ASK ALYSA

For some reason, I attract people who have questions. Some odd questions, opinion questions, serious questions… about religion, books, movies, politics, parenting, marriage, and so many other topics. I enjoy answering questions. I enjoy researching various topics when I do not know the answers. Recently, a good friend suggested that I should write a book about all the advice that I give! While writing a published book is definitely a life goal and dream of mine, I know that it is not going to happen right now because I have so many other priorities at the moment. Still, I had a brilliant idea of answering questions on my blog!

I have no idea how my readers will respond to this idea… so I figure that as long as people send me questions, I will continue to answer them! Click “Submit Your Question” below to submit your question. If you have more than one question, please submit separate surveys for each question (feel free to submit as many as you would like)!

Disclaimer: If you send a question, there is no guarantee that I will answer it on my blog. I will choose questions that I know that I can answer well and I will post questions that I feel will be the most relevant to my readers. I may invite a guest writer to answer questions on occasion. Some questions may require research which may delay posting an answer. If I answer your question, I will only post your first name and first initial of last name. I will also send you an email with the blog link.

The Beauty and the Beast Controversy

I am going to make people mad with this post. Probably people from both sides of the controversy. I have read articles and have seen Facebook posts about both sides and thought I would share my personal opinion here. Grab a cup of coffee… this is not a short read. [Update included towards the end of this post, now that I have seen the movie.]

Back story… Beauty and the Beast apparently has an “exclusively gay moment” in the new live action movie. All we (the majority of people who have not yet seen the movie since it will not be released in theaters until next week) know, is that LeFou some days wants to be Gaston and other days wants to kiss Gaston. Somehow he explores those possible feelings (maybe through a fantasy moment but we do not know how exactly yet). If you look up the lyrics or watch the clip of LeFou singing in the tavern in the 90’s animated film, it is not far fetched to assume he may have been gay in that movie too (however subtle it may be).

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Before I get started, let me just say that I disagree with the LGBT agenda. From a scientific/medical perspective, I do not believe people are born gay. I believe that they develop those feelings over time due to a number of contributing factors. From a Biblical perspective, I do believe that living a gay lifestyle is a sin. However, so is any other sexual lifestyle or action outside of marriage between a man and a woman (such as: adultery, premarital sex, pornography, and one that everyone commits at some point…lust). My beliefs on the subject in no way affect how I treat someone who is gay. I treat them the same way I do any other person. I do not have to agree with your choices and opinions (on this subject or any other subject) to still be your friend, have a conversation (and/or debate lol), give you a hug, invite you into my home, etc.

So back to the movie… Honestly, I see both sides of the controversy. Anyone who disagrees with an agenda absolutely has the right to boycott a movie, book, store, event, etc. that pushes that agenda. I hated the book The Shack and I am not going to go to the theaters to see the newly released movie. I am not necessarily boycotting it because I will most likely watch it at some point (people keep asking my opinion since I am one of a minority who dislike it) but I am not shy about expressing my opinion of the book. I did not like Disney’s Princess and the Frog and do not allow my children to watch it because it deals directly with the forces of a currently practiced religion that contradicts what we believe. Will I let them see it at some point? Maybe, but it would be with the sole purpose of discussing the film at length and comparing the beliefs portrayed to other religions. If someone does not want to see a gay moment, then by all means, they should not go see the movie. However, on this particular controversy, I tend to side more with the people who find it baffling that so many people are offended about this. Here is why (in no particular order):

First of all, I do not particularly like boycotting. I think that sometimes there is a place for it and sometimes it can be effective. However, most of the time in my opinion, when Christians and conservatives boycott non-Christians and liberals then we are all feeding into a vicious cycle. I think more often than not when this happens, both sides are being hypocritical. The problem is people tend to boycott what ever is popular to do so due to media hype… think Target, Starbucks, Chick-Fil-A, Hobby Lobby, etc. They fail to carry that deeply held conviction of why they are boycotting a particular thing into all the other areas that follow the same agenda, policy, etc. For example, if someone boycotts Target for the bathroom issue then they need to boycott Apple, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, IKEA, several airlines, several credit card companies, and countless stores, restaurants and other businesses (a quick google search will bring up a more in-depth list). Most people cannot and do not come close to being willing to give up all of that. Read About Boycotting to explore this further.

