It was the wrong place to take a stand- until govenment bullies forced the issue

I've said many times before that I personally don't see why a Christian- however orthodox- should have a problem baking a cake for a gay or lesbian "wedding." In no sense does selling a cake constitute an endorsement of the event.

But with the decision of the Oregon officials responsible for imposing strict party line political beliefs on the public to penalize the owners of Sweetcakes a whopping $135,000 for their stand, the issue changes. Now it's a matter of abusing the authority of the State to suppress political and religious viewpoints the State disapproves of.

The owners of Sweetcakes are going to fight.

Good for them.

This campaign is fun already!

I really hope those polls showing superficial gasbag Donald Trump with a huge lead in the Republican primary are a temporary phenomenon, a glitch in a process which often manifests some rather bizarre aspects especially this far out.

But Joey the Clown is considering entering the Democratic race- and Hillary is losing ground among white women.

And with Socialist distraction Bernie Sanders already running wild on the Democratic side, this could be an interesting year. It could also be a make-or-break year for the Constitution and the future of the Republic.

Every election seems at the time likely to be the most important of my lifetime. But with the number of Supreme Court seats the next president will fill, it's hard for me to imagine how the stakes could be higher than they are this time.

HT: Drudge

The pope really, REALLY needs to get a clue

I regard all that talk about Pope Francis- a kindly, well-meaning if inept and naïve man- personally being the Antichrist prophesied in Revelation to be 100%, Donald Trump-grade hot air.

But I can understand how some people are beginning to wonder.

A Mass said next to a portrait of Che Guevara in a land where Christ's people are oppressed and persecuted? Once more, this pope crucifies Christ anew.

HT: Drudge

Sorry, but we're not getting out of this early

Pr. Stephen Schmidt explores the common- and absolutely unbiblical- notion of "the Rapture."

Racially welcoming denominations? LCMS is second from the top; ELCA third from the bottom

A sociologist decided that it would be interesting to find out how welcoming various denominations were to blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities. So he sent emails to various congregations purporting to be from members of those groups and inquiring about membership.

Despite all the blather about social justice and "inclusiveness" among the liberal denominations, they were the most cold and discouraging. The Evangelical churches were the most accepting and open to minorities.

The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod was the second most accepting denomination. Only the Willow Creek churches did better.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America ranked third from the bottom.

Interesting. I wonder whether it might not just be a matter of who takes the Great Commission- and "inclusiveness-" more seriously in practice rather than theory. Kind of hard to whip up much missionary fervor among universalists, after all. And if you don't take the Bible seriously when it comes to sexual ethics or even the content of the Gospel, why take it seriously when it challenges your prejudices?

When you start condoning sin on a wholesale basis, it's kind of hard, in practice, to be selective when it comes to matters of race.

Socialist countries have trouble producing toilet paper

Should Sen. Kirk step aside?

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill), whom I admire, had a stroke in 2012 and has said some... well... unfortunate things of late. For example, he addressed presidential candidate Lindsey Graham's singleness by saying, "He's a bro with no ho."

Some think he needs to be replaced. Perhaps.

But Ron Paul, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and others have been saying odd things for a long time. I hope that Sen. Kirk. learns to discipline his tongue- and sticks around.

We need sane people- and especially sane Republicans- in the Senate. And for the most part, Mark Kirk has shown better sense than a great many of his colleagues.

Sorry, Mr. President. You're no FDR.

Contrary to President Obama's claim that he could win a third term if the Constitution permitted it, a new Rasmussen poll shows that 63% of American voters would vote against him if he ran again.

Only 30% say that they'd vote for him.

Gay rights supporters on anti-Christian bigot Dan Savage

This is encouraging: not all gay activists, it seems, are haters like Dan Savage.

Weep for America

How is the Left's war on religion possible?

I only wish that this were a surprise.

HT: Drudge

"We have ALWAYS been at war with East Asia."

The current issue of The Advocate, a propaganda organ of the homosexualist movement, features a fist on its cover. On the fingers of the fist the word 'HATE' is spelled out; the "t" is a cross. The caption: "THE BACKLASH: Christian Conservatives are Out to Get You."

Excuse me if I take a moment to chuckle. "The Christians are gonna get you if you don't watch out?" Really?

