Choices We Make

We’re reading Genesis 13 and 14 today and following Abram, Sarai, and their nephew Lot around the middle east. Lot’s father had died in Ur in the land of the Chaldees, and Abram had taken Lot in with him on his journey with God. Last week, in Genesis 12, the Egyptian Pharoah asked Abram to leave Egypt, and to take his little dog, too. Genesis 13:1-4,

So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him. Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold. From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the LORD.

Abram is seeking the Lord. We don’t even know why Abram called on the name of the Lord, and I don’t think it matters. Abram’s made some goofy decisions in his life previously; last week, Abram told his wife to lie to Pharoah and say she was his sister. That was a bad decision; God is truth, and Satan is the father of lies. As Fred taught us last week, we cannot receive God’s blessings if we keep one foot in Babylon. We must follow God with all our heart. Now, we know Abram meant well; he was trying to save his own life. But that’s a lack of trust in the Lord; the Lord does not ask us to sin to accomplish His will. One commentary I read said trying to solve a problem by committing a sin is like “putting a baby in a pen with a rattlesnake and hoping that the presence of the baby will awaken a sense of compassion in the snake.” A snake is a snake. A sin is a sin.

Abram isn’t making the same mistake; he is calling on the name of the Lord. And as soon as he does, fighting breaks out. Genesis 13:5-7,

Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. And quarreling arose between Abram’s herdsmen and the herdsmen of Lot. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.

Society seems to think that because we are Christians, we never have quarrels. I think sometimes we Christians think the same thing. But quarrels occur; scripture cautions us that “in our anger, do not sin.” One mark of a mature Christian is, or course, the peace of Christ within him, but another mark of a mature Christian is how he resolves conflict. With love, compassion, and without sin. Abram has called upon the name of the Lord, and the Lord has given him a problem to solve. Abram answers it admirably, Genesis 13:8-9,

So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are brothers. Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”

This town just ain’t big enough for the two of us. Well, actually, there wasn’t a town, and the land was big enough. Abram and Lot had so much stuff they were crowded in the land near Bethel, and Abram gives Lot a choice. Pick any land you want, and I’ll go the other way, and then we’ve removed the source of our conflict.

Lot’s choice is going to affect history for millennia. We know Lot is a righteous man, but righteous men can make bad decisions, too. Lot chose for himself the whole plain of Jordan and set out toward the east and pitched his tent near Sodom. Sodom was already the Las Vegas of biblical times where what happens in Sodom stays in Sodom.

Let’s skip ahead to Genesis 14. In verse 1, we’re introduced to a whole lot of kings with unpronounceable names. I’m not going to attempt to pronounce them, so I’m going to ask Diane to do it. Wait, let’s just count the kings, that’ll be easier. The kings of Shinar, Ellasar, Elam, and Goiim. That’s 4 kings. And Genesis 14:1 says they went to war against the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela. That’s 5 kings, and it says in verse 4 that the 4 kings ruled over the 5 kings, but after 12 years they had enough and rebelled. The 4 kings went to war to crush the rebellion. I think I’m going to root for the 4 kings because the 5 king team includes Sodom and Gomorrah. Which, coincidentally, is where Lot pitched his tent.

The four kings were very successful and routed many unpronounceable kingdoms that were either allied with the five kings or at least happened to live near them. One of those little kingdoms along the way was the Amorites. The four kings forced the five kings into retreat. In verse 8, the five kings have their backs against the wall, so they draw their battle lines. Here, the five kings are going to make their stand, in the Valley of Siddim. The five kings weren’t the brightest bulbs in the tulip patch, if you know what I mean. The Valley of Siddim was known for their tar pits, and the five kings not only were defeated, but when they tried to flee, they fell into the tar pits and got stuck. The rest fled into the hills. The four kings, as was the custom, seized all the goods in Sodom and Gomorrah as plunder. That plunder included Abram’s nephew Lot and all his possessions because he was living in Sodom.

One of the men who escaped came and told Abram what had happened. Why would one of the five kings come and tell Abram? Because Abram was friends with Mamre, Escho, and Aner who were all Amorites, that little kingdom the four kings conquered on the way to defeating the five kings. Uh oh. When the four kings were fighting against the evil five kings, they trampled an ally of Abram and took his nephew captive. I’m no longer rooting for the four kings, they turned out to be bad people, just like the five kings.

