cause except to appear closer to the political left - and as far away from the right as possible. We've seen the church, in evangelical circles, take a theological bungee jump -- forgetting the chord -- with the lastest version of seeker drivenness in emergent circles. And keep your eye on a certain denomination in 2007 that will likely change it's name -- and question the motives when it happens. 2006 will also be remembered for the self-inflicted wound (Ted Haggard), possibly one reason some elections were lost.

2006 represents the year of evangelical intimidation and decline. If in 2007, evangelicals fail to take a strong stand on the issues that protect and promote human dignity, evangelicals should consider taking no cause at all. 2007 will either be the year of cultural renewal -- perhaps a revival of sorts? -- or the death of evangelicalism as we have come to know it through such figures as Carl F. H. Henry. This year, we need real evangelicals involved in all facets of life, pseudo-evangelicals (left wing evangelicals) to abandon use of the term and discontinue their attempt to hijack the movement.

Happy New Year!

December 28, 2006

A Christian "Fast" from Politics? May it Never Be!

One of the hottest topics in the blogosphere right now is the idea that evangelicals should actually remove themselves from the sphere of politics and disengage from the activity in the public square. David Kuo writes,’s post-election online survey of more than 2,000 people revealed that nearly 40 percent of evangelicals support the idea of a two-year Christian “fast” from intense political activism. Instead of directing their energies toward campaigns, evangelicals would spend their time helping the poor.
Creating false dichotomies such as this helps neither the poor nor the political climate in our nation. This sort of suggestion compares to the hegemony that says that women can't be intelligent contributors to society as well as nurturers to their families. Of course evangelicals can and should continue to direct their energies toward political work, just as they should continue to work in any profession. This is not an either/or but a both/and.

December 20, 2006

The Expectations on the Exploited

Only in America can the women who are exploited for someone's visual pleasure and for another's financial gain be viewed as role models. I remember watching the "beauty pageants" as they were called in the 70's and early 80's. During that time, people called them what they were. I'm sure many of the young women at that time were worthy of the title "role model" as I'm sure some are today. But we deceive ourselves when we believe that just because a vivacious beauty wears a crown, she should be regarded is a role model. 2 things here:

1. I highly question the place of Miss America, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, etc. in the lives of today's youth. Probably the only young women who watch are on the same track themselves....and others have moms like me who just like to see the pretty dresses. But today, there is no sense in which today's preteens and teens are talking about the pageant over their hot lunch at school. They didn't even know it was on, nor did they care to know.

2. Wearing the crown doesn't make anyone a role model. That's obvious, it's ashame it needs to be said. In many cases, it means that the winner survived a childhood being paraded around hundreds of stages since the age of 2, being forced to let their moms live vicariously through them. If this is the case, they deserve the crown, but that doesn't make them a role model, that makes them a victim.

I'm sure the pageant organizations are doing a lot of financial good for the winners, but I think these are traditions that can go away now, for the good of women everywhere. The two winners who have involved the pageants in recent scandals are probably deeply confused. I'm not shocked by their behaviors, but I am amused by the focus on morality in these cases - morality for which I see no basis or grounding. It's just the pageant's arbitrary rules of conduct. Interesting.

Back from the Future

Since my last post I've been a bit busy preparing for the future. In addition to working on a book on women's ministry in the 21st century, I've also been working on a new website that features a new business venture. Sarah Flashing Designs is a communications and graphic design business that will, in the long term, free me up to do more of the speaking and writing that God has called me to. But now it's back to blogging and gearing up for Nancy Pelosi taking over on January 4. Are you ready?

December 12, 2006

Press Release: Donated Aborted Children Provide Stem Cells for Treatment of 6 Year-Old Boy

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL -December 12, 2006--The Foundation for Women of Faith in Culture decries the donation and use of tissues from aborted children for any purpose, including the treatment of Batten disease.

"Though we are very sad to hear that a young boy is suffering from the so-far incurable Batten disease, we do not believe that cures should ever come at the expense or exploitation of any human life," stated Sarah Flashing, MA, Director of Women of Faith in Culture, also fellow and consultant on women's issues with The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity.

Daniel Kerner is a 6 year old boy who, last month, was the recipient of stem cells from aborted, donated fetuses in hopes of combating this rare genetic disease which usually ends the life of those afflicted before they reach their teens.

"Women of reproductive age currently receive payment for their eggs for treatment of infertility and the overly-hyped embryonic stem cell research. Her genetic material-her egg, becomes an embryo-her offspring. It doesn't remain an egg. And while these women continue to be exploited and objectified, there are even more vulnerable women who find themselves in unplanned pregnancies. What will protect them from the manipulative tactics of the research-at-all-costs establishment?" stated Sarah Flashing. "While the period of gestation anticipates a fruitful harvest of life, our society has taken this to mean 'kill for cures.' Women also need to open their minds and realize that their fertility is in such high demand because of the financial interests of others."

The Foundation for Women of Faith in Culture is an evangelical Christian women's ministry that seeks to be an advocate for truth on behalf of all women. WFC educates women on the issues that affect all areas of her life, assisting her in the development and practice of a Christian worldview.

For Interviews
Contact Sarah Flashing at 630.484.1855 or

December 6, 2006

A Plea to Pastoral Leaders: Women's Ministry is No Tea Party

In a culture where no one is unaffected by godless philosophies and technologies that impact the sanctity and dignity of human life, where many women choose to be single mothers mothers-by means of assisted reproductive technologies or the traditional way of getting pregnant- and are also the primary caregivers to the elderly, where extreme feminism targets the uninformed, where pragmatism reigns and truth is dead, I appeal to you, evangelical pastoral leaders, to reconsider the role of women's ministry in your church.

Ministry to women is an urgent need - as urgent as Awana and youth ministry. Women's ministry should not be treated as a place for feminine socialization but as another opportunity to make disciples. Women are at the heart of our society as mothers and grandmothers, caregivers to children and to each other. The influence that women have in the home and the workplace, in the church and in the public square is monumental and ought not be set aside or ignored. Do you wonder where the young women are?....why the numbers dwindle at the bible studies and social gatherings? While women's lives look very different from 30-50 years ago and the world has changed dramatically, ministry to women has taken on few changes.

Women need to know what they believe and why they believe it and women's ministry in the local church is a phenom place to continue that pursuit. I love a good tea party, but let's face it - women are more than tea parties and banquets - and the decisions they face in this world reveal that to be true.

So while I challenge the content of women's ministry as it currently exists in the early 21st century, I realize that a shift must start from the top. Pastors, do not let the Gwen Shamblin fiasco repeat itself. Pay attention to your women's ministry leaders, the choice of curriculum, the role of theology, and considerations of contemporary issues that affect all women. While the church engages culture in the 21st century, women's ministry must not remain in 1950.

December 5, 2006

Goals for Women's Ministry Leaders - Series

Teach women that circumstances may not always make us feel good; life is full of difficulties and complexities. Mary the mother of Jesus and Hannah from the book of 1 Samuel are examples meant to point us to God and adore him in his majesty. In their poetic songs, Mary and Hannah demonstrate not only what it means to adore God, but they show that adoration is necessarily coupled with a knowledge of God - what it means to call him 'Savior.' It means knowing who we are - or aren't - in the light of who God is. Adoring God means not elevating our selves through our issues of self-worth. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, then encouragement will be added unto you.

December 4, 2006

Does Graduated Absolutism Logically Permit Embryo Destructive Research? A Thought Experiement

This weekend I found a link at the women's bioethics blog that addresses Norm Geisler's graduated absolutism, or hierarchical absolutism as it is called in Feinberg's Ethics for a Brave New World. If you visit the link, you'll see what appears to be an outline of a book called Would You Lie to Save a Life? The Quest for God's Will This Side of Heaven: A Theology on the Ethics of Love. I was prompted to take another look at graduated absolutism and now I wonder if this position could give justification to embryo destructive research. First we need to define the concept.

Graduated, or hierarchical absolutism: there are many norms that are all universal that will eventually conflict, so they should be ordered on the basis of their significance. When the conflict occurs, one must determine which one is to receive priority consideration. Because the conflict determines that only one can be followed, no sin is committed by breaking the norm of lesser significance. Example: lying to Nazi soldiers to protect the lives of Jews.

