Why Christians Should Boycott A Beauty And The Beast Boycott

Earlier this week, it was revealed that the soon to be released live action version of Beauty and the Beast would be the first of its kind. The trailblazing has nothing to do with special effects but rather sexuality. The film will feature Disney’s first ever openly gay character, LeFou, played by Josh Gad.

Bill Condon, the director of the film, said in an interview that, “LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston.” Condon went on to say that Gad portrayed LeFou “deliciously” and that there is a “payoff” at the end that he described as, “a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie.”

No doubt, there have been plenty of Disney films in the past, even those marketed toward children, that have insinuated that certain characters were gay. However, the “exclusively gay moment” comment lets us know that the insinuations are no more. This updated version of Beauty and the Beast will leave nothing to speculation.

Yet another shot has been fired in the culture war.

And you can be sure that many Christians and social conservatives will be quick to fire back. Their weapons of choice will be boycotts and hashtags.

But before that happens, there is something that followers of Jesus Christ need to remember.

The culture will not be won by a massive Twitter campaign or #stopgaydisney movement. It will not be won by angry Facebook posts in ALL CAPS demanding that Disney bring back the movies from the good old days, as if those ever existed. The folks at Disney won’t suddenly decide to embrace traditional marriage because a few people vow to never attend their parks again. None of those things will win the culture war.

The culture war has already been won.

That happened when Jesus rose from the grave.

Sure, there are still numerous skirmishes. And as the church navigates its way through those battlefields, it must do so knowing that its victory is secure rather than continually playing the role of victims. Leave that to the disgruntled political junkies.

You’re kidding yourself if you think that a difference will be made in some digital arena with your clever hashtags. The real difference is made in your own home.

That’s where you, I hope, regularly sit down at an actual table for a meal with your kids and explain to them what the Bible says about men, women and sexuality. I get it. It seems a little strange for a father to talk about sexuality with his kids over dinner. It makes so much more sense to leave that up to a P.E. teacher who can tell them everything they need to know by simply using a condom and a banana as props. And we wonder what’s wrong with our kids.

In your kitchen, your kids see that real manhood is demonstrated not by romantic conquests, feelings or trucks but when their dad joyfully and lovingly serves their mother.

It’s in your home, not on a movie screen, where your kid’s worldview of marriage and family should be shaped.

If you think that you’re going to protect your kids from evil by keeping them from seeing a Disney movie, the devil laughs at you. Ban, boycott and hashtag all you want but until you take the time to teach and demonstrate biblical manhood and womanhood before your children on a daily basis, you’re planning your own destruction.

My family will not be seeing the new Beauty and the Beast movie. But we also won’t be taking part in any boycott. I don’t want my kids growing up thinking that Christianity is basically boiled down to being against stuff.

I want them to know that we are for truth, we are for love, we are for obeying God’s word and leaning on God’s grace when we fail. I want them to learn the delicate balance between standing against certain aspects within the culture while simultaneously loving the people consumed by that culture.

Hopefully Christians will see that there aren’t enough hashtags or boycotts in the world to change sick hearts. Hopefully, instead of trying to win a culture war and stick it to Disney, Christians will focus on raising up disciples, starting with the little ones in their own homes.

Hopefully, I’m not asking for too much.

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Steven Anderson, Grace And Orlando

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Religious people are often accused of hate. On many occasions, those accusations are unfounded. People just don’t like being disagreed with these days and their natural impulse is to categorize any opposition as hate. But there are times when religious people are rightfully accused of hate.

Like when an Islamic terrorist kills people in the name of his religion.

Or when a pastor who calls himself a Christian delights in the carnage.

Steven Anderson is the pastor who made a name for himself through YouTube videos where he ranted on the proper way for men to use the restroom and who he thought God should kill. If he happens to be your pastor, repent, leave his cult and find a legitimate church.

Just a short time after the Islamic radical killed dozens of people in Orlando, Steven Anderson posted a video sharing his thoughts on the massacre. I won’t post the video here but here’s an excerpt of Anderson’s comments.

“So, you know, the good news is that at least 50 of these pedophiles are not gonna be harming children anymore. The bad news is that a lot of the homos in the bar are still alive, so they’re gonna continue to molest children and recruit people into their filthy homosexual lifestyle. I’m not sad about it, I’m not gonna cry about it. Because these 50 people in a gay bar that got shot up, they were gonna die of AIDS, and syphilis, and whatever else. They were all gonna die early, anyway, because homosexuals have a 20-year shorter life-span than normal people, anyway.”