And interesting sidenote here – verse 13 says all this bad news was reported to Abram the Hebrew. This is the first use of the word “Hebrew” in the bible. I suppose because we’re not to confuse Abram with an Amorite; Abram is a Hebrew but he’s allied with the Amorites.

Abram is rich and powerful; it says in verse 14 that he has 318 trained men born in his household. Abram and his trained warriors attacked the four kings, routed them and chased them up the coastline. In verse 16 we read that Abram recovered all the goods, brought back his nephew Lot and all his possessions as well as women and other people.

A fascinating character shows up here; Melchizedek, king of Salem. Melchizedek’s name means “righteousness” and Salem means “peace.” Melchizedek is the king of righteousness and peace. He appears, blesses Abram, shares communion with him, and accepts a 10% tithe, then disappears back into history again. Melchizedek is both a king and a priest in Jerusalem. Psalm 110:4 promises our savior will be a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 7 tells us that Jesus Christ is our King of Righteousness and King of Peace in the order of Melchizedek. We spent an entire lesson on Melchizedek last year when we studied Hebrews; all we’re going to mention today is that the Levitical priesthood was a temporary system; the priesthood of our savior lasts forever and ever.

In verse 17, the rout of the four kings is complete, and one of the original five kings comes to see Abram, the king of Sodom. Don’t you know he must have his tail between his legs and he’s looking up to Abram as the one who freed him. The king of Sodom tells Abram he’d like his people back, but that Abram can keep all the captured property for himself. Abram tells him he’s made a promise to the Lord not to profit from the king of Sodom; after all, Abram had no fight with Sodom. His nephew Lot was living there peacefully until the four kings attacked.

The first of those four kings, by the way, was Amraphel, king of Shinar. The plains of Shinar is where Nimrod, great-grandson of Noah, began to build the tower of Babel which became the center of Babylon. This is where the source of much of the world’s conflict has lasted for thousands of years, and scripture tells us will continue through the last days prophesied in Revelation. Because of Lot’s choice to dwell in the land of Sodom, he is living in the land of the five kings, captured by the four kings, and then Abram goes to war against the four kings to free his nephew, setting up a conflict with Babylon that lasts from approximately 1900 BC to the end of time, nearly 4000 years so far.

There’s a brief look at the history. Now let’s get a good look at the people and see if there’s a lesson for us. What was so bad about Lot’s decision? The answer lies back in Genesis 13:10-13 –

Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD.

Where in those versus do you see Lot looking to the Lord for guidance? I think the 5 key words are found in verse 11, “So Lot chose for himself.” Let’s turn to 2 Peter 2:7-9, where Peter is teaching us that God will rescue the righteous while condemning the ungodly:

and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard) – if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.

Lot was a righteous man, but when Abram gave Lot a choice, a decision to make, Lot chose for himself. We know Lot was righteous; yet he made a choice that was pleasing to the eyes. He chose land that would prosper himself. It doesn’t sound like a bad decision; he looked over his options and saw plenty of grass for his cattle, plenty of water for his lands, and plenty of opportunity. Sure, it was located next to Sodom and Gomorrah, but who cares? They probably won’t bother him.

But they did bother him. Here in Genesis 13:11, we see “Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east.” Lot has taken one small step toward Sodom. In verse 12, it says, “Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tent near Sodom.” That’s more than just one small step toward Sodom, now Lot has pitched his tent near Sodom. By the time we get to Genesis 19:1, we find Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city.

Lot placed himself close to sin, then closer to sin, and then in the gateway of the city of sin. Let me ask you a question about Lot’s decision that put him in the city of sin. Do you think Christians should avoid people who are engaged in sinful lifestyles?

Several of us saw The Bucket List last night. Excellent movie, and for once I was pleased to see that the upright Christian man, Carter, lived a righteous life and Hollywood didn’t make him out to be a religious wacko for a change. Do you remember the scene at the bar where the woman propositioned him? How do you think his life would have changed if he had made a different decision?