So how does this apply to the topic of ESCR? If one actually believes that cures can be found through the harvesting of stem cells from embryos and that many of these embryos are going to be destroyed anyway (for whatever reason) then it could be postulated that the higher norm would be to save the lives of those which we all agree are human persons by use of the embryos of which there exists disagreement as to their moral status.

I'm not trying to build an argument for ESCR, heaven forbid. But I do want to see how Christian philosphy has contributed to the cultural debates.

December 1, 2006


The ice underneath all this snow is what's allowing me today to be undisturbed. Being snowed-in can be the greatest of gifts. I took this picture this morning my home in Elmhurst, Illinois. So now I get to spend most of my day in thinking and reading because I refuse to shovel snow. I hope your day is as good as mine!

November 29, 2006

Therapeutic Image of God

In an article in the current issue of Christianity Today, Agnieszka Tennant draws attention to an area of women's ministry that has, for the most part, escaped scrutiny. In "Dating Jesus," she asks
We can see God draw near...But does all of this mean that Jesus is the personal boyfriend of Christian women? That God is my fiance? That the First and the Last is my husband? That he and I are dating?
Apparently some popular books written for women are promoting such images. I haven't read these books yet, but I have heard plenty of this devotional language....everything from Jesus is our husband, boyfriend, or similarly - God the Father is our daddy.

Have we extrapolated too far in an effort to wrap our minds around "personal Lord and Savior?" As much as God loves his creation, and loves each of us individually, doesn't this kind of posturing in women's books seek to eliminate some of the transcendance that makes God a beautiful mystery?

I don't believe that the motivation for these concepts of God as boyfriend, husband, daddy, or date is a desire to withhold reverence for God - though I do believe that to be a consequence. Though not particularly sinister, I believe this to be very serious. These concepts are symptomatic of the therapeutic culture that the society, the church, and especially women's ministry, have been all too willing to embrace. I hear pastors speak of their women's events as a time for "encouragement." When is an event for women ever edifying or educational? When was the last time you heard it said of a men's breakfast or a Wednesday night prayer meeting, that it will be "encouraging?" I hear this role off of pastor's tongues as if they've been trained at the Oprah School of Women's Ministry, guest lectured by Dr. Phil, of course. Visit the millions of women's ministry websites on the internet and you will see how this therapeutic image of God drives the mission and activities of these groups.

Human beings need a personal Savior because human beings are personally responsible. But as Christmas approaches and we remember the Incarnation, we must not forget about the attributes that make us different from God, because it is in his holiness that he could become God incarnate in the first place. We must not reduce God entirely to a we run the risk of losing knowledge of God entirely.

November 26, 2006

30 the new 20.....but is 10 the new 15?

An AP article I stumbled on today describes the lives of 10 year olds, suggesting that 10 is the new 15. I'd like to hear your thoughts on this. The piece describes the world of 10 or so year olds: exposure to sexually explicit music, a desire for "relationships" instead of just talking about dating in the future tense, casual conversation on their cell phones, the fact that they have cell phones, and ..
Beyond the drugs, sex and rock'n'roll their boomer and Gen X parents navigated, technology and consumerism have accelerated the pace of life, giving kids easy access to influences that may or may not be parent-approved. Sex, violence and foul language that used to be relegated to late-night viewing and R-rated movies are expected fixtures in everyday TV.
There is no escape from sexual innuendo in childrens movies and prime time television offers nothing safe or sensible. It frustates me because while I want my own children to know the culture that they live in, to understand the philosophies of our time, I don't want them to figure everything out all in one sitting. It's clear that the knowledge base of today's 10 year olds is astounding. How many of us laugh at the fact that we can't work our own VCR's....oh wait, we don't have those anymore. Our kids are able to navigate the DVD/DVR players in ways that only leave us awe struck. Should I really take joy in the fact that my 13 year old can change my spark plugs, change the oil, fix the brakes....and my car will still work?

Blog Alert

Check out the new blog of Rick and Nancy Pearcey, Pro-Existence. If it is anything like The Pearcey Report or Nancy's book, Total Truth, I'm sure it will be of great value to the Christian community. Check it out!

November 23, 2006

The Will of God Throughout the Year

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thess. 5:17
I experience a great deal of the 'ba humbugs' this time of year. In fact, I am anxious for January 2nd to arrive because that's when everyone returns to their normal ways. They discard the pretense of the holiday season, the obligatory 'merry Christmas' and 'happy holidays,' and replace it with who they choose to be the other 10 months of the year. At this time, the stores go back to stocking paper towels and toilet paper in the aisles that once were home to Christmas ornaments, spray snow, and cosmetic gift sets. Everything goes back to normal.

I know that I fall short of godliness on a daily basis and that sometimes I manifest the superficialness that I so despise - perhaps that's why I despise it so much. So I take 1 Thess. 5:17 as my life verse (whatever that means). If I can rejoice always and frequently worship God through the act of prayer and give thanks in everything - if I can honestly strive for what God's will is for his creation - then I think I have a shot at the sort of honesty that I long for and expect from others during the holiday season. In the meantime, I seek to draw closer to God and shut out the aspects of of the holidays that are the antithesis of godliness.

November 21, 2006

'Devout is Sexy'???

One of my new favorite shows is "Studio 60." Much is being discussed regarding the show's use of the real life story (with artistic liberties, of course) of actress Kristen Chenowith by developing a storyline around a young, blond comedienne named Harriet who made some comments to the media about gay marriage, thus ending her relationship with with the fictitious 'Women United' Christian organization.

Tonight's episode focused around Harriet's pursuit of revenge, to get back at 'Women United' by posing for some sort of centerfold. How this gets back at 'Women United' I'm not sure, but consideration of this opportunity reveals just exactly how the world sees and even expects hypocrisy from Christians. It took another character on "Studio 60" to tell Harriet that she serves God, not 'Women United,' so instead of doing something she might later regret, she should do something more constructive like start her own organization or something.

Interestingly, a core message that was written into the script was that our society believes that being "devout is sexy." I don't think that's exactly what they mean. When the "devout" shame themselves and look more like the world, then there is a certain [sex] appeal, a certain attraction of nonbelievers. This sort of exploitation of the "devout" is not without the assistance of the "devout." I think Studio 60 hit the nail on the head - and I think that Senator Obama's invitation to Saddleback is nothing less than the "devout" seeking to be sexy. It works....but as Studio 60's writers so helpfully point out - we serve God so we shouldn't sell ourselves in a way that assists in the exploitation of Christianity.

November 20, 2006

Populist Evangelicalism's Problem

As I ponder how Sen. Obama could possibly get a platform in Saddleback Community Church and how McLaren could be embraced by Christians when what he believes is the embodiment of postmodern relativism, I come to realize how exactly this happens.

In the brevity of my own evangelical experience, I've encountered deep-seeded animosity toward what the academy might have to offer the church. I've been told that the nuances of particular doctrines are not necessary for women to worry their pretty little heads about. No one cares that I received a master's degree in theology, when I pursued it for services in the church. I've been told that academic theologians only live for themselves, they offer no real ministry to the church. I've been told that academic theologians might not even be Christians because their work is so impractical. I've seen church administrators retain power at the expense of the Word being taught by a competent pastor. I've seen the context of scripture take a back seat to application (trust me, I don't understand how that works either.) I've seen women pursue encouragement and snub their noses at theology and serious bible study. Noll is correct, there is no evangelical mind.

Because the evangelical community has set itself apart from scholarship, it has created itself in the likeness of the pragmatic, therapeutic culture that seeks to envelope God's people. Instead of seeking God, evangelicalism seeks common ground at the expense of retaining its distinctiveness from the world. Perhaps I'm overstating the fact that scholarship could have saved evangelicalism from itself, but I can't help coming to that conclusion when solid, uncompromised teaching and writings exist in the seminary.

What is the purpose of the church? I believe the church goes beyond its intended role in culture when it accommodates men like Obama. The transformative role of the church is lost when all is embraced. But the church began to lose it's transformative nature long before Obama. In the small little sphere of the world, I see such self-centeredness in ministry, teachers teaching feelgood-ism above all things.

