A Dose of Perspective





Did you know that Cleopatra lived 500 years closer to the release of the iPhone than the Great Pyramid? I read that and it shocked me. She lived from 69 B.C. to 30 B.C., and was wed to Mark Antony.

Five hundred years. For ancient historians, it’s a mere time gap. For geologists, it’s a small error margin (“give or take a million years” is a typical paleontologist’s estimate of age). For cosmologists, 500 years is nothing at all. But for you and me, 500 years may as well be forever.

According to the Bible, the Israelites were in Egypt for 400 years before God delivered them from bondage. Archeologists and historians best guess is that happened sometime between 1446 to 1200 B.C., but they really have no clue. That would mean when Joseph’s brothers arrived in Goshen, the pyramids were already at least 700 years old.

No man-made building in North America is even close to that old. (There are mounds and other man-made sites that are thousands of years old, but not buildings.) In fact, when I talk to my British friends, they tell me nothing in America is old. They’ve got walls and roads dating back to Emperor Hadrian in the year 100. I’ve driven on some of those “Roman roads” and they’re narrow, but straight as an arrow.

It wasn’t for another 1000 years that the Battle of Hastings was fought. Nearly 500 years before that, Muhammad was born in Medina, in what is now Saudi Arabia. He lived much closer in time to the Pilgrims’ voyage to Plymouth Harbor than to Moses crossing the Red Sea.

In the time when Moses lived, there were somewhere between 50 and 100 million people in the world—the whole world. That’s less than the populations of California, Texas, Florida and New York combined. The world was a hard place, and we humans just didn’t have the systems to support a large population. In Christ’s time, there were between 200 and 300 million of us humans around.

In 1500 years, humanity had more than doubled.




Now consider this: the last Civil War combat veteran to die was born in 1843. There were 1.2 billion people in the world when he was born. He died in 1953 a 110-year old geezer, and there were 2.6 billion people in the world. The one man saw the world double before his eyes. (This despite killing off a few hundred million in wars, famines and epidemics.)

Once major diseases like Smallpox and Polio were tackled, we humans spread faster than kudzu. It took 36 years for the world population to double again in 1989. Scientists think it will take 81 years for the next doubling, sometime around 2070 with 10.5 billion humans.

More humans are alive today than had ever lived in Moses’, or Christ’s, or even Muhammad’s day. Population scientists guess that about 6.5 percent of the people who ever lived on Planet Earth are alive now (or were in 2011 when they did the calculation).

Why bother thinking about things this way? One word: perspective. We will only live a very short amount of time, but we will see far more change than anyone who’s lived before us. That last Civil War vet—his name was James Albert Hard—saw America go from single-shot muzzle-loading rifles to nuclear weapons. He saw us go from horse- and mule-drawn carts to jet aircraft.

In World War II, 16 million served in the U.S. armed forces. According to the VA, there are around 620,000 left, and they’re dying at a rate of 500 a day. By 2021, we’ll be down to a handful. By 2030, they’ll all go the way of Mr. Hard.

By 2040, England and France pledge to sell no more internal-combustion engine cars. Today’s teenagers will grow up to see a world where electric cars are the norm, and missions to Mars are a reality. When they grow up, iPhones will be a quaint antique—probably replaced with wearable supercomputers that work in 3D and communicate in natural language like another person talking to you.

Typing on a little touchscreen glass with your thumbs will be a lost art (like Disco, and good riddance just the same).

And since the Pilgrims landed, in 2040, it will have only been 420 years. In Heaven, we will enjoy eternity. Let’s not lose sight of how tiny our lives are here on Earth, and how much love we can share with others while here.

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Published in the Houston Home Journal.

New Poll Shows Americans Becoming More Liberal On Social Issues

 

The federal government might have moved to the right with the election of Donald Trump, but a new poll shows that the country is drifting further left on moral issues. The poll by Gallup shows that Americans are the most liberal that they have ever been on a host of issues.