Lot is a righteous man, but righteous men can make bad decisions. Remember when Peter saw Jesus walking across the water? Jesus called to him, and Peter was able to walk across the water. And then Peter saw the waves and storm all around him and took his eyes off Jesus. Peter looked at the world around him. And then what happened? Peter began to sink because he took his eyes off the Lord.

When we are in bondage to sin, Satan has an easy time with us. Given the choice between good and bad, all he has to do is make the bad decision look like fun. Excessive drinking looks fun and loud and can lead to drinking and driving or alcoholism. A one night fling that leads to children out of wedlock or abortion and broken families. Drug abuse, excessive gambling, Satan’s work is easy.

As Christians, we are no longer in bondage to sin, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be ensnared by sin. We are aware of good and evil and we can see better what Satan is up to. So Satan doesn’t offer us such clear-cut choices between good and evil. Satan offers us a poor choice and a really bad choice. Deceived, we sometimes take the poor choice and take one step closer to Sodom.

A need to work late, a female coworker, and an over-inflated confidence in his ability to resist sin. A Christian man finds himself in an affair with a coworker. When discovered, it wrecks one or more families. How did it happen? He took one step closer to Sodom and soon he found himself sitting in the gate of sin.

A disappointment in a missed birthday or that she had to pick up his underwear off the floor yet again. A seed of bitterness takes hold, she begins to criticize things about her husband. Criticized, he works late at the office with a female coworker who tells him what a good job he’s doing.

Or a mother, hurt because her daughter doesn’t call like she used to, tells her daughter she’ll never amount to anything. The daughter, feeling down and unloved, is disappointed that her husband missed her birthday and criticizes him. The husband, criticized, works late at the office.

So many small opportunities to sin. Of course, we’re forgiven. When we accept Jesus Christ, our sins are forgiven. He removes our sins from us as far as the east is from the west. But 1 Peter 5:8 tells us that the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour, and God’s righteous people are tasty morsels if we take our eyes off the Lord. We, too, will be given an opportunity to pitch out tents toward Sodom. We will convince ourselves that we are walking with God, and not even noticing that we are holding hands with the devil.

Every choice is important, and every choice made apart from the Lord can lead to the path of destruction. Most Christians don’t pack their belongings and move to Sodom and Gomorrah. If we take our eyes off the Lord, we pitch their tent a little closer to Sodom today than we did yesterday. We skip one week of church, then we skip another. As Christians, we are to worship the Lord our God with all our heart and all our soul and all our mind. How are we doing with that? Are we truly worshiping with everything we are, or have we found a compromise somewhere, some “rule” that we feel isn’t applicable to us? What’s the best way to evaluate how we’re doing? Ask. Go to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to search you and to tell you how you’re doing.

After the Lord, we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. How are we doing with that? Think about where you live. Who is your neighbor? Or where you work, who is your coworker? What are their needs? If you truly love your neighbor as yourself, why don’t you truly know their needs? You know your own needs, don’t you? Or have you found one step toward Sodom as an excuse, that you’re too busy or you’ve convinced yourself that they would rather have their privacy? What’s the best way to find out what your neighbor needs? Ask them. Ask them how you can help.

Who is your closest neighbor? I have no doubt your closest neighbor is your spouse, your covenant mate, given to each other in love. Do you love your spouse as you love yourself? From Proverbs 31 to Ephesians 5 to 1 Corinthians 13, our God tells us how we are to love our spouse. How are we doing with that, or have we allowed ourselves to pitch our tent a little closer to Sodom? Something we hide from our spouse, something we’re not comfortable talking about, a little rudeness or selfishness we’ve allowed into our marriage? What’s the best way to evaluate how we’re doing? Ask. Ask your wife how you can be a better husband; ask your husband how you can be a better wife.

In Genesis 13:14-18, Abram took a different approach than Lot.

The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.” So Abram moved his tents and went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he built an altar to the LORD.

Abram was looking to the Lord and was in a covenant with God; no matter where Abram went, the Lord had promised to bless him. Lot, instead, chose something that was pleasing to the eyes. Lot chose the richness of the world and let it appeal to his eyes. Lot settled near Sodom, or as Fred said last week, he still had one foot in Babylon. He chose for himself. Abram chose what was pleasing to the Lord, and settled for everything. We experience God’s many blessing when we keep our eyes on Him. If Lot sought the Lord’s will first, perhaps instead of settling near Sodom, he might have made a different choice. Perhaps Lot might have repented of the strife between his family and Abram’s and asked Abram if he could stay instead.

