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Is Love A Reason To Support Same-Sex Marriage?
Written by Rex M. Rogers   
Tuesday, 19 March 2013 16:33

 

Ohio Senator Rob Portman recently announced his support for same-sex marriage. Why he adopted this view is more interesting than the fact he is the first Republican in the United States Senate to publicly do so.

The Senator recently learned his now 21-year-old son is gay. “Knowing that my son is gay,” the Senator said, “prompted me to consider the issue from another perspective.”

In another public announcement recently Mr. Rob Bell, former pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan and the author of the controversial Love Wins, told an audience in San Francisco that he now endorses same-sex marriage. He justified his position by saying, “I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it’s a man and a woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man.”

So twice in a month notable leaders claim love is the reason they now endorse same-sex marriage. According to Senator Portman and Mr. Bell, love explains their dramatic change of heart. Apparently for them, in the words of the Beatles, “Love is all you need.” But is it?

A few years ago when I was serving as the president of a Christian university, a gay rights group called Soulforce demanded entrance to classrooms and chapel. I simply said, “No thank you.” The university did not verbally condemn the young people comprising the group nor did it criticize other Christian institutions that chose to give Soulforce campus access. We just decided to go a different direction.

I received more mail on this decision than any other in which I was involved during my nearly seventeen years as the university president. More than 90% of this mail supported my decision and lauded the university for the stand it took. About 10% or less of the mail on this issue criticized my decision. What interested me most is that of those who disagreed with me nearly all pointed to a loved one, brother, sister, uncle, or dear friend who was gay and that this love changed their mind about the moral legitimacy of homosexuality. In other words, love was their justification for their view.

Since that time I have time and again noted this link. Indeed when a news channel promoted a “teaser” stating the Senator had changed his position, I said to my wife, “I’m guessing his daughter has come out.” I was wrong: his son had come out.

Love is a wonderful human emotion and expression, but love for the wrong things does not make them good, right, or morally defensible.

If a person says he loves to have sex with little children his actions are not made right or righteous by his love. If a sadist loves to hurt people the love for harming others does not make the action right or moral.

After the Civil War had concluded, John Wilkes Booth’s love for the Confederacy led him to kill a President, and of course his action was immoral. It was still murder.

If a person loves to lie, cheat, or steal, these actions do not become good or right bathed in love. If people pursue sexual intimacy with someone not their spouse, because they love the other person, the adultery is not legitimized.

Love for an action or behavior does not determine its morality. What God says about the action or behavior defines its morality. The reason: love is a choice emerging from human hearts born in and tainted by sin. Love is therefore not always a trustworthy guide to moral considerations. Only God’s Word, the God who is Love in its righteous form, provides a trustworthy guide.

I understand Senator and Mrs. Portman’s love for their son, a love they should maintain no matter what he does or who he says he has become. But their love does not make his same-sex behavior good, right, or moral.

I have less empathy for Mr. Bell, who knows better and who is turning his back on his evangelical roots. Sadly, he claims to be expressing his unbiblical affirmation of same-sex marriage in the name of a better understanding of the Christian faith. His desire to express love is admirable, but it is a love based upon a false interpretation of the Bible. His viewpoint is wrong, not because I said so but because God in his Word says so, and Mr. Bell’s love does not change this truth.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2013

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

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Official Abortion Tallies Hundreds Of Millions
Written by Rex M. Rogers   
Monday, 18 March 2013 20:12

 

We learned this week that doctors in China have performed some 336 million known abortions since 1971 when the government first attempted to limit the size of families. I say “known” abortions because this astronomical figure does not include so-called “missing” abortions, those surreptitiously conducted by couples on their own. The total exceeds the population of all but two nations of the world: China and India.

China’s hideous and heinous abortion record involves the infamous one-child policy instituted in 1979, required abortions, forced sterilizations, and other birth control procedures impressed upon women in violation of their human rights. Lest we be smug, note that the abortion tally in the United States now stands at more than 50 million since Roe v. Wade in 1973.

If you believe, as I do, that abortion of a human fetus takes the life of not simply animate tissue or protoplasm but a unique human person, than you must regard these numbers as stratospheric immorality. This systematic infanticide dwarfs other mass murders in history, e.g. 50-75 million by China’s Mao Ze Dong, 12 million estimated in the Holocaust, 8 million in the Congo, 6 million in the gulags by Stalin. The human tragedy in all these horrific figures is beyond comprehension. Each number within these statistics represents one human being, made in the image of God, loved by God, a person eternally valuable and significant.