In his short commentary on the homosexuals getting what they deserved, Steven Anderson conveniently left something out. By not being murdered that night, Steven Anderson did not get what he deserved. Neither did Jay Sanders. Neither did you.

Tragedies aren’t knew. In some form or another, they’ve been around since Adam and Eve’s sin. They were around in Jesus’ day too. On one occasion, a government ruler named Pilate ordered his soldiers to murder a group of Galileans during a worship ceremony. The public response to this tragedy wasn’t any different than it is today. People wanted answers. Some of them took their questions to Jesus.

His answer likely wasn’t what they expected.

And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? Luke 13:2 (ESV)

Jesus was addressing a popular belief that still exists today, some two thousand years later. People have a tendency to believe that if something bad happens, it is automatically God’s punishment. Sometimes this is the case. God does punish sin and he is always just in doing so. But Jesus’ answer cuts to the heart and exposes the self-righteousness we all carry from one degree or another.

The Galileans who were murdered were no worse sinners than those who got to live that day. And the homosexuals who were murdered early Sunday morning by an ISIS devotee were no worse sinners than Steven Anderson. Or Jay Sanders. Or you.

The Bible is clear. Homosexuality is a sin (Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). But the Bible is also clear that pride (1 John 2:16) is a sin. And lust. Yes, even good old heterosexual lust (Matthew 5:27-30). And whatever socially, religiously acceptable sins you and I are prone to.

Which leads to the rest of Jesus’ answer.

No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Luke 13:3 (ESV)

It’s not just the first century Galileans who fail to measure up to God’s perfect standard. And it’s not just today’s LGBTQ community either. It’s all of us. We all deserve death. Even the straightest and most moral among us.

Whenever something bad happens, it’s like there’s an alarm that goes off somewhere that makes so-called Christian leaders tell us who God was punishing through the tragedy.

“God sent Katrina to wash away the homosexuality from New Orleans!” they told us gleefully.

We would be foolish to say that God would never use a natural disaster or national tragedy to bring about punishment for sin (Psalm 46). But we would be arrogant and self-righteous to say that God would only punish the sin of those other guys. We should wake up every morning thanking God for his mercy in not sending Katrina or ISIS to our front door.

Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.

All.

Not just the Galileans.

Not just the homosexuals at a club.

All means the self-righteous church leader who privately pays for his daughter’s abortion because he worries about what a very public unplanned pregnancy could do to his career advancement plans.

All means the hypocritical progressive who is so full of love that he absolutely hates anyone who doesn’t agree with his definition of love.

All means you.

And all means me.

Christ’s call to repentance wasn’t some empty chatter like the guy on the side of the busy street yelling about hell and the end. It was a warning. But it was also an invitation to his grace.

Some time after Jesus spoke the surprising words, the same Pilate who massacred the Galileans would put Jesus on a cross. But it is in that great tragedy that we can find hope. By God’s grace and through faith, we can be set free from the death sentence that we all deserve.

It is very important for Christians to address sin. This is no call to tone down the gospel. But when we address sin, we must remember that the personal sins we accept are just as disgusting to God as the public sins committed by others. And we must also remember grace.

Grace is not God turning a blind eye to our sin. It is God turning his wrath that we deserve onto his Son and giving us his Son’s perfect righteousness in exchange (2 Corinthians 5:21). And what a great exchange it is.

It’s an exchange that is available to the homosexual.

And the self-righteous religious person.

And to Steven Anderson.

And to me and you.

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Christian Singer Comes Out Of The Closet

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Earlier this week Trey Pearson, lead singer of the Christian rock band Everyday Sunday, let the world know that he is gay. And the world celebrated. The celebration looked and sounded like it usually does. Trey was praised for being brave. The Church was mocked for being bigoted and on the wrong side of history.

I guess this isn’t the acceptable thing for a pastor in 2016 to say in regards to such news but here goes. Trey Pearson’s announcement disgusted me.

It disgusted me because I couldn’t help but think about his wife and kids. Writing about his lifelong struggle with homosexuality, Trey says, “I’ve tried my whole life to be straight. I married a girl, and I even have two beautiful little kids. My daughter, Liv, is six and my son, Beckham, is two.” Trey says of his decision to leave his wife and kids and come out that, “There is a weight that has been lifted, and I have never felt so free. I cannot even believe the joy and lightness I feel from being able to accept myself, and love myself, for who I truly am.”

I grew up in a single parent family. Divorce hit me hard at a very early age. Much of my professional career has been devoted to counseling families and children that have been ravaged by divorce. I can tell you with full assurance that the weight that has been lifted off of Trey, leaving him feeling so free, has been brutally placed on the backs of his wife and kids.