Every little choice is important; every action we do, every word we utter, every thought we have, should be in harmony with the Lord’s will. We all sin; that’s why we need a savior. But we don’t need to settle for sin. Don’t compromise. Don’t fool ourselves that we can walk with God and hold hands with the devil. That one little choice we make that goes against the will of the Lord is one step closer to Sodom. And then another choice, and nex thing we know, we’re pitching our tent toward Sodom. And then we’re sitting in the gate of Sodom, and when destruction comes we wonder how we got here.

We have a choice. We can choose to seek the Lord’s will first, or we can choose for something pleasing to our eyes or our senses. Don’t be fooled by our own righteousness; the bible is replete with examples of righteous people that make poor choices when they took their eyes off the Lord. A lifetime of good decisions can be undone by one bad decision. Lift up your eyes and look to the Lord for everything and He will protect you and bless you. Every choice is important.

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Christian Carnival CLXXXVI

Christian Carnival #186 is up… here! Chasing the Wind is humbled to host the Carnival this week. Without further ado, here are this week’s best Christian blogging.

Oh wait, here’s a little more ado. I’ve divided this week’s post in sections with a brief description about how this relates to Christian living. Ok, *now* we’re out of ado…

CHRIST. No Christian blogging would be complete without pondering our Lord and Savior and what He means to us. Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Doug presents Christ at Creation posted at Bounded Irrationality. Doug examines how Jesus could be present as man and God before creation.

This week at Light Along the Journey John considers what is exactly The Right Thing to Say.

JR Madill presents The Public Spectacle posted at Theology for the Masses.

CHRISTIAN LIFE. It’s one thing to study and pray (well, ok, that was two things), but it’s another thing entirely to live the Christian life. How do you apply and think and live as a Christian?

Patricia presents 30 Ways to Instantly be a Better Parent posted at A Better You Blog.

Stretch Mark Mama presents Passing on Perspective posted at Stretch Mark Mama.

Chad Dalton at The Minor Prophet considers Abraham’s Tradition. Thoughts on Abraham’s burial of his wife Sarah.

Jody Neufeld presents The John Webb Winter Golf Tournament posted at Jody Along the Path. Reflecting on the experience of coordinating this event that raises money for children hospitalized with serious illnesses.

blue skelton presents Simpsons Porn, Funny or Immoral? posted at Production Blog. An article that asks, Is it still a sin to watch pornography if it is a cartoon. We are looking for a other Christian’s Viewpoint on this issue.

BIBLE STUDY AND PRAYER. While the glory of the cosmos practically scream out the power and majesty of a creator, to truly know *the* Creator requires study so that God’s Word can speak to you, and it requires prayer so that you can speak to God.

William Meisheid presents Wholistic Salvation posted at Beyond The Rim…. An attempt to look at salvation in a more wholistic [sic] manner.

Ian Spencer presents Dispensationalism and the Interpretation of Scripture Part 2: Prophetic Literature posted at Philosophical Orthodoxy. The second part of a continuing series critiquing dispensationalist methods of interpreting Scripture.

Richard H. Anderson presents Assembly of Yahweh posted at dokeo kago grapho soi kratistos Theophilos.

Tom presents The Remarkable 19th Psalm posted at Thinking Christian. With our modern Christian and scientific viewpoints, we might easily fail to notice what this psalm does not say. It’s an appreciation of the sun, a joyful one at that. And yet–there is not a hint of sun-worship in it. Remarkable.

Ann Shorb presents GOD HAS ME posted at Christian Counseling & Educational Services.

Henry Neufeld presents St. John Chrysostom on Hebrews 6 posted at Participatory Bible Study Blog. St. John Chrysostom gives a comprehensive and interesting view of Hebrews 6:4-6 and the impossibility of restoration for the apostate.

Lingamish: The Lord of
Rage
Somebody’s knocking at the door. But it’s not who you think.
Lingamish looks at Nahum’s vision of an angry God and finds a hidden place of
safety.