Second, my question for anyone who has decided to boycott Disney as a result of this movie is: Why Now? Why is this particular movie making you want to boycott a company that has supported the gay agenda for as long as I can remember? I vividly remember the movement within churches to boycott Disney in the 90’s over their decision to have “gay days” at their parks. More recently to boycott the Good Luck Charlie TV show over an episode that portrayed two mommies. What about all of the Disney owned ABC TV shows that have gay characters. I read a blog post by a woman who is so upset that this movie is portraying a gay moment that she is not only not going to watch the movie but she is also going to cancel her planned Disney vacation for this year. She mentions all of the examples (even more than I mentioned) of how Disney has supported the gay agenda in the past but, all of a sudden, this movie crosses the line.

Third, what about all of the other sins that are portrayed in children’s movies (Disney or otherwise)? Do you have as much discussion and uproar over the child disobedience/rebellion, the witchcraft/sorcery, the anger/revenge, the lying/deceit, the sexual innuendoes, bullying, etc.? I am pretty sure I could go through and find something wrong with every single Disney movie out there. Just picking apart Beauty and the Beast, there is bullying, alcoholism, attempted murder, revenge, jealousy, sorcery, (maybe a hint at prostitution??? i.e. beautiful girls hanging out in the tavern with a bunch of drunk men)…

Fourth, one of the most common rebuttal to people protesting this movie that I have seen is that “they have a problem with a gay moment but they do not have a problem with a girl falling in love with a buffalo.” I know this seems silly but there is some truth there…

So where do I stand? Somewhere in the middle. I definitely respect the right to be upset about something that goes against what you stand for. I also do not think that a “gay moment” should be in a children’s movie. However, I am not going to boycott the movie.

If anyone knows me at all, they know I love Disney movies! In my opinion, they are stories that teach valuable lessons that I want my children to learn. Many of the movies have strong female roles that encourage girls to be brave, be kind, dream big, etc. Most of the movies have issues that cause characters to get in trouble due to their choices or actions (or someone else’s choices or actions) but almost always the characters learn from their mistakes (villains are the exception but that is what makes them villains). [Read The Pretty Princess Phenomenon for more.] Beauty and the Beast is no different. It is a story about seeing the good in people, learning to love, letting go of anger, self sacrifice, and many other positive elements.

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In conclusion, I most likely will let my children see this live action Beauty and the Beast. I read Plugged In online reviews before taking my children to the theaters to determine if I think a movie is appropriate for their age/maturity level. I will do the same before taking them to see this movie [UPDATE: Here is the Beauty and the Beast Plugged In Review]. My guess though is that the good far outweighs the bad. If the “moment” is something that needs to be discussed with them, I absolutely will discuss it. Just like I would discuss any other issue I have a problem with that comes up in movies. I already discussed homosexuality  with my oldest daughter a couple of years ago. I know that my children will encounter homosexuality in our culture. They may see it in a movie, on TV, walking through a mall, or at their schools. So, instead of trying to shield them from it, I feel that it is better for me to have a conversation with them.

[UPDATE: Now that I have seen the movie, here is my opinion of it… I loved it!!! It follows the original story line pretty closely. There are some additional scenes and songs to carry the story and go into more detail on some things that were missing in the original (such as what happened to Belle’s mother). I was not sure how I would like Emma Watson as Belle but she did a fantastic job! She proved that she could be more than a Hermione and her singing voice is beautiful. The costumes and set were amazing! And of course the well known songs were brought to life in an amazing way!