"They will know we are Christians by our love..." is nothing more than a useless cliche when it is divorced from the rich content of our faith, that which defines as as Christians. Women exhorted to adorn themselves in good works (1 Tim. 2:9) does not suggest that the content of faith is to take a back seat to acts of mercy. Rather, the content of faith is the basis for all that can be called good. The object of our affection, the reason for the adornments, is Jesus alone.

November 19, 2006

Being "DOERS" of the Word. . . Instead of Just "KNOWERS"

"Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice of between what is right and what is easy."

I been a bit under the weather recently and haven't had it in me to blog. Not a bad time really - much was spent in contemplation and rest - and that is just what I needed - both physically, mentally, and spiritually.

I didn't read as much as I usually do - instead I was thinking about how much stuff I know in my head that never really makes it to my hands and feet. How I crave to know MORE. . . Why is that - when I don't act on what I already know? I'd like to believe that I have been accumulating more knowledge in hopes that I will find the new stuff helpful in activating the old stuff. But, trust me, that is not the case.

Instead, I realized that I found some of the old stuff just too pickin' hard - so I was reading in hopes of finding some new, much easier truth to live out.

The quote at the beginning of this blog was from a kid's movie I was watching - it's why it caught me off guard. . . and got me thinking about what I SHOULD be doing.

The recent elections, the upcoming elections, the war in Iraq, overturning Roe v Wade, euthanasia, infanticide, embryonic stem cell research - destroying what used to be defined as "human" under the banner of a selfish science, famines, AIDS, the aftermath of Katrina - these are a part of the world we live in, the world we are all responsible for. . .

"Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice of between what is right and what is easy."

The Ethics of Embryo Sex Selection

The question is being asked: is sex selection of embryos ethical? Should a couple have the right to choose the sex of their child? The answer to this question depends upon your starting point. I, for one, think it's rediculous to debate the ethics of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, the genetic test which allows parents to discover whether your embryo is a boy or a girl because the first and ultimate question is, is it ethical to destroy embryos which, adding yet another layer to the discussion, happens as a result of eugenic selection?

Ok, that's a long sentence. I suppose it comes close to beating my record.

Couples are paying incredible amounts of money in order to select the sex of their child. NBC recently did a story that can be found here. Do couples understand that in selecting the sex of their child they are not starting with a genderless embryo, but rather they are discarding/destroying an embryo of the sex they simply don't want at this point?

Apparently through screening the male gamete the destruction of undesired embryos can be avoided. It's not entirely clear that this is the process most commonly used.

Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is used to screen embryos for genetic abnormalities which accounts for the 80-90% of Downs Syndrome babies being aborted each year.

Perhaps we are halfway down the slippery slope which started with prenatal use of ultrasounds which allowed for many of us to learn the sex of their baby prior to birth. But I don't think that the element of surprise is the ultimate issue here. What respect does the embryo deserve as a vulnerable human in its earliest stage?

If a parent can regard an embryo as simply a boy or a girl, surely they understand the personhood of the embryo. Because embryo destruction lacks the repulsiveness of abortion, we will struggle for a long time showing the validity of our arguments on behalf of the embryo.

November 16, 2006

Quote of the Week

"...these days a freakin' petri dish can be a father."

~"Hilda Suarez", Ugly Betty

November 14, 2006

The Privatization of Reason in Women's Ministry

Don't you just love google alerts? I learn the most fascinating tidbits as these alerts fill my email box on what seems to be an hourly basis. One alert that came to my attention today is about a Christian women's conference as discussed by a blogger. The post, Apologist Accepted, seems to suggest that being able to offer a defense for Christianity to unbelievers is unnecessary-and that this view is supported by the particular speaker at this event.
Like me, and maybe like you, Nichole Nordeman felt this constant pressure to be an apologist for her reason her non-believing friend into submission. But it doesn't work that way. And maybe that's the point. Having faith exposes the limitation of pure reason and leaves room for those "what if" questions. Its not up to me to convince non-believers to have faith - I can't do that. All I can do is share my journey, present the Gospel and pray for the holy spirit to do His work.
First of all, it may be that this is not an accurate assessment of Nichole's message, so my reflection on this post is not to focus on Nordeman, but on the nature of women's ministry itself.

Several things are wrong with this statement and it would be impossible to unpack them all here as that would entail discussion about epistemology, the nature and role of reason within our faith, and the role of reason and apologetics in scripture. And anyone who knows me knows that I'm entirely unable to discuss any of those subjects without debating apologetic methodology and asking all to submit to Van Tilian thought. But I'm not going to put you through all that.

Quite simply, this blog post reveals the inadequate, experiential nature of women's ministry today and how women are being led to believe that the mind has little or no role in the spiritual journey. How sad is it that women are taught that God chooses not to work through reason? A huge danger exists for women who are seeking God and a healthy spiritual life. The books they read and the conferences they attend teach this compartmentalization...that the heart and the mind are to be as separate as church and state - I don't think so. Pitting faith against reason only undermines a woman's ability to navigate through life's complexities. Studying and learning from the Bible is as much an act of reason as is learning about the ethical issues surrounding somatic cell nuclear transfer.....and both are important to her as well.

Yes, it is true that it is God who brings people to faith, but our witness is an instrument. And let's be clear here.....a personal testimony is nothing less than a defense of the faith and is not unreasonable. It is by it's very nature a persuasive argument. If my own friend who discipled me for years and a "let go, let God" attitude about my walk, I'd probably be in a miserable mess. But she challenged my expressed needs to feel and experience with "why?" and "how do you know?"

I've stepped up to address this privatization of reason in the whole scope of women's ministry. I would enjoying hearing your thoughts on it as well.

November 10, 2006

2006 'Engaging Women' Awards

A graduate of TEDS, a contributor at blog, a spokesperson on behalf of human dignity, a consultant on women's issues at CBHD, an educator in theology and can feel lonely as a woman in this world - but it just so happens I lack all emotion.

Engaging and cultivating culture is not man's work, though I think most women believe this to be the case. There are few women working within the marketplace of ideas, representing a solid Christian worldview without compromise or shame. It's no wonder it has always felt like a man's world. I'm ok with that though. What I'm not ok with is the sentimentality among women in the church who live within their eschatology in such a way that they forget that they were created to truly live in this world.

Engaging ideas is a first step toward the tranformation of lives. I'm thankful for the women I know who haven't caved to the event-driven subculture of women's ministry, but are out there making a difference in authentic ways. They've captivated my attention and we need to develop more of them in and for the next generation. Though not an exhaustive list, the following are honored by Flash Point for their service and commitment to the causes they work so hard to fight. We honor every woman who has stepped up to this service.

Bonnie - from Intellectuelle
Jill Briscoe - Elmbrook Church
Paige Cunningham - she's everywhere....CBHD, TIU, AUL, Wheaton College
Carrie Gordon Earll - Focus on the Family

Carolyn Custis James - author; Whitby Forum
Frederica Mathewes-Green - Author,

Julie Grisolano - The Fellowship of St. James; Salvo Magazine
Amy Laura Hall - Duke
Jennifer Lahl - The CBC
Nancy Pearcey - Total Truth; The Pearcey Report
Sandy Rios - Culture Campaign
Dorothy Sayers - she may no longer be alive, but her words transcend time
Jill Stanek - Right to Life, Will Co., IL
Joni Erickson Tada - Joni & Friends
Agnieszka Tennant - Christianity Today.....and off to other things
Wendy Wright - CWA
Charmaine Yoest - FRC (Joe Carter's boss!!); Reasoned Audacity

Looking Towards the Marriage of Apologetics and Bioethics

As already posted on this blog, Tuesday’s elections showed the disappointing learning curve of the American public when it comes to issues of stem cell research and cloning. Folks, we’ve got a ways to go. . .

I don’t pretend to be an expert on this issue – but I don’t need to be and neither do you.

Adult stem cells research and use = Good. Embryonic stem cells research and use = Not Good.

If we don’t begin to change the culture of death and its ugly step-sister the determination of a human’s worth based on his/her productivity to society, we damn ourselves to certain destruction. What is the difference between aborting a baby at his/her earliest stages of development because of a birth defect or a lack of self control and planning on our part AND offing the twenty-two year old motorcycle victim broadsided by a drunk driver who is now in a permanent vegetative state? Both would be considered negative producer’s in a society governed by a distorted worldview where man is god.