Here is an article which portrays the actual nature of the non-debate over the acceptance of homosexuality in our culture- one in which merely to argue in the negative is to risk one's livelihood, career, and future.

And having the facts on your side- being able to document what you say- matters not a bit.

Truth doesn't matter. Science doesn't matter. What matters is the party line.

What matters is the will to power.

St. Robert Barnes, Martyr

Today is the 475th anniversary of the martyrdom of Robert Barnes, English Lutheran reformer and personal friend of Luther.

Barnes, who had served as an Augustinian prior, was one of the Cambridge scholars who gathered at the White Horse Inn for theological study and discussion. He received his Doctor of Divinity degree in 1523, and was arrested and brought before Cardinal Wolsey for preaching a Lutheran sermon in 1526. Given the choice of recanting or being burned at the stake, Barnes chose the former, and was committed once again to the Augustinian monastery. He escaped to Antwerp, however, and proceeded from there to Wittenberg, where he met Luther and was a guest in his home. While there, he also made the acquaintance of Stephen Vaughn, an agent of Thomas Cromwell. Barnes made a good impression on Vaughn, who recommended him to Cromwell. Commenting on a book Barnes had written, he wrote prophetically to the Protestant who would replace Wolsey as Henry VIII's chancellor, "Look well. It is such a piece of work as I have not yet seen any like it. I think he shall seal it with his blood."

Barnes became one of the intermediaries between Luther and the princes who supported him on one hand, and Henry VIII on the other. He was sent by Henry to Wittenberg to attempt to obtain Luther's support for his divorce from Catherine of Aragon. His mission failed miserably; Luther- with his typical lack of diplomacy- began his letter to the newly divorced and remarried Henry, "Martin Luther, by the grace of God minister at Wittenberg, to Henry, to the disgrace of God King of England, greetings."

Forced again to apologize and recant after attacking Catholic Bishop Stephen Gardiner, Barnes reverted to Lutheranism when Cromwell was made Earl of Essex and Bishop Sampson, one of Gardiner's closest friends, was sent to the tower. But the king's disastrous marriage to Anne of Cleves sealed the fate of both Cromwell and Barnes. Cromwell was deposed, and on July 30, 1540 Barnes was burned at the stake at Smithfield, London. Fellow Lutherans William Jerome and Thomas Gerrard were burned with him. Catholics Thomas Abel, William Fetherstone and Edward Powell were hanged for treason in denying Henry's claim to be head of the English church at the same time.

Barnes- not always the most tactful man during his life- died with sublime courage. His eloquent final words proclaimed his firm adherence to the doctrine of justification by grace alone, through faith alone, for Christ's sake alone, and scores of onlookers were said to have been converted to Lutheranism by his words and by the manner of his death. When word reached Wittenberg, Luther openly mourned the passing of the man he called "this blessed martyr, St. Robertus."

Seldom remembered today, and like all of the Lutheran martyrs for some reason omitted from the Lutheran calendar, Barnes remains an outstanding figure in the history of the English Reformation and of the Lutheran church. His story should be more widely known.

Praise, too, for England's martyr
Of brighter faith than fame,
Whose witness to the Gospel
Glowed brightest in the flame.
Lord, grant that our confession,
Like Robert's, may inspire
In other hearts the kindling
Of Your most holy fire!

-A verse for For All Your Saints in Warfare, LSB 517-518.


Did Planned Parenthood help cover up a rape- and enable the victim's ongoing abuse?

Mark Hemingway points out a particularly unnerving outgrowth of the baby parts scandal.

Planned Parenthood in Colorado apparently failed to report the rape of a thirteen year-old girl, failed to obtain her parents' consent (required by law) before performing an abortion on her- and then returned her to the custody of her abuser.

My favorite lesbian atheist lets loose a broadside

Of unicorns and computer programing

Here is a post which begins with the simplest, most straightforward, and truest explanation of why it's nothing short of ridiculous to say that limiting marriage to heterosexuals is, in any sense, discrimination- or that Obergefell makes the slightest logical, much less legal or constitutional, sense.

It then goes on to predict what we can expect in the future from those who have argued for gay "marriage" on the ground of "tolerance."