Trey talks about growing up in a conservative church where he was taught that being gay is a choice. He says that he later realized that his attraction to other men was not something that he chose. It was something he was born with.

Let’s assume for a moment that Trey’s assessment is true.

Think with me then of how many husbands and fathers have been born with a bad temper or a strong craving for intoxicants or a seemingly uncontrollable desire to have sex with multiple women every weekend. Should we then celebrate those dads for “being true to themselves” the next time they blow up on one of their kids, or score some meth or have sex with a few of the girls they met at the bowling alley one night?

The difference, you might say, is love. Trey made his decision based on love. His biggest crime is loving another man. The dads in my hypothetical weren’t loving. They were destroying.

Ask Trey’s kids whether they feel loved or destroyed.

The reality is that our world has completely distorted the word love. They think that it is one and the same with sexual pleasure. It is not. Love is the man who has had a temper his whole life but takes the time to work on it for the good of the family he committed to. Love is the alcoholic who fights hard against his natural desire because he knows that just because something is natural does not make it good. Love is the man who is tempted to sleep with his coworker but takes drastic measures to flee the temptation because of the commitment he made before God to his wife.

Love and sex are not the same.

For some reason, the sin of homosexuality has been canonized in our society. It’s the new 90-foot statue that we must all bow before whenever we hear the music of the culture droning on and on about love and expression and self-identifying. And those who claim to be Christians are all too quick to join in on the fun. We should not be surprised when the world acts like the world. It’s when the Church starts acting like the world that we should be alarmed. Much of the confusion in the Church is due to the fact that, because of a lack of emphasis on biblical preaching and discipleship, people claiming to be Christians have bought into the lie that Jesus never had anything to say about homosexuality.

And that’s true, if you’re the type to pick and choose what you want Jesus to say. If however you actually take Jesus at his words, all of them, you’ll see that he had plenty to say about homosexuality. He condemned sexual immorality as a condition of a sinful heart (Matthew 15:18-20). He spoke frankly about lust and we would be foolish to assume that it was only straight lust that he was condemning (Matthew 5:27-30). And he condemned the god of no fault divorce that our culture has so easily embraced (Matthew 5:31-32). To say that homosexuality is okay because Jesus never spoke against it is the same as saying that it’s okay to vandalize my neighbor’s Mercedes because Jesus never mentioned anything about spray paint or luxury sedans.

But still, Trey mingles talk of God with his decision to embrace sin at the expense of his wife and kids. And as I was reading it, I couldn’t help but imagine what Trey’s reasoning would look like if the sin of homosexuality were replaced with another sin clearly condemned in the Bible but not yet fully embraced by the world. What follows is my altered version of Trey’s words.

“I have progressed so much in my faith over these last several years. I think I needed to be able to affirm other thieves before I could ever accept it for myself. Likewise, I couldn’t expect others to accept me as a thief until I could come to terms with it first.

I know I have a long way to go. But if this honesty with myself about being a thief, and how I was made by God to be a thief, doesn’t constitute as the peace that passes all understanding, then I don’t know what does. It is like this weight I have been carrying my whole life has been lifted from me, and I have never felt such freedom.”

I do not celebrate Trey Pearson’s decision. No true Christian should. Our failure to celebrate will be classified as bigoted by the world and offensive by some who call themselves Christians. But we must remember how Christ responded when it was brought to his attention that his words could have offended the spiritually misguided Pharisees.

Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” Matthew 15:12-14 (ESV)

Trey Pearson is being led by blind guides straight into a pit.

But there’s good news. Homosexuality and divorce are not unpardonable sins. God’s grace is big enough to handle them. Jesus’ shoulders are strong enough to carry the burdens that come with them. Everyone of us, gay or straight, is a sinner by nature. We were born that way. But God, in his grace, sent his Son so that his people would not die that way.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (ESV)

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Picking The Lesser Of Two Evils Is Wrong And The Church Must Stop Doing It

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Ashley Qualls was murdered in the middle of the night on July 9, 2013. She was walking home from work when a few men on bicycles confronted her. There was an argument. Shots rang out. The men rode away into the night, leaving Ashley’s lifeless body on the street.

The case still has not been solved.

There are many reasons why. Here are two. Cowardice and compromise. Many of the people in that large city who have insight into he murder are simply too scared to say anything about it. They’re afraid that the criminals will come for them next. Others are compromised. They don’t want to talk to the police because they had some involvement, if not with the murder itself at least with the men who committed it. Their own closeted skeletons prevent them from saying anything.

When good people were needed to make a stand against evil, cowardice and compromise kept them from doing the right thing.