MINOR SPOILER ALERTS: The question on everyone’s mind is, “What was the gay moment?” There were a few places where there were subtle hints. In my opinion, they were so quick and subtle that I am pretty sure most children would not notice or if they did would not understand unless it was explained. Towards the beginning of the movie, it was obvious that LeFou wanted to be just like Gaston. He mimicked his moves and followed him around like a puppy. During the song “Gaston” in the tavern scene, it became more apparent that LeFou may have had stronger feelings for him because of his intense admiration while singing the song (again, I do not think a child would pick up on that). At one point during the song, they were dancing and LeFou wrapped Gaston’s arms around him. He jokingly asked, “Too much?” Later in the movie when Maurice was trying to convince the town’s people that Gaston was bad, Gaston manipulates LeFou to lie for him by appealing to his senses. He grabs his shoulders and talks about how close of friends they are. LeFou does lie because he does not want to offend the man he admires. During the castle battle scene between the town’s people and the castle objects, the wardrobe dresses three men in elaborate women’s clothing and hair dos (in the original movie she does this to one man). Two of the men are clearly disturbed by this and run away but one of them turn around and it is clear by his facial expressions that he likes the new look. In the final ballroom scene, after the castle objects have turned human again, everyone is dancing and we quickly see LeFou and the other man mentioned above dancing together.  There was no gay kissing as was implied when they said that LeFou “some days wants to be Gaston and other days wants to kiss Gaston.”

A couple of hours after seeing the movie, I asked my 10 year old if she noticed anything along these lines and she said no. When I explained a couple of the scenes she remembered the men being dressed as women but did not remember seeing LeFou dancing with another man. Now that I have told her it is there, she will probably notice it next time she sees it though. I have decided not to bring it up to my 8 year old daughter so as not to draw attention to it. If she mentions it to me at some point, I will address it then.

I really did love the movie. The gay moments were very minor and had nothing at all to do with the overall story line. If you want to see the movie but not sure if you want your children to  see it, I would recommend watching it first and then deciding. END UPDATE]

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Feel free to voice your opinions and engage in respectful debate in the comments. However, any comments that are disrespectful, use inappropriate language, etc. will be deleted.

The Shack

In light of the new movie adaptation of The Shack, I thought I would reblog my review of the book. I have no plans to watch the movie because of how strongly I feel about the bad and misleading theology the book presents. I would consider watching it if someone asked me to give my opinion of it but I highly doubt the movie would make significant enough changes from the book to change my opinion of it. If you choose to watch the movie and/or read the book, I encourage you to do so with caution and with careful consideration and comparison to scripture. Do not let the emotional story cloud your discernment.

Heart Treasures

Here is my “review” of the book, “The Shack.” I wrote this and e-mailed it to all of my friends in August 2008 after reading “The Shack” for my church’s book club. Since the book is still making its rounds in the Christian community and since it came up in conversation in the comments section of another blog; I thought that sharing this would be relevant.

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I recently read a popular book called “The Shack” by William P. (Paul) Young. I am giving you my opinion of this book now because I can find a ton more positive reviews about this book than negative. Especially within the Christian community; most of the reviews/comments I have read give mostly praise and “how this book changed my life” perspectives. Personally, for a book that many people consider as Christian Fiction; I find this book to be mostly unbiblical and very…

View original post 1,423 more words

To Be Left-Handed Is Not A Sin

A couple of months ago, a friend on Facebook posted the following meme… to which I felt the need to respond. I said that this meme is Biblically inaccurate. Although right-handedness or the right hand in general is considered a sign of strength (in the Bible and elsewhere), there is not anything in the Bible that says that being left-handed is a sin. ztIJsgw

My friend deleted the meme in response to my comments because he did not want to post something inaccurate. He did message me in private to say that he had heard before that left-handedness was a sin which is why people were punished for using their left hand in the middle ages and even more recently… sometimes by the church. I told him that I would research left-handedness in a Biblical context and get back to him.

The first thing I noticed was that I was not sure at all where the “25 times” in the meme came from. Looking in my New International Version (NIV) Bible Concordance… I can only find 12 times where it actually says “left hand (ed).” There are many more than 25 occasions where it says “right hand (ed).”

As I mentioned above, there is nothing in the Bible that says being left-handed is a sin. The notion is taken from Biblical mentions of the right hand being a sign of strength and power. If you think about it, throughout history when talking about kings and kingdoms, the right hand man, etc. has more power.  Or considering that being right-handedness is a dominant trait, more people will have better strength in their right hand and right arm. When the Bible talks about God’s kingdom or God’s right hand it is to illustrate that power in a way humans would understand based on how kingdoms and power work on earth.

