Some Thoughts about Fighting the Good Fight in This Present Darkness

FRM Monsters

San Diego, CA—On our watch, a cosmic battle of epic proportions rages between opposites:  light and darkness, good and evil, beauty and ugliness, hope and despair, flourishing and decay, life and death, truth and lies.  The war is both spiritual and physical.  The conflict is both internal and external to us because the divide between good and evil runs down the center of the human heart.  These are truly the times that try the souls of men and women. Much is at stake.  Our hyper-divided nation appears closer to civil war than any other time in our history except 1862.

The threat to freedom is real.  A radical and rabid left seeks to replace order with chaos.  They are actively deconstructing everything good that has made us a beacon of hope for the world and are seeking to, by force, reconstruct a disordered, unrecognizable, and increasingly insane culture.  In the center of the cultural chopping block is the Judeo-Christian worldview which has nourished, sustained and caused our republic to flourish—until now.  The self-evident truths which have heretofore guided the greatest and freest nation the world has ever known are experiencing a full-frontal assault from the forces of darkness and evil.  These truths include the reality that God has created us equal in His image (male and female) and has endowed us with inalienable rights, including life, liberty and the pursued of happiness (virtue).

Darkness advances only as light retreats.  Tragically, most of the American church has been in full-blown cultural retreat for decades.  Many have been caught flat footed and tongue tied, not knowing what to say or how to respond to the growing cultural pressure, including false charges of hatred and bigotry.  We have largely abandoned our obligation to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15)—whether it be preaching the full counsel of God, sharing the gospel, or opposing evil.   As such, we find ourselves marginalized to the sidelines in this epic battle—hiding in our Christian enclaves rather that engaging on the field. We have been unfaithful.  But not all is lost.  Now is the time for the church of Jesus Christ to awake, arise and engage.

Who is responsible to fight?  Everyone.  No exceptions.  But especially our pastors and Christian leaders.  In dark times, true leaders lead authentically by taking responsibility, not by making excuses.  As Germany spun out of control before WWII, Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, “I have made a mistake in coming to America.  I must live through this difficult period in our national history with the Christian people of Germany.  I will have no right to participate in the reconstruction of Christian life in Germany after the war if I do not share the trials of this time with my people.”  And as Sophie Scholl stated in a Nazi court shortly before her execution for participating in a leaflet campaign decrying the acts of the Third Reich, “We are Christian, and we are German, therefore we are responsible for Germany.”  We are Christian, and we are American, therefore we are responsible for America.

All is not lost.  I am very encouraged by the good work being done by many engaged and engaging organizations like the American Renewal Project.  I was blessed recently to see 700 pastors and Christian leaders at a conference in Southern California, gathering to commit to biblically impacting our lost and dark culture—to fighting the good fight—that His kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Leaders challenge the flock to not just be hearers of the Word, but doers of it (James 1:22-25). A Christian leader not exercising biblical leadership that makes a difference in the world is similar to a ship with a broken rudder.  He may hold a title, occupy a position, or even head a mega-church, but the results are spiritually fruitless.

Fear is paralyzing our leaders and neutralizing our witness.  Fear of man is leading us into cultural compromise, capitulation, and assimilation.  But God has not given us to a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and a sound mind (II Timothy 1:7).  It is time for the American church to repent and stop being so listless and passive and running away from the good fight.  Let us agree to stop giving in to the downward pressure of the “spiral of silence.”  Rather, like Scholl and Bonhoeffer, let us commit instead to taking active responsibility for our communities and our nation, exercising clear bold and courageous biblical leadership.  The flock desperately needs good shepherds to protect us, disciple us, and lead us now, perhaps as never before.  And the world desperately needs the church to be salt and light, standing without wavering or compromise for what is, and always will be, good, true, and beautiful.