Many of today’s Christians have a lot in common with the folks in that city. In the face of evil, they do nothing. They are too scared. Too scared of being labeled a bigot. Too scared of being outnumbered. Others have been compromised. While Jesus told his disciples to pray, “Deliver us from evil,” these Christians are too busy embracing evil or voting for the lesser of two evils to actually make a stand against evil. It’s hard to stand against something that you’ve already embraced.

The world has gone nuts. Our president is acting like a king. Partly due to his actions, little girls are scared to go into public restrooms because of the men who are now encouraged to go in with them. And their parents are scared to do anything to stop them for fear of being labeled discriminatory or a hater.

In the church’s silence, others have risen up to speak. They rant on social media IN ALL CAPS ABOUT HOW MUCH THEY HATE LIBERALS AND HOW THEY’D LIKE TO KILL ANY PERV THAT COMES INTO THE BATHROOM WHILE THEIR DAUGHTER IS IN THERE. They run for president and wear red hats that tell us to make America great again, all the while embracing the very evil their supporters hope they’ll abolish. Both are only making the problems worse.

The last thing we need is more angry political talk. And if you think that either evil presidential candidate is going to offer any legitimate solutions, you are terribly mistaken. One thing history has taught us is that you should never expect godly consequences from godless leaders.

What we could really use is a few people like John the Baptist.

John the Baptist lived under a tyrannical ruler the Bible calls Herod. When Herod stole his brother’s wife and made her his own, John had the audacity to speak against it.

If this were happening today, imagine what John’s friends would tell him.

“John, settle down. This Herod isn’t as evil as the other Herod.”

“John, just stick to the Bible. Preachers aren’t supposed to talk about anything else.”

If anyone said that to John, it’s obvious that he didn’t listen. He spoke to Herod. And he was blunt. “It is not lawful for you to have her” (Matthew 14:4).

For his efforts, John was thrown in prison by the tyrannical Herod. But John wasn’t like today’s loudmouth real estate mogul or ALL CAPS FACEBOOK WARRIOR. Sure, he stood up for the truth but he did so in a loving way. We know this because while John was in prison, Herod enjoyed visiting him to listen to what he had to say (Mark 6:20). Herod didn’t like being called out but he liked the one who called him out. John’s loving boldness earned him a platform before the evil ruler.

But all of that changed.

Herod was tricked into making the decision to remove John’s head from John’s body.

That’s the part where a lot of Christians misrepresent the story of John the Baptist. They tell us that the point of the passage is that you need to keep your opinions on political or controversial issues to yourself or you could lose your head. Nothing could be further from the truth. The real point of the passage is that it is better to die for God’s glory than to live for your own. As I write this, John the Baptist is doing just fine. Herod is not.

This is an extremely important lesson for the Church today. We have been silent for too long. Or, we have been so loud and obnoxious that we might as well be silent. And when the church is silent, the culture suffers.

Now, perhaps more than at any other moment in my lifetime, we need to quit letting presidential candidates speak for us. We need to speak. And we need to do so in a clear, loving, bold and humble way.

If your kid’s school allows boys to go into your daughter’s restroom or dressing room, confront them on it.

You’ll be surprised at what happens when one person refuses to drink the poison Kool-Aid. So rather than figuring out the lesser of two evils, let’s just get back to what Jesus told us to do. Let’s stand against it. Let’s resist it. Let’s pray for God to deliver us from it.

A while back I got an e-mail regarding the team my son plays on. Parents were being asked to pay a few bucks in order to buy new socks for every kid on the team to wear that month. The pink socks were to raise awareness for breast cancer and the money raised would go toward cancer research. But not just any cancer research. The particular organization receiving these funds supported Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading abortion provider.

I responded to the e-mail by stating that my family would not be taking part in this fundraiser because we value human life and we are pro-life. I DIDN’T CALL ANYONE NAMES AND I DIDN’T WRITE MY E-MAIL IN ALL CAPS. And I didn’t look for the lesser of two evils. I just resisted the evil.

Not much time passed before the guy in charge of the entire league contacted me. He told me that he wasn’t aware of the abortion link and he asked me for other organizations that fought breast cancer without giving to Planned Parenthood. The league ended up raising hundreds of dollars for breast cancer research. And they raised none for abortion. All because one regular idiot like me decided to stand against evil rather than finding the diet version of evil.

When the church is silent, the culture suffers.

When the church is compromised, the culture worsens.

When the church is courageous, Christ is glorified.

Our courage may cost us our heads. But it’s better to die without them in devotion to Christ than to live with them in slavery to the ever changing whims of the culture.

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We Need More Bad Guys

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If you allow your ten-year-old daughter to make the three block walk to school all by herself, some in society will question your judgment as a parent.

