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What does it mean when a culture praises the indiscriminate murder of unborn babies yet makes an icon of a famous pregnant woman? It is not to celebrate life, but instead to exalt old gods of sex and death.

Six truths about disability

Through ignorance and errant belief systems, people have adopted strange views toward people with disabilities:

• Pagan Greek and Roman philosophers advocated abandoning babies who were born with disabilities.

• In medieval times, children with disabilities were considered “changelings” – subhuman, Satanic beings.

• Social Darwinists and the Nazis sought to eradicate disability through eugenics and the death camps.

Thankfully, God frees us from hateful, superstitious, and deadly beliefs. His word urges us to treat the disabled person as our neighbor, to watch out for them as a brother. As it says in the law, "You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind.” (Leviticus 19:14)

Jesus, of course, fulfilled and expanded on this law. He made a point to minister to disabled people, and there are many examples of this in the Gospels. In particular, Mark 10:46-52 gives us six principles concerning them:

1. Society sidelines disabled individuals and hinders them from coming to Jesus. We should not take our cues from the world.

2. Disabled people are spiritually capable. Just as blind Bartimaeus knew who Jesus was, we must recognize that people who are disabled and follow Christ have spiritual gifts.

3. People with disabilities need Christ and fellowship with other believers. We who have no disability have a duty to help them.

4. Jesus does not pass by people with disabilities. In fact, He characterizes the people He calls into His kingdom as "crippled, blind, and lame" (Luke 14:21).

5. Jesus "empowered" Bartimaeus to articulate his own need, and we should not presume to know what a person we're

 helping needs or wants. 

6. Whether our bodies are whole or not, we are broken by sin. We all need Christ, in Whom we find healing, acceptance, and purpose.

It's wonderful that the early church's immediate response was to rescue disabled infants from the trash heaps of Rome. They knew these truths and responded accordingly, even when it meant danger and self-sacrifice.

Read more:
Jesus Loves People with Disabilities
Attitudes Toward People with Disabilities

I'm always fascinated by the glimpses of missionary life in Bill and Lori Smith's weekly newsletters. They serve in Papua New Guinea -- he with national pastors through a Bible college and she through a medical clinic. Life Matters helped the clinic obtain ultrasound equipment that has saved several babies' lives.

In a recent newsletter, Lori related how they'll be taking an evangelistic mobile clinic to Sagifa this Friday. Safiga is the home village of one of Lori's patients who died recently of cancer. Lillian accepted Christ before she died, but her village remains in deep bondage to the forces of evil. 

"Sorcery is the iron band that chains her people in fear," Lori writes. When Lillian died in Bill and Lori's home, the village sent a witch "to try to decipher the person responsible for her death so they could be killed." 

While this practice is shocking to Western sensibilities, when I consider it in light of the biblical pro-life ethic, I find surprising similarities. 

Genesis 9:5-6 says -- 

For your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being.
 
“Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed;

for in the image of God has God made mankind.

Note that the fact man bears God's image is the reason for the death penalty and not a reason for prohibiting it. 

It's amazing to me that a seemingly primitive or "backward" culture sees human life as distinct from that of animals and important enough to avenge.

The difference, however, between the PNG tribal understanding of "the sanctity of human life" and the biblical pro-life ethic is that God's word presses societies to determine the cause of a death -- whether it is natural, accidental, or homicidal. The penalty, if any, depends upon the cause. Accidental deaths are treated differently than intentional and, of course, natural deaths caused by old age or disease are not avenged at all.

Instructive passages:

Exodus 21:28-32 - what to do if an animal kills a person

Leviticus 20:1-5 - what to do if someone offers a child in sacrifice to an idol

Numbers 35:6-34 and Deuteronomy 19 - distinctions between murder and manslaughter

Dt. 21:1-9 - what to do in the case of an unsolved murder

It's also very important to note, furthermore, that the biblical way of determining a cause of death relies on evidence -- not intuition, hearsay, or sorcery. The witch's method serves the agenda of the Enemy, leading to more deaths of innocent people in an endless cycle of revenge and superstition.

God's law requires careful investigation, public inquiry, and the testimony of more than one witness. So we see how societies can pervert God's intent and how biblical justice prevents witchhunts.