CHURCH. When two or more are gathered in His name, He is there. As a group of Christians, we are the bride of Christ, His church. What do we believe and how to we implement it?

FMF presents How'd You Like to Be Taxed for Going to Church? posted at Free Money Finance. How would you like to pay a tax to go to church?

Steven Krager presents Have you lost faith? | faithdoubt posted at faithdoubt. This is a posting in response to an article about an LA Times writer and his Christian faith journey. It is about problems in the Church and losing faith.

Diane R presents Deacons posted at Crossroads: Where Faith and Inquiry Meet. What are deacons exactly? And why don’t most churches have them? What are they supposed to do? In my church we have one of the best deacon structures I’ve ever seen so our church members won’t fall through the cracks when in need.

Brian Russell of the Real Meal blog
wrote Thinking about
Natural Disasters
. In the middle of another hurricane season, it is critical for clear theological reflection on natural disasters and the preparation for a missional response to those who suffer.

RELIGION. Sometimes we study what a Christian is. How does it differ from other religions? How do we see it in public, in politics, in others?

Sammy Benoit presents Islamic Hatred of anything Christian posted at YID With LID.

thomas robey presents “Christian Faith and Reason” posted at Hope for Pandora. “Christian Faith and Reason” is a new magazine that seeks to engage Christians and skeptics on topics of science, politics and faith. The Christian blogging community should check it out and consider contributing a piece for publication.

Ali presents An alternate solution to the American Civil War? posted at Kiwi and an Emu.. Considering, many years too late, how Christians in Northern and Southern parts of the United States could have agreed on the subject of slavery.

Weekend Fisher at Heart, Mind, Soul, and Strength discusses Security, Apostasy, and Knowing Christ. A Lutheran’s-eye view of the debates over eternal security and whether apostasy is real, and how Christ is often left out of the debate.

John presents Richard Land and Moral Agency posted at Brain Cramps for God. There’s a new meme in the abortion argument.

Jeremy Pierce presents Barack Obama on faith and politics posted at Parableman. A look at Barack Obama’s thoughts on faith and politics, Part III of a three-part series (the first two looked at John Edwards and Joe Biden).

Mark Olson presents Western Eyes posted at Pseudo-Polymath. Religious toleration, a artifact of the Enlightenment, or might it not be from much earlier.

Bits and Pieces

The news isn’t interesting yet again today. Republicans admire the Democrat’s desire to surrender. I don’t disagree that the Iraq war must end eventually, I just don’t think Congress should be dictating it. But I’m alone on that point, I think. Tammy Faye Bakker is preparing to die, but aren’t we all. I don’t spend a lot of time reading about her, but what little I know, she didn’t do much to improve the image of Christians. The Pope gives a warning to Catholic politicians. Good; pro-abortion catholic politicians are hypocrites.

Personal stories? Fresh out of them at the moment. I work all day, go to the gym, get home late for dinner, then go to bed. Rinse, repeat. I’m teaching bible class this Sunday, so I’m not likely to have any personal stories this week.

Christian Carnival should be posted soon, if not already. Let me go look for it… Nope, not yet. It’ll be posted at Light Along the Journey this week, but it’s not up yet.

I’m enjoying the built-in RSS reader in IE7, so I haven’t used Shapreader or Bloglines in a while. Hard to make a story out of that, but I suppose geeky tech writers, poor souls, have to write 1000 word essays on stuff like that so other geeky tech people can read about it. I don’t know many people like that, and trying to explains what RSS is to most of my friends would be like speaking French to a cat. But it has a great advantage; you can see if a website like this has been updated without ever visiting the site. Saves a bunch of time on clicking and loading web pages.

Um…. what else…. oh, Starbucks has a new sugar-free syrup to go with the vanilla and the cinnamon dolce; now they have sugar free caramel. I still like the vanilla best. And it has to be sugar-free, those full-fat, full-sugarlatte’s have like 6000 calories in them, enough for a small African village. I’m still losing weight, but I’m not sure when I’ll stop. Some friends the other night told me I looked “gaunt” so I suppose I’m almost through. It’s taken over two years, but I’ve lost 60 lbs. Another 10 lbs to go, maybe. The last 10 lbs, the hardest, were suddenly made easier when I signed up for Nutrisystem, so I’m going to recommend that program. Easy, almost never hungry. Email me if you want a coupon and we’ll both save $30.

