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Theological Matters

Theological Insights from Southwestern

Evan Lenow

Federal Judge Strikes Down Texas Marriage Amendment

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In what is now a string of cases decided by federal judges regarding state laws, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia has struck down Texas’ constitutional amendment defining marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman. After the state legislature presented the amendment in 2005, 76% of Texas voters approved the addition of the amendment to the state constitution. Read More »

Will All the Ducks Fly Away?

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“God, Family, Ducks…in that order.” So reads the Twitter profile of Jase Robertson, one of the stars of A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” reality show. It looks like that saying is about to be tested. A&E has suspended Phil Robertson, father of Jase, Willie, and Jep Robertson and founder of Duck Commander, for his recent comments about homosexuality in an interview published in GQ. Read More »

ObamaCare, Contraception, and the War on Women

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What is the war on women? The phrase has been used by various political groups to characterize attitudes related to the perspective on women’s roles in the home and workplace. In recent days, the idea of a war on women has been used to describe the debate over whether or not the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a., ObamaCare) should provide all forms of FDA-approved contraceptives to women at no cost to them. The typical accusations of a war against women have been lobbed against conservatives who seek to limit the government’s role in providing contraceptives. Read More »

When a Man Is Not Really a Man

No MenWomen have been giving birth to children since the beginning of the world. Men, however, have apparently figured out how to accomplish this feat only recently. In fact, it seems quite popular these days for media outlets to plaster across their pages a headline that includes some version of “Man Gives Birth.” Read More »

Juggling the Politics of a Justice: Ginsburg Officiates Same-Sex Wedding

We rarely see Supreme Court justices wade into the waters of political controversy outside the opinions issued from the hallowed halls of the nation’s highest court. The reason for staying away from controversy is that justices who delve into political issues in the public square but away from the bench may find themselves under fire for politicizing the office that is supposed to be free of politics. Read More »

Money or Moniker: The Ryan Braun Scandal

The sports world was in an uproar last week over the Ryan Braun scandal and his 65-game suspension from Major League Baseball. For those less invested in the MLB than myself, Braun plays left field for the Milwaukee Brewers and was the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player. In October 2011, he appealed a positive drug test and won on a technicality. Then he declared that he had never used performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) and gained the vocal support of his teammates and friends. Now Braun has accepted a 65-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy—basically admitting his use of PEDs. Read More »

The Supreme Court and the Future of Marriage

June 26, 2013. Mark this day down in history.

I haven’t lived long enough to remember too many historic moments. I remember where I was when the Challenger space shuttle exploded. I have an image burned in my mind of watching the Berlin Wall collapse. I can even recall the visceral pain of watching the World Trade Center crumble in ruins.

I will also remember June 26, 2013, as the day that marriage changed forever in American society.

What exactly happened today? Let me offer a quick summary. Read More »

Who Is Getting Married Today?

Marriage rates are rising according to an article published in USA Today this week. They report about an expected rise in marriage rates over the next few years after a progressive decline since the recession. The report from Demographic Intelligence of Charlottesville, VA, predicts a 4% rise in the number of weddings over the low point in 2009. From 2007 to 2009, the number of marriages in the United States dropped from 2.197 million to 2.080 million. Demographic Intelligence projects that the number of marriages will rise to 2.208 million by 2015. Read More »

Anonymous Parenthood: The Brave New World of Childbearing

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Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on the website of the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW).

This semester I have been watching a series of lectures from Michael Sandel, professor of government at Harvard, on the issue of justice. In one of those lectures, he referenced advertisements that ran in the Harvard Crimson seeking egg and sperm donors for infertile couples. In the course of the lecture Dr. Sandel raised the moral question of whether it is right to pay anonymous donors for their eggs and sperm for the purpose of creating life. Sandel’s concern is that egg and sperm donors are merely being used as a means to an end rather than being treated as ends in themselves. While Sandel’s concern is certainly valid, I believe an underlying theological issue rests beneath the surface. Read More »

Gay in the NBA: Jason Collins and Chris Broussard

The biggest news in professional basketball this week has nothing to do with the NBA playoffs. Instead, the basketball world is talking about Jason Collins’ first-person essay for Sports Illustrated in which announces he is gay. Within a sports-saturated culture, this is big news. Collins opens his article with the following declaration: Read More »