Do you see where we are headed?
Soylent Green, the sci-fi cult classic film of the 70’s with the no-longer surprise ending is on our horizon. Why not encourage our elderly, "non-productive citizens" to do their civic duty and turn themselves into to the local food processing plant? They are no longer worth sustaining – they have ceased to be of value to society at large.

That kind of thinking is nothing short of the dehumanization of humans.

We baby-boomers started with aborting unplanned, unwanted children and now we are headed towards our just rewards, euthanasia. We taught the younger generations of children that we allowed/chose to live that life is not sacred – it is expendable. We taught them well.

Now as we are aging, there is a slow realization that we are not immortal, our bodies are failing us and we will not take it any more. Traditional research is taking too long - so, since we are the "instant gratification generation," we see embryonic stem cell research and cloning as our salvation. Once again, we choose ourselves over our children.

We need to correct a very unhealthy world view. First of all, WE may need our world view adjusted. Total Truth by Nancy Pearcy is a great place to start. Read it and pass it on! Second of all, we need to have the ways and means with which to reach our younger generations. The Fellowship of St. James has The Crux Project a phenomenal bridge to do just that. And one of the outstanding ideas they’ve birthed is Salvo. I can’t say enough about this publication. It is graphically astounding, witty, thought-provoking and soundly grounded in truth.

Look, The Fellowship so believes in this work they are currently giving a $10 discount off the one-year subscription price. You can receive or give this as a gift for just $25.99. The humor behind some of the pseudo ads placed among the pages to catch the eye of unsuspecting readers is sharp and dark. The articles are cutting-edge and superbly written – it really is Truth 101.

What’s it worth to you to help change our society’s, our children’s, our world view?

November 9, 2006

Egg Donation on 20/20

ABC's 20/20 wants to hear from women who have provided eggs for research and fertility clinics. Before ABC spins the philanthropic nature of egg donation as the higher value over and above the moral status of the embryo, we have got to get the message out - boldly and clearly - that egg donation exploits and harms women and risks and often takes the life of human life at its earliest stage.

Disappointed in Tuesday's Anti-Life Election Results?

Ok, so it became exceedingly clear that money buys the message that educates the people. And that it isn't just about alleviating the suffering of those who suffer from debilitating diseases - it's about the big $ payoff - the profit to be made by being first in a long line of scientific research cannabalizing our most vulnerable future, embryos.

What are we prepared to do about this?

We need to get our message out. That human dignity is to be upheld, let alone protected. That the culture of death will be the end of life as we now know it.

We have people screaming about their rights being trampled on with The Patriot Act. How do we feel about the future where we are told whether or not we can bring a baby to full-term? Do we really think that a society that is hell-bent on the path to playing god is going to allow a child to be born that is not perfect in every single way - a child that may drain society's resources instead of contributing to them? This isn't sci-fi - this is a projectable outcome of the very destructive path we are choosing, one step at a time.

What are we prepared to do about this?

Sarah and I are committed to praying about this - seeking God's wisdom and help. We invite you to join us. To pray, think, brainstorm, and act. This is so big and so seemingly impossible - yet so important - we have to stand up and do what we can. We all do.

"Women's Rights" Hang on Human Dignity

Yesterday my friend Jill Stanek was in Washington D.C. at the Supreme Court as they were hearing arguments on the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, considering whether it is constitutional. I'm thankful that she's out there trying to make a difference for the sake of life and human dignity.

The protester in this image outside the Supreme Court hearing has it wrong. We shouldn't be upholding any abortions, legal or illegal. Thangar states "We Won't Go Back to Illegal Abortions!" Her conscious is misguided because this issue transcends women's rights. At the heart of why women deserve fair treatment is human dignity and abortion only serves to undermine human dignity, and therefore the cause of women's rights. The reason men, women, children, the aged, the unborn, the jailed, the free......the reason all of these people should be treated with repect to having dignity is because of the imago dei. They're not going to find dignity, they have it.

Abortion rights will always undermine women because if the world is so willing to destroy the lives of any part of our society, there will always be a comfortable disrespect of anyone at any time. Abortion only enables hatred and prejudice because it consumes life, harms the life-giver, and facilitates the further dehumanization of people in general.

CBHD: Show Me State Duped by Deceptive Amendment 2

CHICAGO, Nov. 8 /Standard Newswire/ -- Director of The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity (CBHD) C. Ben Mitchell, Ph.D., says of the passage of Missouri’s Amendment 2: “This is no triumph for science, it is a victory for dishonesty and confusion--a new Tower of Babel--where words have no meaning.”

While Amendment 2: The Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative claims to ban human cloning, it actually provides constitutional protection for human cloning, banning only the gestation of a human clone and thus mandating the death of any human clones that are produced.

This was accomplished by using a definition of human cloning that is intentionally deceptive. In humans, the cloning procedure, Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer or SCNT, combines a woman’s egg with the nucleus of a body (or somatic) cell. The result is a human embryo, which will then be destroyed for highly speculative research.

Backers of Amendment 2 claimed this is not “cloning,” but practically every scientific authority disagrees with them. Amendment 2 authorizes the creation of human embryos using the SCNT procedure--that is by cloning--in order to destroy them.

Having recognized the dangers of exactly this kind of human cloning, Canada and a number of European countries have outlawed it. Now the citizens of Missouri have been tricked into protecting it constitutionally.

Missouri voters have sown the wind and they will reap the whirlwind,” says Mitchell. “You cannot sew the seeds of immorality into the Constitution of the state and not harvest a whirlwind of problems in the future.”

We applaud Missourians Against Human Cloning and other pro-life organizations for their extraordinary efforts. The narrow defeat shows that education is crucial. Many of those who supported Amendment 2 just couldn't see through the fog created by the politicians.

The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to exploring the nexus of biomedicine, biotechnology, and our common humanity. The Center exists to equip thought leaders to engage the issues of bioethics using the tools of rigorous research, conceptual analysis, charitable critique, leading-edge publication, and effective teaching.

For interviews with Center Director C. Ben Mitchell, Ph.D., or other Center personnel, contact Danielle Morrow, 847-345-7248,

November 8, 2006

Real Reality TV

I feel like I’m on some weekly “B” sci-fi thriller on the WB (now known as the CW).
It’s set in the present day, in a large Midwestern metropolis. The main character has found herself in a world consumed by well, consumerism. Everything and everybody is a dollar sign.

It is no longer true that any American-born child can grow up to be President without a rich, filthy rich family behind him/her. There has been a slow evolution to a kind of dynastic rule. Only so many families have the bucks to play and play they do. While the rest of the country titters at the gossip “the” families generate, complains about the state of the union, and continues to work harder for less money.

The main character finds herself in a looking-glass sort of world where truth is stranger than fiction and you can be arrested for kicking a kitten but not for killing a baby. Oh, but that’s wrong – because in this world babyhood is only granted to children that are wanted. An unwanted child is relegated to “fetal tissue” and disposed of with other unwanted, un-needed body parts.

Unless of course, you allow your offspring to be selected as research material.

In that case, your child in his earliest perfection is destroyed in the name of science and the alleviation of the suffering of those people fortunate enough to have already been born.

Not surprisingly the main character is haunted by the sci-fi she has read for years that warns of a future devoid of human dignity. Where morality and ethics are determined by the highest bidder - where man has crowned himself his own terrible god.

Too bad this isn't sci-fi. Too bad this isn't TV.

Too bad this is America, 2006.

Meeting the Challenge: Prolife Bioethics Education

I went to bed quite angry last night about the election results. I awoke with what seemed like a hangover. Roskam won - at least I have that. While 7 states voted to protect marriage, the people couldn't quite get a handle on what is at stake with human cloning and the implications for the young women in Kansas.

So this afternoon I'm thinking about how we in bioethics and the prolife movement could have done more. Do you think we could have done more? It's obvious that the public is under-educated on the issues of abortion, embryonic stem cell research, adult stem cell research, somatic cell nuclear transfer, etc. Perhaps the prolife community - that includes me - spends too much time talking to each other than those who have not yet been persuaded on the issues. It's clear we did not reach the average Missouri voter and what the heck happened in Kansas? I had the joy of meeting Phill Kline a few weeks ago....I do hope he'll find a way to continue making an impact for life.

