The Nation’s Pulse

The Nation's Pulse

Megachurch Going

By From the April 2014 issue

“Our. God. Feels.” Pastor Dave Bushnell slowed down, pronouncing the words distinctly. Then he stopped, giving us a moment for the three syllables to sink in. “Our God reigns” might have been what the audience had expected him to say, from the title—and the refrain—of the popular worship song by that name. This inversion of expectations roped listeners into the message.

Bushnell is a wiry man with close-cropped hair. On the third Sunday in January, he was dressed in faded blue jeans and a red, white, and black plaid button-down shirt. Behind him, a large screen, one of many in the cavernous auditorium of Cornwall Church, displayed a collection of verses from the Bible’s Old and New Testaments. Here were verses in which God the Father and Jesus Christ expressed what sounded suspiciously like emotions. Compassion, distress, sorrow, regret: the whole gamut of human feeling. Such seemingly emotional passages have long presented a problem for theologians because they seem to contradict classical Christian formulations about God—His being all knowing, all powerful, unchanging, and good, for instance.

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Overmedicated America

By 3.14.14

Roughly seven in ten Americans take a prescription drug. That’s surely a symptom of a sick society. Who will diagnose the diagnosticians?

The Mayo Clinic study that reported the shocking statistic in 2013 found that behind antibiotics, doctors prescribe opioids and antidepressants more than any other type of drug. The guy in the black trench coat calls them uppers and downers. The guy in the white lab coat applies fancier names: Dexedrine, Klonopin, Phenmetrazine, and others lending themselves to neither pronunciation nor understanding.

Bayer once marketed heroine. Parke-Davis pushed cocaine. Today, doctors write scripts for Adderall and Oxycodone — old wine, new bottles. Might our forebears look down on us the way we smugly look back at posterity?

A “disease” responsible for much of the prescription boom is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). A behavioral neurologist practicing for a half-century now believes it a made-up malady. When patients feign an illness, the English language assigns a word to them: malingerers. What to call doctors who dream up diseases?

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A Volley of Valentines in Virginia

By 3.11.14

Last month some women started a new front in their long war on men, women and children, a war with so many victims killed — and disabled in soul and body. And they lost. On February 17, Virginia state Senator Stephen H. Martin and other pro-life Virginia legislators received late valentines from the Virginia Pro-Choice Coalition asking them to give up their opposition to abortion.

 

I find the report of this volley of valentines in Virginia disturbing on several levels. First, I was not aware that organizations, for-profit or not-for-profit, send valentines. Valentines are meant to be sent by individuals to individuals. Second, since valentines are used to express romantic love, or affection, or at least friendship, it is wrong to send them to an opponent, much less to ask the recipient to change their sincerely held beliefs. Third, it is just plain hard to believe that valentines would be used to lobby legislators.

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Character: The Key to the Good Society

By 3.9.14

General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has recently stated that the armed forces should place more importance on the character of officers. The military has been rocked by a Navy contracting scandal involving allegations of bribes, high profile sexual assault cases, and test-cheating involving nuclear missile crews. The general stated that the military service chiefs would put renewed focus on military ethics.

I met the general in church a few weeks after his statement. In a brief conversation, I told him that I would be interested to see his findings as to why character is lacking among so many in high places and what solutions his committee proposes. Later that day, I thought that, instead of me waiting for the Joint Chief’s report, I should be contributing to what needs to be a national conversation, since the lack of character is now endemic to our society.

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Two New Developments in Emergency Contraception

By 3.7.14

In the Left’s never-ending effort to enable girls and women to have recreational sex without being “punished with a baby” (as President Obama put it in reference to his daughters awhile back), emergency contraception will now be less expensive and more accessible because of two new developments. Instead of having to take two Plan B pills, a new single-dose version — referred to as Plan B One Step (PBOS) — has been rushed through approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); further, a generic version — at roughly half the price of the original Plan B — can be purchased over the counter by anyone (even though the fine print stipulates that it is for women age 17 and older). So, anyone can go into any drug store and purchase a relatively inexpensive version (at $20 to $40) of a high-potency pill that used to be available only by prescription and under a doctor’s supervision.

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Happy National Condom Week!