Find out what happened when Lori's mobile clinic team went to Safiga

Darren Arnofsky’s film Noah is turning out to be one of those cultural touchstones that divide viewers according to worldview. It not only calls the authority of Scripture into question, but also explains other crucial themes -- the sanctity of human life, man’s relation to the environment, the nature of sin and salvation, God’s purpose in creation, and God Himself -- in a way quite different from how they are rendered in Genesis and the rest of God's word. 

Here are a few insightful critiques from those who've seen the movie:

  • In Sympathy for the Devil, Dr. Brian Mattson points out its disturbing Gnostic/Kabbalistic/mystic underpinnings.


Apparently, the movie even gets the meaning of the rainbow wrong.

We "happened" to write about Noah in our latest Life Matters copy-ready bulletin insert -- Noah: Violent or Righteous? The Bible teaches that Noah stood out as someone who was "other than" the status quo, while the movie depicts him as a killer. Movie Noah believed his mission was to destroy all the people on the ark after they had saved the animals!

Another resource that you can use in your church, Sunday school, youth group, etc., to teach biblical truths is Noah and the Last Days, from the makers of 180 and Evolution vs. God. View it online and download a free ebook.

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"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates."

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

There is no "hobby lobby," but maybe there should be. Advocates of crafting everywhere, UNITE!

There is a Christian-owned company by that name, and it has become a focal point in the battle over government intruding on basic religious freedoms.

Earlier this year, Hobby Lobby petitioned the government for relief from the mandate that employers provide insurance covering contraceptives that can cause abortions. The case is still pending appeal, but the Supreme Court recently denied a request for an emergency injunction. Hobby Lobby says it has no intention of complying, and so, beginning on January 1, the government will fine them an unfathomable $1.3 million dollars per day!

In an open letter, CEO David Green lays out the principles that guide the company:

We’re Christians, and we run our business on Christian principles. I’ve always said that the first two goals of our business are (1) to run our business in harmony with God’s laws, and (2) to focus on people more than money. And that’s what we’ve tried to do. We close early so our employees can see their families at night. We keep our stores closed on Sundays, one of the week’s biggest shopping days, so that our workers and their families can enjoy a day of rest. 

We believe that it is by God’s grace that Hobby Lobby has endured, and he has blessed us and our employees. We’ve not only added jobs in a weak economy, we’ve raised wages for the past four years in a row. Our full-time employees start at 80% above minimum wage.

But now, our government threatens to change all of that. . . . Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions, which means that we don’t cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill. We believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs. It goes against the Biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one.

. . . So, Hobby Lobby – and my family – are forced to make a choice. . . . My family has lived the American dream. We want to continue growing our company and providing great jobs for thousands of employees, but the government is going to make that much more difficult. The government is forcing us to choose between following our faith and following the law. I say that’s a choice no American – and no American business – should have to make.

Blogger Kevin DeYoung says, "Millions of Americans are already outraged. And rightly so. Our government not only allows for abortion, and celebrates abortion rights, and wants women to have unfettered access to abortion on demand, it now requires other Americans to pay for abortion-inducing drugs or face crippling fines. It is not an endorsement of any political party to conclude that this policy is morally degenerate. More Americans should be alarmed than are already."

Denny Burk agrees: "This is the most egregious violation of religious liberty that I have ever seen." He goes on to explain this case is not about banning contraception. "Nothing could be further from the truth. No one wants to outlaw contraception. This controversy is about the fact that the government is forcing pro-life business owners to pay for chemical abortions. If the federal government can force citizens to purchase items that they believe to be immoral, where will this end?"

To borrow freely from Martin Neimoller:

First they came for Hobby Lobby,
but I didn't speak out because I wasn't crafty . . . or a Christian employer;
then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

January 5th was a Hobby Lobby Appreciation Day, but it's going to take more than one day of shopping at the chain of big-box arts and crafts stores to win this battle. Something sacrificial. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty represents the company in its lawsuit, going as David against the Goliath of the U.S. government. I don't know how much it will take to win, but they are accepting donations.

Related: Hobby Lobby: First martyr under Obamacare?

Update: Hobby Lobby Delays Obamacare Fines for Now

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