We've got to commit more energy to equipping the grass roots on these issues. Let's find a way. Leave your comments and ideas here, let me know how you think we can meet the challenge.

November 7, 2006

Feminist Majority Minors in Grammar

I got such a kick out of a press release put out by the Feminist Majority today. On Pelosi as the first Speaker of the House, it states
This is an historic election that could result in the first woman - and first self-proclaimed feminist - elected Speaker of the House: Nancy Pelosi! This could also be a record year for women elected to Congress.
Pelosi is the first self-proclaimed feminist? Probably in the same way Al Gore invented the internet.

I'm glad extreme feminism is so easy to laugh at.

Obama Motivated by Ideology

Tonite, Obama stated that he believes the American people have declared with their vote a desire for a "nonideological approach" to the election issues. How many ways can I say that there is no neutrality on any issue? He would love it if those of us who oppose matters such as embryonic stem cell research would put our beliefs in our pocket (as if that is possibe). The fact is, the darwinist liberals support ESCR because of their ideology. This is all there is, so there is no moral status of the embryo, therefore anything goes....amazing

New Slogan for Voters: Vote for the Stupidest

I heard the best voting strategy today.
In the context that all politicians are crooks:
Vote for the stupidest candidate-he'll get caught quicker.

Egg Donor with FrankenOvary

A young Jen, 28 years old, from Cincinatti Ohio is the latest victim of ovarian hyperstimulation. Wanting to donate her eggs to an infertile couple, she has endured long periods of severe pain . Dehydrated, pale, and shakey, she went to the emergency room. Needless to say she never was able to complete the donation, but is also left with an unhealthy, enlarged ovary. Note, this is the SECOND time she has sought to donate, the first time apparently was successful.
So most of you know that I'm an egg donor at the fertility clinic here in Cincinnati. I've donated once before (during tech week for a show no less) and besides being a philanthropic act, it also gave me some extra $$ to attend to bills and such. Well, I decided to do it again and up until last Saturday, everything was going fine. I started to feel blah on Saturday and then around 2 a.m. on Sunday, the blinding pain hit...This time around, no such luck...I ended up calling the physician on call 3 times between 2 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon. I spent the day alternately being curled up on the couch, on the bed, and in a tub of extra warm bathwater. When I called the third time (right after I threw up), the doctor essentially said if the pain is still intense, go to the emergency room...I was dehydrated, pale and shaky, so they put me in a room, hooked up an IV with fluids and drugs and helped me to feel better. The following day, I went to the fertility clinic and the one ovary...was so huge that it was taking up the entire screen. They decided to stop the donation process because they said if I continued, it would only get worse. I ended up taking 3 days off of work as the hormones ebbed away, spending my time either in bed or on the recliner not moving very much. link
Jen may not know the full implications of this procedure until it comes time for her to want to conceive a child of her own. The risk of infertility may seem far off, but I'm pretty confident the risk is not worth it.

The procedure that Jen from Cincinatti opted to go through is the same procedure that women need to undergo to provide eggs for somatic cell nuclear transfer which is by definition, reproductive cloning (inaccurately referred to as therapeutic cloning by the liberal left) . The millions of eggs that are required for this research will require this invasive and painful procedure as evidenced by many personal accounts including Jen from Cincinatti. It is clear that greed and arrogance are what support the pursuit of somatic cell nuclear transfer and embryonic stem cell research, because to expect women to endure this procedure is to disregard them altogether.

The Procreation Vacation

"Specialized resorts helping couples relax, reproduce"

November 7, 2006
MIAMI -- "When Lucinda Hughes heard she would have to drink sea moss elixir while vacationing in the Bahamas, she was certain it would make her sick. Sure enough, three months later, Hughes is very sick -- every morning -- and expecting her first baby.

She got pregnant after she and her husband went on a three-day Procreation Vacation at a resort on Grand Bahama Island.

It's part of a trend in which hotels around the world are luring couples who are trying to have a baby. Resorts are offering on-site sex doctors, romantic advice and exotic food and drink calculated to put lovers in the mood and hasten the pitter-patter of little feet.

Even some obstetricians are promoting the trend. Dr. Jason James of Miami said he often encourages couples trying to have a baby to sneak away for a few days, and he often sees it work.

''One of the most easy, therapeutic interventions is to recommend a vacation,'' James said. ''I think the effect of stress on our physiology is truly underestimated.'' (click here for complete article)

No comment. . .

Have you voted today? Hmmmm? Just checking. . .

Seriously, have you voted today?

Emotional, Devotional Brain Imaging

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania took brain images of five women while they spoke in tongues and found that their frontal lobes — the thinking, willful part of the brain through which people control what they do — were relatively quiet, as were the language centers. The regions involved in maintaining self-consciousness were active. The women were not in blind trances, and it was unclear which region was driving the behavior. (article)

Ms. Morgan, a co-author of the study, was also a research subject. She is a born-again Christian who says she considers the ability to speak in tongues a gift. “You’re aware of your surroundings,” she said. “You’re not really out of control. But you have no control over what’s happening. You’re just flowing. You’re in a realm of peace and comfort, and it’s a fantastic feeling.”

I'm not quite sure how the objective nature of a study can be preserved if a co-author is also a research subject. And she seems to have mastered the law of noncontradition. How can you possibly be in control and have no control? She probably would call this something of a paradox, similiar to divine sovereignty and human responsibility, it to me just looks like a blatant contradition. Perhaps I'm biased....oh yeah, I am. :)

According to other studies, people who speak in tongues rarely suffer from mental problems. A recent study of nearly 1,000 evangelical Christians in England found that those who engaged in the practice were more emotionally stable than those who did not. Researchers have identified at least two forms of the practice, one ecstatic and frenzied, the other subdued and nearly silent.


November 6, 2006

Put Up or Shut Up Tomorrow

Tomorrow we get a chance to exercise our right to vote. I know some of us are in the same boat - I don't like any of the candidates for a particular office - I'm just going with who I dislike the least. How sad is that?

I have watched a little bit more TV than usual this weekend and couldn't believe the campaign ads in my area. I have deduced that all of them are spinning, fibbing or downright lying. They have to be - each one contradicts the other to the point that the truth is lost.

I have gone on websites and read every pickin' piece of propaganda that has shown up in my mail box. And I am still perplexed about the candidates and what exactly each stands for. I have even looked at voter guides and found them at odds with each other.

I have discussed the issues and the runners with people on the train, in Starbucks, Walmart, and Walgreens, two doctor offices, and a cab. I didn't meet one person who was excited about voting because most of wonder if our vote matters.

Well, regardless of it mattering or not. . . if you don't vote than I think you should keep all ranting, raving, murmuring, or complaining about "the way things are" to yourself! It costs you nothing and you're not risking anything (including you life) by voting. I know that being an American affords us the right to vote and that we can choose to exercise that right or not. . . but please, as one American to another, put up or shut up!

Extreme Feminism's Rally Against Life

This Wednesday should prove to be as riveting as the day before. On Wednesday morning, November 8, 2006, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral argument regarding the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 (“Act”) in Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood and Gonzalez v. Carhart. Liberty Counsel filed amicus briefs in both cases with the Court on behalf of the Association of Pro-Life Physicians and Illinois nurse Jill Stanek, in favor of the Act.

NOW, Feminist Majority Foundation, National Council of Women's Orgs, and other so-called reproductive rights groups are planning to protest outside the Supreme Court - where they belong. The barbarism that they represent is far from being a legitimate interest in reproductive freedoms. The powerlessness that these extremists manifest unfortunately has the most serious implications on the unborn....and never estabishes real power or control for the feminist. How strong, powerful, and independent are these extremists if they must wield their power over the most powerless in our society?

Weekend Reflections

This weekend I had the great priveldge of speaking at a women's retreat along with several of my colleagues. In dealing with the subject of "Connecting with God," we looked at Mary and Martha of Bethany and what it means to really connect. What is so exciting to me about the accounts in Matthew, Luke, and John is that their connection was not superficial, wrapped up in pink tissue paper, but it was thoroughly and substantively doctrinal. One cannot read about Mary and her desire to sit at the feet of Jesus without seeing that Martha did not remain in the kitchen. When it counted - when Lazarus, their brother, died - Martha stepped up to connect with Jesus while Mary demonstrated something of a paralysis. Or maybe not, the text only says that she was seated in the house when Jesus arrived.