If you let your twelve-year-old son play with a couple of friends at the playground down the street without adult supervision, you might get reported to some government agency.

If you buy your eight-year-old daughter a cell phone and allow her to use it unmonitored throughout all hours of the day, people will make every effort to let you know what a naive parent you are.

But if you so much as question the assistant manager at Target for allowing a grown man in a dress to come into the bathroom with your eight-year-old daughter, you are a bigot.

Our society, which speaks so much of protecting children, will not think twice about sacrificing those very same children in the name of tolerance. That’s because no one wants to be accused of being a bigot. No one wants to be on the wrong side of history. It’s as if our culture thinks that making a man use the men’s restroom is on par with keeping black kids out of public schools that were once for whites only. Twenty years from now, when the HBO docudrama is made about the LGBT movement, everyone wants to be seen marching arm in arm with the man in the dress and rainbow colored feathered boa.

Without giving it a second thought, many in our culture have consumed the propaganda that sexual preference is somehow the same as race. Well, it isn’t. Race is neutral. Unless you belong to the Margaret Sanger eugenics crowd that, ahem, gave birth to Planned Parenthood, you know that being black or white doesn’t have an impact on one’s character or morality. Good people and jerks come in all colors. It’s best when people are judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. You may have heard that somewhere before.

But that isn’t enough for the LGBT community and the political correction officers who fuel them. You’re not allowed to make any judgment. And no questions either. You must submit. Tolerance before common sense. Tolerance before the safety of our children. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that such logic comes from the same crowd that has turned murdering babies into a booming, government-funded industry.

It appears as though society’s elite mean something different than we think they mean when they tell us how much they care for children. For most of us, caring for our children means providing for them, shaping them and, yes, protecting them. For a frighteningly large portion of our culture, caring for children is just something that’s done until the next opportunity for sexual expression comes up.

And it appears as though the elites mean something different than we think they mean when they call us bigots. Most people who have not developed the virus that makes them mindlessly rattle off whatever talking points they hear on morning talk shows know that a bigot is simply someone who will not even consider listening to someone who holds a different opinion. But in the culture of sexual expression at all costs, a bigot is anyone whose common sense, logic and principles prohibits him from falling in line with the rest of the progressive crowd.

So if we’re being honest with ourselves, the real bigots are the ones who force you to accept the absurd with no questions asked, no matter what the danger is to your wife or children.

Twenty years from now, when the HBO docudrama is made about birthday cakes and bathrooms, I’ll be the bad guy. And that’s okay because in a world where the meaning of good and evil has been completely reversed, we need more bad guys.

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There’s Nothing A Nathan Deal Veto Can Do About That

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On Monday, Nathan Deal, the governor of Georgia, announced that he would veto House Bill 757, otherwise known as the Religious Liberty Bill. Deal said that he had received numerous calls over the bill. He said that nuns threatened him and pastors questioned the legitimacy of his faith if he decided to veto the bill. On the other side, Hollywood film studios, professional sports leagues and big money corporations said that they would make Deal pay if he signed the bill into law. In the end, Deal decided that being known as the state where Ant Man was filmed and hosting another Super Bowl that would almost certainly not involve the team from his state was more important than religious liberty.

If it weren’t for all of the trampling of our freedoms, all of this hypocrisy would make me laugh. The same industry where pedophile rings are as common as peaches in Georgia wants to threaten the state to bow to the homosexual agenda. The same league that all but sanctions domestic violence suddenly wants to take what they think is the moral high ground by threatening to leave the state if the governor doesn’t force bakers to make cakes for gay weddings. Look, I’m no politician or anything but maybe our state would be better off without the pedophile rings and leagues of wife abusers.

If only we had a governor with enough backbone to say, “So you’re threatening to take your pedophilia and domestic abuse out of our state if I decide to protect churches and small businesses? Well, I-20 is that way.”

But apparently it’s just too much for our governor to risk loosing such a cinematic masterpiece as Ant Man.

Typically, many have called this bill a hate bill. That’s because the LGBT community is trying as hard as it can to be the black civil rights movement of the 1960s. But unless I’m watching the wrong channel, I’m just not seeing a whole lot of southern, Democratic politicians sicking dogs on gays like they did to blacks all of those years ago. But I am seeing quite a few Republicans and Democrats sicking their attorneys and paid agitators on those with the nerve to still have a conscience.

