It may come as a surprise for many, but just within the lifetime of most Americans, legal casino gambling existed in only two places in our nation: Nevada and Atlantic City, New Jersey. Starting in the 1990s, casinos began spreading across our country at break-neck speed. Today, at least 23 states have commercial casinos, a category that includes land-based, riverboat, dockside, and race track casinos. In the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, nearly every adult lives within a relatively short distance to a casino.
Indeed. And GOP candidates currently campaigning for office – candidates from the political party whose convictions about most moral and theological issues are typically closer to orthodox Christian teaching – ought to take heed.
Like a phone call bypassing its connecting lines, there are many voices that ring out today in seemingly amazing and astonishing ways. We may find their words and the circumstances surrounding them quite alluring, remarkable, and unparalleled. Still, no matter the voices' agencies or channels, there is only one voice that can be trusted implicitly.
"Abortion would virtually disappear tomorrow if it were not for the willful violation of God's great charter of marriage and purity. The abortion problem begins with a rebellion that says, 'I will do as I please for pleasure. I reject the limits prescribed by God in favor of personal satisfaction."
During a recent Sunday morning worship service, I noticed something a little unsettling. Although the church I was attending was a more traditional congregation, the vast majority of parishioners were dressed casually. There was hardly a man in the sanctuary dressed in a suit, or coat and tie. The women were mostly in slacks or jeans; some were even in flip flops. I couldn't help but query, "Whatever happened to putting on your 'Sunday best'?"
On the first Monday in September (September 1), Labor Day, our nation will once again celebrate the dignity of labor. There will be parades, picnics, and various special observances. Politicians will make their speeches. This nation will, as it always has, recognize the importance of hard work.
Christian philosopher Peter Kreeft once said, "A measure of your insanity is the size of the gap between what you think you are and what you really are."  Certainly this is true. Still, it might also be said that the greatest measure of one's insanity is the size of the gap between who we think Christ is and who he really is.
It's clear that the Obamas want to affirm Islam in the plurality of religions that make up the tapestry of American democracy. But has Islam itself contributed to the establishment of democracy in America and the world?
In a recent editorial, the Raleigh News and Observer said that state attorney general Roy Cooper "made a sensible decision" to stop fighting several federal lawsuits that seek to overturn North Carolina's Marriage Protection Amendment. How tragic that our country has been so poisoned by progressive sentiment that a major media outlet in the Tar Heel state would applaud such a serious form of lawlessness.
What actually works is a form of prohibition. Don't misunderstand me; I'm not calling for a return to the kind of prohibition before 1933 in the United States. Nevertheless, it goes without saying that all forms of restrictive alcohol measures in state and federal law are an acknowledgement that alcohol is not an ordinary commodity. It poses a significant risk to the public's health and prohibitive determinations are necessary. This is especially true for those in their formative years.
The standoff has been somewhat surreal. At one point, Senate members walked out on the negotiations. When some lawmakers commented that it might take until Christmas to work out their differences, staffers hung Christmas wreaths and strung up holiday lights in between meetings.
Indeed, we have every reason to celebrate with fervor and frivolity. And, we should. It's our patriotic duty. Despite all of our afflictions, people still run to this country and not from it. Observing what's right about America can be a good step toward righting what's wrong.
Regarding the 10th Circuit ruling, dissenting Judge Paul J. Kelly Jr. brought out an aspect to the legalization of same-sex marriage rarely mentioned. He said, "If the States are the laboratories of democracy, requiring every state to recognize same-gender unions – contrary to the views of its electorate and representatives – [it] turns the notion of a limited national government on its head."
I'm afraid too many Christians just look good on paper. We've failed to realize that no matter how else we may bear out our testimony for Christ, the absence of love nullifies it all. Love is greater than anything we can say, or anything we possess, or anything we might give away.
When I served as a pastor, I was privy to the incredible anguish of parents who lost a child in death. They tell me that there is no grief that's comparable. Although I have been spared of such sorrow, I do believe there is one that's near equal to it – the agony of raising a child right that turns out bad.
There is no greater indictment to a lack of love than indifference. Christians who treat the current degeneracy and depravity of our culture, the evil corruption in high places, the diminishing of religious liberties, in a tepid fashion, need a fire for God stocked in their souls.
Few people ever question why Western Civilization has experienced so much abundance in comparison to poorer nations around the world. The reason is inextricably connected to Christianity. The Bible says, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Prov. 23:7). What individuals believe, what nations believe has everything to do with their essence and determines whether they grow, multiply, and succeed.
Scripture warns the church to beware of a similar "fifth column." The apostle Peter warned, "But there were false teachers among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privly shall bring in damnable heresies…" (2 Peter 2:1). Jude 4 reads, "For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our Lord into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ."
When Keke was first married, she was an attractive young woman with beautiful chest-nut red hair. She was illiterate. While Beso made shoes, she worked her hands to the bone as a washerwoman, scrubbing floors, and doing the work of a seamstress. Within a three year period, she had three children and each of them died in infancy. At the age of 23, she had her fourth child, a son.
What is America's greatest need? The answer: The same as every other nation on the face of the earth. America needs divinely appointed messengers who will take the truth – the truth of Christ, the living Word, the truth of the Bible, the written Word – to the masses. Jesus admonished, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest." (Luke 10:2)
That being said, Sabet rightly contends our history with alcohol and tobacco provides clear warnings against the legalization of marijuana. Not only are the total social costs associated with these two legal drugs roughly around $200 billion per substance – far outweighing any tax revenue collected from their use, but these licit drugs create huge corporations that have no incentive to curb use and continually seek profit at expense of the public's health. There is little reason to believe legal marijuana would be any different.
Allow me to coin a new phrase in this debate. I contend these assertions by same-sex marriage proponents and their resulting negative influences on some in the evangelical camp are what we might call a "Tokyo Rose Effect."
Near death experiences may be the cause for much speculation. However, the resurrection of Jesus, certainly the most attested historical event in human history, is proof there is life beyond the grave. What is more, it is a promise – a promise of the believer's own resurrection – a promise of eternal unspeakable joy for those who believe in Christ and follow Him all the way to the end.
The story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis chapter 11 is a historical narrative of the first recorded form of government gone awry. What are some of the principles in this account that forewarn us of the corruption of governments and their ultimate end?
Someone once said, "I don't understand Christianity. I don't understand electricity either, but I don't intend to sit in the dark until I do." That's a profound statement about the power of faith to transform a life. The intelligentsia typically renders such assertions as foolishness, but it's been God's plan through the ages.