Donald Trump has the money to get better lawyers.

In the unlikely event that he's even around after the early primaries, the Donaldmeister is going to regret hiring this one.

The Iranians might cheat on the nuke deal in the future...

And she doubtless doesn't see the irony

You know that doctor who served as Planned Parenthood's "point person" in the baby parts selling scandal?

Guess what she does as her day job!

I choose not to believe this poll

One of my favorite Bill Buckley lines was the time he told somebody- I don't remember who, "I won't insult your intelligence by accepting that you really believe that."

Granted, this Rasmussen poll was taken before Donald Trump's recent idiotic statements have had a chance to sink in.

But as somebody at least on the outskirts of the Republican party, I find it very worrisome.

I will not insult the intelligence of the rank-and-file of the Republican party by accepting that they really have a more favorable opinion of Old Tribble Head than of a decorated American hero.

After 583 years, a new contender for the title 'Worst Political Blunder in the History of Civilization'

Thomas Sowell details the reasons why he believes that the nuclear deal just struck with Iran will make an Iranian bomb "inevitable."

We may have just made nuclear terrorism and even World War III inevitable, too.

Now go way, Donald.

Donald Trump says that John McCain isn't a real hero?

Well, Mark Cuban says that Donald Trump isn't a real billionaire.

Now go away, Donald.

HT: Yardbarker

So much for the Scout Oath- if you're an orthodox Christian or a traditional Jew or Muslim

On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.

I was a scout. I belonged to a troop sponsored by my church. Now, only churches which have apostatized on the matter of sexual ethics will sponsor Boy Scout troops, as a practical matter.

Since the new policy espoused by the Boy Scouts of America leaves the decision as to whether openly gay scout leaders will be permitted up to local councils, some few may hold out for a time- under intense pressure. Ultimately, they will cave in to that pressure. Even now, they certainly ought to see the handwriting on the wall.

Hey. There are still congregations within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America which confess the historic Christian faith; a bizarre provision in the ELCA decision to "unsin" homosexuality guarantees them the right of dissent- even while making themselves publicly complicit in their church body's departure from historic Christianity by the very act of remaining a part of it. For a while. They, too, will melt under the pressure eventually. And only the willfully naïve can fail to see the handwriting on the wall even now.

Same with the Scouts.

The Scouts held out bravely for years amid intense pressure from the "progressive' totalitarians. Let's not forget that as we mourn the death of an institution that now stands for the exact opposite of what so many generations of Scouts and Scouters joined it precisely because it espoused.

Any way you slice it, promiscuity isn't "morally straight." And neither is a lifestyle built upon it.

Shame on you, Mr. President.

Quite a week for Mr. Obama.

First, a nuke deal that doesn't really prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

And now, a Castro-Cuban embassy in Washington.

Shame on a weakling president.

HT: Drudge

An idea whose time came a long time ago- and is still here

In view of the Supreme Court's penchant for constitutionally inane rulings like Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges, it's reassuring that a new poll shows voter support for a Constitutional amendment imposing term limits on Supreme Court justices.

One more suggestion: amend the Constitution to enable voters to recall Supreme Court justices.

HT: Drudge

I would not vote for Ted Cruz. I would not vote for Rand Paul. And I certainly would not vote for Donald Trump.

Donald Trump is an idiot.

An idiot with absolutely no class.

Certainly without the kind of class hero John McCain has.

We owe McCain our gratitude. Trump, on the other hand, deserves our contempt.

Speaking of selling things and polls...

...when it comes to the Democrat's hysterical talk about a Republican "war on women," the voters ain't buying it.

Selling books is one thing, even in a bad cause. But now, Planned Parenthood has gone to far.

Voters are not amused by the revelation that Planned Parenthood sells the body parts of aborted fetuses.

Count on it: the words "Planned Parenthood Book Sale" is going to be heard by many of us as "Planned Parenthood Book and Dead Baby Fragment Sale."

Yes, it's a joke

You know, sometimes it's really, really hard to tell The Onion from the New York Times or the Washington Post.

Here's an example.

This pope...

... is a disaster for all of Christianity.

Read it and weep like Jesus did over the grave of Lazarus.