CA Legislators Beholden to Leftist Special Interest Groups Refuse Reasonable Safeguards On Early Erotic Child Development (SB 673)

SB 673 Testimony

Sacramento, CA—When you strip away all of the drama, the recent battle over Senate Bill 673 essentially boiled down to one fundamental issue:  State vs. parents.  More specifically, does the state collective have the primary authority to raise and train children as it sees fit, or do parents?  Even more precisely, does California have the primary authority to teach elementary school children, between the ages of four and twelve (TK-6th grade), comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) while making it difficult for parents to ascertain what is being taught?  And can the state make it challenging for parents to excuse their kids from early erotic education?  Put slightly differently, how far will the state go to force its radical and transformative new sexual orthodoxy on our families?

Precisely just how far leftist legislators are willing to go was on transparent display on January 15, 2020 during the Senate Education Committee hearing (read “kangaroo court”) on SB 673.  This legislation arose because parents across the Golden State were having great difficulty reviewing CSE materials their seventh-grade and high school students were being exposed to under the 2015 California Healthy Youth Act (CHYA).  In many cases, school districts concealed or hid the curricula, made access extremely difficult, or flat out refused to allow parents to review it.  It soon became evident why access was limited.  Districts did not want parents to see the extreme and graphic materials because they did not want students to opt-out of the sexuality program, which they view as a positive good for all students.  But, despite widespread district efforts to conceal CSE curriculum, the truth started leaking out.  Information is power and informed and concerned parents began to organize in opposition to CSE all across the state in 2018.  As CSE was recently expanded in the California Department of Education elementary “health” framework and curricula, the collective roar of a million “mama bears” only grew louder.

CHYA allows, but does not require, that CSE is taught in elementary school.  Regarding age and developmental appropriateness, the majority of parents who have reviewed the extreme and graphic CSE materials recognize that five-year-old children are not “little adults,” and understand that CSE is “too much, too soon,” especially for younger children.

Sponsored by Senator Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga) and written by citizen-parent Denise Pursche, SB 673 was a very reasonable, moderate, and commonsense bill.  It simply required transparency, accountability, and meaningful active parental choice if a school district decided to teach CSE from TK-6th grade.  First, it required that all CSE materials be posted on the internet, in languages immigrants in the area schools can understand.  Second, it required that parents actively opt-in their four- to twelve-year-old children, to make sure kids do not accidentally participate in CSE classes by failing to opt-out.  Third, it required that CSE materials are medically-accurate and age-appropriate.  Objectively, no sane person who understands child development and respects parents’ rights should have voted against it.  A no brainer, right?  Not so fast!

Joining Senator Morrell in providing testimony in support were constitutional attorney Dean Broyles of the National Center for Law & Policy and Dr. Ahmed Soboh, Chairman of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, an umbrella organization for 70 mosques and Islamic Centers representing over 500,000 community members. In fact, it is estimated that the diverse coalition in support of SB 673 collectively represents at least 10.8 million people, including: the California Catholic Conference, the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, branches of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, a chapter of the NAACP, dozens of Korean Christian churches, nondenominational churches, faith-based organizations and others, as well as tens of thousands of people who submitted letters and made calls to their representatives and committee members.

Yet, after a contentious debate, the Senate Education Committee voted along party lines (5-2) to kill the bill.  Why?  Many of the leftist committee members appeared to be sympathetic to parental rights and the need for transparency, but they still voted against it.  Democratic Senators and opposition witnesses claimed to be concerned that the opt-in would create “barriers” to young children accessing CSE.

Ideas have consequences.  Bad ideas have victims.  National CSE pushing SIECUS, for example, believes that children have “inalienable sexual rights,” apart from the guidance of their parents and faith community.  Elitist purveyors of CSE for very young children see these programs as a positive social good and that they are the experts on children, not parents.  Therefore, they are more than willing to circumvent parents and conceal their dark curricula in order to achieve the “greater good” of indoctrinating our children in the name of “health.”  But the primary reason they killed SB 673 was probably that there would be hell to pay with powerful special interest groups if they had not done so.  Who are these extremist organizations pushing early erotic education in California?  Well, it’s the usual suspects: Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, Equality California, NARAL, the California PTA, and the California Teachers Association, to mention a few.

