First, the Good News. It is, of course, good news that researchers at the University of New Mexico (UNM) will no longer procure, sell, or dissect aborted baby body parts. It is also good news that a local Christian group, the New Mexico Alliance for Life, was instrumental in the investigation that led to this action. However, there’s also the “other news,” and that is the fact that these terrible actions should never have been happening in the first place, and probably continue at other research universities. Further, UNM issued a statement denying any wrongdoing despite pretty clear evidence to the contrary. Really? According to WORLD, “Buying, selling, or otherwise transferring fetal tissue for ‘valuable consideration’ violates a U.S. law that stipulates offenders can face fines and up to 10 years in prison. The New Mexico Spradling Act also ‘prohibits making anatomical gifts of the remains of any fetus that is the product of an induced abortion.’” (We’re following this developing story, which has a Colson Center connection, and will have more at www.breakpoint.org later this week.)
Religious Liberty for All. Christians rightly fight for religious liberty both in this country and abroad. That’s why we should be saddened by a story about a 50-year-old Sikh man who was beaten by white supremacists. This is religious discrimination as much as racial discrimination. Yes, Sikhs are an ethnic minority, but they could pass in Western society virtually unnoticed were it not for a style of dress prescribed by their religion. The assailants told the man to “go back to your own country.” To add irony to insult: the victim, Surjit Malhi, told CBS Sacramento that he had just finished putting up campaign signs in support of a Republican, Representative Jeff Denham, outside Keyes, Calif., when the attack occurred.
The Culture of Death. The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom ruled last week that doctors and family members can remove feeding tubes from patients in a permanent vegetative state or in a minimally conscious state. “These patients are not imminently dying and with good care can live for many years,” wrote pro-life advocate Peter Saunders, who is the CEO of U.K. Christian Medical Fellowship, a network of doctors and medical students. “Once we accept that death by dehydration is in some brain-damaged people’s ‘best interests’ we are on a very slippery slope indeed.”
Larry Norman Speaks. What does the father of Christian Rock say about Christian music today? Well, that’s hard to know, because Larry Norman died in 2008. However, our friend and regular BreakPoint contributor Ed Stetzer recently found a lost email from Larry Norman talking about the state of Christian music (and youth culture generally). It’s fascinating reading. Here’s a sample: “I never thought of myself as a rebel. I was operating as a satirical surgeon; trying to remove an ugly cancer from the church: The dogma which proclaimed that dance, modern music and the theater cannot be used by God because it is wholly profane. Because I believed that God created all things in life, including the arts, then that meant that all things BELONGED to God. Christians had an obligation to reclaim the arts for the church. They are not the possession, nor the invention, of the secular realm.” To which I say “amen.” I commend the rest of Ed Stetzer’s exchange with Norman to you. You can find it here.
Milestones. Alexander Solzhenitsyn died 10 years ago this week, on Aug. 8, 2008…. Mark Hatfield died seven years ago this week, on Aug. 9, 2011. To read my friend Russ Pulliam’s appreciation of Hatfield, click here. To read a recent BreakPoint on the 40th anniversary of Solzhenitsyn’s famous speech to Harvard University, click here.