Here are all the instances where the Bible talks about being left handed that I could find. Passages are listed first (NIV) and my commentary in brackets is under each passage.

Genesis 48:13-14 “And Joseph took both of them, Ephraim on his right toward Israel’s left hand and Manasseh on his left toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them close to him. But Israel reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim’s head, though he was the younger, and crossing his arms, he put his left hand on Manasseh’s head, even though Manasseh was the firstborn.”

[Traditionally when giving a death bed blessing the right hand is placed on the head. By switching hands and putting his right hand on the youngest son, he gave him a bigger blessing. However, they were both blessed AND both of Joseph’s sons became 2 of the 12 tribes of Israel.]

Leviticus 14:15, 26 “The priest shall then take some of the log of oil, pour it in the palm of his own left hand,…” “The priest is to pour some of the oil into the palm of his own left hand,…”

[These are part of instructions to a priestly ritual.]

Judges 3:15 “Again the Israelites cried out to the Lord, and he gave them a deliverer—Ehud, a left-handed man, the son of Gera the Benjamite. The Israelites sent him with tribute to Eglon king of Moab.”

[Reading this chapter in context, it tells the story of Ehud, from the tribe of Benjamin, going to give tribute to an evil king. Ehud tells the king he has a secret message and plunges his sword in the king’s belly. The king was so fat that the sword was hidden and Ehud was able to escape before servants found the dead king. Because Ehud was left handed (which was unusual), he had his sword attached to his right side and people would not have noticed it.]

Judges 7:20 “The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!”

[Self explanatory]

Judges 16:29 “Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other,”

[Self explanatory]

Judges 20:16 “Among all these soldiers there were seven hundred select troops who were left-handed, each of whom could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.”

[The tribe of Benjamin was known for having many left handed people… like Ehud.]

1 Chronicles 6:44 ” and from their associates, the Merarites, at his left hand: Ethan son of Kishi, the son of Abdi, the son of Malluk,”

[This chapter is listing genealogy.]

1 Chronicles 12:2 “they were armed with bows and were able to shoot arrows or to sling stones right-handed or left-handed; they were relatives of Saul from the tribe of Benjamin)”

[Archers and soldiers were often ambidextrous and again these men were from the tribe of Benjamin]

Daniel 12:7 “The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.”

[A man delivering a message to Daniel in a vision. Both hands are equal in this passage.]

Matthew 6:3 “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,”

[In context, this is talking about not bragging when giving to the needy. We should give in humility not expecting praise from man.]

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Also, I am going to be blunt here… but hopefully not in a way that will be perceived as judgmental because that is not my intent. Ultimately, the meme is an attack on Biblical Christianity for the purpose of justifying the LGBT lifestyles. Not only did it distort the Bible but it mocked it. The Bible is either Truth or it is not. It can’t be both. Many people living or supporting LGBT lifestyles say they are Christians yet completely try to justify their lifestyle by using the Bible. It can’t be done for the following reasons:

*100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
*100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior describe it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
*0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions of any kind. There are no exceptions for “committed” relationships.

Here is a blog post that I wrote last year after the SCOTUS ruling in favor of gay marriage which expands on my position on this matter: A Conservative Perspective

I completely understand that there are people who do not believe the Bible is God’s word. Ultimately, that is between them and God which is why Christians should be loving and respectful to those who believe differently than we do (whether on this subject or others). We should not have a judgmental attitude towards others however, it is not wrong to respectfully teach what the Bible says in context especially when people distort & mock it to fit their agenda. And it is not wrong to respectfully debate differences of opinion. I have many friends and a few family members who are gay. Most of them know my beliefs on the subject but still know that I still love them as my friends and family.

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Feel free to voice your opinions and engage in respectful debate in the comments. However, any comments that are disrespectful, use inappropriate language, etc. will be deleted.