So don't tell me that you're a Mary or a Martha, because if you tell me you are a 'Martha,' I'm going to expect that you can clearly articulate an understanding of the resurrection.

BGC's Leith Anderson Appointed NAE Interim

The Rev. Leith Anderson of Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie is the new interim president of the embattled National Association of Evangelicals.

That move came over the weekend in the wake of a sex and drugs scandal that forced the resignation of the Rev. Ted Haggard as the NAE's leader.

Anderson, 62, is a well-known pastor, author, seminary lecturer, and missions leader.

Anderson headed the national Evangelical group from 2001 to 2003, when Haggard took over.

A 15-member Executive Committee of the NAE made the selection during a conference call Friday night. After consultation with his church elders and his wife, Charleen, Anderson agreed to serve for an indefinite period in order to give the NAE time find a new president. The committee also accepted the resignation of Haggard, who served from 2003 to 2006.

Patrick Warbuton, Secret Abortions, and Parental Rights

Patrick Warburton understands that the victimization of our children by sexual predators would be prolonged by California if not for Proposition 85. Actor and father of four children, he wants to make sure his young daughter does not become a victim of a sexual predator. That’s one reason Warburton has endorsed Proposition 85, the Parents’ Right to Know and Child Protection initiative. Warburton says:

“A California law currently allows someone other than a parent to take a child, a girl as young as 12 years of age, to go and get an abortion without the parents knowing anything about this. This means that your neighbor, a teacher, an older boyfriend, a sexual predator -- can legally take your 12-year-old daughter to go and get an abortion, a secret confidential abortion.”

“That scares me. As a parent, I want to protect, to love, to guide my children. But the state has taken away this right and made it possible for sexual predators to harm our daughters and get away with their crimes with secret abortions behind parents’ backs.”

“That’s wrong. Parents have a right to know so they can protect their daughter. I can tell you, as a father who loves his daughter more than anything in the world, I will vote YES on 85 come Tuesday, November 7th. I hope you do too.”

NOW and Planned Parenthood should be as wise as Patrick Warburton.

November 5, 2006

Blame it on Satan and the Devil Made Me Do It Philosophy

In the article "Evangelical Ousted Amid Gay Sex Scandal" By KIM NGUYEN, Associated Press Writer posted yesterday about Rev. Ted Haggard's dismissal as leader of the church he founded, Kim Nguyen quotes a church member saying that the congregation had hoped the allegations "were all lies."

"We all have to move forward now," she said. "This doesn't make what Ted accomplished here any less. The farther up you are, the more you are a target for Satan." (emphasis, italics all mine)

I hate these kinds of statements. They seem to justify our culture's view of Christians. That when we get caught doing something naughty, we blame it on the very convenient mean guy with horns and a tail who dresses in a red spandex bodysuit and carries a pitchfork.

Ted Haggard is not a victim of the devil as much as he is a victim of his own sinful nature. It's about time we as Christians admit this. "The Devil Made Me Do It" was a funny 70's catch phrase and that's about it. How do we expect the Gospel message to be received when the foundational truth that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" continues to be skewed by quotes implying that all of our poor choices are Satan's and not ours?

November 4, 2006

Theology, worldview and the Parental "Don'ts"

When my son turned 5 years old, our family celebrated in a huge way. We never thought Micah would make it to five because he was fearless and Dave and I couldn’t anticipate his next “challenge.”

When Micah crawled into the furnace and blew out the pilot light, we got a better lock on the furnace room door and added “Don’t play in or around a furnace” to the never ending litany of “don’ts.” When he put a fork in the microwave, causing phenomenal electrical lightening in our kitchen and an early death to the small appliance, we bought a new one, kept it unplugged when not in use and added “Don’t touch the microwave.” When he pushed out the screen in his bedroom window and escaped into the night only to show up at our back door after falling the 4 feet into the grass, walking around the house, climbing over the driveway gate put there to keep him in the yard, and knocking at the back door, we screwed in the window screen, instituted almost hourly bed checks, and added “DO NOT climb out your bedroom window” and “You may climb over the gate to get back into the yard BUT don’t climb over the gate to get out of the yard.” Not really. We did screw in his screens, admitted defeat as care givers and gave our son into the hands of God.

Parenting is about helping our children learn to make good decisions. Anticipating the next area of “danger” and heading it off at the pass. But today’s world is overwhelming. Technology and science are leap-frogging us into uncharted territories. Our kids are faced with situations that we didn’t, couldn’t and can’t anticipate.

Selling your eggs to the highest bidder may seem like a good idea to some – but as stated in other posts on this site – there are good reasons against from a wide variety of standpoints.

It isn’t enough to tell our kids what is right from wrong – there comes a time when they aren’t listening to us or we aren’t around to talk to them. We need to give them a firm foundation of theology – of knowing who God is. We need to teach them to think, not just what to think but HOW to think. We need to help them develop a God-centered worldview.

So before we can help them we need to do a reality check. . . you have a worldview whether or not you’ve intentionally adopted it – you are living it. Your actions speak a lot louder than your words. So, what is your worldview as determined by your interactions with our culture? Do you need a compass adjustment before you talk to your kids about the tough choices they’re facing?

Nancy PearcyTotal Truth – the right place to start. . .

In One Day: Haggard Down, Jefferts-Schori Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church

Katharine Jefferts Schori took office Saturday as the first woman presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church, a first not only for her denomination but also for the global Anglican Communion, which has never before had a female priest leading one of its provinces.

I'm lost for words today. I realize for any of you who know me, that is a first. Now is the time for us, evanglical Christians, to stop and pray. I spoke at a women's ministry function a few days ago and talked about Titus 2, about how women are to mentor each other toward good character as a true and honest reflection of their that their character may not revile the Word of God. This is true for men as well and I'm very sad that Haggard has chosen to disregard this core theme.

Thanks to 'Women of Grace'

I had a wonderful time speaking to the women's ministry at Delavan Baptist Church in Delavan, Illinois on November 2nd. I am thankful for every opportunity to teach and pray that they will continue to reach out to women. See what they had to say about the event here.

"With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility"

We, the Overseer Board of New Life Church, have concluded our deliberations concerning the moral failings of Pastor Ted Haggard. Our investigation and Pastor Haggard’s public statements have proven without a doubt that he has committed sexually immoral conduct.
Read the entire statement here

November 3, 2006

Missouri's Amendment 2 Endorses Human Cloning

November 1, 2006
CONTACT: Gene Tarne 202-347-6840;

Experts in Science, Medicine, Law and Ethics
Declare That Missouri's Amendment 2 Endorses Human Cloning

Today over two dozen experts in science, medicine, law and ethics released an open letter to news media and the people of Missouri on the state's proposed ballot initiative known as Amendment 2. They conclude that "the people of Missouri should know what they are actually voting on. Amendment 2 creates a constitutional right for researchers to engage in human cloning. Efforts to deny this are misleading and deceptive."

The signers include experts in embryology, microbiology and maternal/fetal medicine, as well as past and present members of the President's Council on Bioethics and several founding members of Do No Harm: the Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics.

The letter and list of signers follows:

Open Letter from Experts in Science, Medicine, Law and Ethics on the Cloning Provisions of Missouri's Amendment 2

A key question regarding Missouri's proposed Amendment 2 is: Would this constitutional amendment prohibit or promote "human cloning"? As individuals who have studied this issue in depth, we hold that it clearly authorizes and promotes human cloning.

A number of us have served on the President's Council on Bioethics, which discussed human cloning extensively and issued a book-length report, Human Cloning and Human Dignity: An Ethical Inquiry (2002). While the Council members disagreed sharply on moral and policy issues surrounding human cloning, they all agreed on what it is:

Human cloning is the asexual production of a new living organism, at any stage of development, that is genetically virtually identical to an existing or previously existing human being. It is done through somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), which introduces the nuclear material of a human somatic cell into an oocyte (egg) whose own nucleus has been removed or inactivated, to create this new organism. And it is designed to produce (and when successful, does produce) a new living organism of the human species, that is, a human embryo.