As a pastor, I have refused to perform more than one wedding ceremony. There have been some couples who just don’t meet the Biblical qualifications for marriage. Others couldn’t go more than five minutes without broadcasting their major issues right in front of me. When I tell them that I will not perform their wedding, they’re usually not too happy with me. They call me terrible names like fool, hypocrite, Republican and other words that should not be spoken around children. But they never try to sue me. The message from our governor on Monday was, “But now’s a good time to start.”

This is all the natural result of a government that has gotten far to big for anyone’s good. And both gays and straights, religious and non-religious are responsible for allowing it to happen. When a private baker says that he doesn’t want to participate in a  homosexual wedding ceremony, rather than finding the next baker, there are those who feel the need to go to a court and make someone pay in the name of social justice.

On the other side, Christians have for far too long looked to the state to sanction what the Bible already has. Why do we think that marriage has to be a government issue? Baptism isn’t. And praise God for that. But now that I’ve put the idea out there, I’m sure that there will be a bill before the Georgia General Assembly next year requiring churches to baptize unrepentant atheists in the name of diversity. I know of a few churches that are already ahead of the curve. Hey, whatever it takes to get the numbers.

Nathan Deal is a Republican. Hopefully Monday’s actions will remind us that simply voting for the lesser of two evils because he is a Republican is foolish. Before Nathan Deal was a Republican, he was a Democrat. And now, he’s acting an awful lot like a Democrat. But quite honestly, I’m having a hard time telling the difference.

Nathan Deal is not up for reelection. He doesn’t have to worry about losing the Christian vote in a few years. But one thing that should concern him is his legacy. What will Nathan Deal be remembered for?

To many, he will be remembered as the man who cared more about Ant Man than he did for the people who elected him to protect their freedoms.

Christians, this is a time to stand up. Not in hate. Not so that you can show the homosexuals a thing or two. And not strictly out of anger like a bunch of Donald Trump supporters. We must stand in love. But do not believe the lies of those self-proclaimed Christians who value getting along and being relevant more than the Truth. It is possible to stand up against something in a loving way. There are some Christians who pretend that aligning themselves with the LGBT community at the expense of the gospel is somehow speaking up for the voiceless and the marginalized. You know, the voiceless and marginalized who have the full support of Hollywood and the NFL. But what of the marginalized baker who just lost his business because he doesn’t want to bake a cake for Dan and Billy? Crickets chirping. Oh, and when does Ant Man 2 come out because, you know, it was filmed right around the corner from my aunt’s house?

We must stand for truth and we must do so in love. But Christian, as you do, expect some opposition. The Hollywood elite, the NFL, big business, and yes, even your governor, if you live in Georgia, have you surrounded. But that’s okay because just like Elisha before us, “those who are with us are greater than those who are with them.” And there is nothing a Nathan Deal veto can do about that.

When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 Kings 6:15-17 (ESV)

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What We Can Learn From Duke Lacrosse

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Sunday was the tenth anniversary of the beginning of the Duke lacrosse rape case. On the evening of March 13, 2006, a house where some players on the team lived was the scene of a party involving a female dancer. Shortly after leaving the party, the dancer, Crystal Mangum alleged that three members of the team raped her.

Those three players, their families and Duke’s head lacrosse coach would spend the next year defending themselves in the court of public opinion. There were rallies on campus calling for the team to be disbanded. There were mobs protesting outside the home of the incident. There were even signs calling for the accused to be castrated. Due process did not matter. Innocent until proven guilty did not matter. All that mattered was the narrative. And boy, did this story fit the narrative.

The Duke players were white and came from families that were relatively well off. In the court of public opinion, that’s about the same as showing up in a real courtroom with the murder victim’s blood on your hands. Crystal Mangum was black and lacked the financial resources of the Duke lacrosse players.

Eventually, the truth came out. Crystal Magnum was lying. The prosecutor, Mike Nifong, was disbarred and spent a day in jail for tampering with evidence. The media and the scores of people they had influenced had all been had.

Sunday night’s episode of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series was devoted to the Duke Lacrosse case. As I watched it, two things came to mind. These are two very important things that we either need to learn or be reminded of ten years after the fact.

First, you can’t trust the media. In my part of the world, such a statement will get you a hearty amen. But it’s not just the talking heads at ABC or MSNBC that you can’t trust. You can’t trust Breitbart and Drudge either. Whether right or left of the political spectrum, every form of media in the country has an agenda. Everyone is biased. If you look hard enough, you might find one or two media outlets that are biased toward the truth but for the most part all you’ll find is one news outlet pushing for more government control of something and another one trying to get their candidate, who also happens to be their biggest financial backer, elected as president.

There was a time in this country when news outlets cared about truth. Editors would walk around their bureaus repeating, “Truth! Truth! Truth!” to their reporters. Not anymore. Now I think that they say something like, “Narrative! Narrative! Narrative!” or “Money! Money! Money!”