By 2.28.14

Did you teens celebrate national condom week with Planned Parenthood? If you thought this was an “adult” celebration, you are mistaken. On the website of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England under the “For Teens” tab, you can find a “contest” to guess how many condoms are in a jar. The winner receives a free Planned Parenthood gift basket (I assume, filled with more condoms).

This is just part of PPNNE’s effort to reach teens and help them to healthily explore their sexuality, free condoms always being a plus. However, if talk about safe sex has become old news, don’t fret. The group’s newest initiative, “A Naked Notion with Laci Green,” is a fantastic resource for all sexually curious young ones.

Miss Green’s YouTube videos talk frankly about sex, including that of a kinkier variety. Planned Parenthood doesn’t even consider advice for teens on bondage and sadomasochism (BDSM) a little “taboo.”

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Entrusting Marriage to Liberals/Progressives

By 2.28.14

What’s happening in Arizona and elsewhere is precisely what I’ve warned people about for some time: Don’t entrust liberals/progressives with the institution of marriage. You do so at great peril to the culture and republic. It’s bad enough to acquiesce to their breathtaking efforts to suddenly redefine an ancient, natural, and Biblical institution. It will be far worse to deal with the unforeseen consequences of their actions.

You cannot and should not dare trust them with this power.

Outside of Arizona, here’s a picture of what we can expect, based merely on a few recent cases:

In Oregon, a couple that owns a bakery, the Kleins, are being sued and called before the state for not making a same-sex wedding cake. The Kleins note such an action violates their Christian beliefs and religious freedom, but the forces of “tolerance” refuse to tolerate the Kleins’ beliefs.

In Colorado, another bakery owner, Jack Phillips, awaits a possible jail sentence for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple.

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The Pill Pettifoggery

By From the January-February 2014 issue

The petitions for writs of certiorari are granted.” Those eight words, contained in a terse November announcement from the Supreme Court, signaled that the nation’s capital will soon be hit by a constitutional hurricane stirred up two years ago by disregarded legal flaps in far-off courts. At issue is the Obama administration’s contraception mandate, under which all health plans—including those provided by employers such as Catholic hospitals—must provide, free of charge, all FDA-approved contraception, including the morning-after pill.The challenges the court will hear were filed in 2012 by Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties.Both companies operate in accordance with the religious beliefs of their owners, beliefs that include strong moral objections to abortion-inducing drugs. Thus, their lawsuits charge that the mandate infringes upon their religious rights, as guaranteed by the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993, by forcing them to pay for employee health insurance that covers such drugs.
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Could Noelle Nguyen Get Us To Buy American Again?

By 2.24.14

Can American manufacturing make a comeback?

If Noelle Nguyen has anything to say about it then the answer is yes.

In 2012, Nguyen founded American Love Affair, an online company specializing in high end clothing and jewelry manufactured in the U.S. American Love Affair’s mission is to become “the online destination for all things American made.”

Based in Los Angeles, American Love Affair directly employs up to 20 people (depending on the season) and hundreds more indirectly through outsourcing to companies based in the United States that are involved in manufacturing, distribution, and logistics. The genesis of American Love Affair came about while Nguyen was pursuing her MBA at Pepperdine University.

So why did Nguyen name her business American Love Affair? Why is she so passionate about this country? Recently, I had the opportunity to correspond with Nguyen to discuss her passions and pursuits.

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Aphor-Centric

By 2.21.14

Technology is the means by which the smartest make society stupider.

That’s all I got for one-line wisdom today. An Ivy League professor of German’s success in the Twitterverse with such short-and-sweet truths has led him to escape the academy for an everyday living as an aphorist. To coin a tweet, “Good luck with that.” When has the medium in which congressmen kill their careers, and rowdy teenage partiers broadcast their lawbreaking to their parents, the cops, and local Ron Burgandys ever lent itself to deep thoughts?

The New Yorker informs that Eric Jarosinski’s inability to fulfill rigorous publish-or-perish requirements — Can you believe those Ivy League troglodytes don’t grant equal status to tweets and scholarly articles? — compelled him to withdraw from tenure consideration at Penn. Instead of finishing a book, the professor tweeted, nearly 30,000 times, beginning in early 2012. His social media pursuits occupy a full paragraph, enough to fill four tweets, in his three-paragraph professional biography, which also mentions that he’s still working on that book.

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