Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Pew: 66% Say Christian Displays Should Be Permitted on Government Property

In a 2017 Pew Research Center (Pew) survey, a majority of Americans (66%) said Christian displays like nativity scenes should be permitted on government property during the Christmas season.

Of the 66 percent who said they believe Christian displays like nativity scenes should be permitted, 37 percent said that Christian displays should be allowed on government property – even if unaccompanied by other symbols – and 29 percent said Christian displays should be allowed on government property, but only if accompanied by other symbols like Hanukkah candles.

According to Pew, less than one third (26%) of Americans said that Christian displays should not be allowed on government property. Eight percent said that they don’t know or refused to answer.

Pew asked respondents the following question in their survey:

“Thinking about holiday displays on government property, which comes closest to your view?

“No religious symbols, like Christian nativity scenes, should be allowed on government property,

[OR] Religious symbols like Christian nativity scenes should be allowed on government property, but ONLY if accompanied by symbols from other faiths such as Hanukkah candles,

[OR] Christian symbols like nativity scenes should be allowed on government property whether or not they are accompanied by symbols from other faiths[;] Don’t know/Refused.”

When Pew asked American respondents this question in 2014, a slightly larger majority said Christian displays should be allowed on government property (72%).

44 percent of 2014 respondents said they believed Christian symbols like nativity scenes should be allowed on government property even if unaccompanied by other symbols, while one percent less than 2017 respondents (28%) said such displays should be allowed only if accompanied by other symbols like Hanukkah candles.

Only 20 percent of Americans said Christian displays should not be allowed on government property in 2014, denoting a six percent increase of American respondents in 2017.


Risking Offense in the Trans Pronoun Debate – Because Truth Matters

If a transgender person asks you to use a pronoun or name in line with his or her preferred gender, what do you do? It’s no longer a hypothetical question.

In “Romeo and Juliet,” we remember Shakespeare asking, “What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” A rose is still a rose no matter what we call it. But what’s in a pronoun? Specifically, if a neighbor who identifies as transgender asks us to use ze rather than he or she, does it really matter? What should we do to honor the relationship and the gospel?

It’s a sticky issue for Christians, and it’s becoming stickier by the day. That’s why I’m glad to tell you about a very helpful perspective, an article by Andrew Walker entitled, “He, She, Ze, Zir? Navigating pronouns while loving your transgender neighbor.” Walker, who wrote the great book “God and the Transgender Debate,” is Director of Policy Studies at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

In the article, Walker exhibits the truth and grace so necessary for believers to navigate these choppy waters in our homes, at work, and in church. Regarding the truth, he forthrightly points out, “Pronouns are not an insignificant issue. … The question we as Christians have to consider is whether the reality we are being asked to affirm is objective and corresponds to biblical truth, or whether the reality we are being asked to acknowledge is subjective and false. Nothing less than the truth and authority of God’s revelation over created reality is up for grabs in something as seemingly innocent as pronoun usage.”

Andrew adds, “Because, at root, the transgender debate is a metaphysical debate about whose version of reality we live in, and only one account—Jesus Christ’s—can lead us into truth about reality and human flourishing.”

The Bible reminds us, as well, to speak the truth in love—that is, with grace. While God’s Word unequivocally says that we’re created male and female, it also makes clear that each of us has been made in God’s image and therefore deserves to be treated with dignity and compassion. So while Andrew never backs down from our mandate to obey God’s Word as we see it and follow our consciences, he counsels godly wisdom in how we respond to people, depending on things like the social context and the depth of the relationship.

Surprisingly, Andrew first counsels avoiding the pronoun dilemma whenever possible. Rarely do we have to use the third person when speaking to someone. Second, generally, we can use the person’s preferred first name, since names are gendered culturally. Third, don’t lie! “Those with writing or speaking platforms,” Andrew writes, “have an obligation to speak and write truthfully and not kowtow to political correctness or excuse falsehood. … I will call Bruce Jenner ‘he,’ or if I do say ‘Caitlyn,’ I will still say, ‘him.’”

Then Andrew covers what he calls some “tricky situations.” When it comes to a close family member who is transgender, Andrew says he would not honor the pronoun or first name request. “I know this person intimately,” Andrew explains, “and in all likelihood I possess the relational capital to understand this person’s story and speak truthfully.”