What’s going on in your life?

Barack Hussein Obama: Self-Described Christian

Barack Obama: Self-Described Christian Barrack Hussein Obama describes himself as a Christian and the New York Times is almost besides itself with glee. Notice the picture and how holy Obama appears.

I like Christians, I really do. I happen to be one. But those people that routinely exhibit their Christian faith are routinely trashed by the New York Times. George W. Bush, for instance, would never get a glowing NY Times article abut his faith. Instead, we get scare stories about upcoming theocracies and how important the separation of church and state is. So why does Obama get special treatment for his faith? If the New York Times trashes most Christians but praises Obama, then it’s likely Obama is not like the other Christians. My hackles of suspicion are raised.

I repeat my repetition: liberals are going to try to split the conservative Christian vote by portraying themselves as Christian. Conservative Christianity is bad (separation of church and state! we don’t want a theocracy!) while liberal Christianity is good (wow, Obama is practically a saint!) according to liberal media.

“Be strong and have courage, for I am with you wherever you go,” Mr. Obama said in paraphrasing God’s message to Joshua.

Now, I’m all in favor of liberals quoting scripture. In fact, I’m all in favor of liberals quoting the entire bible. I think liberals (and conservatives, for that matter) that selectively quote scripture to support their position ought to be challenged by scripture the candidate doesn’t like.

As a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama is reaching out to both liberal skeptics and committed Christians. In many speeches or discussions, he never mentions religion. When Mr. Obama, a former constitutional law professor, does speak of faith, he tends to add a footnote about keeping church and state separate.

What I’ve seen in the news recently is more than just a challenge to church and state; it’s a downright hostility to any public policy that mirrors faith. The recent decision by the Supreme Court to uphold partial birth abortion – a decision Obama “strongly disagrees” with – was decided 5-4 justices. All the justices that upheld the ban had Catholic upbringing; those that voted against it did not. This same New York Times that praises the most holy Barack Obama also decries the influence of Catholics in the partial-birth abortion ban. As if any belief that a Christian might hold is automatically suspect, and Christians are OK only if they actively vote against Christian principle in order to demonstrate their progressiveness.

Color me unimpressed with the New York Times hypocrisy.

Labeling the Immoral as Immoral

What exactly is morality? And who gets to define it?

For me, I know the answer; morals come from the Most High God and are written in the Good Book. I have no qualms about labeling something society does as immoral. Just because “everybody does it” doesn’t mean it’s right.

The Vatican spoke out yesterday against evil in all its forms; nobody seems to have a problem denouncing evil, but lots of people seem to have a problem actually describing something in particular as evil. Here are some of the positions the Vatican made clear –

  • newspapers and television often seem like a “perverse film about evil”
  • evil remains almost invisible because media presents it as an “expressionof human progress”
  • abortion clinics are slaughterhouses of human beings
  • gay marriage is evil
  • euthanasia is “terrorism with a human face”

This, of course, infuriates those that support immoral behavior. Mostly, I think, because they don’t like it called immoral. The darkness does not the light. But if you do not use an external reference to define immorality, how does one define immorality, and why is that method any better than using the bible?

Court Backs Ban on Abortion Procedure

Court Backs Ban on Abortion Procedure

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court upheld the nationwide ban on a controversial abortion procedure Wednesday, handing abortion opponents the long-awaited victory they expected from a more conservative bench.

The 5-4 ruling said the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act that Congress passed and President Bush signed into law in 2003 does not violate a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion.

The opponents of the act “have not demonstrated that the Act would be unconstitutional in a large fraction of relevant cases,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion.

The decision pitted the court’s conservatives against its liberals, with President Bush’s two appointees, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, siding with the majority.

Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia also were in the majority.

It was the first time the court banned a specific procedure in a case over how – not whether – to perform an abortion.

Abortion rights groups have said the procedure sometimes is the safest for a woman. They also said that such a ruling could threaten most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy, although government lawyers and others who favor the ban said there are alternate, more widely used procedures that remain legal.

The outcome is likely to spur efforts at the state level to place more restrictions on abortions.