Abortion of this magnitude cannot but negatively affect the cultures and societies that experience it, whether dictated to a people by autocratic regimes or embraced by a people with euphemisms like “choice” in the name of sexual freedom. So many abortions have been conducted in China that even a nation of 1.3 billion people (or 315 million in the US) is now aging at a pace that’s undermining economic growth and general wellbeing. In addition, China suffers an enormous “marriage problem” because hundreds of thousands of young men in their 20s and 30s cannot find sufficient numbers of young women to become their wives (in a culture that values male children, the “one-child” is often a boy). This in turn is contributing to higher rates of crime, homosexuality, and other social problems.

Abortion is a form of killing or murder. It always has been and no cloaked phrase can hide this fact. It is as illogical as it is irrational. This is evidenced regularly when entertainment stars, many who support so-called pro-choice, appear on late night talk shows to proclaim their pregnancy and talk about “the baby.” The only difference in their expected baby and another aborted fetus is the first is wanted by the parent(s) and the latter is not. This is supposedly the “choice” involved. But whether an adult calls an embryo a baby or a (apparently not-human) fetus doesn’t change its essence. It is what it is, a unique human person whose life should be protected in the name of all that’s moral, right, and good. Governments, cultures, or societies that ignore this truth do not escape unscathed. They pay a price we may yet not fully understand.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2013

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues

and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

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Pope Francis, Shades Of Jimmy Carter?
Written by Rex M. Rogers   
Saturday, 16 March 2013 13:16

 

Pope Francis is garnering early accolades for his perceived humility, which, oddly, reminds me of President Jimmy Carter.

Pope Francis’s humble heart, observers say, was quickly demonstrated by his decision to eschew a limousine for a shuttle bus ride with the cardinals, his choice to carry his own luggage, and the fact he settled his own lodging bill. All this, people believe, is evidence of Pope Francis’s authenticity, his man-of-the-people persona.

When Jimmy Carter ran for President in 1976 he was frequently photographed carrying his own suit bag. After the election, he continued this practice, suspended the traditional playing of “Hail to the Chief,” and conducted fireside chats dressed in cardigan sweaters. He also greatly reduced the perks of the White House staff and sold two presidential yachts. All this was to counter the so-called “Imperial Presidency” of both Richard M. Nixon and Lyndon Baines Johnson.

What’s more than interesting about this story is that it wasn’t long before President Carter stopped carrying his bags and discarded the cardigans. And “Hail to the Chief” made a comeback too, in part because Carter’s decision to stop the Marine Band from playing the song caused a public outcry, and in part because Carter needed it. As his presidency progressed from one crisis to the next—Iran Hostages, Afghanistan, Inflation—“Malaise”—Panama Canal—the Carter Administration was increasingly considered a failure, or at best embarrassingly inept. What to do? Ditch the humility symbols and get back to pomp and ceremony in an effort to restore an aura of power and effectiveness.

Some papacy observers within and without the Catholic Church hope Pope Francis’s early actions on “small matters” signal a change of philosophy and perhaps approach to management that will hold church bureaucrats accountable and refocus the mission of the church on the needs of the poor, the marginalized, and the lost. So the Pope-of-hope is under heavy expectation and scrutiny right out of the gate.

Though I am not Catholic I wish Pope Francis I well because he is in a position that could do a world of good for many needy people. He’s in a position that could move the church toward compassion, accountability, and justice in the priest sex scandals. He could rework the Vatican’s financial fiascos toward some transparency and accountability. He is in a position of leadership.

If the Pope’s actions on these “small matters” are indeed evidence of a humble heart, as opposed to Mr. Carter’s imagery, than there’s genuine hope the Pope’s eventual actions on “large matters” will point in the right, and righteous, direction.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2013

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

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Carnival Cruise Catastrophes
Written by Rex M. Rogers   
Friday, 15 March 2013 17:57

 

Media coverage of Carnival Cruise Line’s cruise ship problems has been extensive.

