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Dr. Paul J. Dean Christian Blog and Commentary

Dr. Paul J. Dean

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Dr. Paul Dean is a pastor, cultural commentator, and author. He serves as a Regional Mentor with the International Association of Biblical Counselors, speaks at several conferences throughout the year, and provides training for ministers and churches on a regular basis. Paul resides in the Upstate of South Carolina with his wife and three children.

So Casablanca ends up being about putting personal feelings aside for the more important effort of fighting for freedom in the war. Ilsa thinks her husband Victor is dead and falls in love with Rick who loves her back. Victor turns up alive and Ilsa leaves Rick when she finds out. As time goes by, she and Rick end up meeting again and she vows never again to leave him. In the last scene, the cynical and sidelined Rick becomes a hero when he joins the fight with this:

Rick: I'm saying it because it's true. Inside of us, we both know you belong with Victor. You're part of his work, the thing that keeps him going. If that plane leaves the ground and you're not with him, you'll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.

Ilsa: But what about us?

Rick: We'll always have Paris. We didn't have, we, we lost it until you came to Casablanca. We got it back last night.

Ilsa: When I said I would never leave you.

Rick: And you never will. But I've got a job to do, too. Where I'm going, you can't follow. What I've got to do, you can't be any part of. Ilsa, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you'll understand that. . . . Now, now . . . here’s looking at you kid.

There are things that are bigger than our feelings or convenience. There’s right and wrong.

And there’s this twenty-five-year-old abortion counselor who got pregnant and filmed the procedure to show women that there can be a positive abortion story. Emily Letts says she’s not ready to have children and should not be made to feel guilty for having an abortion nor should anyone else.

Two things come to mind. First, she certainly takes God out of the equation with her decision but also with the credit she gives herself: “I feel in awe of the fact that I can make a baby. I can make a life.” That said, it’s interesting she sees making a baby as more than a mere biological process; it is a baby and it is a life. Yet, her awe is not enough to keep her from killing her baby. Since she made it, she can kill it. After all, the lord gives and the lord takes away, no matter who she is.

Letts went on to say, “I knew what I was going to do was right, because it was right for me and no one else.” Of course, she didn’t include the man who got her pregnant in the decision to kill her baby. After all, it was right for her and no one else whether her partner or her baby. And now she says “she doesn’t feel like a bad person, sad or guilty.”

Which brings me to the second thing that comes to mind which actually has two parts. The first is that she’s aborted her baby and she'll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of her life. The second is it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday she'll understand that.

It’s too bad people no longer put aside their personal feelings for something more important. And that’s why they end up losing more than they realize – only then – it’s too late.

Check out Dr. Dean’s audio news and worldview commentaries, The Dean’s List as well as his new e-book “Naked and Unashamed: Liberating Sex from Cultural Captivity”. You can also follow him on Twitter: @pauldeanjr.

It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there but they say it could soon be a man-eat-dog world if we’re not careful. “In a piece that may not sit well with some pet owners, Erik Assadourian argues that pets are detrimental to the planet—and it's time to take action. ‘Two German Shepherds use more resources just for their annual food needs than the average Bangladeshi uses each year in total,’ Assadourian writes in the Guardian. ‘And while pet owners may disagree that Bangladeshis have more right to exist than their precious Schnookums, the truth is that pets serve little more societal purpose than keeping us company’—and our planet just can't keep supporting the millions of cats and dogs that inhabit it.”

The solution? “Assadourian doesn't suggest that we all get rid of our pets . . . He wants to see our animals spayed and neutered (with triple the tax on those that aren't), the marketing of pet products banned, and a limit on the healthcare we provide to our pets. He'd also like to see people turn to pets that serve other purposes, like giving milk, laying eggs, or supplying meat. Otherwise, when climate change sends food prices skyward, people may be forced to dump their pets en masse, Assadourian notes. ‘Perhaps at that point the pet issue will solve itself—as these packs of dogs become a bridge food for the hungry unemployed masses.’”

With dogs and people eating all kinds of things they shouldn’t, it’s too bad most people simply eat what their served, especially drivel like this. All rational people agree that people are more important than pets. At the same time, there is no research indicating the planet can’t support people and pets. People (and pets) go hungry for lots of reasons with faulty worldview and government corruption topping the list. No one is hungry because there is not enough food to go around. With an overwhelming amount of data concerning population, renewable resources, and food production combined with the biblical mandate to be fruitful and multiply, no one should be worried about a lack of food because we have too many mouths to feed.

