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Atlanta Fire Chief Repaid for Legal Troubles

Highly decorated former city of Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran regained his good standing after being suspended and then fired for his beliefs regarding homosexuality thanks to a vote by the city council on Monday that approved a settlement that would award him $1.2 million in damages and attorneys’ fees.

The payout, which must be approved by Atlanta’s mayor, comes after a December 2017 court ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia found the city of Atlanta had violated Cochran’s constitutional right to freedom of speech.

Mayor Kasim Reed fired Cochran for writing a men’s devotional book in his own free time that briefly mentioned his Christian views of marriage and sexuality. Some city officials not only disagreed with Cochran’s views, but also felt that he should have gotten prior approval before writing and distributing the book to his coworkers. The mayor even went so far as to accuse Cochran of discrimination and launched an investigation.

But the federal court said that Atlanta’s overly-broad rules requiring the city’s approval before disseminating materials at work violated the chief’s freedom of speech rights.

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Rehearing Requested in Tennessee Marriage Lawsuit

The lawyer representing five Williamson County residents today filed a Petition for Rehearing regarding last week’s decision by the Tennessee Court of Appeals in Nashville upholding the dismissal of the lawsuit in which the plaintiffs had asked Circuit Judge Joseph A. Woodruff to declare the status of Tennessee’s marriage licensing statutes after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.

In filing the petition, the counsel for the plaintiffs, David Fowler, said, “According to court rules, rehearings are allowed when the parties ‘have not been heard’ on ‘matters of law’ that are ‘open to dispute’ and on which a court ‘relied’ in reaching its decision.”

In this case, Fowler said, “the court determined how Obergefell should be interpreted when the only question before the court was whether the plaintiffs had a right to be heard on the issue of interpretation. In other words, we believe the court decided the merits of the lawsuit—how Obergefell should be interpreted—without the parties being heard on that issue. We believe this creates serious due process issues.”

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Episcopal Church in America Opts for Gender-Neutral Wording in Marriage Ceremonies

The Episcopal Church in America (TEC), which approves of same-sex marriage, is now dropping the words “husband,” “wife” and “procreation” from its marriage ceremonies to be even more LGBT friendly.

“The union of husband and wife”will be replaced with “the union of two people” and “for the procreation of children” will be changed to “for the gift of children” to reflect desires by same-sex couples to adopt.

While the British Anglican LGBT advocacy group One Body One Faith called the gender-neutral move “courageous, just, and Christ-like,” Church of England Secretary General William Nye had warned TEC in October that it would cut ties with TEC if the changes were adopted.

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Is Mother’s Day an Anachronism That Must Go?

Although my mother has passed into eternity, I will still celebrate Mother’s Day, giving thanks to God for her and honoring my wife because of her own high calling as a mother. But driving into work this week, a radio commercial about buying jewelry for Mother’s Day caught my attention. I couldn’t help but think about how much longer Mother’s Day will still be acknowledged and celebrated.

The line in the commercial suggested that someone buy Mom jewelry “for all those times she didn’t tell Dad when he got home.” I’m sure a lot of us heard something like that from our mothers somewhere along the line.

But the reference to fathers in connection with a day celebrating mothers really grabbed my attention because of what’s happened the last couple of years in connection with the Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts, which heartily embraced homosexual behaviors a couple of years ago, opened itself to girls last year, and then last week dropped the word “Boy” from its name. Now the organization is almost unrecognizable to most of us.

For the following reasons, it could be only a matter of time before Mother’s Day will go the way of the Boy Scouts.

The Spirit of the Age: Offense and Victimhood

First, we must begin by recognizing that the spirit of the age in which we live is one in which many look for offense or consider themselves mere victims of something outside of themselves.

On the other hand, our social milieu encourages us to affirm a person’s victimhood and the offense in order to help them feel better about themselves and doing so is supposed to help us assuage whatever guilt we might feel for the alleged wrong, whether there is real ethical guilt or not.

The Lies We Tell Ourselves Must Be Suppressed

This brings me to the second consideration. We have to recognize that our culture is in the process of embracing what we know is a biological lie, that a child can have two mothers (or two fathers).

Given these two realities, what is going to be the response of the two-mom and two-dad families when their kids start asking why they don’t celebrate either Mother’s Day or Father’s Day? What will happen if those two days of honor and recognition cause their child to wonder, let alone ask, if there is something unique and special that he or she missed by not having a relationship with a person of the biological sex that is intentionally missing in their home?

Parents in these two-parents-of-the-same-sex households may then begin to feel that these year-after-year memorial days are offensive and demeaning to their preferred family model. Convincing themselves of that may be preferable to recognizing that their child is simply asking questions concerning their attempt to circumvent either the law of God or, if you will, the obvious laws of nature. After all, our natural tendency is to suppress the truth, because believing the lie somehow, in the moment, serves an end we desire more than that which we fear will come about if we accept the truth.

Those who support same-sex “marriage” and don’t want anyone to be offended or feel victimized will then feel compelled to criticize Mother’s Day and Father’s Day as anachronisms inconsistent with our “enlightened” understandings about human sexuality, marriage, and family.

What Is at the Root of all This?

