Friday, April 25, 2008

Abortion Not Covered in the Constitution?

Scalia: Abortion not a court issue was the first headline in today’s Wichita Eagle.

This article gave very little actual context, in fact, it hardly quoted any complete sentences, so I checked a little further. The following is from Scalia Is Wrong About Abortion by Joseph Farah:

"The reality is the Constitution doesn't address the subject at all," he said. "It is one of the many subjects not in the Constitution which is therefore left to democracy. If you want the right to an abortion, persuade your fellow citizens it's a good idea, and pass a law. If you feel the other way, repeal the law."

This quote gives enough context to get the sense of what the acclaimed Supreme Court Justice is intending to convey. This is quite concerning, considering his claim and reputation as a “conservative” and “originalist” regarding the Constitution.

Consider these portions from the Constitution, which Mr. Farah also rightly quotes and applies the Preamble and the Fifth Amendment in his article.


We the People of the United States, in Order to form a
more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic
Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote
the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to
ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this
Constitution for the United States of America.

Amendment V.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise
infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of
a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval
forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of
War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for
the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb;
nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness
against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property,
without due process of law; nor shall private property be
taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment XIV.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States and
subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United
States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall
make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges
or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall
any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property,
without due process of law; nor deny to any person within
its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The Preamble specifically declares that the entire Constitution is written for both those writing it and living under it at its writing AND for our Posterity, that is, the UNBORN.

How exactly does this not apply to providing “for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty” for our posterity? How is the protection of the unborn from being raped and tortured and ripped to pieces not covered by this Constitution?

Joseph Farah’s article Scalia Is Wrong About Abortion is a worthy read.

Additionally, Fetal Development gives a beautiful chronology of the development of the human baby or fetus. For example, do you know when your heart began to beat? Check it out!

Michael Clancy, a professional photographer, was present to observe and photograph a spina bifida corrective in utero surgery. When the mother’s uterus was incised, little Samuel Armas reached out toward the surgeon. Michael captured the event. The photograph below shows the tiny 21 week old reaching out with his hand and grasping hold of the surgeon’s finger. The full story with slide show is available at Samuel Armas’ hand.

Clearly this shows that little Samuel Armas was fully one who is included in the protection of the United States' Constitution.

But what would have happened to little Samuel if his mother had not loved him?

THIS is why the Constitution includes our posterity in the declaration of those for whom it is written.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Lord Is Good to Those Who Wait

From today’s Old Testament Reading, the concluding statement is made:
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the Lord.

The Lord is good to everyone, for the Lord IS good. But to those who wait, those who look to Him in faith, the goodness of the Lord is manifested.

Those who hear the Word of God and decide that they need to act for themselves, such people do not see the goodness of the Lord. Difficulties present themselves and people imagine that they must overcome them by themselves. They seek ways to avoid the troubles, avoiding the necessity of picking up their crosses daily. They invent for themselves avenues of escape. Often these even have the appearance of being very noble. Other times they involve compromise or even worse.

Faith is the activity necessary, but faith is not something that we do. Faith is what God works in us, a work by which God empowers us to believe, to trust both in Him and on Him. Faith is not a work that we do, but it does produce works in us.

We tend to confuse this matter for ourselves. We think that we must produce faith by certain works. Then we look to ourselves and our own efforts rather than looking to the Lord. Because of this we become impatient and rather than waiting for Him to act we try to make things happen for ourselves. We imagine that we must choose to follow Him and that we must decide to believe in Him. We imagine that we must make Him the center of our lives and that we must commit our lives to Him. This leads to frustration when we discover that we do not have the power to do these things for ourselves. Then we pray harder and devise schemes by which we hope to induce ourselves to be more devoted.

But these things that we seek to make happen for ourselves come only by faith, not by works. The works that we desire to do are fruits of Faith, not the other way around.

