And What About the Children?

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

The headline of the Tampa Tribune this morning (Saturday, June 27) was emblazoned with huge, bold letters that read,  "Pride & Joy".  The Tampa Bay Times shouted, "A Right For All".   The Supremes have spoken and their decision is in the books. According to the headlines, the world is rejoicing. I just wish someone could tell me about the children. What about the children?

We all have an inherent need to know our background and where we came from. How often do we hear and/or participate in conversations about our grandparents and great-great grandparents and so forth. We will delight in talking about accomplishments of our dads and our moms. We revel in tales  about uncles and aunts and grandparents and their grandparents and where they came from and their achievements.

War heroes, professional baseball players, movie actors, surgeons, jet fighter pilots, musicians, and a myriad list of very different people proudly (and sometimes not) fill the family lore of millions of families. Even adopted children have a need to know their roots. As they get older this need blossoms and they invariably begin a quest to find their birth-parents. It is all about "WHO I AM". And--they have an absolute right to know. They need to be "complete". Knowing their own family blood-line can fulfill that completion. That is just the way it is. It is an instinct, it is natural, it is GOOD. None of us came from a "cabbage-patch".

So, I ask again, what about the children? Yes, now that The SCOTUS has legalized the three parent family in the United States of America, what about the children that will be brought into families with same-sex parents? No matter what rule five empowered lawyers pass they cannot ever change the fact that a child must be the result of the procreation of a man and a woman. An infant may be brought home to two "married men" or two "married women" as their own child but is it really?   There is a third parent out there somewhere.

Heterosexual couples who adopt become a mom and a dad.  How does it work in a same-sex environment? Is the man who provides the sperm considered the father? Does the woman who provides the uterus for the sperm become the mother? When the child arrives at an age where they ask, "what can you tell me about my birth-mom or birth-dad", how is that handled? Will the sperm donor from 20 years ago be willing to  come forward? What happens when two married women break up? Who gets custody? Do they keep accurate records of all donors?

Will a new "cottage industry" pop up for supplying sperm and eggs to people who might have a disease and cannot get approval to acquire sperm? What if one of the "marrieds" decides that maybe they are not homosexual and want to take up with the opposite sex? And let us not forget genetic predisposition. Will the children of these "marriages" have their actual blood line available so they might be able to use genetic markers to see if they are predisposed to diabetes, breast cancer, heart disease, and even autism or mental illness? It reverts back to the question; what about the children? What does this do to the children?

There is an  irrefutable fact of life and this is it. From the beginning of time, man and woman knew that marriage was peculiar to male and female. It is as natural as the rising and setting of the sun. We, as a species, have a need to survive. Continuing the human race is part of that survival instinct. Individual men and women are naturally attracted to each other and when they are they join together to form a family that reproduces and continues the species. It is the way of things and has been so for millennia. A ruling by five people cannot ever change natural law.

Children have "rights" too. And it seems to me that one of these basic rights is to be raised by a female mom and a male dad who have willingly joined together and started a family. Only as  unique human beings of the opposite sex can this be done. I wish no malice to gay people. I do not hate gay people. I wish them all the best. If they choose to have a life together, so be it. But, in my opinion, this gay marriage revolution has forgotten about the children. They are an after-thought. Gay marriage is all about secularism's  mantra of self-gratification. But what about the children?

                                 ©Larry Peterson 2015  All Rights Reserved

     

Make No Mistake: The Encyclical, Laudato Si, is Primarily a Spiritual Document. It is NOT Political.

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

"Laudato Si" is here and I think many people are thinking/suggesting,accusing/ (pick your own medicine)  that Pope Francis has turned into a "pol". Yup, he is just another politician on the world stage trying to advance an ideology. So everyone had better take a deep breath. Pope Francis has released a magnificent piece of work that demonstrates how WE (air/water/ trees/marine-life/plants/animals and human beings are all interrelated and depend on each other. Think how true that all is.

