The FACT Report is a one-minute radio commentary on events that impact life, the family and religious liberty in Tennessee.The FACT Report is heard weekly on the Bott Radio Network, including Memphis on WCRV 640 AM and Nashville on WCRT 1160 AM. (Full station list below)
Religious Liberty Loses to Government Compulsion (March 5, 2014)
A national furor arose last week when Arizona’s governor vetoed a proposed law regarding religious liberty. It was similar in purpose to one in Tennessee that, because of negative media, had been withdrawn the week before.
Arizona’s bill would have allowed a business to at least try to defend itself against a discrimination lawsuit by a private citizen if it could prove that providing the requested service violated the business owner’s religious beliefs.
Americans used to believe that it was not good for government to force private individuals to be in relationships they didn’t want to be in. Liberty could be messy, but government coercion was considered ugly.
Therefore, we should be very careful with laws forcing private citizens into relationships with one another, particularly when it allows one citizen to force another to violate his or her religious beliefs.
Read more about this issue in David Fowler’s recent commentary, At the Jim Crow Flies So Flies Religious Liberty
Demeaning Americans and Destroying the Constitution (February 26, 2014)
Constitutional law is becoming less about whether a law violates a provision of the constitution and more about making sure someone isn’t offended by it. At least that that seemed to be the thinking of the federal judge who ruled that Kentucky’s same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional, saying that the ban was irrational and did nothing but demean same-sex relationships.
But if a law is unconstitutional because it “demeans” someone, is any law constitutional? After all, by calling the ban irrational, didn’t the Kentucky judge demean Americans who believe marriage is between a man and a woman?
The worst part is the judge’s reasoning was eerily similar to the reasoning used by some Supreme Court Justices. If this trend continues, then the constitution will wind up protecting only those whose lives and views meet with a judge’s approval.
Read more about this issue in David Fowler’s recent commentary, Demeaning Tennesseans and Destroying the Constitution
Fixing Higher Education (February 19, 2014)
With the University of Tennessee playing host to a campus-wide series of programs espousing promiscuity at every turn, we need to recognize that public higher education is a major contributor to our current cultural decay.
Generally speaking it has little regard for the principles of Christianity that propelled western culture forward. In fact, higher education is so broken that fixing it almost means starting over.
Fixing it will take a change in leadership at the top and pressure from the bottom by ordinary citizens demanding change.
We need leaders that will ensure that free speech and religious freedom is respected and that the pursuit of truth is once again made the objective. But if we allow our public institutions of higher education to continue promoting sexual license and moral confusion, we can expect our society to fall to pieces.
Read more about this issue in David Fowler’s recent commentary, Humpty Dumpty and Higher Education
The Extremes of Marriage Definitions (February 12, 2014)
If marriage is merely a creation of society, that it can redefine, then who is to say what can or cannot constitute a marriage? We’ve learned that one Tennessee lawyer is taking the question to the extreme, asking the court to recognize his marriage to – of all things — his computer.
Using similar logic advanced by four same-sex couples now suing Tennessee to recognize their marriages, he argues that “equality” requires the legal recognition of his sexual attraction to the pornographic images on his computer, ignoring all other components that constitute a real marriage.
As comical as the idea seems, society once thought same-sex marriages were something to laugh at, but nobody’s laughing now.
Love can take on many forms, but only God created marriage, and He designed it to be a special relationship between a man and a woman.
Read more about this issue in David Fowler’s recent commentary, Cyber Marriage Coming to Tennessee
The Real State of Our Union (February 5, 2014)
Last week President Obama’s State of the Union address focused on particular issues like the economy, immigration, and health care.
However, any true analysis of the state of our union must be based on where we are compared to where we started.
And we started with a set of shared values and ideals, namely, a belief in the “laws of nature and Nature’s God.”
Today, however, it seems that a majority of Americans no longer really believe that God has imposed laws on his creation relative either to man’s behavior or to civil government. Thus the true state of our union is that we are losing that which was at the center of our being – the shared values that held us together.