This week, it’s Carnival Legend, which developed sailing speed technical problems. Within the last month, it was Carnival Dream with lost power and stopped toilets and Carnival Elation with steering system breakdowns. Worse, Carnival Triumph, a 4-turned-8-day cruise in the Gulf of Mexico, garnered wall-to-wall coverage as 4200 passengers were slowly tugged and towed to Alabama. They reputedly endured stopped toilets, sewage on floors and walls, low-to-no-to-bad food, stuffy stinky staterooms, and a lot more.  But they came ashore alive and relatively well.

Far worse, January 13, 2012, Costa Concordia ran aground at Isla dl Giglio, Tuscany, Italy with 3,206 passengers and 1,023 crew aboard. Some 32 people died, 2 are still missing and presumed dead, and 64 more were injured. Costa Concordia is owned by Costa Cruise, which is in turn controlled by, you guessed it, Carnival Corporation.

Certainly the Costa Concordia disaster was a catastrophe in the sense that people lost their lives and others were hurt. What’s most disturbing about this episode is that it all seems, even now after months of investigation, so unnecessary. In my estimation, Captain Francesco Schettino is guilty of criminal negligence, dereliction of duty, and an assortment of other crimes rooted in his incredibly unprofessional and inept leadership, or I should say the lack thereof. His actions and inactions contributed to if not caused the grounding. On top of that, he abandoned his ship. He and other top crew members are facing indictments, trials, and possible prison terms.

Aside, though, from the clearly tragic Costa Concordia incident, the rest of Carnival Cruise’s problems should be characterized more as corporate managerial challenges than as bona fide catastrophes. Yet media dutifully portray each cruise ship incident as unbearable pain for the passengers.

With due respect to the older folks caught in these ship snafus and with due concern for children who might have been scared, Carnival’s cruse ship problems are not that significant. Certainly not the end-of-the-world scenarios played out in media. People were discomforted and annoyed, but they still had something to eat, were not in life-threatening situations, and were soon headed home.

Put these cruise “catastrophes” alongside a host of other more dangerous situations around the world and they just don’t measure up.

People are living in the midst of civil war (Syria), in refugee camps (Lebanon), under oppressive dictatorships (North Korea), and in impoverished environments (Haiti). These people are suffering. These circumstances, not cruise ships with broken generators, rank as human catastrophes worthy of media attention.

So let us continue our concern and care for the people harmed by Costa Concordia, and let us keep the rest of the incidents in perspective.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2013

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

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What Happens In Vegas, Or Wherever, Doesn't Stay Put
Written by Rex M. Rogers   
Thursday, 14 March 2013 20:37

 

In the shrinking…No, strike that. In the shrunk world in which we live, surrounded by pervasive communications technology and every-minute-of-every-day media, nearly nothing can or does happen, well, just privately. Virtually everything is or will be known. Nothing “stays” anywhere. Ask celebrities.

Tiger Woods understands what I just said. So do a long list of male politicians. How many can you name who’s “private” affairs didn’t remain private, even when they so wished they would? John Edwards, David Petraeus, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the beat goes on. No, nothing that happens just stays undercover, or in these cases, under covers.

In scriptural terms the opposite of “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” is “Be sure that your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). Or as the legal community puts it, “the truth will out.” Mothers know this; somehow they always know, remember?

What happens in Washington, DC doesn’t stay there. What happens in the Middle East certainly isn’t limited to the Middle East.

What happens in our own hearts doesn’t stay in our hearts either:  “But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Matthew 15:18-19). So it’s too bad, actually, that what’s in our hearts doesn’t stay there. We’d all be better off.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2013

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers

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War And Peace In Our TIme
Written by Rex M. Rogers   
Thursday, 04 October 2012 20:46

 

When has the human race ever been without war? The Pax Romana maybe, but not many other times before or since. It seems we are forever working to prevent war, preparing for war, in the midst of war, or winding down wars one after the other.

Recently I wrote an article called “Waging War, Pursuing Peace.” I tried to understand my own thoughts and feelings, my own perspective, if you will, on this never-ending issue.

I despise wars and the destruction they work on humanity, nations, cultures, and economies. I’m not a pacifist, but I yearn for peace and think we should all work for peace.

“War is hell,” General William T. Sherman famously said, and he should know for he and his troops left a trail of burning and bitterness through the South during the Civil War that is yet felt today.

War isn’t glorious, though combatants and civilians caught in its grip can be heroic and admirable. War is destruction and death.

But peace at any price is too costly. At times wars are moral and essential to combat evil.

So what we should pursue is not just peace but a just peace.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

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Dr. Rex M. Rogers

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