Those who understand the root cause of what is going on in the blurring of the lines between male and female should not find these thoughts Orwellian. They are a result of denying God as the Creator and all things being His creation and embracing the view that the cosmos is all there is, expressed by the naturalist in the scientific dogma of evolution and by the religious as pantheism.

Theologian Abraham Kuyper expresses well why this is so:

For centuries the Church of Christ has guarded its barrier against every open or cry to pantheism by solemn confession in the inaugural of its Articles of Faith: ‘I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth;’. . . The most distinctly marked boundary lines lie between God and the world; and with the taking away of this line all other boundaries are blurred into mere shadows. For every distinction made in our consciousness . . . takes root a last in this primordial antithesis . . . But every pantheist starts out with the denial of this primordial antithesis, which is mother to every antithesis among creations.

Unless the Church regains its doctrinal footing by challenging the denial or irrelevance of God as our Creator, which washes over us at every turn, and gathers the courage to proclaim the truth in the public square, we better enjoy Mother’s Day while we can.1

NOTES

  1. Abraham Kuyper, Pantheism’s Destruction of Boundaries.

David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. Read David’s complete bio.

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Tennessee Legislation Demonstrates Why Liberals Are ‘Mentally Unstable’

I sat in a Tennessee Senate Committee hearing two weeks ago, listening in one ear to a debate over “child marriage” while listening through the earphone in my other ear to a House Committee meeting in which the issue of gender identity vis-a-vis biological sex in locker rooms was debated. It struck me a few days later just how the arguments by liberals on both bills were both irreconcilable and perfectly reconcilable. How could they be both?

How Were the Arguments Irreconcilable?

In the Senate, liberals1 argued that the law should not discriminate in the assigned usage by minors of locker rooms and bathrooms relative to gender and that objective phenomenon like biological sex must always give way to subjective psychological phenomenon.

On the other hand, in the House, liberals reversed the argument. They argued that the law should discriminate between 17- and 18-years-olds in the licensing of marriages and that objective chronological age must always give way to the more subjective criteria of maturity. Some mother, married at the age of 17, was more mature in regard to marriage than Zsa Zsa Gabor with her nine marriages ever was!

I won’t take time to explain how a believer in the transcendent Creator God of Scripture could reconcile opposing arguments of the liberals in both cases, for that is not my point. The point, today, is that the second argument demonstrates that liberals are not, in fact, against all discrimination in the law. They really know that law, by definition, “discriminates” between one type of conduct and another or between one person or another, though they try their best to suppress that knowledge when they want to do something the law prohibits (of course, by “discriminating” against them).

Upon What Basis Will We Engage in Necessary Discrimination?

So the question isn’t whether we should or should not discriminate or whether the law should or should not discriminate. Rather, the question is this: On what basis should we discriminate? How shall we decide between those discriminating judgments that are either good or worth tolerating and those that are bad and should not be tolerated?

This is a question for which liberals who deny God or the existence of any pre-political, pre-governmental law by which human laws can be measured are at a complete loss.
It’s not that they don’t give answers to that question; it is just that, based on their premise of autonomous human beings, they cannot provide a basis upon which to judge the rightness of the various answers. Their whole premise is that there is nothing outside the individual person by which the ideas of the individual person can be judged.

The most commonly accepted answer among liberals is pragmatism—what is best for the most number of people. That answer is great if you are among the larger number of people and not so great if you are in the minority.

And, of course, those enlightened liberals who believe in the sovereignty of man’s reason know that arguments based on authority, popularity, and the like rest on logical fallacies. They are logical fallacies because, absent other evidence, a belief that what is best for the most number of people in a particular situation is just as likely to be false as true.

How Liberals Reconcile the Otherwise Irreconcilable

And therein is the ground upon which I could say that liberals’ arguments in these two situations are reconcilable—their denial of objective truth.

When we deny that there is any objective truth imposed on us or to which we are subject, then we can do and say and think whatever we want. We can be as illogical and irrational as we want to be.

Better yet, no one can say we should not think irrationally or illogically. For that would be a real rule, and the liberal denies the existence of real rules. To be consistent, liberals must say we are free from the rule that reason or logic should be the rule!

The Real Reason Liberals Can’t Insist on Reason and Logic

Here, though, is the problem liberals face. If they allow room for just those two transcendent, imposed rules of determination—rationality and logic—then they have cracked open the door of the vault in which they have locked away God.

Transcendent, imposed rules can only come from a transcendent Creator God, and we are subject to those transcendent, imposed rules only if we are His creatures. But if that’s the case in these two instances, then we are subject to our Creator in all instances for we are, at all times, creatures.

This is a thought too horrible for the liberal. But here is the really horrible thought that the liberal ignores: He or she is, by definition, mentally unstable, for his or her thinking rests on nothing stable.

I think the Apostle Paul put it this way: “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22).

NOTES

  1. I use the term liberals to refer to the post-modern person who denies that there is any transcendent Creator or any metanarrative that explains reality and the course or direction of history. I do not use Democrat or Republican because those labels are meaningless when liberalism is defined the way I’ve used it. Many elected Republicans are liberals, as so defined, who don’t realize they are liberals or are simply afraid to fully embrace their liberalism because it brings particular results they don’t like.

David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. Read David’s complete bio.

FACT-RSS-Blog-Icon-small Get David Fowler’s Blog as a feed.

Invite David Fowler to speak at your event