Marines.Together We Served

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

When Silence is Deadly

“This case is about a doctor who killed babies and endangered women. What we mean is that he regularly and illegally delivered live, viable, babies in the third trimester of pregnancy – and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal chords with scissors. The medical practice by which he carried out this business was a filthy fraud in which he overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels – and, on at least two occasions, caused their deaths. Over the years, many people came to know that something was going on here. But no one put a stop to it.”

The above paragraph is the opening statement (Section 1: Overview) by the Pennsylvania Grand Jury that conducted an investigation into an abortion doctor who was finally arrested for his “house of horrors” medical practice. The full, gruesome details of the decades long murder of newborn babies, and the constant endangerment of the mothers due to unsafe and unsanitary conditions is outlined in the Grand Jury’s 281 page report. It is not bedtime reading!

Aborted Babies in Dr. Gosnell's office

Among other things, what makes this a criminal act is that the doctor killed babies after they were born. These were not aborted babies. They were very much alive (The fact that the babies could have been aborted from the womb with no serious argument as far as criminality is concerned, as opposed to the killing of babies minutes old being considered murder is grist for another article). Even more chilling is that this doctor is not a crazy. On the contrary, he believes he is perfectly in the right to do what he did. I suppose he will face trial for his actions, but didn’t we open the door for such heinous activity with the passage of Roe v Wade nearly forty years ago?

Under the umbrella of Roe v Wade, women were to have clean, sanitary medical environments in abortion clinics where they could safely dispose of the cause of their unwanted pregnancy. It was all to be so neat and clean! But alas! Such has not been the case as evidenced by this murderous doctor in Pennsylvania. Are you aware, for instance, that Roe v Wade only authorized abortions up through the second trimester? Unborn babies that were in the third trimester were not to be aborted. Where has the regulatory board for such things been? Abortion clinics have routinely been aborting babies at any stage of the pregnancy.

We have created a climate in our society that has pushed the limits on practically everything that was once believed to be sacrosanct, sacred, holy, even untouchable.

Dr. Gosnell's Abortion Clinic

For several decades complaints about this doctor and his unorthodox practices were ignored by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Pennsylvania Department of State, and the Pennsylvania Department of Public Health. It’s not as if these agencies were unaware of what was going on, because at various times over the years inspections of the premises were made with comments given that this was the worst abortion clinic ever. But no one did anything about it! Now after hundreds of murdered babies, the Pennsylvania Grand Jury finally conducts and investigation and recommends numerous charges be brought against Dr. Kermit Gosnell and members of his staff. They range from the murder of babies, 3rd degree murder of a mother, infanticide, violations of controlled substances, hindering prosecution, obstruction of justice, tampering with evidence, and perjury, among other charges. The authorities may eventually put this doctor and some of his staff behind bars, but the damage done to lives is unconscionable.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell
 Among the various ghastly items discovered in this “house of horrors” were countless numbers of small jars containing the severed feet of the babies killed by Dr. Gosnell.

I am sickened by this story. And I fear there are still other houses of horror that have yet to surface. When will sanity and respect for the sacred return to our nation?

Have we failed to learn anything from the Holocaust seventy years ago when equally despicable actions were foisted upon an entire race of people – the Jews? People simply looked the other way. They said nothing then, too. Are we any different?

God have mercy on us!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Root Cause

As have many of you, I watched with great interest as the tragic and sordid details of the saga of the Tucson shooting unfolded. Last night my wife and I watched the memorial service for the six victims killed by Jared Loughner, held in the basketball stadium at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

But the question that comes to my mind when I hear of some dastardly deed like this, is, “Why is it we’re always surprised when these horrific acts of violence occur?” Are we shocked? Yes. But should we be surprised? No.

A little more than a year ago, an Army major, an avowed Muslim cavorting with those who want our nation destroyed, pulled a pistol and shot numerous people at Fort Hood, a number of which died. Shocking, but not surprising. At Virginia Tech, a student killed any number of his fellow students. Same with Columbine High School. Shocking! Not surprising.

“Okay, Pastor Roots,” you ask, “where are you going with this?” Glad you asked!

We can sit and wring our hands in despair, asking the questions that plague all of us at such times, “Why did this happen? Who could do such a thing?” The answer is quite simple, actually. Any person who is not in a right relationship with God is capable of doing the worst acts imaginable. Follow me here. God made us to live in fellowship with him. Unfortunately, man’s history is a roller coaster ride of highs and lows in his relationship to God.