Sadly, with their loss, disunion rather than union is increasingly becoming the true state of our nation.
Read more about this issue in David Fowler’s recent commentary, The Real State of Our Union
Legislative Battleground: Public Education (January 29, 2014)
Tennessee’s public school system has the attention of lawmakers this year, but before we pin our hopes on a legislative cure, we have to ask ourselves can anything fix what ails our public schools?
At the heart of the problem is government’s world view on education, which dictates how it manages the education process and develops the content of instruction. In this process, neutrality is a myth. It is government’s skewed philosophy that determines the academic standard, leaving parents no role in deciding the educational values they desire for their children.
The real solution will come when government finds a way to get out of the education business so that parents can once again be free to work together to educate their children. But parents cannot control their child’s education so long as an out-of-control government philosophy is in control.
Read more about this issue in David Fowler’s recent commentary, Legislative Battleground: Public Education
Republican Nightmare Brewing (January 22, 2014)
A political nightmare is when politicians get caught between the proverbial rock of one core constituency and the hard place of another core constituency. And “Common Core,” the new set of curriculum standards for public schools, could create such a nightmare for Republicans.
On one side, in favor of the standards, is
the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce, whose members fill Republican campaign coffers. On the other side is the grassroots conservative community that provides the legwork and votes those politicians need.
With two intractable sides yelling for their position, the only “cure” for the nightmare is for Republicans, as well as all politicians, is to remember there is God in Heaven who establishes and pulls down rulers in the present as he has in the past, and to listen among the throng for His still small voice for wisdom.
Read more about this issue in David Fowler’s recent commentary, Republican Nightmare Brewing: Common Core
A Real War on Poverty – Economic Justice (January 15, 2014)
Last week marked the fifty-year anniversary of President Johnson’s 1964 “War on Poverty,” which failed to provide income equality in our nation because civil government was never meant to establish this kind of equality.
Civil government was established to ensure justice, which requires that individuals receive what is due them according to a true standard of measurement. However, mere politicians cannot set a just standard that can bring equality in income in all situations. Only a just God could do that.
Civil government can promote economic justice through a free-market system, which allows each individual to determine what standard of measure should be applied to his labor. But civil government must also ensure a just free market through equal protection of each person’s life and property.
Civil government should stick to what it does best: promote justice.
Read more about this issue in David Fowler’s recent commentary, A Real War on Poverty – Economic Justice
O’Reilly, Duck Dynasty and the Truth (January 8, 2014)
The recent controversy involving Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson, made many of us stop and reflect on our Biblical values and how we express them. Even national cable newsman Bill O’Reilly did, taking Mr. Robertson to task for being judgmental, which O’Reilly thought contrary to Christianity.
However, Mr. O’Reilly forgot that God himself is “judgmental” and that Jesus instructed his followers to “judge with righteous judgment.” And if Scripture is God’s word, then simply to repeat what Scripture itself says about various behaviors and attitudes is to express God’s judgment, not our own.
Contrary to what Mr. O’Reilly concluded – that sharing what Scripture says with others demeans and disrespects them – we actually show how much we value and respect others when we’re willing to tell them the truth found in God’s word.
Read more about this issue in David Fowler’s recent commentary, O’Reilly’s Advice to Christians Needs Biblical Tune-up
Hope in God in the New Year 2014 (January 1, 2014)
Christians, your hope for 2014 is alive in God!
Looking to the New Year, we often begin to anticipate what lies ahead. And for many of us, we look forward with expectation and hope. Perhaps 2013 was a difficult year that we want to put behind us, and we hope for a fresh start in 2014. Perhaps 2013 was filled with blessings that we hope will be a springboard to an even better 2014. But our hope is not that “next year can’t be any worse” or that our present “good luck” will continue.
As Christians, our hope is in God. So let us begin the year by bringing to mind the words of Psalm 62: “He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved. … Trust in him at all times; pour out your heart before him.”
What “Christmas” Reveals About Us (December 24, 2013)
Scripture tells us that Simeon said the baby Jesus was “a sign which shall be spoken against; that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
Perhaps the secret to the current cultural tussle over whether people should say Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holiday’s” lies in that little-discussed verse.