The earth is, in fact, our primary home. The sun and the rain nourish the earth's soil and it gives forth food for animals and people. Some animals eat only plants and then other animals may feed on them (ie: Impalas feed on plants and grass while lions are carnivores and eat Impalas). People feed and survive from the plants and the animals. There is a magnificent balance in nature and we human beings are the most intricate part of it. That is because we are not only the ones who can nurture it, we are also the ones who can harm and destroy it. This is what the Holy Father is telling us. Start taking responsibility for our primary home, the planet we live on.

Pope Francis has nailed it. We are all an extension of each other in this world. Laudato Si reflects the very first chapter of the Bible: The Story of Creation (Please, before reading Laudato Si, re-read the first Chapter of Genesis).
           At the end of the first chapter, v28-29; God blessed them saying: "Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth."  God also said: See, I give you every seed bearing plant all over the earth and every tree that has seed bearing fruit on it to be your food; and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that  crawl on the ground, I give all the green plants for food." And so it happened, God looked at everything He had made, and He found it very good. Evening came and morning followed, the sixth day.

Pages and pages have already been written about this encyclical. It is being torn apart and analyzed by many and then all of these folks are offering their opinions as to what the document REALLY says. Naturally, almost all viewpoints differ. How fortunate we are to have such a wide variety of "expert" opinions to choose from. Well, here is an opinion no-one really gives much credence to--my own.

My opinion is simply this--Laudato Si is foremost a spiritual document reflecting the Word of God as set down in the very beginning of the Bible. God's primary creation, people, were given dominion over all things on Earth. The Pope is reminding us that we are all connected and all depend on each other and have to nurture and look out for each other. The plants, the animals, the air, the sea, all do what they have to do without reason. They just DO.

On the other hand, we, the people, reason and think. We have pride and ego and greed infiltrates many of our species. We have poured poisonous chemicals into our pure waters, we have polluted the air and sea and lakes, we have destroyed the rain forests. I need not go on. Laudato Si tells us to take care of our primary home, Mother Earth. It is the responsibility of all of us. It is not political but that it is how it will be viewed.

I, for one, wish to thank Pope Francis for "smacking us upside the head" and reminding us that our planet is more than a big blue marble. It is our primary home. Therefore, it is our God given responsibility to keep our home neat and clean.

                                        ©Larry Peterson 2015  All Rights reserved

     

From Persecution.org—The story of “Yohan” by Troy Augustine

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

I usually do not re-post other columns but on this Sunday, June 14, 2015, as we in America celebrate "Flag Day" honoring "Old-Glory"  and all the freedoms she represents, I thought I would share this post from Persecution.Org. It was written by Troy Augustine, Regional Manager for the Africa Edition. 

It tells the story of a man named Yohan who, because he is Christian has been imprisoned, beaten and tortured since 2003 in Eritrea, a small nation in the Horn of Africa bordering the Red Sea. As a Catholic/Christian I know that Yohan is my brother in faith and we are connected through Jesus Christ. If you are Catholic/Christian/Jewish, you too, are connected to Yohan. 

On Flag Day in America we must always reflect on how blessed we are to have religious freedom. This freedom must always be protected and defended no matter what the cost.