As a Christian, I see this story of man being in and out of fellowship with God repeated throughout the Old and New Testaments. The reason there’s no end to the Bible, for instance, is that we are still living it – and the pattern of man’s on-again, off-again relationship with God hasn’t changed.

When the American colonies rebelled and won their independence from Britain, men stepped forward to lead this fledgling nation. These were godly men, for the most part. A few weeks ago I wrote an article for this column about the religion and morality of the Founding Fathers. Early in the article I stated, “In the infancy of this ‘Grand Experiment,’ known as the United States, it was well understood that we would succeed only if we remained committed to our religious and moral principles, and the precepts contained in the Bible.” You see, there was a healthy fear of God in our American ancestors. They had a very high regard for God and his truth. The more removed from this part of our history we have become, the more we fall into the pit of despair. We feel abandoned by God. And because of our sin, God is under no obligation to come to our rescue until we repent. This is the root cause of our societal troubles.

In today’s society, we are doing all we can to remove anything and everything having to do with God from business, politics, the entertainment industry, even our military, with disturbing attempts to restrict what you and I can practice regarding our faith in our churches and even our homes. We have been slowly, yet increasingly losing our fear of God. When the natural disasters occur, such as Hurricane Katrina, the tsunami in Indonesia, the earthquakes of Haiti and Chile, or the man-made terrors of Tucson, and the rest already cited, we are sure quick to call on God. But even when we do, it is often with an accusatory tone that blames the Lord, “God, you let this happen! You could have prevented it!”

Did you happen to notice that during the memorial service for the Tucson victims last evening, Director of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, read from the Old Testament; followed by the Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder, reading from the New Testament? Even the president read from the Bible during his speech. In a crisis everyone wants to get close to God. That’s fine. But I see no fear of God, particularly from our leaders. No shame for our willful, selfish behavior. No attempt to even excuse our over-indulgent attitudes and appetites. “Sin? What sin?” we ask. Yet we are a nation that has legalized abortion. To date, we are guilty of some fifty million deaths of unborn babies. This alone tells me we have lost the fear of God.

In Genesis, Abraham is traveling through an area between today’s Egypt and Israel. The people he encounters greatly concern him. Abraham said to himself, “There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me . . .” And I fear that we are walking around in America today, saying, “Surely there is no fear of God in this place. I might be killed.”

Immediately after delivering the Ten Commandments, Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”

My prayer is that the United States of America will be tested by God so that the fear of God will be with us to keep us from sinning. I am convinced that this is the only answer for our grossly decaying, increasingly godless society.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

An Act of Grace

The other day my secretary handed me an article she found in one of our recent missionary publications. What she wanted me to see is one of the most heart-warming stories I’ve read in a long time.

In my denomination, the Free Methodist Church, we are arranged in the U.S. by geographical regions called Conferences. Each conference has the responsibility of financially supporting different Free Methodist missionaries around the globe. There are three missionary couples/individuals our conference, the Sierra Pacific Conference, supports. The story I want to share with you comes from a missionary school where the Williams family is serving. Two of their daughters play on the high school girl’s basketball team. What follows is what can happen when God is glorified and not man.

After years of avid rivalry between girls’ basketball teams at Grace International School (GIS) and Chiang Mai International School (CMIS), both in Thailand, one act of kindness restored the relationship damaged by competition.

In the fourth quarter of the final game – in haste to let everyone play – Coach Walden of GIS accidentally put an eleventh girl on the court. But when GIS beat CMIS by at least thirty points, their victory was too quickly claimed. A referee verified the error, and then debated with other coaches and authorities. Should Grace be disqualified for their violation of the rules even though it was a moot point, since Grace was so far ahead, or should Grace be recognized as the champions?

Other athletic directors agreed to bend the rules and accept a GIS championship. But Coach Walden adamantly refused. “We made a mistake, and we’ll take the consequences,” he stated.

As GIS received their Second Place awards due to disqualification, Grace girls graciously received the silver medals, hugged Coach and Mrs. Walden, and then sat down.

Moments before, the Grace girls had huddled around Coach and Mrs. Walden. “We told them it was okay. Second Place didn’t matter. The glory goes to God, not to us anyway,” one GIS senior said.

Then the CMIS girl’s varsity made a huge sacrifice. After being presented with their gold medals, they asked the Grace girls to stand. The rivals faced each other; then a CMIS player said, “Girls, let’s trade.” The CMIS girls removed their gold medals and placed them on the GIS girls, who then took the silver medals for themselves. In so doing they honored the Grace girls as champions. Coaches, teammates and folks in the stands were in tears!