Of the 19 topics polled, Gallup reports that 10 were at the most liberal or permissive points on record. These include birth control, divorce, sex between unmarried people, gay or lesbian relations, having a baby outside of marriage, doctor-assisted suicide, pornography and polygamy.

Conversely, two topics were also at historic lows for approval. Fewer Americans than ever before approve of the death penalty and medical testing on animals.

Gallup notes that the leftward trend is not new. The poll has shown a liberal shift in 2014 and 2015. None of the issues polled has shown a conservative trend in that time.  Gay/lesbian relations show a 23-point increase in approval since the question was first asked. Having a baby outside of wedlock, sex outside of marriage, divorce and polygamy also show double-digit increases in approval. Only one issue, medical testing on animals, shows a double-digit decrease in approval.

The issue with the highest approval rating was birth control, which had support from 91 percent of respondents. Divorce and sex between unmarried adults also had approval from more than two-thirds of those polled (73 and 69 percent respectively).

The most unpopular issue was extramarital affairs, which had the approval of only nine percent. Cloning humans (14 percent) and polygamy (17 percent) rounded out the bottom three. The 17 percent approval for polygamy represented a record high.

Abortion is still one of the most divisive issues in the country. Forty-three percent consider abortion to be morally acceptable while 49 percent disagree. Approval for abortion has increased by one point since the question was first asked.

The poll underscores the difficulty Republicans face on moral issues. While the Republican economic message seems to resonate with many voters, those same voters tend to lean Democrat on social issues. While conservatives are holding ground on abortion, they are losing the culture war on a great many other issues.

There are two potential strategies for dealing with the liberal trends on social issues. The first and most obvious way would be for Republicans to deemphasize social issues and concentrate on their economic agenda. This strategy may partly explain the victory of Donald Trump in northern, socially liberal states. A GOP that takes this course might look more libertarian in the future.

A second alternative would be for conservatives to make the case for their moral viewpoint. In a nation that is increasingly secular, simply stating that something is wrong because the Bible says so is not an effective tactic. Instead, conservatives should take a practical, evidence-based approach that says, for example, that having children outside of marriage is wrong because it makes it more likely that they will grow up in poverty. The Breakpoint ministry, founded by Chuck Colson, has done of excellent job of explaining the Christian – not necessarily conservative – worldview for decades.

Because many liberal viewpoints are destructive economically and culturally, the move left also signals that, as Chuck Colson was fond of saying, salvation will not arrive on Air Force One. Without a change in social strategy from Republicans, increasingly liberal moral views may provide Democrats with an opportunity for a political comeback while at the same time making many national problems, such as the entitlement crisis, worse. Without a change in national attitudes at the grassroots level, lasting conservative reform will be impossible to achieve.

Bill Nye vs. Bill Nye: Did the ‘Science Guy’ Once Preach That Human Life Begins at Conception?

Bill Nye has undergone quite the ideological evolution since his”Science Guy” days. Once a quirky, lighthearted kids show host, Nye is more known today for his liberal politics and for his controversial new Netflix show that includes adult language and themes.

In light of this late career change, critics have begun addressing some key issues on which they believe Nye has seemingly backtracked or changed his rhetoric. Among the purported flip-flops? The origins of human life.

“If you’re going to say when an egg is fertilized it … has the same rights as an individual, then whom are you going to sue, whom are you going to imprison?” Nye asked in a 2015 Big Think video about abortion. “Every woman whose had a fertilized egg pass through her? Every guy whose sperm has fertilized an egg and then it didn’t become a human? Have all these people failed you?”

Nye went on to say that some critics’ push-back on the life issue is “just a reflection of a deep scientific lack of understanding.” Watch his remarks below:

Read the full story at Faithwire.com.

The #UnintendedJoy of Reluctant Motherhood

This week is the week of “choices.” It is School Choice Week (a passion of mine) and it is also the week of March for Life, where we are once again made aware of the issue of “choice” in pregnancy and abortion.