And you’re the one who pays for it. We have more news outlets today than ever. But now, more than ever, it’s your job to be the reporter. It’s not enough to simply consume the stories that fit your agenda. You have to look for the truth, even if the conclusions are uncomfortable for you or your favorite candidate. Otherwise, you’re worse off than the uninformed. You’re misinformed. Uninformed people are dangerous because they simply do not care. Misinformed people are even more dangerous because they care deeply and act passionately but without all of the facts. Don’t be either one.

The second lesson is more important because it has to do with our sons.

Use your imagination and put your son on the 2006 Duke lacrosse team. Sometime around March 20, you hear a report on the news about a Duke lacrosse party that led to the brutal sexual assault of a woman. The entire team is put on trial in the court of public opinion. This troubles you because the entire team includes your son. He assures you that you have nothing to worry about.

A short time after the incident, police have the alleged victim look at a photo line-up. Rather than showing her several of the usual suspects with Duke players mixed in, every photo they show her is a player on the Duke lacrosse team. No matter who Crystal Mangum chose, she was going to choose a Duke lacrosse player. At random, she chooses three. One of them is your son.

Within what seems like minutes, he and two of his teammates are on the cover of magazines being portrayed as rapists. The three players hold a press conference. You are standing behind them, with the other parents as the boys stand trial in the court of public opinion.

The first boy declares his innocence and talks about the unfairness of these false accusations. He tells the media that the truth will be revealed soon.

The second boy says essentially the same thing and thanks his family and teammates for standing by him.

And now it’s your son’s turn. As he steps to the microphone, your heart races. You wish that you could speak for him but you can’t. He steps to the microphone with more confidence than his teammates and calmly states his name.

“I am innocent of the charges brought against me. While I planned on attending the party that night I decided not to. I went to the movies instead. Here’s my ticket stub and receipt.”

Watching the Duke lacrosse story inspired me as a father. It inspired me to raise sons who decide to go to the movies once they hear about there being a stripper at the party they were going to. You may call that pie in the sky. It’s not. It should be a goal of ever parent.

Our kids will make dumb mistakes. And when they do, they need our discipline, grace, instruction and love. But the problem for many parents is that they wait until the mistake has already been made before they ever think about discipline, grace, instruction and love.

It’s not enough to raise great athletes who get into a good college and perhaps go pro. Rather than trying to build the next James, Curry or Manning, we should be more interested in developing the next Joseph.

Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with me.” But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” And as she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not listen to her, to lie beside her or to be with her. Genesis 39:6-10 (ESV)

Like the Duke lacrosse players, Joseph was falsely accused of sexual assault. However, justice was not served for him. He spent quite a bit of time in jail. But the truth didn’t stop being the truth. And Joseph didn’t stop being devoted to the truth.

Like any other parent, we would all be elated if we found out that our falsely accused sons were finally off the hook. But we should aim much higher than a mere not guilty verdict for our sons. We should aim for holiness.

When we do, like Joseph, things may not always work out the way that we would like in the court of public opinion. But there is a court that is much more important than that one. In the eyes of Jesus Christ, the righteous judge who knows no corruption, all that matters is truth and righteousness. Public opinion does not matter to him and it never will.

So as we go about the business of turning our sons into men, righteousness and truth should be what matters most to us.

There’s nothing you can do about a false accusation directed at your son. But there’s plenty you can do to disarm those false accusations. That work is done at the kitchen table where meals are eaten, at the bedside where prayers are given and on playing fields where instruction is given. Just make sure that how to effectively chase a ball isn’t the only instruction you ever give.

You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 6:7 (ESV)

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A Terribly Offensive Quote From Martin Luther King Jr.

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The original quote on the wall at the University of Oregon was taken down because it used the word men. My guess is that the offended party would rather it said people or womyn or anything other than the generic men.

So the school took it down. But they had a great idea for a replacement. It was a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. Unless you like to spend your time wearing white hoods and sheets, you can’t find much to disagree with in these words.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Well, some students at the University of Oregon did.

While the school was remodeling the campus building in which the words of Dr. King reside, some brought up the idea replacing the quote. And no, the members of the offended party did not like to spend their time wearing white hoods and sheets. They were more into rainbow colors.

Some students wondered aloud if the quote accurately represented them today seeing as how Dr. King had the nerve to not mention the LGBTQRSTUVWXYZ community in his stirring speech.

In the end, something unusual for a college campus happened. Common sense prevailed. The quote from Dr. King remained. But, according to those in the know, there was quite a battle to keep it there.