Jesus is a sign that there is a God and that he has come among us. The word Christmas is an acknowledgment of that “sign.”
But mankind’s natural bent is toward a self-centered independence that is rebellion against God’s authority. And the sign of “Christmas,” being a reminder of Jesus, is spoken against because it is an un welcome reminder of that fact. Indeed, denying Christmas just may reveal our hearts’ attitude toward God.
So if Merry Christmas is in our hearts let’s also make sure it’s on our lips.
Where Will You Shop? (December 18, 2013)
If you think the legal battles being fought by Christian business owners don’t matter to you, think again. These legal outcomes might just determine where you do your future Christmas shopping.
Court rulings in separate states in discrimination cases against Christian business owners reveal the increasing antagonism toward those whose beliefs about homosexuality are politically incorrect.
And next year in Hobby Lobby’s case against ObamaCare, the Supreme Court will decide whether private business can follow their pro-life convictions. Losing this case could force the national retailer to close.
Christians will feel the consequences if business owners are made to choose between violating their beliefs or shutting down their business.
If Christians don’t fight for their religious liberty now, they may find fewer businesses where they can shop and someday, maybe even fewer businesses willing to serve them.
Read more about this issue in David Fowler’s recent commentary, Why Hobby Lobby’s Fight is Your Fight
Helping the Un-helplesss at Taxpayer Expense (December 11, 2013)
When politicians decide to help the un-helpless at taxpayers’ expense, voters will react. In Chattanooga, about ten thousand voters signed a petition to stop an ordinance funding health insurance benefits for domestic partners of city employees. It would have cost taxpayers thousands annually to help a group – unmarried couples living together – that never asked for help.
These couples could receive benefits under city policies if they committed to a legal marriage. In reality, their lack of benefits was their voluntary choice.
But some council members ignored spending concerns to push a social agenda, and conservative groups took action. Their petition’s overwhelming support shows conscientious reasoning beyond just religious fundamentalism. Reminding politicians that fiscal sanity won’t be sacrificed for feel-good politics; AND government officials are accountable to the people.
Read more about this issue in David Fowler’s recent commentary, Helping the Un-helpless at Your Expense
Atheists Attempt to Dehumanize Christmas (December 4, 2013)
Can an atheist group that promotes man’s ability to bring goodwill to others manage to steal Christmas gifts from needy children?
Because Operation Christmas Child was a Christian-based effort, the American Humanist Association bullied a South Carolina public school into shutting down the campaign intended to collect necessities and gifts to fill shoeboxes for delivery to poor children throughout the world. Not surprisingly, Humanists had no plan of their own to help the needy children they deprived. So much for goodwill.
Here’s the happy ending: ambitious students offered a lesson in humanity. They organized collection points along public sidewalks, filled trucks and celebrated with a religious rally while fulfilling their mission. As the Humanists were using their money to hire lawyers to make a legal point, God’s people found a way to give … and show His love to others.
Read more about this issue in David Fowler’s recent commentary, Atheists Attempt to Dehumanize Christmas
Giving Thanks to Whom? Thanksgiving 2013 (November 26, 2013)
Thanksgiving is here again – a time when we gather to offer thanks for the blessings of the past year. But…who are we thankful to?
George Washington knew.
More than 220 years ago, President Washington proclaimed, “it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for His benefit, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”
Abraham Lincoln knew, as well. He called it folly for our nation to sever “its national identity and dependence from the God who has given it birth and blessed it for so long.”
As Americans we all too often put our hope in the economy, better government or military might – which are important – but as you gather to celebrate Thanksgiving, remember: it’s Almighty God from whom all our blessings flow.
“As we gather in our communities and in our homes, around the table or near the hearth, we give thanks to each other and to God for the many kindnesses and comforts that grace our lives. Let us pause to recount the simple gifts that sustain us, and resolve to pay them forward in the year to come.” (emphasis added)
[This post originally appeared in November of 2011.]