Risen

This book by Angela Hunt is based on the major motion picture that is currently in theaters. The original story is by Paul Aiello and screenplay by Kevin Reynolds and Paul Aiello. Roman Tribune Clavius is responsible for squelching the zealots in Jerusalem. When the body of the recently crucified Nazarene goes missing, Pilate gives Clavius the task of investigating, tracking down the radical followers, and finding the body. Rachel is a widowed Jewish woman who makes a living baking bread. After the death of her husband, she and Clavius enter a forbidden relationship. If her secret was made known, she would surely be stoned. Clavius searches for the missing body, questions possible followers, and gathers information but the questions out way the answers. When tragedy strikes in a personal manner, Clavius questions the Roman gods that he has spent his life praying to and serving. Will Clavius find the answers that he seeks? Will Rachel be able to truly love a man who is not her husband?

I was transported into this story within the first few pages. The author did an excellent job of making me feel like I was in the midst of Clavius’ investigation and Rachel’s searching. The story is mainly told from Clavius’ perspective which is unique from most post resurrection stories. He searches for the truth based on facts and learns about faith along the way. I really liked the explanations of Isaiah’s prophesies and Jewish Passover and how they relate to the Messiah. The relationship between Clavius and Rachel was outside of marriage but I felt that it was tastefully described. As both Clavius and Rachel search for the truth about Yeshua, their relationship resolves in an unexpected way that allows Rachel to show Clavius the love of Christ. This is a historical fiction so some liberties are taken with the story line. The author explains that Clavius and Rachel are fiction characters and would not have been present during some of the scenes she portrayed them in. There are other liberties that she explains at the end of the book. I did not find these liberties to be a deterrent and I felt that the gospel was explained well with an emphasis on God’s love. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes biblical historical fiction.

It is important to note that the author states at the end of the book that although Rachel’s character was created by Paul Aiello, her character did not make the cut for the movie. I am looking forward to seeing the movie, but I am glad to have read the book first so that I know Rachel’s side of the story. I have heard really good things about the movie and based on this book, I am sure that I will not be disappointed. Due to the Roman soldier violence in the movie, Plugged In review suggests that it is not suitable for younger children. You can read their detailed movie review HERE.

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Bethany House provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Order at Christian Book Distributors through the following link!

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Risen, paperback
By Angela Hunt / Baker Books

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Talking To My Daughter About Marriage & Sex

Earlier today, I saw a Jimmy Kimmel clip where they went to the streets to ask kids about gay marriage. A few of the kids clearly had no clue about traditional marriage, let alone gay marriage. Others obviously had been exposed to the concept before. It made me wonder how my daughter (age 8) would respond to similar questions. We really have not officially talked about what it means to be married, sex, homosexuality, etc. so I did not think that she would be able to answer the questions. Still, I was curious enough to find out.

First, I want to explain my background so that you understand my mindset as I went into the conversation…

I used to work as a nurse and for year I worked at an OBGYN office. I have never had a problem with using proper terminology when it comes to private body parts (and I will use proper terminology here in this post). During my time at the OBGYN office, I worked with teenagers who were sexually active and some who were pregnant. The youngest pregnant girl I saw during my time there was 12 years old.

My mom started talking to me about sex when I was 10 years old. My first exposure to public school sex education was 6th grade. I started my cycle at age 14 but most of my friends started between ages 11-13. I also understand that girls are going into puberty at younger ages these days.

I have already talked to both of my girls (now 8 & 6) about inappropriate touching since they were about 3 years old. I have already explained to them how a baby is born (without explaining sex) either through the vagina or by cutting the abdomen (cesarean section) in response to my sister having a baby last year.

I am a Christian and I believe the Biblical teachings about marriage and homosexuality. For a detailed description of my political and religious beliefs, please read my response to the SCOTUS ruling:

A Conservative Perspective

I started asking her basic questions like “What is marriage?” and “Why do we get married?” I was actually surprised at how little she could answer about traditional marriage in general. I wrongly assumed that she would at least have a basic understanding of it. So, I had to do some explaining. When I asked her, “Who made marriage?” she said, “God.” I explained that God intended marriage to be a picture of Jesus and the church. That it represents how Jesus loves us. We then talked about Genesis and how God created Adam and Eve so that they could make a family.