History, the Supreme Court, and Same-Sex Marriage

For the last two days I have been telling my classes that we are living history in this moment. Most of us take little notice of the oral arguments being made before the Supreme Court of the United States. We recognize few of the names of cases, and even fewer names of those who have served as justices. However, Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor may become as familiar as Roe v. Wade or Lawrence v. Texas. In fact, the names Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer, Roberts, Alito, Sotomayor, and Kagan may become quite familiar through the years. Much of the historical significance of these cases and justices hinges not on what happened during the oral arguments on March 26–27, 2013, but on the written opinions that will likely be released in June. Read More »

Use of “Morning-After Pill” on the Rise

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report last week that flew under the radar of most news organizations. They conducted a five-year study (2006–2010) on the use of the “morning-after pill” (labeled “emergency contraception” in the study—more on that later) and found that 11% of “sexually experienced women aged 15–44 . . . had used emergency contraception, up from 4.2% in 2002.” Thus, in less than ten years, use of this form of birth control has almost tripled. Read More »

Answering Matthew Vines: What Did Jesus Teach About Homosexuality?

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In the heated rhetoric of this political season, one issue that continues to be at the forefront of discussion is homosexuality. While much of the discussion has focused on rights and the definition of marriage, one young man has garnered national attention for making a different argument. Matthew Vines, a 22-year-old Harvard University student, has set out to defend homosexuality from a biblical perspective. Unfortunately, Vines has made grave errors in his attempt to defend what Scripture clearly condemns as sin. As part of an interview with The Christian Post, I was asked to respond to several of the arguments Vines has made. In order to provide the full context of the statements made by Vines, this series of posts will offer quotations from Vines and then my responses. Read More »

Answering Matthew Vines: Does the Denial of Same-Sex Marriage Inflict Undue Pain?

HomosexualityandBible1

In the heated rhetoric of this political season, one issue that continues to be at the forefront of discussion is homosexuality. While much of the discussion has focused on rights and the definition of marriage, one young man has garnered national attention for making a different argument. Matthew Vines, a 22-year-old Harvard University student, has set out to defend homosexuality from a biblical perspective. Unfortunately, Vines has made grave errors in his attempt to defend what Scripture clearly condemns as sin. As part of an interview with The Christian Post, I was asked to respond to several of the arguments Vines has made. In order to provide the full context of the statements made by Vines, this series of posts will offer quotations from Vines and then my responses. Read More »

Answering Matthew Vines: Are Homosexual Relationships ‘Unnatural’?

HomosexualityandBible1

In the heated rhetoric of this political season, one issue that continues to be at the forefront of discussion is homosexuality. While much of the discussion has focused on rights and the definition of marriage, one young man has garnered national attention for making a different argument. Matthew Vines, a 22-year-old Harvard University student, has set out to defend homosexuality from a biblical perspective. Unfortunately, Vines has made grave errors in his attempt to defend what Scripture clearly condemns as sin. As part of an interview with The Christian Post, I was asked to respond to several of the arguments Vines has made. In order to provide the full context of the statements made by Vines, this series of posts will offer quotations from Vines and then my responses. Read More »

The Inconsistent Logic of Abortion Rights Advocates

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During last week’s debate between Vice President Joe Biden and GOP Vice President nominee Paul Ryan, the moderator asked a very interesting question. Basing her question on the fact that both Biden and Ryan are Catholic, Martha Raddatz asked the candidates to explain how their faith impacts their politics, especially related to the issue of abortion. The answers were perhaps surprisingly similar in their foundation but vastly different in their application. Read More »

Answering Matthew Vines: Is Being Alone a Sin?