As we head into the annual March for Life on Washington this Friday, #UnintendedJoy is currently popping up across Twitter – women and men sharing their stories of how an unintended pregnancy led to unimaginable joy and thanksgiving. Pundit Mary Katherine Ham penned a particularly moving article about her amazing baby girl, born just two months after the loss of her husband, Jake in a tragic accident.

I don’t have any stories of such magnitude. I’m blessed to be parenting two amazing children with my husband of 18 years. I’ve never had an unplanned pregnancy and since I was very young I always knew I wouldn’t want to be a single parent and planned my life (and sex life) accordingly.

My story feels inadequate compared to others, but I wanted to share it anyway, in case a young woman is out there who might be moved in some way by my very simple but life-changing tale.

I never wanted to be a mother. I always viewed children as a burden.  I knew of almost no one in my own family who actively planned their families. Rarely did I see a pregnancy met with joy, only concern and disappointment. Of course, that always changed once baby arrived, but the sentiments stuck with me and I unknowingly internalized them. I didn’t want to create the same kind of burden for myself that I had visited upon my single mother.

Then something crazy happened. I fell in love with a family man. A wonderful man, the son of a dedicated pastor and stay-at-home-mother, raised in a stable home with three other siblings. A “traditional” man. We did what few black couples do these days (statistically speaking)…we got married. Once we’d decided on marriage it happened quickly…within months. Tongues started wagging at church. The pastor’s son marrying so fast? She must be pregnant!

I was not. But just like that famous line in one of our favorite movies, When Harry Met Sally.

When you meet the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.

Despite our commitment, I was sure I could do no child any good as a mother. I just wasn’t the “mothering” type.

My husband was patient and understanding. As I matured into my marriage my love for him deepened and there seemed no more natural way to express that love than to create a life together. After a few years I agreed to start a family and within a year we were the parents of a healthy, handsome baby boy.

I couldn’t have known how utterly and joyously helpless I would become the moment I held him. I was suddenly a slave to love and there would be no turning back. Years later we added another bundle of joy. What my kids gave me was a deeper sense of purpose than I’d ever known. Suddenly I wasn’t just living for myself.  I was right that children were a heavy burden to bear…I was wrong about how terrible that burden would be.

It is the sweetest load I’ve ever borne.

Becoming a mother has also gave me a whole new understanding of God’s love for me, for each of us. I suddenly saw myself from His perspective…the perspective of a parent.

I once overheard my toddler son singing some praise and worship songs from church as he played. I stood behind his door for 30 minutes and just listened to him singing and playing.  It was as if I’d never heard singing before. In that moment I couldn’t have imagined a more moving, amazing, talented singer in all the world. My love for him seemed too big to fit in my heart.

That is how God sees us – with warts and flaws, yes but also as the most beautiful of creations. Our voices are His music. Even when we are disobedient or selfish He still sees us as stunning and perfect, the way were created to be. Just like I see my children as incredible, delightful and wonderful human beings even in their flaws, so does He see us.

Ironically, as opposed to stopping my forward momentum I strongly believe being a parent has at times been my only reason for continuing to move forward when all I wanted to do was stop everything and give up.

Parenting has made my husband and I closer in ways I didn’t know possible. We’re an exclusive team and this is the family we’ve made together. No one knows what we know about this family, this life, this experience called the Davis family. It’s a sweet secret that will always bond us.

I am so glad God changed my heart toward parenthood. It frightens me to think of all the #UnintendedJoy I would have missed out on had I let my fear dictate our path. In pro-life circles we (rightly) focus our efforts on women and men who are struggling with the fear of unintended pregnancy. They need our encouragement to know that while right now it might feel like the end of the world, in reality it is only the beginning of something great.

I only wanted to add to that encouragement. You don’t have to be single and alone to be terrified of parenthood. Even the comfort of having a partner didn’t spare me from the insecurities about my future if I allowed myself to be a mother.

I’m fourteen years into this parenting thing and I can say with full and complete honesty that there has never been one day, one hour, one second, one iota of a moment that I have regretted my children and their presence in my life.