I have a hunch that He weeps over the picture in the article linked to above, too. In the crucifix Pope Francis holds, Christ is crucified anew. And Francis seems not to "get it."

What could be more obviously inappropriate and even blasphemous than a piece of art which combines the symbol of Christ's suffering with the emblem of such a prolific persecutor of His followers?

Sorry, guys, but Americans still haven't bought marriage redefiniton- and certainly not the exaltation of "gay rights' over the First Amendment

The only time polls on Obergefell and the public position on marriage redefinition get much publicity get much attention in the media is when they purport to show that Americans strongly approve of it. The trouble is, lots of polls reach the opposite conclusion. It depends in large measure, of course, on how the question is worded and who is asked.

This AP poll, for example, shows that Americans do, indeed favor marriage redefinition- by two percentage points. And it also shows that where religious liberties conflict with gay rights, Americans believe by a margin of 17 points that religious liberties should prevail.

It's conclusions are ideologically incorrect, so probably won't hear about this poll too often in the objective, unbiased mainstream media.

HT: Drudge

How "progressives" completely- and disasterously- misunderstand freedom of religion

Here speaks a "progressive" giant:

The First Amendment, however, does not say that in every and all respects there shall be a separation of Church and State...Otherwise the state and religion would be aliens to each other - hostile, suspicious, and even unfriendly... Municipalities would not be permitted to render police or fire protection to religious groups. Policemen who helped parishioners into their places of worship would violate the Constitution. Prayers in our legislative halls; the appeals to the Almighty in the messages of the Chief Executive; the proclamations making Thanksgiving Day a holiday; "so help me God" in our courtroom oaths - these and all other references to the Almighty that run through our laws, our public rituals, our ceremonies would be flouting the First Amendment. A fastidious atheist or agnostic could even object to the supplication with which the Court opens each session: 'God save the United States and this Honorable Court...'

We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being... When the state encourages religious follows the best of our traditions. For it then respects the religious nature of our people and accommodates the public service to their spiritual needs.

To hold that it may not would be to find in the Constitution a requirement that the government show a callous indifference to religious groups. That would be preferring those who believe in no religion over those who do believe... We find no constitutional requirement which makes it necessary for government to be hostile to religion...We cannot read into the Bill of Rights such a philosophy of hostility to religion.

--Justice William O. Douglas
Zorach v. Clauson, 1952

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc) has joined DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz in espousing a revisionist view which severely restricts the scope of the First Amendment's protection of freedom of religion. Whereas Schultz argued that only individuals as individuals- and not as owners of corporations- enjoy freedom of religion, Sen. Baldwin has gone even further, arguing in effect that even individuals enjoy the protection of the First Amendment for their religious views only within the walls of their own places of worship.

Frightened yet? You should be.

The First Amendment itself is clear: "Congress shall pass no law regarding an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." One wonders where Sen. Baldwin and Chairperson Schultz find these relatively straightforward words confusing. But of course, reading things into the Constitution which aren't there is more or less customary for folks of their political viewpoint. Roe v. Wade and Obergfell v. Hodges are cases in point.

Jefferson's commentary on the First Amendment's guarantee of religious freedom can be found in his "Letter to the Danbury Baptists:"

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

Sen. Baldwin may, if she chooses, argue where one's "social duties" lie. It should be noted, however, that her side of the argument has thus far done so by artfully confusing discrimination against a class of people who are not, per se, discriminated against (those of a particular sexual orientation), and moral disapproval of and even revulsion against behaviors to which that orientation inclines them.

Anti-discrimination laws in matters of sexual orientation may well be both valid and binding. But there can be no constitutional justification for requiring anyone to approve of someone else's behavior. And it is only as regards the behavior of gay and lesbian persons, rather than their orientation, that any significant religious disapproval of homosexuality exists. Problems with gay "marriage," it should be noted, are problems with the behavior, not the ontological condition of sexual orientation.