HomosexualityandBible1

In the heated rhetoric of this political season, one issue that continues to be at the forefront of discussion is homosexuality. While much of the discussion has focused on rights and the definition of marriage, one young man has garnered national attention for making a different argument. Matthew Vines, a 22-year-old Harvard University student, has set out to defend homosexuality from a biblical perspective. Unfortunately, Vines has made grave errors in his attempt to defend what Scripture clearly condemns as sin. As part of an interview with The Christian Post, I was asked to respond to several of the arguments Vines has made. In order to provide the full context of the statements made by Vines, this series of posts will offer quotations from Vines and then my responses. Read More »

Genetic Screening for Ethical Babies

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In the most recent issue of the British Reader’s Digest, Professor Julian Savulescu argues that parents may have a moral obligation to genetically engineer babies with more ethical traits. With the advances in medical technology and genetic screening, Savulescu believes that couples can use genetic mapping of embryos in combination with in-vitro fertilization (IVF) to ensure that their children do not exhibit traits that may be harmful to themselves and others. Read More »

Marriage, Family, and the Chicken Sandwich

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“Eat More Chicken.” That’s what former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee wants you to do today. Gov. Huckabee has declared August 1 to be “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” in response to the negative firestorm surrounding Dan Cathy’s recent declaration of support for the biblical model of marriage. Cathy is the president and chief operating officer of the Atlanta-based restaurant chain.

Should we support Chick-fil-A today? Should we affirm Mr. Cathy’s statements? Does Mr. Cathy have the right to say such things? The answers to these questions are yes, yes, and yes, but let’s take a look at why. Read More »

The Impact of Marriage on Income Inequality

An article ran in The New York Times over the weekend about the impact of marriage on income inequality. The journalist followed the lives of two mothers who work at the same company—one is married and the other is a single mother. What he found, along with conclusions from research, was that marriage plays a significant role in determining on what side of the income inequality divide a family will be.

Read More »

When Heroes Fail

News broke last week that Josh Hamilton, the all-star outfielder for the Texas Rangers, had a “weak moment” on Monday night and consumed alcohol. In the world of professional sports, alcohol consumption is a foregone conclusion among both fans and athletes. However, Josh Hamilton’s story is different. After spending three years out of Major League Baseball for drug and alcohol abuse, Hamilton has publicly committed to avoiding alcohol. He readily acknowledges that he does things he regrets when under the influence of alcohol. Read More »

The Ugly American History of Eugenics

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Most Americans live with the belief that we are the greatest society in the world. Our roots stem from proclamations “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” We confidently assert that we always take the moral high ground on the world stage. We swell with pride over the idea that the American Dream is for everyone. Read More »

Penn State and the Lost Idea of Personal Responsibility

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Recently, I gave a lecture on Personal and Corporate Responsibility for the Richard Land Center for Cultural Engagement. The thrust of my lecture dealt with the idea of corporate responsibility in the business world and an attempt to redefine something that has become a mantra for environmental concerns. My attempt at redefining corporate responsibility brought the focus back to society as a whole and not just a niche. At the end, I attempted to tie corporate responsibility to personal responsibility by showing that all aspects of corporate responsibility are an extension of personal responsibility. In that lecture, I noted the tragic circumstances at Penn State University as an example corporate responsibility failing because no one was willing to take personal responsibility along the way. In light of what has continued to transpire at that university, I want to offer a slightly re-worked version of my lecture from yesterday applied to this particular situation. Read More »

Are Children a Burden or a Blessing?

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Earlier this summer, I picked up an old copy of Life magazine while on vacation. The cover picture and title caught my eye. There was a picture of a small baby (no older than a few months), and below the picture, the cover read, “The Baby Riddle: What will happen to American life if each family has one child? Or two? Or three?” The magazine was dated May 19, 1972. Read More »

A Mutual Misunderstanding: Lisa Miller and Newsweek Misinterpret Scripture

In the 15 December 2008 issue of Newsweek, Lisa Miller penned an article entitled, “Gay Marriage: Our Mutual Joy.” There, she makes the case that opponents of gay marriage are improperly citing Scripture to defend their position. Her thesis is that the Bible’s teachings on love, acceptance, and inclusion trump any condemnation of homosexuality and gay marriage. Her point is that conservatives have misapplied the teaching of Scripture and should be focused on accepting the outcast and aiding the oppressed. The ultimate example of these outcasts and oppressed, she argues, is the gay community seeking acceptance of gay marriage.

Read More »