Researchers may then want to use this embryo for various purposes. Some may want to place the embryo in a womb to attempt live birth ("reproductive" cloning, or as the Council preferred, "cloning to produce children"); others may want to place the embryo in a Petri dish and destroy it for stem cells ("therapeutic" cloning or, more accurately, "cloning for biomedical research," since any therapies from this approach are at this point purely hypothetical). But in either case the cloning technique, and the resulting embryo, are exactly the same.

In short, human cloning for research purposes creates human embryos, using the SCNT procedure, in order to destroy them. This is exactly what Amendment 2 authorizes. In fact, the amendment creates a statewide constitutional right to conduct such human cloning, so competing ethical or human safety considerations, or other state laws, cannot meaningfully limit the research community's right to do human cloning.

Some have tried to claim that the SCNT cloning technique does not produce an embryo. But as this country's most prominent embryonic stem cell researcher, James Thomson of the University of Wisconsin, said last year, such claims are "disingenuous," an attempt to "define away" the moral issue instead of confronting it honestly (MSNBC, June 25, 2005, Those who say the technique merely produces "stem cells" are simply being evasive -- as currently practiced, SCNT seeks to create a human embryo, so researchers can dissect the embryo for stem cells.

What, then, does Amendment 2 prohibit? It prohibits taking stem cells from a cloned human embryo that has developed more than 14 days outside a womb. And it prohibits transferring a cloned human embryo into a womb "for the purpose of initiating a pregnancy that could result in creation of a human fetus, or the birth of a human being." While the amendment does not define "human fetus," medical textbooks say that an embryo becomes a fetus at the end of the eighth week. So the amendment authorizes research to perfect the SCNT cloning technique to produce embryos, then -- presumably to prevent its use to produce live-born infants -- prohibits the further survival of the resulting cloned humans. Many have pointed out that this raises serious moral, legal and even constitutional issues, for a law prohibiting the survival of cloned humans past a certain point -- in effect, legally mandating an abortion before that point can be reached -- may violate federal constitutional law. But to call Amendment 2 a ban on "cloning" is arbitrary and misleading, because it clearly allows the cloning procedure. It actually prohibits pregnancy, or maintaining a pregnancy past a certain point, if a cloned embryo is involved.

In saying this we take no position on Amendment 2 or on human cloning. Some of us have expressed our views, and our reasons for them, elsewhere. But the people of Missouri should know what they are actually voting on. Amendment 2 creates a constitutional right for researchers to engage in human cloning. Efforts to deny this are misleading and deceptive.

Signed (institutional affiliations are for identification only):

Markus Grompe, M.D.
Director, Oregon Stem Cell Center
Professor, Department of Molecular and Medical Genetics
Oregon Health & Science University
Portland, Oregon

Raymond F. Gasser, Ph.D.
Professor and Human Embryologist
Department of Cell Biology & Anatomy
Louisiana State Univ. Health Sciences Center
New Orleans, Louisiana

Mary Ann Glendon
Learned Hand Professor of Law
Harvard Law School

H. Joseph Yost, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Children
Huntsman Cancer Institute
Professor of Oncological Sciences
Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics
University of Utah School of Medicine
Salt Lake City, Utah

Robert P. George
McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence
Professor of Politics
Princeton University

Maureen L. Condic, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy
University of Utah School of Medicine
Salt Lake City, Utah

David C. Hess, M.D.
Professor and Chairman
Department of Neurology
Medical College of Georgia

Peter Augustine Lawler
Dana Professor of Government
and International Studies
Berry College
Mount Berry, Georgia

William J. Burke, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor in Neurology
Associate Professor in Medicine
Associate Professor in Anatomy and Neurobiology
Saint Louis University Health Sciences Center

Jean Peduzzi-Nelson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology
Wayne State University School of Medicine
Detroit, Michigan

Kenneth J. Dormer, M.S., Ph.D.
Professor, College of Medicine
Department of Physiology
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Gilbert Meilaender, Ph.D.
Duesenberg Professor in Christian Ethics
Valparaiso University

Steven Calvin, M.D.
Associate Professor
Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine
Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology and Women's Health
Co-Chair, Program in Human Rights and Medicine
University of Minnesota

David A. Prentice, Ph.D.
Affiliated Scholar
Clinical Bioethics
Georgetown Medical Center

Anton-Lewis Usala, M.D.
President and CEO
CTMG, Inc.
Greenville, North Carolina

William B. Hurlbut, M.D.
Consulting Professor
The Neuroscience Institute at Stanford
Stanford University Medical Center

Diana J. Schaub, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
Department of Political Science
Loyola College
Baltimore, Maryland

Joseph R. Zanga, M.D., FAAP, FCP
President, American College of Pediatricians
Professor of Pediatrics
Brody School of Medicine
East Carolina University

C. Ward Kischer, Ph.D.
Emeritus Professor
Cell Biology and Anatomy
Specialty in Human Embryology
University of Arizona College of Medicine

James Carroll, M.D.
Chief, Child Neurology
Vice-Chairman, Department of Neurology
Medical College of Georgia

John I. Lane, M.D.
Associate Professor of Radiology
Section of Neuroradiology
Mayo Medical School
Rochester, Minnesota

Kevin T. FitzGerald, S.J. Ph.D., Ph.D.
David P Lauler Chair in Catholic Health Care Ethics
Research Associate Professor
Department of Oncology
Georgetown University Medial Center

Dwayne D. Simmons, Ph.D.
Director, Research Center for Auditory and Vestibular Studies
Department of Otolaryngology
Washington University School of Medicine
St. Louis, Missouri

C. Ben Mitchell, Ph.D.
Director, The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity
Associate Professor of Bioethics & Contemporary Culture
Trinity International University
Deerfield, Illinois

W. Malcolm Byrnes, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Howard University College of Medicine
Washington, DC

Leonard P. Rybak, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Surgery
Southern Illinois University
School of Medicine
Springfield, Illinois

Donald A. Godfrey, Ph.D.
Professor of Otolaryngology
Department of Surgery
University of Toledo College of Medicine

Keith A. Crutcher, Ph.D.
Department of Neurosurgery
University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
Cincinnati, Ohio

Oswaldo Castro, M.D.
Acting Director
Howard University Center for Sickle Cell Disease
Washington, DC.

Elizabeth A. Johnson, M.D.
Consultant, Hematology/Oncology
Mayo Clinic Jacksonville
Assistant Professor of Oncology
Mayo Clinic College of Medicine

David L. Bolender, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Cell Biology,
Neurobiology and Anatomy
Medical College of Wisconsin

Alfonso Gomez-Lobo, Dr. phil.

Ryan Family Professor of Metaphysics and Moral Philosophy

Georgetown University

Washington, D.C.

James L. Sherley, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biological Engineering

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, Massachusetts

November 1, 2006

3 Reasons to Oppose Egg Donation that Stand Together or Fall Together

1. There are complicationes associated with the harvesting of eggs from a woman's body. The risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome is real.

2. Making money from selling eggs is hardly a donation. Profiting from this is wrong.

3. Eggs donated are used to create embryos that will either
A. become healthy and mature - your child.
B. Die because the procedure didn't "take" - your child
C. Are asexually "tricked" to become real embryos for destructive research purposes - your child
Profiting from the egg market is wrong only because of the inherent dignity of humanity that is grounded in the image of God. And if not for God, if not for truth, we wouldn't need to be bothered by the health risks associated with the scramble for eggs. No serious reason to care.

If this is really all there is, then there is no reason to care about anyone else....but because this isn't all there is, because God exists, we do care about the well-being of others.

Unfertilized eggs may not be people, but the intent is not for them to remain in the unfertilized state. They are intended to become life, i.e. people, either for purposes of embryo-destructive research or for assisting the infertile in having children. But it is because of the sanctity of all human life, no matter the age or the stage, that provides the basis for wanting to avoid risking women's health and viewing the profit from eggs sales as unethical.

Open Borders for Foreign Egg "Donors"

A British girl discovered while reading a magazine that she can sell her eggs in America and make lots of money. She donated her eggs and earned 15000 pounds (currently $28k-$30k US dollars) and was able to pay off her credit card debt. The article goes on...

Miss Saunders works as a software co-ordinator during the day and works five nights a week in two different pubs, earning a total of about £20,000 a year.

'I'm quite a bit in debt and I just want to get it paid off really. I ran up the debts by just being an idiot.