One Grace player said, “We haven’t had the most peaceful rivalry this season, so I honor them. I was wowed by CMIS’ decision.”

In the annals of sports legends and lore, this championship between two schools of missionary kids played somewhere in a faraway country that most of us couldn’t locate on a map, won’t even merit a footnote. ESPN will know nothing of this act of God’s grace. The NCAA won’t be contacting Coach Walden to return to the U.S. to be the coach for the championship UConn Lady Huskies. No four-year athletic scholarships will be offered to any of these girls. But let me ask you: Wouldn’t you want to have any one of these girls on your team?

But! I would venture to say that in the holy halls of heaven this story is told and retold as one more example of what happens when people live for God; when they put him first in their lives; and don’t care about the baubles and bangles of this life’s rewards. Instead, because hearts have been changed through faith in Jesus Christ, it is God who gets the glory!

Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men that they see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

As you look at your life, who is the one being glorified? You or God?

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Sorry! Not Buying

Happy New Year!

For those of you who have been reading my column (I’m in my 9th year!) for any time now, you know that I am quite eclectic when it comes to the topics I write about each week. As one person said to me, “I never know what you’re going to write about from week to week.” I responded, “Neither do I!”

I thought I might share a few of my views regarding the Global Warming issue. There are a number of reasons why I have a hard time buying into this notion that man is causing global warming.

First: the organizations that are backing this philosophy are way to the left politically, believing that man is the cause of every ill visited upon the planet. The underlying belief expounded by these Armageddonists is that the earth is extremely delicate. Man is poisoning the air, soil and water. Make no mistake! God appointed the human race to take care of his creation, so we are responsible for doing everything we can to protect our planet. Heedlessly dumping waste into our atmosphere, ground, and water is foolish, to put it kindly. But the earth has demonstrated time and again that it has the ability to rejuvenate itself. Case in point: the mega-oil spill in the Gulf last summer. My goodness! To listen to the prognosticators, the fishing industry along the Gulf Coast was going to be ruined for a decade or more! Any word on this now? No. The slick is no longer there. And not because man removed it, but because we couldn’t find it! Oh yeah – the Gulf fisherman? Including those who fish for crustaceans (shrimp, crab, etc.)? They’re back to fishing.

Second: the person most identified with the Global Warming theory is none other than Al Gore. Can anyone seriously believe this man has any credibility? His “hair on fire” attitude about global warming makes him the worst scare-monger on the planet. Besides, he stands to make a ton of money hawking global warming for businesses that are profiting from this scare.

Third: I remember only too well that back in the ‘70s we were being warned about an impending new Ice Age. So now we’re to believe were entering Global Warming instead. Sorry, I’m not buying it! In recent days, the exceptionally cold weather the United States has been experiencing for the past eighteen months is blamed on – you guessed it! – Global Warming. How can they say this with a straight face? Ironically, Great Britain is experiencing the second coldest winter on record, and possibly the coldest in 1000 years. I say it is ironic because the global warming center of the world is in East Anglia, England. These so-called professional scientists were caught last summer sending e-mails to each other in an attempt to come up with more ways to fool the public about global warming. They are also the ones who predicted that by the year 2000, we would no longer have snow due to – there it is again – Global Warming. Within a few years "children just aren't going to know what snow is." Snowfall will be "a very rare and exciting event," said Dr. David Viner. One of today’s weather stories said that Phoenix, Arizona had snow, and was expecting a low tonight of 30 degrees.

Fourth: Hurricane Katrina (2005) and other storms arising from the Atlantic were supposedly the result of global warming. We were told that these disasters were merely the beginning of more hurricanes that would come barreling into out Gulf Coast and Eastern Seaboard. But in 2006 there were hardly any hurricanes worth noting, and the activity since Katrina has been lackluster, to say the least. Now if you live along the coast, that’s a good thing. 2005 was the year on record with the most hurricane activity. But what about 2009? And 2010? These two years rank as the lowest, and second (or third) lowest in activity. The information on 2010 has not been finalized, but as of the end of November it is quite low. The hurricane season ends in December. But the folks who make a living predicting such stuff have really missed the mark. I suspect they derive a certain amount of glee in scaring the rest of us. Well, not this kid!

I’m fully aware that there are very good people arguing from both sides of this global warming issue, but I can’t bring myself to buy into the theory that we are doing ourselves in this way. One of the prime reasons I do not accept this is that the Bible states we are going to see the world end in an entirely different manner. But that’s a story for another day.

Anyway, bundle up! It’s going to be a cold winter. Blame it on global warming!

Happy New Year!