That is the true legacy of #UnintendedJoy.

Planned Parenthood President’s Shocking Reason For Aborting Her Baby

I remember the days when Bill Clinton talked about abortion. President Clinton’s mantra was nobody wanted to get an abortion. He said that it should be “safe, legal and rare.” Likewise, when the pro-choice crowd challenges legal restrictions on abortion, much of the time it is because the laws allegedly don’t contain strong enough provisions for hardship cases such pregnancies that result from rape, incest or that threaten the life of the mother.

There is some logic to these arguments. Americans can argue in good faith about if it is ever moral to kill an unborn baby. While I believe that abortion is murder and morally repugnant, I can concede that there are gray areas where there are no good choices. With deep moral and logical arguments to be made on both sides, it is all the more shocking to hear Planned Parenthood’s president Cecile Richards justify her own abortion.

In an interview with Katie Couric in 2015, Richards described her decision to take the life of an unborn baby. “It was a decision my husband and I made. It was a personal decision. And we have three children that we adore and that are the center of my life. And we decided that was as big as our family needed to be,” said Richards. “It wasn’t anything more dramatic than that. But I can’t imagine a woman being in that circumstance — with an unintended pregnancy and not being able to make her own decision about that pregnancy.”

“It wasn’t anything more dramatic than that.”

Cecile Richards is the daughter of former Texas governor, Anne Richards (who notably coined the nickname “Shrub” for George W. Bush). She comes from an affluent family. Lifenews estimates the salary of the younger Ms. Richards at “around $600,000.” She is a one-percenter in her own right. Yet she chose to end the life of her baby, the sibling of her other three children, because “we decided that was as big as our family needed to be.”

This is no hardship case. This is not a gray area. This is a case of a wealthy woman who apparently was not on birth control or using contraceptives deciding that she didn’t want another child.

The Cecile Richards abortion is an example of the dishonesty of the abortion movement. The vast majority of abortions are for convenience or quality of life reasons, not for medical emergencies or due to sexual assaults. According to the Guttmacher Institute, rape and incest cases make up less than one percent of abortions. Abortions due to the health of the mother account for only 12 percent of abortions. Concerns about the health of the baby lead to 13 percent.

The most common reason cited for having an abortion? “Having a baby would dramatically change my life.” Cecile Richards’ excuse, “have completed my childbearing,” was given by 38 percent of women who had abortions.

The pro-choice movement is fundamentally a selfish one. At its core, it is all about “me.” The slogan “my body, my choice” puts all other considerations below the mother’s preference. The fact that a human being is killed, the desires of the father, even the possibility of problems with the mental and physical health of the mother are pushed aside.

Abortion is not a necessary medical procedure to protect the life of the mother in most cases. Abortion is a tool with which people can escape the consequences of their actions.

Ironically, the extremist position of abortion for any reason may be hurting the pro-choice cause. Since the 1990s, the percentage of pro-choice Americans has plummeted while the pro-life position has increased. The country is equally split between the two viewpoints according to Gallup. On closer examination, the majority is neither pro- nor anti-abortion. A majority, 50 percent, of Americans believes in the middle ground that there should be legal abortion with restrictions. Most of these (37 percent) believe that abortion should be legal in only a few circumstances, presumably the traditional exceptions of rape, incest and when the mother’s life is in danger.

The change in attitudes about abortion helps to explain another shocking statistic. American abortions are their lowest level since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. The pro-life viewpoint is winning. Perhaps this is why abortion activists are sounding increasingly shrill and extreme.

(Hat tip to at Amanda Prestigiacomo at the Daily Wire for finding the 2015 interview.)

The Betrayal Makes Me Smile

I am smiling over the betrayal of the House Republicans.

Led by Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Renee Ellmers51%House Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard51%, the House Republicans have yanked a bill that would prohibit the savage killing of 5 month old children, some of whom are gruesomely killed feeling their bodies torn limb from limb.