The reason that faith is effective is because it is the gift of God, and not of ourselves. It is given by God as our possession, but it is His work nonetheless. And that is why faith does not fail us.

When we wait on the Lord we learn this. When we wait quietly on Him we see that He truly is Good to those who wait.

Today’s sermon explains this text further.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Jayhawks and the Resurrection

Jayhawks and

the Resurrection

This week the KU Jayhawks had a very exciting time. Kansas still resounds with the exhilaration of the comeback that was experienced in the championship game. Down by enough points that KU fans thought that their team had been buried and were without hope, hope nevertheless lived on. With only a little more than two minutes remaining the chasm was narrowed to only three points. With only seconds remaining, a three pointer was made and the game was extended into overtime and with that a resurrection-like overturn developed before the eyes of the onlookers.

But already the excitement is beginning to fade. Before long this seemingly miraculous event will be only a memory. It will be a fond memory for Jayhawks, but nothing but a memory.

The Jayhawk chant will live on in future games and will periodically rise from the hearts and pass over the lips of loyal Jayhawks. If you are curious about the history of this almost liturgical chant, check it out here or to hear it click here.

As exciting as this game and victory are to Jayhawks, there is another victory that is not a game. There is a Resurrection that is more than a memory and does not fade in significance.

The Resurrection of our Lord must have been a surprise to the disciples. In fact, the Gospel accounts inform us that even upon seeing Him alive who once was dead, some still doubted. But hearing His voice they were comforted and they confessed His Resurrection.

For those who encounter the risen Lord through Word and Sacrament, this is far more than an emotional experience and far greater than a fond memory. The Resurrection of our Lord is life from death. He who gave Himself into death for us Has risen from the dead for us also. He who took the Sin of the world and suffered its condemnation has risen in glory never to die again. He has risen to rule in righteousness on our behalf. He has risen to guarantee that even the darkest moments of our lives in this world shall never become moments of despair and hopelessness. He has risen to guarantee that not only has He taken our sins away, but that He has also restored to us the life that was surrendered to the power of sin.

So we have the gift of salvation poured out in Baptism, as St. Peter declares in Acts 2:38-39 and 1 Peter 3:21. We have the ongoing Communion administered to us in the gifts of His body and blood. The Liturgy that we chant is more than a cheer that springs forth from emotions, but is the very Word and Promise of God given through the holy office and repeated in faith by those who receive it. Truly the Lord’s resurrection has changed the world and has restored life and hope for all to believe.

God grant that this blessed hope live on in you, not as mere sentimental symbolism, but as the means of grace that deliver what God has promised and fulfilled in Christ Jesus our Lord!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Misericordias Domini

Misericordias Domini = the mercy of God.

The first words of the Introit for the Second Sunday after Easter are from the second half of Psalm 33:5
The earth is full of the mercy of Lord.

This Introit is chosen in connection with the pericopal readings that direct us to know the Lord as our Shepherd. This week’s sermon from the Gospel reading focuses upon this as well, but in this post I wish to focus upon the last sentence of the Epistle reading from 1 Peter 2:21-25,
For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

Truly this sets the mercy of God, Misericordias Domini, in its proper perspective. The mercy of God is entirely unidirectional. It is an entirely one-sided mercy, as true mercy must be. Easter, the Festival of the Resurrection of our Lord, is truly a glorious demonstration of this. From beginning to end, our salvation is the result of God’s mercy. God gave His only-begotten Son for the sake of the world that we might be saved by grace through faith. God foretold these events by which our salvation would be procured. God brought all things to fruition. God in the flesh willingly suffered the Sin of the world, carrying it in His own person, to the cross and grave. God in the flesh raised His body again. He appeared in the flesh to show His disciples the reality of everlasting life and to carry our humanity to the throne of God both to intercede for us and to judge us according to His own righteousness. He established His Church on earth, equipped with the office of the ministry so that the ministry would be carried out and that we would hear the preaching of the pure Gospel and be washed with the regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit and fed and kept in the unity of His body and the forgiveness of His blood.