This little dust up can teach us a lot. Members of the LGBTQRSTUVWXYZ like to compare their movement to the one that Dr. King led all those years ago. Those who were offended by this quote did us a favor by showing us all just how different these two movements are.

Martin Luther King Jr. wanted his people treated fairly. The perpetually offended sexual progressives want to be treated as masters.

Dr. King taught that character matters. To the sexual progressives, nothing matters more than being treated as normal when acting on your feelings, no matter how bizarre those feelings might be.

Dr. King was willing to go to jail so that his children could live in a just world. The sexual progressives want everyone else to go to jail for not agreeing with them.

The line has to be drawn somewhere. You may be the most tolerant person alive, but at some point you have to say no. A friend was telling me of a conversation with a young student who had no problem with homosexuality. When he asked the student about transgenderism, the response was the same. No problem.

And then he asked the student about men being allowed to use women’s rest rooms.

The student, a female, suddenly had a problem.

What an intolerant, bigot she was.

Or maybe she was just a hypocrite.

Eventually, everything becomes too offensive and all statues and quotes have to be taken down, all books have to be burned and all speech must be policed. This is no way for a free people to live. Free people train themselves to deal with something that they may passionately disagree with but which does not directly harm them.

Dr. King fought so that all people could be judged by the content of their character.

But that’s not enough for today’s sexual progressive. They would rather be judged by their feelings and judge others by their own hurt feelings.

But this shouldn’t surprise us.

Being offended by a quote about character is quite natural for a people with no character.

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The Talk

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Almost every parent dreads the day. Some completely avoid it. But if you care about your child, you won’t. In fact, you’ll have the talk with your kid as soon as possible.

The talk, of course, is that conversation that parents are supposed to have with their kids about sex.

The typical approach of putting it off for as long as possible only to tell vague stories about birds and bees has been a complete disaster. It has left us with generations of kids whose understanding of sex has been shaped by emotion, television and/or whatever member of the football coaching staff lost that year’s bet and had to teach 8th grade health. What could possibly go wrong when your view of love, sex and marriage is shaped by the local public school and the cast of Teen Mom 2?

It turns out, a lot.

I can’t tell you at what age you need to talk to your kids about sex. Every kid is different. What I can tell you is that you need to have that talk early. But where do you start?

Here’s a good place.

“What do you know about sex?”

You’ll get two types of answers to that question.

Your kid could tell you that he knows a little bit about sex. If you haven’t talked to him about it before, that means that you’ve got some deprogramming to do. And prayer. A lot of prayer. A little learning is a dangerous thing, especially when a child is the one doing the learning, the culture is the one doing the teaching and sex is the subject.

The second answer still involves prayer but it’s a much better scenario. When you ask him what he knows about sex, you’re kid will look at you like you just asked for his opinion on quantum mechanics and he’ll tell you that he doesn’t know anything about sex.

“Sex? What’s that? Could you please pass the Fruit Loops?”

Rejoice and be glad! He is still a blank canvas.

Talking to your child about sex is awkward. For you. But if you’re the first one to talk to her about it, it won’t be awkward for her. Remember, she has no idea what it is. And that’s a good thing. It’s your job to teach her what the Bible says about sex as well as where and why the world is so wrong about it. But trust me on this, if you think that talking to your ten-year-old daughter about sex is awkward, try waiting until she’s 16 and has already had her mind shaped by the programmers at MTV and her heart crushed by the predators in her history class.

Safe sex is a myth. The entire philosophy is built upon the idea that sex is purely physical. Sex is just as much an act of the heart as it is a function of the body. They can make pills to keep you from getting pregnant and devices to keep you from catching a disease but there is no pill or condom that will protect the human heart. That’s where parents come in.

Parents, if you’re doing your job and if your kids are listening to what you say, they won’t need condoms and pills. You will be the only protection they’ll ever need. And it starts with a slightly awkward conversation.

If you have the talk early, it will probably be a quick conversation. The idea isn’t to tell your kids everything there is to know about sex. Rather, your agenda should be to teach them the truth about sex early so that the continual barrage of lies they will encounter will be easily exposed for the foolishness that they are.

Parents, you should be the first ones to talk to your kids about sex. And that first talk shouldn’t be the only talk. It should be the beginning of an ongoing conversation. But that won’t happen if you procrastinate or pass your job off onto your kid’s school.

You may not know what to say at first.

And it might be awkward.

But these are sacrifices worth making so that your son will not have to navigate through the deadly deceptions about sex all alone.

And be sure of this.

The navigating will likely begin at a much earlier age for him than it did for you.

So have the talk already.

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