What Would Daniel And His Three Friends Do Today?


Daniel003I’ve always loved the story of Daniel and the lions’ den, in which Daniel gets set up by a bunch of nefarious government officials, sticks to his religious principles, is found guilty of breaking Babylonian law, and thrown into the den of lions, only to have the angel of God shut the mouths of the beasts.

Perhaps the only other story I love as well is that of Daniel’s three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. They weren’t so much set up but ratted out because they also stuck to their religious principles, refusing to worship the statue of the Babylonian king. His Highness was so enraged he doubled the penalty—they were thrown into a furnace of fire, heated twice as hot as normal. But as the king looked on, he saw four men walking about, none tied up as the three offenders had been, and none burnt up. Eventually he had Daniel’s friends released, and their clothes weren’t even singed and there was no smell of smoke on them.

I love these stories of godly people who held to their beliefs without wavering. But then, I know the end of the story. I know they escaped.

Stephen’s story of martyrdom isn’t quite as much of a favorite. I know the way that one ended too. While I admire his fervor and his unwillingness to deny Jesus Christ or to stop preaching the truth, I don’t like the fact that it cost him his life or that his death ushered in a period of persecution the young Church had to endure.

So you could say I favor the victorious endings, the ones that have the king declare,

“Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who put their trust in Him, violating the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies so as not to serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation or tongue that speaks anything offensive against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego shall be torn limb from limb and their houses reduced to a rubbish heap, inasmuch as there is no other god who is able to deliver in this way.” (Dan. 3:28b-29)

Well, OK, maybe the tearing from limb to limb and houses reduced to rubbish is a bit over the top. I’d rather see some sort of rehabilitation or sensitivity training, perhaps, but I suppose that’s just me being a part of the culture in which I find myself.

But there’s the issue. I’m struggling to figure out how I fit into this culture that allows for and approves the killing of infants in their mother’s womb, that redefines the Biblical understanding of marriage, that uses the protection clause of the First Amendment against religion instead of for it, that supports the suppression of free speech on college campuses.

As to the latter, perhaps this video will show you where I’m coming from:

On one hand, I’d like to be Daniel. I admire Kim Davis, County Clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, who is in prison for contempt of court because she wouldn’t go back on the religious principles of her new-found faith. (For those who think she should just have quit, perhaps this Washington Post article, “When does your religion legally excuse you from doing part of your job?” will show that our Constitution provides protection from forcing people out of their jobs because of their religious views.)

At the same time, I’m afraid of being Stephen. I don’t know if I have the passion for Christ that he had or the love for his persecutors that enabled him to ask for their forgiveness as he was dying. (See Acts 7:58-60)

Of course, I’m sure others will think I’m jumping to dire conclusions from the case of one County Clerk, and making a mountain out of a series of Planned Parenthood videos. We’re not living in Nazi Germany, many will say. How dare anyone compare Kim Davis to Rosa Parks, others will say.

But I wonder about this. Who knew that Rosa Parks would become Rosa Parks that day in 1955 when she was arrested for disobeying the law that required her to go to the back of the bus. Of course, her situation offered a rallying point for those who were already being oppressed by an unjust law.

Jews in Hitler’s Germany were oppressed by a change in the culture—an out-of-the-closet prejudice against them that first made it harder for them to get jobs or do business. Who was the Jew that was first arrested for being a Jew or for complaining against his unfair treatment? There had to be a first.

Was there a County Clerk who refused to register Jews and consequently went to prison? It wouldn’t be surprising if there were.

But we don’t think of Germany in its transformation from the Wiemar Republic to Hitler’s Nazi rule. We see the extremes of the Third Reich and say, Horrific, never considering how they got there. What rights were first trampled upon? What compromises did good citizens first make? What injustice did people not speak against?

Of course, we have no record of Daniel speaking against the Babylonian law that sent him to the lions den. We have no record of his friends trying to persuade others not to bow to the kings idol. On the other hand, those governments were not democracies, either.

When we the people are the power behind the government, are we not responsible for what that government does? I’d love to know what Daniel would do in Kim Davis’s place. I’d love to know what Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego would do if they saw those Planned Parenthood videos.

I’m pretty sure none of them would be concerned for their image or for negative press. Would they simply go about their business until the day the authorities came to arrest them? I wonder.

The Planned Parenthood Scandal


A History Lesson

I have been thinking over what I wanted to say about Planned Parenthood, abortion, and selling fetal body parts for over a week now, and I still don’t know how to address this issue.