This all is His doing.

Thus Saint Peter refers to us as those who “are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” Notice that this is a passive verb. We do not return to the Lord, but rather we are returned to Him. As the Shepherd, He seeks us out and brings us back into His fold. There we are kept safe by the peace of God that surpasses all understanding as we partake of His Holy Communion until He comes again.

Proud Conservative Liberal Republican

It seems extremely unlikely that Senator McCain intended to give such an accurate or precise self-definition.

Nevertheless, this is very much the definition that anyone paying attention formulates regarding the senator. Certainly there are others in the Republican Party who are even more liberal. Thus he is indeed a conservative Liberal Republican.

Those public figures who not long ago denounced McCain have changed their tune. Surprised? Me neither.

Now they say that Senator McCain has “listened to the people.” He has made promises that align himself with the will of the conservatives in the Republican Party.

Is that the kind of president that we really want? Do we really want a president who will make promises that counter what he really believes? Do we want someone who will ask us what is right and good?

As for myself, I want a president who clearly states what he believes and stands unmoved upon those principles. I want a president who LEADS by what he says and does rather than one who follows the perceived will of the people long enough to get elected. I want a president who has a history of holding to the principles upon which this nation was founded, holding to them not for the sake of pleasing others and persuading others to support him, but holding to them because he believes that they are the life of the nation. I want a president who will stand tall as a beacon by which others will be directed to the safety of unity under God.

In seeking a candidate whom I may support confidently with my vote, I want a candidate who does not have to try to persuade me that he is conservative and trustworthy. I want a presidential candidate who by his past actions and statements as well as his current actions and statements leaves me without doubt that he is the right man for the office.

If every voter who claims to be conservative and supportive of the US Constitution were to vote according to conscience, supporting such a candidate, even though from a third party, that person would be elected. There are still enough people in this nation who still believe in the principles by which this nation and people have been blessed that if we all united behind a worthy candidate, we could truly make our voices heard.

Isn’t it time that we stop looking to others to speak for us?

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Stupid Welfare Mentality

Yesterday afternoon, a dear friend and business associate did me a big favor, meeting me at a WalMart parking lot to finalize the arrangement. While we were standing beside our trucks, a lady walked up and presented to us beaded key chains with notes attached indicating that she was deaf and was selling these for $2.00 each.

I gave her $2.00 and declined the key chain, not needing one but not having the heart to turn down a deaf person seeking to earn some money. My friend had a handful of change and gave her that, also declining the key chain.

Today as I thought about this I realized that I should have received the key chain or declined the offer altogether. What I did was exactly the same foolishness that the government does with its welfare mentality.

While I cannot know for certain that this woman’s claim to deafness is legitimate and not scamming people, what I saw in her eyes told me that I had made a mistake. I sensed it at the time and have realized it more fully the day after.

What was my mistake? I robbed this lady of the joy of producing something and receiving compensation in exchange for her product. I robbed her of the dignity of contributing to society by working and putting her ingenuity into practice. Her eyes showed disappointment, but then she gave a gracious gesture of thanks with her hand and mouth.

At the time my actions seemed like the loving thing to do. In retrospect I see that this was not a gesture of true love. Love would have shown this lady genuine respect. What I did was really to demean her and to discount her attempt at productivity. My action was one of wanting to do the right thing, which is not the same as acting in response to true love.

Now I can certainly name a number of things about this situation that call her motives and her approach into question. That is not the point. Even if she were a scam artist, my actions and motives are the point. There is a lesson in this, from which I hope to learn and to grow.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

How Do They Survive?

April Fools Day?

It is said that reality can be stranger than fiction,
or perhaps harder to believe.

How do they survive?

Actually, Grandma was kinda cute. I can relate to her moment of absence of mind. But the other three? It is hard even to feel sorry for such putting to the test of the grace of God.

Apparently He agrees.

Matthew 4:5-7