It’s certainly true that food shortages could occur for lots of reasons including natural disaster or war to name two. And, God’s command to be fruitful and multiply doesn’t apply to pets. At the same time, with current data, there is no reason to be worried about an inability to feed our pets. Most people are smart enough to get rid of their pets one way or the other if they can’t afford them. We had on old dog that had become practically immobile and my wife didn’t know what to do. A friend of ours who drove a pick-up with a gun rack (and gun on the rack) told us if we let him know when we’d be out for a little while, the dog would simply be gone when we got back: no muss no fuss. My wife wanted to know what he meant. “She’ll just disappear,” he said. The point is, it’s not a problem.

What we have here from Assadourian is nothing new: bad information, government solutions, and scare tactics. Let’s all worry about skyrocketing prices, packs of wild dogs roaming our once peaceful neighborhoods, and then having to feed them to our children – all because of man-made climate change. And by all means let’s get the all-wise government involved to force us to spay and neuter our pets and tax those who don’t. Let’s ban the marketing of pet products and put those dirty pet product makers out of business. These are the kinds of wild ideas, unethical tactics, and oppressive solutions on which dystopian futures are built.

Assadourian says we need to change pet culture drastically. Well, with all due respect, it’s not our pet culture that’s giving us all the problems. Here’s the issue: God gave us dominion over the animals. We can use them to help us in our work and we can make them pets for our enjoyment. And yes, we can eat them if we like. And, it’s good to know we have the God-given gift of intelligence to discover and create all kinds of ways to feed ourselves and our animals. It’s good to know as God’s Vice-regents we have the capacity to steward the earth and everything in it better and better over time. And it’s good to know that we do indeed know how to take care of our pets as the need arises, one way or the other. Again, it’s not a problem. 

Check out Dr. Dean’s audio news and worldview commentaries, The Dean’s List as well as his new e-book “Naked and Unashamed: Liberating Sex from Cultural Captivity”. You can also follow him on Twitter: @pauldeanjr.

Educators are supposed to be educated. Yet a teacher and officials at a Broward County public school banned a fifth grader from reading the Bible during “free reading” time. Breitbart reports that Giovanni Rubeo, a fifth-grade student, decided he’d like to read his Bible “during the time in class where students are allowed to read anything they choose.” His teacher, Swornia Thomas, told him “he’s not allowed to read the Bible in her class and ordered him to put it away. Giovanni asked her to call his father, Paul Rubeo, about the incident. Thomas did so, leaving a voicemail that included, ‘I noticed that he [Giovanni] has a book—a religious book—in the classroom. He’s not permitted to read those books in my classroom.’” “Rubeo then contacted the school’s principal, Orinthia Dias, who brought in the school’s legal department. None of them are willing to acknowledge that Giovanni has a constitutional right to read the Bible.” So much for educated educators.

What’s so difficult to understand that the government can’t force religion upon people nor can they prevent people from exercising their religion? Do people really believe you can’t read a Bible simply because you’re on government property? Yes, there’s a violation of religious freedom here but there’s also an insult to our collective intelligence. Talk about the inmates running the asylum. It also seems to be beyond the grasp of most that this teacher is pushing her worldview/religion on her students not only in this situation but in everything she teaches. The subject matter can be presented as if there is no God or as if there is God -- but -- there is certainly no middle ground.

Now here’s a question for you: is it any surprise our country is coming apart at the seams? Don’t kid yourself that you have no Swornia Thomas in your local school. Whether the issue in this case is hostility to religion or simple ignorance doesn’t really matter – the outcome is the same – children are being taught by the Swornia Thomases of the world hour after hour, day after day, year after year. What do you expect our culture to look like over time then? And here’s the most disturbing reality of all: if we don’t somehow take responsibility for the education of our own children and get involved in that process, then that begs the question as to who the real inmates are.

Check out Dr. Dean’s audio news and worldview commentaries, The Dean’s List as well as his new e-book “Naked and Unashamed: Liberating Sex from Cultural Captivity”. You can also follow him on Twitter: @pauldeanjr.

While most people don’t like to pray, they certainly want the right to pray. Of course there are those who think they have a right not to be offended by the prayers of others. So it becomes a battle of rights rather than commitment to God or principle in the hearts of many. But that doesn’t keep us from praying or seeking to preserve God-given rights in a free society for the good of all whether they see the good or not. We believe God.

So it’s good the Supreme Court has ruled that prayer in government meetings does not violate the U. S. Constitution. Here’s the story: two women in Greece, New York took issue with the fact their town council meetings were opened with Christian prayer. They contended that Christian prayer was a violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment though they had no objection to non-sectarian prayer. In one sense, the Court ruled that prayer should be sectarian or it really isn’t prayer. Good call.