___________________________________________
 One Eritrean Christian's Story of Torture and Triumph by Faith Imprisoned for Christ
Troy Augustine, Regional Manager for Africa
6/12/15 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) - For three days, "Yohan's" joints throbbed as the muscles in his arms and legs had stretched in directions human limbs are not intended to bend. His stomach was empty, except for the scraps that fell from the table of his captors after they had eaten their fill.
Yohan had been tied up like an animal, imprisoned, tortured, and starved for his faith in Christ in Eritrea. He was forced to eat trash mixed with dirty rain water that collected during the three days when prison guards bound him and left him outside, exposed to torrential rains, burning desert sun, and bitter cold nights.
"They take you outside in the hot sun with nothing to make you suffer and leave you out in the cold at night ... I was praying and God told me, 'Don't be afraid. It will pass. Stand in your faith,'"Yohan told International Christian Concern (ICC).
Yohan had been thrown in jail in 2003 because he was a zealous evangelist. In Eritrea, preaching the gospel is illegal, but that didn't stop Yohan from constantly testifying about Jesus Christ in the military after he was forcibly conscripted at age 18.
Eritrea's Atrocious Human Rights Record
Yohan's story of abuse and survival in Eritrea is not unique. The government rules its country with an iron fist, perpetuating a climate of fear and arbitrarily detaining, imprisoning, torturing, and often executing its opponents. Among the people, the state considers its enemies to be Christians who practice their faith outside of the three legal denominations: Catholic, Lutheran, and Orthodox.
Eritrea gained its independence from Ethiopia in 1993 and President Isaias Afwerki remains the country's only head-of-state since then. His administration is paranoid that Ethiopia will recapture Eritrea, so the state suppresses any groups which they feel could become a rebel movement.
"They don't allow preaching and they don't allow religious movements," Yohan said. "They are afraid always if people get together in groups ... They know if they gather to make fellowship, they think it will turn into a movement to end their power. They don't allow very large groups of people to gather for any reason," he added.
The United Nations (UN) released a scathing report on June 8, detailing the kinds of abuse that Yohan experienced that exist in Eritrea at a scale the document called "systematic, widespread, and gross." The report suggest that the Eritrean state may be guilty of "crimes against humanity."
"The religious gatherings of non-authorized denominations are prohibited. Religious materials are confiscated. Adherents are arbitrarily arrested, ill-treated or subjected to torture during their detention, and prisoners are coerced to recant their faith. Many religious followers have been killed or have disappeared," the report said.
The study compiled more than 700 testimonies from Eritreans who have similar stories to Yohan. Other prisoners like him testified about, "extreme forms of restraint, beatings or rape ... intended to inflict severe physical and psychological pain."
The United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) also designatedEritrea as a "Country of Particular Concern," in its 2015 Annual Report, corroborating the kinds of systematic abuses mentioned in the UN report and in Yohan's story.
The Dreadful Choice Facing Eritrean Christians
In the face of such terror perpetrated by their own government, scores of Eritrean Christians are fleeing the country, headed for Europe or the United States. On June 3, Islamic State (ISIS) militants kidnapped 88 Eritrean Christians in Libya, headed for Tripoli. According to reports, ISIS separated Christians and Muslims and let the Muslims go free.
On June 4, unknown gunmen, suspected to be from the Sudanese Islamist Rashaida tribe,reportedly opened fire on a convoy of between 49 and 70 Eritrean refugees traveling from Wadi Sharifey near Kassala to Shagarab refugee camp, kidnapping 14 Christians. In Sudan, Shagarab refugee camp is commonly known to be a favorite target of Rashaida, who is regularly involved in illegal human trafficking.
This unimaginable choice that Eritrean Christians face highlights the pervasive and understandable terror that permeates the country. The horrifying reality is that many Christians find it more hopeful to risk death by leaving for countries filled with Muslim extremists bent on their extinction, than to remain in their homeland.
"Faced with a seemingly hopeless situation [that] they feel powerless to change, hundreds of thousands of Eritreans are fleeing their country. In desperation, they resort to deadly escape routes through deserts and neighboring war-torn countries and across dangerous seas in search of safety. They risk capture, torture and death at the hands of ruthless human traffickers," the UN report concluded.
Suffering under the fiercest persecution in Eritrea, Yohan decided the same.
Yohan's Perseverance and Escape
In jail, Yohan became acquainted with suffering, just like his Savior was. Yohan pointed to God's grace, which sustained him through the torture and intimidation. He faced regular interrogations where officials tried to coerce him to recant his faith, even at gunpoint. Through all of it, Yohan's faith was strengthened. Like the Apostle Paul, Yohan was confident, and he was ready to die.
"If we believe in Jesus, and we live for Him, we die for Him. We are ready to die in every situation, in every moment. This is the story of our life. It is daily life," he said.
Despite continuous beatings and torture, Yohan refused to deny Christ. "I am nothing, but God is Alpha and Omega. I am not afraid of you because someday you are going to die, so I'm not afraid to die from you," he told his captors.
In 2004, after nearly a year in prison experiencing unspeakable persecution, Yohan made the same decision scores of his fellow Eritrean brothers and sisters are making today. He was determined to escape the country through Sudan. Yohan was provided a military uniform from a friend outside of the prison and disguised himself to escape.
Once he made it outside the gates, he sprinted for the Sudanese border, running for four days. Finally, he reached Sudan where officials interrogated him regarding his identity and then jailed for three days before releasing him. Ironically, Yohan found in Sudan a government that was more sympathetic to him as a refugee than the way his own government had treated him, even though Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for "crimes against humanity" for perpetrating genocide in Darfur.
From Sudan, Yohan traversed his way through different parts of Africa from Zimbabwe to South Africa, to Egypt, before finally reaching the United States where he lives under asylum. Yohan's story is one that accentuates the grace of God to persevere His people through the worst of suffering in this world.
Through it all, whether they survive like Yohan, or give their lives standing for Christ, Eritrean brothers and sisters have been counted worthy to suffer the way Jesus did. "We believe in Christ. The way of Christ is to suffer," Yohan said.
Footnote: Ou
     