'I really could do with the money. I told my mum about it and she said, 'Well, if it get's you a bit of money, it's a good idea.'

How is that for a philosophy of life.... If it gets you a bit of money, it's a good idea. And with the very real risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) that Josephine Quintavalle points out in the article, this isn't a matter of just selling eggs. Articles have been written that quote young women who say "it's not like I'm selling a baby." Of course your egg is not a baby, but it becomes your baby when it is fertilized....whether by sperm or through somatic cell nuclear transfer. Egg donation, er, egg sales is a santity of life issue, like it or not.

One Night With The King - Part II

Dave and I have three daughters whom we have tried to raise as godly Amazon women. Strong, smart women who are dependent on God - not guys for self esteem. (Until the girls hit their 40’s, I’m not willing to wager on anything having to do with my parenting skills or lack thereof.) There are not a lot of resources on this particular parenting style, nor support groups for that matter. But this is the path we chose.

I think that is why I am more than slightly disappointed with One Night With The King. It is not the story of Esther that inspires womankind to be all they can for God. It is instead kind of a Harlequin Romance complete with King “Fabio.” I kid you not.

Artistic license should never get in the way of the storyline. It shouldn’t distract from the reason the storyline was chosen to be transformed into a movie. This film was staged like a musical. Only it isn’t. A couple of well placed songs might have helped.

Queen Vashti is de-throned because she stages sit-in and refuses to appear at her husband’s party because she disagrees with his political agenda. Esther has a young love interest who ends up becoming a eunuch at the hands of the Persians. He has a great line about why he wants to escape the palace “They cut me.” OK. Moving on. . . Esther and the King have a falling out because he assumes she has taken a lover and she assumes he is bedding one of his concubines. I’m not sure where this story line comes from.

The most puzzling thing to me is the films blatant pushing of Esther’s own destiny being forged by her hand and not God’s.

I have prayed for my daughters that they would choose to follow God. That they each would yield to His leading in their lives when choosing a career, a husband, a lifepath. It is not about manipulating people or circumstances or mystical pendants to get what you want or get you out of want you don't. Esther is a heroine worthy of admiration because she chose God’s way even when it meant risking her own life for the lives of her people.

The filmmakers took a great story of courage and faith and made it into a B-movie. Someone told me this was a must-see movie for every Christian. Please tell me we haven’t lowered our standards that far. . .

Can't Take a Joke? Kerry Can't Make One

Kerry said today that he regrets that his words "were misinterpreted to wrongly imply anything negative about those in uniform, and I personally apologize to any service member, family member, or American who was offended."

Who gave him permission to use the English language? Such carelessness. Not only was he careless, but what kind of apology is that? What he MEANT to say was: i regret that my words were misinterpreted, they were intended to imply everything negative about G. W. Bush."

He should be apologizing for what he didn't say. Now THAT'S funny.

Planned Parenthood: A Friend of Rapists?

Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline announced that he is now in possession of the 90 hotly disputed medical records subpoenaed from two Kansas abortion mills, Planned Parenthood and George Tiller’s Women’s Health Care Services.

Kline was granted the subpoenas for the records in his investigation into allegations of the concealment of child rape and illegal late-term abortions after Judge Richard Anderson found that there was “probable cause” to believe the records contained evidence of the crimes. Planned Parenthood and Tiller resisted producing the records.

In Planned Parenthood's quest to preserve and promote abortion rights, it's become clear that they have zero interest in protecting the lives of young women who's innocense is stolen by their rapists. Their resistence in producing the records to Attorney General Kline only served to harbor rapists.

October 31, 2006

House: The Redefining of Genetic Relationships

If you've been reading my most recent blog posts you'll probably discover that I spend Tuesday nights camp ed out in front of the TV. All I can say is, thank you Lord for DVR.

I'm intrigued by the nature of truth on tonite's episode of "House." A young couple learned that the rare illness that almost took both of their lives was genetic condition...that there was "no good reason two unrelated people would get it." Likely having the same father, the doctor informs them that this was nothing to be alarmed about. "You're not really siblings." This doesn't set right with the young woman who shouts "We have the same father!" The doctor responds in what the writers think is probably the most compassionate manner by continuing to distort their reality: "You didn't fight in the backseat on car trips. You didn't change each other's diapers. You guys just met and fell in love."

"House" may be just a tv show, but we understand the persuasive power of ideas and images. Saying something is something other than what it is is the embodiment of self-referrential incoherence. To suggest that two people are not related because they didn't grow up together is to ignore objective biological truth.

Horror Film Frenzy: Is America Becoming a Sick Society?

Fox's Bill O'Reilly asks this question on The Factor tonite. He points out how cannibalism and dismemberment are more and more accepted as entertainment for the whole family. He ponders why this form of dehumanization is so rampant today. The short answer: any society that aims to destroy its most vulnerable members as we do through abortion, ESCR and SCNT, PAS, and euthansia, why should we expect that watching a graphic depiction of death to be anything other than entertaining? A culture of death will always struggle to avoid dehumanizing, but will fail in its attempts. Because of the overwhelming rejection of the inherent dignity of all humans, I don't think we can expect much more.

I took notice of this horror film frenzy, as Bill calls it, when the film Hostel was released this year. I've never seen it, but I found the ads to be extraordinarily frightening. I remember visiting the website for Hostel (research!!!) and couldn't handle it.

America has been so desensitized to graphic violence - that's what this stuff is, not 'horror' - for entertainment purposes. The battle for life is only going to get more difficult.

Is America really interested in relieving suffering? I think America takes joy in it...

Big 'Brother'

The mention of 'big brother' usually causes people to lock their doors, make sure their computer is secure, and join an activist organization that lobbies against big government.

There is another big brother - and he reminds me of...ME!

If you haven't been to Evangelical Perspective yet, I recommend that you check it out. Collin is able to interact with what's happening in our world with thoughtful, unashamed evangelical reflection. I think he might even be Van Tilian!

I wonder if we're adopted.....

One Night With The King – Part I

Last night I went to see One Night With the King at a local movie theater. I musta been living in a cave the last couple of months because until two days ago, I didn’t know this film existed.

In case you and I were sharing that cave. . . this is a movie based loosely on book of Esther – and I mean loosely. Actually it’s based on the novel Hadassah: One Night With the King by Tommy Tenney and Mark Andrew Olsen which is based loosely on the book of Esther. I’m sure you can tell where this train is headed - so if you really, really liked/loved the film OR you are still planning on seeing it STOP READING NOW!

One Night With the King is a chick flick with a feisty one-dimensional heroine who relies on a mystical pendant and her reading ability to charm the aforementioned King.

It could have been so much more.

The book of Esther never mentions “God”. But it subtly reveals and celebrates His Divine Hand in the destiny of one Jewess Queen and His chosen people. It is a powerful story that can and has stood the test of time. I’m all for artistic license but editing out many of the Divine Hand’s best moves and giving them to Esther cheapened the storyline and God.

In book of Esther, the king can’t sleep so he is read to from the daily chronicles – which doesn’t take a biblical scholar to tell us that boredom was and is a time-tested cure for insomnia. In a true "truth is stranger than fiction" - the king happens to hear the account of Mordecai’s foiling of an assassination attempt on his royal personage and realizes that Mordecai was never rewarded for this act. Coincidence, I think not. Nor does it stop there, in a brilliant bit of divine timing, the king asks Hamaan (the bad guy) what he would suggest done to honor the person who has saved the life of the king at the same moment that Hamaan is fixin’ to ask the King’s permission to hang Mordecai. The king goes first and Mordecai is honored by the man who plans to kill him. Wow!

In the film, Esther is the one who shoves the papyrus at the king telling him that Mordecai the Jew saved his life and was never honored for it. Less than wow. . .

Why did the filmmakers feel the need to re-write???
Why did the filmmakers feel like Esther needed a short introduction to the king before her actual ONE NIGHT with him????? (Which leads me to the question – Why did you name this One Night With the King when you had Esther meeting him through the Eunuch’s manipulations months, weeks, days before her big debut?)
Why did Esther's big risk scene have to be shot with her soaking wet?
(She's risking her life in a wet t-shirt, oops, a wet gown. . . )
And what’s up with the pendant, huh?

Ok, biggest question. . . WHY DID YOU MAKE THIS FILM??
I’m just asking.