The language from the majority opinion is both critical and instructive:

To hold that invocations must be nonsectarian would force the legislatures sponsoring prayers and the courts deciding these cases to act as supervisors and censors of religious speech, thus involving government in religious matters to a far greater degree than is the case under the town’s current practice of neither editing nor approving prayers in advance nor criticizing their content after the fact. Respondents’ contrary arguments are unpersuasive. It is doubtful that consensus could be reached as to what qualifies as a generic or nonsectarian prayer. It would also be unwise to conclude that only those religious words acceptable to the majority are permissible, for the First Amendment is not a majority rule and government may not seek to define permissible categories of religious speech.

Albert Mohler notes the Court is saying that government has no right to declare the only god welcome in the public arena is a generic god. Christians obviously agree; there is no such thing as a generic god to whom all may pray; there is no God but God.

Of course, the Court was divided and Justice Elena Kagan offered this alarming comment: “When citizens of this country approach their government, they do so only as Americans, not as members of one faith or another.” Here civil religion is bared for all to see. It’s the kind of thing governments appreciate as a means of keeping the masses happy, docile, controlled, and committed to their agenda. It’s a kind of public deism that keeps the peace but certainly has no place in the Christian framework. We can’t approach the government, or anyone else for that matter, as Americans only; we are who we are, faith included. And if we leave our faith at the door then we don’t have much of a faith. As a Christian, if you ask me to pray at a public meeting whether town council or a football game, you should know what you’re going to get: a sincere prayer to the true God in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you don’t like that – don’t ask me to pray.

Now, there are freedom loving individuals who have questioned the ruling. Scott Lazarowitz is one of them. He asks:

Well, okay, Justice Kennedy and the conservatives, but what if someone presenting a particular case before an open local government hearing wants to say his own prayer out loud but he happens to worship “the devil” or some other entity whose worship many people may find offensive? What if it makes the rest of the group in attendance uncomfortable? Should he not be allowed to do so? Or are you saying that if the majority of the group there are Christians only they can read their prayers?

Mohler is helpful here and points us to the majority opinion again: “Congress continues to permit its appointed and visiting chaplains to express themselves in a religious idiom. It acknowledges our growing diversity not by proscribing sectarian content but by welcoming ministers of many creeds.” And Mohler rightly elaborates:

This is a message that Christians in America must affirm without reservation. Religious liberty for Christians means religious liberty — full religious liberty — for all citizens. We must not only concede this point, we must make this point. We cannot be constitutionally offended when Buddhists pray at the opening of Congress as Buddhists, when Muslims open sessions of the town council meeting with Muslim prayers, or even when the rabbi prays in accordance with his Jewish faith.

Enough said.

But Lazarowitz explains his concern about pronouncements from conservative Christians:

The emphasis in this case was that of the Christian prayers being the center of controversy. But, on a related note, also this week the blowhard Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore just recently asserted that what the writers of the First Amendment meant by “religion” was Christianity. And therefore the First Amendment really only protects Christians‘ right to freedom of religion, based on the early Americans’ references to “God” as the “Creator.” And he went on to say, “Buddha didn’t create us, Muhammad didn’t create us. It’s the God of the Holy Scriptures. They didn’t bring a Qur’an over on the pilgrim ship Mayflower. Let’s get real, let’s go back and learn our history, let’s stop playing games.”

Of course, that’s not what the Court said.

But no Christian should affirm Judge Moore’s words. Yes, the Lord Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation and we proclaim Him. However, the church and America are two separate things. We don’t force Christianity on others through the state and we affirm religious freedom for all. Such a concept flows from the realities that all men are created in God’s image, are free agents, and should not be coerced or forcibly enslaved. We may not violate a man’s liberty of conscience before God. We fully expect a Muslim to pray to his god and affirm his right to do so in a free and civil society though we know he is praying to a god of his imagination: an idol. And that’s why we try to win him to Christ, not by force, but by the gospel.

Okay then. But why should we pray at government assemblies anyway Lazarowitz wants to know? Again, we can go back to Mohler: “We must recognize that one of the primary purposes of prayer before a government assembly is to remind all present that government, though important, is not ultimate.” There is no King but King Jesus.

So, this is good. But there’s some bad too. From the Court: “In rejecting the suggestion that legislative prayer must be nonsectarian, the Court does not imply that no constraints remain on its content.” That’s not only bad, it’s ugly. They’re saying government reserves the right to limit or alter the content of prayer should they deem it necessary. That’s as troubling as it is wrong. Now what? We Christians simply need to keep pressing the gospel in the area of public policy. The day we cease to do that will be the day the Court rules sectarian prayer out of order. Genuine liberty and justice for all cannot be sustained apart from the influence of a Christian worldview.

So, don’t stop believing – and – don’t stop pressing – full Court.

Check out Dr. Dean’s audio news and worldview commentaries, The Dean’s List as well as his new e-book “Naked and Unashamed: Liberating Sex from Cultural Captivity”. You can also follow him on Twitter: @pauldeanjr.

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