The Latest Craze–Calling on Satan to “Come Out & Play”

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME


By Larry Peterson

Satan is the Great Impostor, the King of Lies, the Master of all Hate. He was God's greatest angel and decided that he was even better than God. So, the "created" tried to overwhelm the Creator. Having made this choice he and his followers were  cast out of God's world for all eternity. We mortal beings cannot even imagine the hate that fills these fallen spirits. Their hate is so great and pervasive because there can never be redemption for them. Consequently, they prowl around the world seeking new recruits to join them in their misery. They may have hit the "motherload" via the Internet.

The latest Internet game filling the cyber environment is called the "Charlie Charlie Challenge". A game that is being promoted as innocent has, as its objective, the goal of summoning the devil. Here is what I cannot fathom. In a world gone secular and trying to eliminate God from our existence why are thousands upon thousands of people, especially young people, trying to conjure up a confrontation with Satan himself? Many want to reject God and His Goodness and Love...yet are willing to call on Satan to have a "good time".

How bizarre is this? Satan (aka the Devil) is the opposite of GOOD. He is HATE . All that is UNgood comes from Satan.  There could never be a Satan without a God who created him in the first place. Yet people want to summon him up and talk to him, while at the same time claiming there is no God or that God is irrelevant in their lives. It DOES Not Make sense To Me.

The "Charlie Charlie Challenge" apparently came from the game being played in the Dominican Republic and then uploaded to YouTube.  April 29 is when it began and it spread to Twitter. Today it has gone viral. The two pencil game involves drawing a grid on a piece of paper with two sections labeled "yes" and two sections labeled "no". One pencil is balanced on top of the other pencil and then questions are asked; such as, "Charlie, are you here?" If he is "there" the pencil will move to the "yes" section. The main question then asked is "Can we play?" The fact that the slightest environmental change can cause the pencil on top to move is completely ignored.
The Charlie Charlie Challenge is a phenomena that is readily explainable.


There are two kinds of pride: negative and positive. Positive pride has to do with such things as being proud of your family or being proud of an accomplishment worked for and earned through personal hard work and sacrifice. Negative pride is all about self. If a person places their wants and perceived needs above all else and will attempt anything to satisfy those needs, that is when Pride becomes the greatest sin.

This "Charlie Charlie Challenge" is simply a reflection of how ridiculously self-serving so many have become in this meistic secularized society. It is Pride gone rogue. First,reject God and bash religion. The follow that and embrace God's first creations, who are Satan, and his fallen angels. Play games with them, have fun with them, and see where it gets you. There is an old adage that says, "The devil you get might be worse than the one that you have".

So PLEASE--be careful what you ask for. Where the "Charlie Charlie Challenge" takes you can prove damning. But it is never too late. Unlike the demons you have been hanging with, you are still eligible for God's mercy and forgiveness. It is only too late after you die. It is time to kick the "Charlie Charlie Challenge" back into the Hell it came from lest you get dragged in with it.

                                   ©Larry Peterson 2015 All Rights Reserved