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After we talked about traditional marriage, I asked her if she thought two men or two women could get married. She said, “No.” I asked her why and she said, “Well, they couldn’t have any babies. They would have to adopt a baby.” I told her that was true. I also told her that our country has made it legal (and   explained what legal means in a way she could understand) for two men or two women to get married. I explained that it was called “gay marriage” and explained that gay is the term used for two men and lesbian is the term used for two women. I also told her that it is both gay and lesbians are called homosexuals. She was stuck on the whole baby thing… I asked her if she knew how a baby was made (Here we go! Whether I like it or not she is growing up!)

So, without going into too much detail (I assume if you are reading this you already know how this works), I did a quick sex talk. We talked about how boys and girls are different (she already knew this but I wanted to start with that basic knowledge). I explained how God made a man and woman to fit together and how that leads to making a baby. I explained why 2 men or 2 women cannot fit together for that purpose.

I also reiterated the fact that it is not ok for other people to touch her in her private areas because they belong to us and should be saved for the man she marries someday. We talked about God’s plan is for a man and woman to only have sex after they get married. We talked about how it is a sin to have sex before marriage and that the Bible says homosexuality is a sin also.

Then, I asked her how we should treat people who think differently than we do or who live a lifestyle such as homosexuality. She was quiet so I asked her how Jesus would treat them. I could tell that she was thinking but she did not want to say the wrong answer so she stayed quiet. So I told her that Jesus would love them just like He loves us when we sin. We talked about some of the sins that her and I struggle with and reminded her that Jesus loves us and forgives us when we sin so we should do the same for others.

To finish the conversation, I told her that she should not talk about our conversation with her sister (because she is too young) or other kids (because it is their parent’s responsibility) but that she can come to me any time she wants to talk about anything related to our conversation. She asked if she could talk to daddy too. Laughing, I said, “Yes! But he will probably just tell you to come talk to me!”

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In conclusion, I think that the conversation went well. I think that she was old enough to handle the basic conversation. We have not even started talking about puberty, menstruation, sexually transmitted diseases, etc. so there are many more conversations to be had in the future. I feel that it is important for me to have these talks with her (and in the future my other daughter) before they are necessary. By the time they are necessary, she will know that she can feel comfortable talking to me about these things when questions arise.

What are your thoughts on this subject?

What ages do you start talking to your kids about sex?

Feel free to voice your opinions and engage in respectful debate in the comments. However, any comments that are disrespectful, use inappropriate language, etc. will be deleted.

A Conservative Perspective…

Besides a few comments and minor debates on the recent SCOTUS decision; I have been pretty quiet so far. This is not because I do not have anything to say or because I am silently waving a white flag of surrender to the issue. It is because I wanted to wait for some of the immediate backlash and celebration to calm down a bit and also to prayerfully consider what I want to say before I put it out for the public to see.

It is no secret that I am conservative when it comes to religion and politics. So in this post, I want to share my thoughts from both my religious and political perspective. I feel that they go hand in hand but I know that there are some who are conservative politically but are not religious and who are religious but are not conservative politically.

I also am aware that there are extremists on both sides of the issue. The media is quick to paint the picture that all Christians are like the extremists. There are people who claim to be Christians who are hateful (bully, shame, kill) towards homosexuals, different races, people who perform and have abortions, etc. Extremists are the minority and do not reflect how most Christians behave and/or believe.

I have Christian friends and family on both sides of the issue. I have friends and family who live the homosexual lifestyle. I love them all whether we agree or disagree on this issue or others.