Here are my random thoughts:

* I’m so glad the people at The Center for Medical Progress and David Daleiden who spearheaded this three-year plan to out Planned Parenthood and the companies to which they sell fetal body parts, had the courage of their convictions and acted.

* Because the liberal left so recently used undercover video to discredit Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, they don’t have a legitimate argument against these tactics.

* The mainstream media was initially slow to embrace the story, but some have given it a fair hearing. More recently, however, I don’t hear anything on the news about the new videos. Are they becoming indifferent to the horror? Or do they simply have nothing to say because there is no defense, yet they don’t want to encourage the logical opposition to Planned Parenthood funding by our tax dollars? Interestingly, Fox News is planning an exposé on Planned Parenthood September 5. Should be enlightening.

* I had no idea the extent of this aspect of the abortion industry. It’s far more horrific than I imagined and has been going on far longer than I realized.

* I don’t understand how thinking people can continue to support Planned Parenthood. Set aside the controversy over abortion for a moment, and ask whether or not Planned Parenthood is obeying the law against selling fetal tissue or not. They claim “reasonable compensation,” but they talk in the undercover videos like capitalists working to best monetize the commodity they have to offer.

* The bottom line is still the law that allows abortion. When the Supreme Court ruled in 1973 in the Roe v Wade case, the selling point for abortion was that the woman had the right to choose what she did with her own body. The fact that science has since proven that life begins at conception, that this zygotic/embryonic/fetal state is unique, no longer in fact “the woman’s body” but a separate individual with his or her own DNA simply has not been addressed.

* The issue of what we as a society do about life is a dividing point, with Christians on one side and atheists on the other. A large group of compatriots are “swing voters,” voting with their approval or disapproval, and moved largely by the emotion of the day. When women were fighting for a more equal stand in society, then those in the middle swung toward abortion, but when videos come out revealing the trafficking of infant body parts, making it impossible to ignore that the liver and heart and lungs and brains come from living humans, the swing group moves toward the pro-life position.

* Pro-life and women’s rights ought not to be seen as mutually exclusive. A woman ought to have the right to say no to sex that leads to pregnancy. Why isn’t that right brought front and center?

* The left-leaning proponents of “women”s rights” have confused a woman’s right to be who she is with a woman’s right to do what men do. So Rosanne Barr, in her 90s TV show, claimed the right to spit and chew and scratch the way men do. Oh, yay! But to the point of this article, sexual promiscuity has now become a woman’s right. And just like men who don’t have to bear the consequences of their licentiousness, so too, women wanted to be free of the product of their immorality. Birth control was the first step, abortion the end game when all else failed. So now women can be like men! That, the feminists say, is women’s rights.

* I read a NYTimes article today about women who are refused abortions. Apparently this does happen, most commonly, according to the article, when a woman doesn’t realize until late in the pregnancy that she’d going to have a baby. So if she goes to the wrong clinic—one that doesn’t do late term abortions—she may get turned away. This article says there needs to be more studies about the effect of a woman carrying and delivering a baby she wanted to abort. But what seemed shocking to me was that 95% of these women are glad they gave birth. Most bonded with their baby and, in the words of this slanted article, “adjusted.” The article, reporting about the woman in the anecdote who had been turned away from having an abortion, said, “S. now says that Baby S. is the best thing that ever happened to her. ‘She is more than my best friend, more than the love of my life.’ ” Still, this is held up as only one factor in measuring how well this woman is doing. How well off she is economically seems of equal value.

* None of these studies has anything to do with the spiritual aspect of what’s going on in a woman’s heart, so no matter what the findings of any of these studies appear to be (and there aren’t many studies—not even ones examining the effects of an abortion on the state of a woman’s mental health), they are incomplete.

* All this serious look at the well-being of the woman who wants to or who has aborted her baby, looks past the fact that the life of a child is at stake. Either a baby will have the chance to live or will be denied that chance, based solely on what the mother decides is good for her.

* The best thing churches can do to combat abortion in the long term, in my opinion, is to provide compelling, Biblical reasons to young people to avoid promiscuous sex. The secondary reasons aren’t enough. Young people need to determine if they love God more than they love sex.

* Apart from teaching the next generation, churches can also make a huge impact by caring for teens who are pregnant and have chosen not to abort. If we value life, we should be willing to put our hands to the plow and do the work that would honor life and help young, single moms learn to parent well. For many that may start with learning about their Creator God and how He fashioned their child in their womb.

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