Thursday, November 30, 2006

So Much for Free Speech

On Tuesday, I was reading the paper when I found out the Denver City Council is planning on outlawing holding a banner on a highway overpass. As usual with these types of things, they try to act like there is a compelling reason for their action. They also try to mask their true motivation.

Here is a little background: This whole thing began back in September of 1997. That’s when I came up with an idea to make a three foot by ten foot banner that says Abortion Kills Children. The purpose was to hold it on the 6th Avenue and Perry overpass in Denver during rush hour. My wife Wendy spearheaded the once a month project. She and several others stood on the sidewalk of the overpass and held the banner up to the six foot fence. From September through November, there was no problem. In December, the Denver Police stopped by and tried to come up with an ordinance that was being violated. After more than an hour, three different officers, radio calls, etc. they decided there was nothing being violated.

In January, a state highway worker stops by and says that we can’t hold the banner on the overpass. He leaves after being told of the previous decision by the police. In February, at about the time to leave anyway, highway workers come by again as well as a policeman. The policeman is given the information from previous encounters and everyone leaves.

In March, police show up again and claim we are violating a state statute regarding signs on highways. Nothing is done as the sign was down already but it is becoming obvious that they are not going to give up.

Wendy contacts the legal arm of the American Family Association and they are very interested in what is coming to pass.

In August 1998, two and a half minutes after Wendy and the others start holding the banner an officer arrives and tells them they are violating the law. Four more police cars arrive and she is ticketed and charged with illegal posting. After a couple of court appearances, letters to the city from her attorneys, etc. the charges are dropped as it is obvious to the everyone that the statute didn’t apply to what she was doing.

Soon after this, the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy files a federal civil rights lawsuit on Wendy’s behalf against the City of Denver. As these things go, it is a very long process in many different courts. She prevailed in every court up through the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. It was interesting to observe this whole process as it seemed that the City of Denver was willing to spend any amount of money and time to suppress the prolife message. It was also interesting to see them continually change their story whenever they were rebuffed. In any other situation, I would have expected their attorneys to be censured for their behavior.

So even after the City lost at the Tenth Circuit they changed the story yet again, appealed another time and finally after eight years in the courts, they found a sympathetic panel of Tenth Circuit judges and things went their way. What relief they must have felt! Finally, they could shut up those annoying prolife protesters on the overpass. So now, after nine years, the Denver City Council will finally be able to stomp out such a dangerous activity as protest on the overpass.

They will claim that such action is necessary for traffic safety, yet in nine years of holding the banner on the overpass there has never been any traffic troubles associated with it. It’s simply a situation of having the power and hating the message of their opponent.

I have some advice for the Denver City Council: if they really want to stop a traffic hazard, why don’t they outlaw the morning sun, which contributes to an accident on 6th Avenue almost every day.

Look here for the Tenth Circuit opinion.

Philip

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Positional Recognition

If you treat a man as he is, he will stay as he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become the bigger and better man.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Trifles?

This is from my reading this morning.

There are many things that appear trifles, which greatly tend to enervate the soul, and hinder its progress in the path to virtue and glory. The habit of indulging in things which our judgment cannot thoroughly approve, grows stronger and stronger by every act of self-gratification, and we are led on by degrees to an excess of luxury which must greatly weaken our hands in the spiritual warfare. If we do not endeavor to do that which is right in every particular circumstance, though trifling, we shall be in great danger of letting the same negligence take place in matters more essential.

MARGARET WOODS

The will can only be made submissive by frequent self-denials, which must keep in subjection its sallies and inclinations. Great weakness is often produced by indulgences which seem of no importance.

M. DE MOLINOS

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

How Much is Your Sin Going to Cost Me?

This came from a message that Ted Haggard preached back in 2000. When news of his fall became public I thought of this message and dug it out.

Here is the line that I have remembered ever since I heard the message:

Sin will take you places where you don't want to go.

Sin will cost you more than you want to pay.

Sin will keep you longer than you want to stay.

How true those words!

Either Ted was a complete hypocrite (I don't think he was) or small compromises led to the horrible things we have all read about. I think the above words became real in his life.

So what about us? Do we have things in place in our lives to help keep us from following a similar path? Are there other people who have enough access to us so that they can recognize if something is wrong? Do we have barriers in place to protect us even if our good intentions fail?

What can we and what should we do?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Bad Sex – when good intentions are not enough

A while back I read a book by Lauren Winner called Real Sex. The sub title is “the naked truth about chastity.” I was so impressed by the book that I read through it a second time and took meticulous notes.

The book does a very good job of explaining what sex is and why it belongs only in marriage. It deals with where our culture is and when I say that I must include the church in that as well. We don't have to look very far to see that the church has done a horrible job of teaching these truths and as a result our morals don’t fly much higher that what goes on in the world around us.

I have been involved in the pro-life movement for a lot of years. A scary statistic that I came across some time ago was that around 24 percent of women getting abortions identify themselves as evangelical Christians. If that statistic is true then we know that there is a lot of bad sex going on in the lives of the people who fill our pews.

Having read Real Sex, I have thought a lot about young people and what could be done to keep them from bad sex. It’s not that we are against sex, it’s that we are for the good sex that God created to be experienced between a husband and wife. I want to see the young ones given an opportunity to overcome the cheap counterfeits that are sent their way.

So anyway, how do we get there? One thing I am fairly sure about is that good intentions are not enough. In the book a study was cited regarding the effectiveness of the True Love Waits Campaign. A pledge is taken to remain sexually abstinent until marriage. What was found is that virgins who took the pledge were waiting about 18 months longer to have sex than the ones who didn’t take the pledge. I don’t think this means that we should scrap the program but maybe something is missing. Maybe good intentions are not enough?

I look back to a time in my young Christian life when my good intentions were not enough. I was in love with a young lady, wanted to marry her and had the purest intentions towards her. But we were alone to much, in places that were private enough and we ended up doing things that were wrong and I think it was those things that destroyed our relationship. I have regrets to this day for the damage that was done in both of our lives.

Please understand, I am not trying to justify anything or sugar coat sin. What I want to do is understand exactly what we need to do so that young ones can be spared what so many of us have experienced.

One thing I think needs to happen is to protect against the alone time and the private places. Here is where we need to hash things out. Do we need an all out ban? Should we bring back the parlor for courting?

I have some thoughts and will toss them out later.

What do you think so far?

Philip

For more on Real Sex: http://www.laurenwinner.net/

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Beginning

A blog seems like a good place to start sharing some of the thoughts that are rattling around in my mind.

To you who read this, I welcome your thoughts on them as well. Some of what I say will be well thought out and some things will be as infants.

May God be glorified, may we be edified, may His kingdom come and His will be done here on earth as it is in heaven.

Philip

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