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Here are my thoughts from a political perspective…

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  • This ruling is more about government control than marriage equality. The constitution was written to limit government control of the people. Through this ruling, the federal government has gained more control.
    • The four dissenting judges were trying to prevent government control and protect religious freedom. Top 10 Quotes from Dissenting Judges…
    • By making this a federal issue, the state’s power was undermined. This could have big consequences on many issues.
  • People consistently call for separation of church and state and the 1st Amendment as an argument for why government should pass equal rights to marriage. However, this is not an accurate portrayal of the 1st amendment and the concept of separation of church and state. 
    • The first amendment does not say anything about separation of church and state (nor does any other part of the Constitution). It is about freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom to peaceably assemble.
    • Separation of church and state comes from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson which underscored the 1st amendment as condemning the government interfering with people’s religious practices. This ruling has the potential to undermine religious freedom.
    • People keep shouting “separation of church and state” (out of context) but it seems to only be one-sided. The government should uphold the 1st amendment as it was intended to be upheld.
  • Thomas Jefferson said “The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases.”
    • The first amendment has nothing to do with marriage. However, if someone has beliefs that are based in religion (such as that marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman—which is believed by at least 3 major religions practiced in the USA: Christianity, Islam, & Judaism) the government cannot force them to violate their beliefs.
    • Yet, businesses have already been forced to provide services for ceremonies that they are religiously opposed to (or pay the consequences of losing their businesses). This could also lead to pastors/churches to perform ceremonies that they are religiously opposed to.
    • The same people who call for tolerance for their lifestyle, often do not extend the same tolerance of people who disagree.
  • As an American, no matter what side of the issue someone is on, no one has the right to desecrate the American flag in order to advance their agenda.
    • This is not ok at all… 10952936_10204440554041403_7788178039280691965_n
    • Flag Code 176. Respect for flag (g) states: “The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.” US Flag Code
  • The media is biased. I believe that the media has a huge part in the division of our country. Not only with this issue but many others. 
    • Unfortunately, people take media as fact and do not research for themselves the agendas behind the media reports.
    • They try to erase history to advance agenda, they condemn one group of people while other groups of similar thought & actions go free, they push stories of extremists and paint them as the normal, they try to pass opinion as fact, and the list goes on and on and on.
  • As Americans, we have the right to vote people into office to represent what we believe politically. It does not matter which party we are a part of. We have the responsibility to make our voices heard through the election process. 
    • We should be celebrating that people have the freedom to voice their opinions. There are many countries who do not have this freedom.
    • We should voice our opinions through respectful conversation. We should not be encouraging or acting out hatred (bullying, shaming, and killing) to get our point across.

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Here are some of my thoughts on the issue from a religious perspective…

(based on believing my Bible is the Word of God and is the Holy Scripture that guides my Christian beliefs)…

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  • I believe that marriage was designed by God to be the union of one man and one woman as a reflection of the relationship of Christ and His bride, the church.
    • 100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
    • “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24
    • “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:21-33
    • “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” Revelation 19:7-8
    • I do not feel that my marriage is worthless or invalidated because same-sex “marriages” are legal.
  • I believe that the homosexual lifestyle is a sin in God’s eyes.
    • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior describe it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
    • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions of any kind. There are no exceptions for “committed” relationships.
    • “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.” Romans 1:26-27
    • “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men” 1 Corinthians 6:9
  • I believe that homosexuality is no greater than any other sin. Sin is sin. Sexual sins are consistently listed with other types of sin (sins of thoughts, emotions, and actions). Including the sin that I struggle with on a regular basis (acting out in anger). 
    • “They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” Romans 1:29-32
    • “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21
    • If people were trying to make adultery, polygamy, and other forms of sexual sin legal there would be just as much of an opposition from conservatives.
    • Christians who do not show love toward those they disagree with are also sinning.
    • EDIT: I posted the following on my Facebook page a couple of days ago: With all the talk about gay marriage, I think that it is important for Christians to remember that divorce and sex outside of marriage are also sin according to the Bible. Heterosexuals have done a good job of destroying the perfect plan for marriage long before homosexuals pushed the marriage agenda. Christians get divorced at similar rates to non-Christians and I know many Christians who have had sex outside of marriage (either before or during marriage). Jesus said that if a man looks at a woman lustfully he has already committed adultery in his heart (the same is true for women looking at men and for those living homosexual lifestyle). We all are capable of giving into temptation and sinning. The good news is that Jesus became sin so that we could be washed clean if we accept His gift of salvation.
  • The Gay-Pride rainbow flag is a mockery of God.
    • God passed judgement, through a worldwide flood, on the people of the world for their sin (homosexuality among others). The rainbow is a covenant from God to mankind. He gives mankind his Word that he will never again flood the entire earth.
      • “Therefore when we see thousands of homosexuals marching in the streets with the Rainbow as their flag — they are essentially implying that they are proud of their sexual immorality whether God likes it or not — while simultaneously reminding God of the contract that he made with humanity never to flood the earth again.” (see here for more detailed opinion on this topic)
    • I am sure that there are many people who support the Gay-Pride flag, who do not know the correlation to the God of the Bible (or do not care). That does not make it any less true.
    • I still love rainbows… just for different reasons!
  • As a Christian, I believe that I am called to love my neighbors even when we disagree. I believe that Jesus loves me and forgives me even though I sin. I believe that Jesus loves people who live the homosexual lifestyle and forgives people who turn away from the lifestyle. Jesus is a friend of sinners. He ate with them, He talked with them, He showed them the truth, and He died for them.  
    • I have no problem with eating with, talking with, and inviting a homosexual into my home or church.
    • I recently had (in my opinion) an awesome conversation with a family member who lives the homosexual lifestyle. We talked about all sorts of topics as we caught up on each other’s lives after not seeing each other for many years. She is still my family. I still love her. I am pretty sure she feels the same about me.
  • Christians (or anyone) do not have to agree with a lifestyle or other opinions in order to respect and love a person. In the same way, homosexuals (or anyone) do not have to agree with how I live my life in order to respect and love me. It goes both ways with many different issues in life.