Unified Forces Rallying Petition Drive in Chattanooga (November 20, 2013)
Chattanooga’s City Council has approved benefits for its employees’ unmarried “significant other,” including same sex partners, and their children, but the battle is not over.
Some city residents, unwilling to back down, hope to nullify the council’s vote by forcing the issue to a referendum for all voters to decide. Their determined petition effort has united those upset at council’s attempt to redefine marriage in disregard of their moral objections with those who reject the Council’s decision to add non-employees to insurance costs already spiraling out of control, especially since the Council cut insurance benefits promised to retired city workers in 2010.
Organizers just have 14 days to secure the signatures of almost 5,000 voters, but their fight may just set an example for citizens in other cities to follow in coming days.
Read more about this issue in David Fowler’s recent commentary, Culture War Just Beginning in Chattanooga
Is it Benefits for Equal Work or Equal Relationships? (November 13, 2013)
Do government employees in relationships with “significant others” deserve extended insurance benefits for their partners and dependents in the same way that benefits are extended to the spouse and children of a married employee? As several cities in Tennessee debate this issue, don’t be fooled.
Those lobbying to change the benefits qualifications argue that two people doing the same job deserve the same pay and benefits, but the real issue is not equality of pay, but equality of relationships.
The benefits at issue aren’t given in the first place because of the work done, but because of the nature of the employee’s relationship with another person – their spouse. With this in mind, it becomes clear that the real issue is whether other sexual relationships should be treated as equal to marriage
Read more about this issue in David Fowler’s recent commentary, What My Accounting Class Taught Me About Same-sex Benefits
Tennessee to be Epicenter of Abortion Issue (November 6, 2013)
Tennessee will soon become the epicenter of the abortion debate in America. Next November, Tennesseans will go to the polls to vote on Amendment 1 to the Tennessee Constitution that would reverse the state Supreme Court’s ruling that abortion is a state constitutional right.
Passage of the amendment would once again allow Tennesseans to have common sense regulations regarding abortion, like informed consent and waiting period laws.
But don’t think this is an issue just between us Tennesseans; pro-abortion advocates don’t like to loose anywhere. And judging by the fact that simply a recent pro-life campaign kick-off event attracted national media attention, you better believe national pro-abortion organizations will pour money into our state.
Get ready, Tennessee. The “Vote Yes on One” campaign will put the national spotlight regarding abortion on our state.
Read more about this issue in David Fowler’s recent commentary, Forget Texas – Tennessee is Abortion Epicenter
Roe v. Wade and Same-sex Marriage (October 30, 2013)
Attorneys for same-sex couples that sued to strike down Tennessee’s marriage law might try to take a page out of legal playbook used in Roe versus Wade.
Forty years ago, the Supreme Court relied on the then-current state of medical knowledge and technology to sweep aside a state’s right to value life by protecting the unborn.
Now, these same-sex couples are likely to point to medical technologies that allow them to “get pregnant” and to scientific “studies” that supposedly say children do just as well with two dads as with a mom and a dad.
But the Roe case should have taught us law must be based on moral judgments, not the sifting sands of scientific research. The Court made a mess of abortion by relying on science. Hopefully it won’t repeat the same mistake with respect to marriage.
Read more about this issue in David Fowler’s recent commentary, Don’t Roe Out Marriage in Tennessee
What Politics Can Teach the Church (October 23, 2013)
In modern politics you must be ready to respond to critical issues within hours – not days. The church grades high when natural disasters strike. But when public policies threaten the fundamental meaning of marriage, too often the Church doesn’t know about it or just keeps silent.
Recently, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Knoxville have moved toward redefining marriage in regard to personnel policies for their employees. While a few pastors responded when contacted, the vast majority are silent. It’s disappointing that no group of pastors has come forward to publicly uphold the sanctity of marriage or even call for organized prayer.
Prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Amos stood before Kings and told the truth. They were more fearful of God if they said nothing than of what the people or rulers would say about them. We need leaders like those of old.
Read more about this issue in David Fowler’s recent commentary, What Politics Can Teach The Church
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