The Republicans did this on the day of the March for Life, when thousands upon thousands of pro-life voters marched on Washington. These are the base voters of the GOP who now see the party betraying them.

I have been writing about the GOP’s incompetence, contempt for their base, and lack of real pro-life bona fides for several years. It has been a recurring point I make and have made in the run up to the 2014 elections.

But it is often pro-lifers who have the hardest time believing it. Fiscal conservatives recognize it immediately. But pro-lifers see a politician kissing babies and talking Jesus and they extend plenary grace toward the politician. When the politician betrays them, they love them just the same. After all, they just couldn’t get the votes to get it done. But they really believe in the cause.

That, at least, is the pro-lifers’ rationalization.

In fact, today we are already seeing some pro-life groups making excusing for the House Leadership. These stooges love them some table scraps. But the majority of the pro-life movement will not be so easily mollified.

The GOP has been exposed, just after its election, as incompetent and having contempt for its base. Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Renee Ellmers51%House Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard51% has become the Abortion Barbie of the GOP — more successfully defending late term abortion than Wendy Davis ever hoped to do.

More and more of the Republican base sees the GOP Leadership today as I have long seen them. And that, friends, is a good thing.

Many observers have chalked up Republicans’ success in the midterms to their having kept the Tea Party in check. The establishment spent tens of millions beating back intraparty challenges, and not a single incumbent GOP senator lost a primary, for the first time since 2008. In his RedState posts, Erickson has argued against the idea that the Tea Party is on the ropes: “I do not expect to have to win every one of the races, but then the brilliance of this effort is that the establishment must win them all and we don’t have to.” Just as terrorists don’t have to blow up every bus to have the intended effect (my metaphor, not Erickson’s), conservatives don’t need to overthrow every incumbent in order to move the GOP’s agenda to the right.

Pretty much.

The post The Betrayal Makes Me Smile appeared first on RedState.

The Betrayal Makes Me Smile

I am smiling over the betrayal of the House Republicans.

Led by Renee Ellmers, the House Republicans have yanked a bill that would prohibit the savage killing of 5 month old children, some of whom are gruesomely killed feeling their bodies torn limb from limb.

The Republicans did this on the day of the March for Life, when thousands upon thousands of pro-life voters marched on Washington. These are the base voters of the GOP who now see the party betraying them.

I have been writing about the GOP’s incompetence, contempt for their base, and lack of real pro-life bona fides for several years. It has been a recurring point I make and have made in the run up to the 2014 elections.

But it is often pro-lifers who have the hardest time believing it. Fiscal conservatives recognize it immediately. But pro-lifers see a politician kissing babies and talking Jesus and they extend plenary grace toward the politician. When the politician betrays them, they love them just the same. After all, they just couldn’t get the votes to get it done. But they really believe in the cause.

That, at least, is the pro-lifers’ rationalization.

In fact, today we are already seeing some pro-life groups making excusing for the House Leadership. These stooges love them some table scraps. But the majority of the pro-life movement will not be so easily mollified.

The GOP has been exposed, just after its election, as incompetent and having contempt for its base. Renee Ellmers has become the Abortion Barbie of the GOP — more successfully defending late term abortion than Wendy Davis ever hoped to do.

More and more of the Republican base sees the GOP Leadership today as I have long seen them. And that, friends, is a good thing.

Many observers have chalked up Republicans’ success in the midterms to their having kept the Tea Party in check. The establishment spent tens of millions beating back intraparty challenges, and not a single incumbent GOP senator lost a primary, for the first time since 2008. In his RedState posts, Erickson has argued against the idea that the Tea Party is on the ropes: “I do not expect to have to win every one of the races, but then the brilliance of this effort is that the establishment must win them all and we don’t have to.” Just as terrorists don’t have to blow up every bus to have the intended effect (my metaphor, not Erickson’s), conservatives don’t need to overthrow every incumbent in order to move the GOP’s agenda to the right.

Pretty much.