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  • I do not expect everyone to agree with me or my religion. I do not force anyone to agree with me or my religion. While I hope that people around the world will come to know Jesus as their Savior, I know that many people will not. I am responsible for sharing the gospel with people. I am not responsible for whether or not they accept it as truth.
  • Christianity is not the only religion that believes that homosexuality is immoral. Judaism and Islamic religions (and possibly others) also believe this.

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Here is another related post I wrote a few years ago:

About Boycotting…

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America is made up of diverse people, cultures, religions, beliefs, etc. We do not agree on everything but we can still show respect for those who are different from us. We do not have the same religions but we can still love each other as people. We are not better than each other. This is part of what makes America great!

Feel free to voice your opinions and engage in respectful debate in the comments. However, any comments that are disrespectful, use inappropriate language, etc. will be deleted.

Video Of Woman Giving Her Opinion Of McKinney Chaos

The woman in the video below is on point. The whole situation would not have happened if the kids respected authority from the beginning. I am not at all condoning what the officer did to that girl (I saw a different article saying that he resigned). But there was A LOT more going on than what was being shown in that 7 minute viral video and that it seems that it did not even cover the initial reasons that cops had to show up in the first place. Right from the beginning it was recipe for disaster. A situation that never should have escalated to the point that it did.

In the videos that I have seen, it appears that it was the black kids who are arguing, talking back, and being aggressive. It does not appear that the white kids are doing those things (not saying they didn’t though). The situation probably did not start out as a race issue, but if the majority of arguing and aggressive teens are of a particular race then of course the accusations become that it was a race issue. The cop could have been more gentle with that girl but several of the neighborhood residents (black and white) (who actually live there and witnessed the events) say that the cop presence was definitely warranted and needed to control an out of control situation that the teens/party started.

On a personal note, this is why we will have strict rules for our kids when they are older so that hopefully they will never be in a situation that gets out of control like this. We do have a taste of experiencing teenager rule breaking so it isn’t like I am just wishfully planning… The past 2 years we had 2 exchange students who lived in our home for 10 months each. We had strict rules with them as well but we had some major rule breaking & lying issues with one of them and we had to confront and correct her.

We will also teach (and have been teaching) our girls respect for authority. Even when we sometimes disagree, there are proper ways of dealing with disagreements. [For example, if you feel a parking, speeding, accident, etc. ticket is unwarranted, you can go to court and dispute it]. It is the parent’s responsibility to teach children to respect authority and teach them that their actions have consequences. I hope that when my girls are that age they will have the sense to know to respect cops instead of arguing with them AND maybe have the wisdom to stay away from situations that lead to cops being called in the first place.