Note that the actual originator of the phrase "separation of church and state-" another president,James Madison- also wrote a letter to some church folks elaborating on the concept. Madison wrote to a Lutheran pastor,

It is a pleasing and persuasive example of pious zeal, united with pure benevolence and of a cordial attachment to a particular creed, untinctured with sectarian illiberality. It illustrates the excellence of a system which, by a due distinction, to which the genius and courage of Luther led the way, between what is due to Caesar and what is due God, best promotes the discharge of both obligations. The experience of the United States is a happy disproof of the error so long rooted in the unenlightened minds of well-meaning Christians, as well as in the corrupt hearts of persecuting usurpers, that without a legal incorporation of religious and civil polity, neither could be supported. A mutual independence is found most friendly to practical Religion, to social harmony, and to political prosperity.

But wait! Luther's doctrine of the Two Kingdoms argued that God is the ruler of both of the "Kingdoms!" Strictly speaking, the "Kingdom of the Left Hand" is not the State, and the "Kingdom of the Right Hand" is not the Church. Rather, the "Kingdom of the Right-" which exists only in the Church- is the realm of mercy, forgiveness, and the distinctively Christian Gospel. The "Kingdom of the Left," on the other hand, is the realm of justice, and its citizens are both Christians and non-Christians.

The very concept positively excludes the notion of a separation of religion and state- and (excuse the expression) thank God! It was the specifically religious convictions of Christians which motivated and fueled the Abolitionist and Civil Rights movements, as well as the various anti-war and social reformist movements of both American and English history (Wilberforce's war against the slave trade, for example was motivated as by his evangelical Christian beliefs as even John Brown's opposition to American slavery). The key principle here is that to the extent that an issue is one involving the Kingdom of the Left Hand- justice and natural law, as opposed to the Gospel- it cannot be merely a religious viewpoint. It may be held by people of various religious convictions, or none at all. Insofar, then, as it is a matter of ethics or justice rather than specifically sectarian faith, there can be no question of even a religiously motivated political position running afoul of Jefferson's "wall of separation."

Which pretty much puts paid to the nearly universal "progressive" misunderstanding to the effect that any religiously motivated political position must necessarily violate that "wall of separation-" and certainly to the bizarre notion which seems to be nearly universal on the Left that secularism in the context of the relationship between religion and state means the exclusion of religion from public dialog and the virtual establishment, if you will, of atheism or at least agnosticism as an effective state "religion!"

The principle of the Founders- as Justice Douglas points out- is government neutrality among all the various belief systems regarding ultimate things, not the favoring of rationalistic or non-supernatural belief systems as opposed to more conventionally religious ones. And the notion of Sen. Baldwin and Chairperson Schultz is thereby excluded.

I've heard Sen. Baldwin's bizarre argument from "progressive" Orwellians before, in the aftermath of the Holly Hobby ruling by the Supreme Court. If you have any doubt that "progressives" and the Democratic party generally have declared all-out war on the First Amendment, wake up. Everything you treasure about being an American is on the line here.

Here is a useful discussion of the issue by the Rev. Matthew Harrison, the president of my church body, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. It should be noted once again that the term "temporal government" as used by President Harrison does not mean only civil government, but also church government- any exercise of authority involving law and compulsion as opposed to the currency of the "Kingdom of the Right:" mercy, grace, forgiveness and love.

On balance, it seems to me hard to miss the compelling character of Justice Douglas's opinion in Zorach. One wonders how the Democratic party and "progressives" generally manage to completely and consistently do so.

HT: Cranach

Running afoul of a Stalinist Democratic judge

Looks like the Democrats have even adopted the old Soviet trick of discrediting and punishing the opposition by misusing psychiatry.

HT: Drudge

Sen. Baldwin: Americans have no right to freedom of religion outside their church or synogogue buildings!

Sen Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)- the Senate's only openly-avowed lesbian- says that Americans have no Constitutional right to freedom of religion outside the sanctuary of their own churches or synagogues.

Seems to me, Sen. Baldwin, that you ought to read a document before you swear to support and defend it. Precisely what part of "nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof" don't you understand?

I've heard Sen. Baldwin's bizarre argument from "progressive" Orwellians before, in the aftermath of the Holly Hobby ruling by the Supreme Court. DNC Debbie Wasserman, for example, made pretty much the same argument on that occasion.If you have any doubt that "progressives" and the Democratic party generally have declared all-out war on the First Amendment, wake up. Everything you treasure about being an American is on the line here.

In particular, your freedom of conscience is at risk.

A Sharp pain.

It was expected. But still....ouch!