He acknowledges this decision may be deemed offensive even when done kindly, but sometimes this is unavoidable.

Same thing with the workplace. If you know the other person well, you should tell him or her the truth. Andrew acknowledges this might mean you will run afoul of company HR policies. “None of this is easy,” he acknowledges, “but Jesus never promised that following him would be without great personal cost.” Indeed not.

While it may not matter what you call a rose, it matters very much what you call a fellow human being.


Catholic League: 'Homosexuals Committed Most of the Abuse'

Commenting on an Australian commission report that recommends ending mandatory celibacy of priests in the Catholic Church to apparently curtail sexual abuse, Catholic League President Bill Donohue said this possibly is Australia's way of saying there are too many homosexuals in the Catholic clergy, and he added that in the United States "homosexuals committed most of the abuse" in the church over the last 50 years.

"Though it is not considered polite to say so, most people know that homosexuals are responsible for the lion's share of the problem in the Catholic Church," said Donohue.  "This includes those who insist they are gay-friendly."

"We do know that in the U.S., 81 percent of the clergy victims were male, and 78 percent were post-pubescent, meaning that homosexuals committed most of the abuse," said Donohue,  "less than 5 percent of the abusers were determined to be pedophiles

As for the Australian commission report, it claims that 7 percent of priests who worked in Australia between 1950 and 2009 "had an accusation of child abuse made against him," said Donohue, and the report recommends "that the Catholic Church end mandatory celibacy, saying it is tied to sexual abuse."

But the 7 percent number is "virtually meaningless," he said, because "what matters are cases of alleged abuse that have been substantiated."  "For instance, in the U.S., between 1950 and 2002, accusations of abuse were made against 4 percent of the clergy," said Donohue.  "But only half were substantiated.

"In other words, the real number was half the reported figure; that may be true in Australia as well," he said.  "At least in the U.S. an attempt was made to validate the accusations, which is more than can be said for the Australian 'royal commission.'"

Donohue continued, "Citing celibacy dodges several issues. The rate of sexual abuse of minors among the Protestant clergy in the U.S. is at least as high, if not higher, than exists among Catholic priests. Most of them are married. What about stepfathers? It is not celibacy that is driving their numbers."

"Most signficant, are calls for ending mandatory celibacy a nice way of saying that there are too many homosexuals in the Catholic clergy?" he said. "If so, the commission should come right out and say so."


Chick-Fil-A Feeds Stranded People at Atlanta Airport — On a Sunday!

Fast food restaurant chain Chick-Fil-A is famously closed on Sundays, but that didn’t stop them when people stranded at the Atlanta Airport needed help.

Chick-Fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy was a devout Christian, and his restaurants are all closed on Sundays, as well as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Even the company’s website has a different splash page on Sundays, showing a video message about why they are closed.

It all started with a power outage at the Atlanta Airport, not too far from Chick-Fil-A’s corporate headquarters in College Park, Georgia. According to WSB-TV Atlanta, the power outage stranded thousands of passengers in the terminals and left hundreds of flights sitting on the tarmac, taking hours to deplane all the passengers.

After hours of no electricity, and hotel rooms and rental cars scarce, Chick-Fil-A stepped up to help.

The Atlanta city government announced that they were providing shuttle services from the airport to the convention center for anyone who needed shelter, and Chick-Fil-A was providing food.

The news was met with much cheering, appreciating Chick-Fil-A’s kind gesture (and those waffle fries).

Chick-Fil-A had faced a threatened boycott several years ago over the company’s support for traditional marriage, despite the fact that company policy was not to discriminate in hiring or serving customers, and those supporting a boycott focused their anger over comments made by the founders and corporate donations, not any actual acts of discrimination. The boycott failed as Chick-Fil-A supporters made a point to go to the restaurants, resulting in long lines at many locations.

In fact, since 2010, Chick-Fil-A has been the top earner among fast food restaurants in average sales per restaurant, earning an average of $4.8 million per restaurant in 2016 (Whataburger was second at $2.7 million). This ranking is even more impressive considering that the majority of their competitors are open seven days a week and Chick-Fil-A is, as mentioned repeatedly above, closed on Sunday.

So kudos to Chick-Fil-A for looking out for their neighbors stranded at the airport. As for the rest of us, we’ll continue craving those waffle fries until our local stores open tomorrow morning.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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