But one of the more note-worthy things about the hearing was that the primary opposition “research” heavily relied upon by the ACLU and regurgitated in approximately 80% of the opposition letters evaporated during the hearing.  How?  I actually read the research cited.  Thus I was able to point out in testimony that “the research cited…[in] most of the opposition letters does not support their allegations that opt-out is preferred by parents, nor that very early sexuality education is in the best interest of children.  The RAND study strongly supports parental informed consent, here transparency and opt-in, and the CDE and AAP articles support CSE starting in fifth grade, not kindergarten or first grade. The opposition research actually supports SB 673.”  In response to questioning by Senator Ling Ling Chang, I further explained that the RAND study did not support the ACLU’s contention that parents’ wishes are more in line with an opt-out, as opposed to the opt-in proposed by SB 673.  This is because RAND did not even research whether parents preferred opt-out for early elementary sex education classes, but this was actually a limited study speculating on parental intent based only upon opt-in vs. opt-out rates for a drug prevention program at two California middle schools.  In fact, the parents were never actually surveyed about their wishes about how to object to student participation in the RAND study.  Notably, after this testimony, no one cited the ACLU’s misleading “research” during the hearing or made any attempt to rely on it.

In spite of the fact that their opposition research was debunked, the Democrats on the Senate Education Committee proceeded to embarrass themselves by maintaining a stubborn opposition to SB 673.  In so doing, they proved themselves to be, at best, ignorant of the California Healthy Youth Act (CHYA) and the resulting CSE curricula or, at worst, intentionally deceptive.  Regarding CHYA, Senator Richard Pan (D-Elk Grove) attempted to rebuke a portion of my testimony as misleading, stating that CHYA only deals with sex education, but that it does not require the teaching of “sexuality” education.  Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino) quickly chimed in with her agreement with Pan’s blundering and specious statement.  But both Senator Pan and Senator Levya were wrong.  The truth is that CHYA does mandate sexuality education, specifically using the term “sexuality” seven times in the statute.  So, why would Pan and Leyva be so quick to mislead or deceive here?  Probably because “sexuality” includes a broad range of issues controversial and sensitive issues that may not be age-appropriate including, but not limited to, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, etc.  Apparently, these “public servants” on the Education Committee were trying to conceal the fact that CHYA and the unquestionably graphic and extreme “sexuality” curricula developed under the law actually do require that our children marinate in the moral cesspool of extreme “sexuality” education.  Sadly, a lack of basic integrity, candor, and transparency appears to be a dangerous problem for many California state officials involved in education.

Approximately 100 bold and courageous citizens, including parents, grandparents, pastors, and others, stood up and one by one and passionately explained why they supported SB 673.  As the spoke, they were representing the thoughts and feelings of thousands, if not millions, of California citizens.  In fact, Senator Morrell received approximately 50,000 letters in support of the bill and an online change.org petition was signed by more than 47,000 citizens.  The opposition was much smaller.  Only approximately 15 people stood up to speak in “me too” opposition to the bill, including Equality California, the ACLU, Plannned Parenthood, and surprisingly the PTA!

In her closing remarks Senator Connie Levya took to arrogantly lecturing citizens supporting SB 673.  Leyva quickly drew loud boos when she assumed parents had not read the CSE curricula and glibly announced that “there is nothing in [in CHYA CSE curricula] that is not age-appropriate.”  This was a particularly offensive Leyva lie, among many others, and the informed citizens present knew it and immediately called her out on it.  Her misrepresentations did not stop there. She proceeded to deceptively declare that the CSE curricula did not include “anal sex, sexting, cybersex, phone sex, sensation play, and kinky sex….”  But in reality, the CSE curricula are even more graphic and extreme than is revealed by Leyva’s short list.  CDE approved materials promote, or link to sites promoting, a hook-up culture, pleasure focus, sex as sport, and porn normativity, among other terrible things.  Tragically, the state is condoning the mass sexual grooming of public school students, putting them at increased risk for abuse by sexual predators and sex traffickers.

Continuing to receive loud opposition from the citizens in attendance to her lecture, Levya angrily shot back that the reason the audience had issues with CHYA and support SB 673 is “because people are afraid to talk to their children about sex.”  This naturally generated more angry boos from the crowd.  Ironically, the CHYA-ignorant Chairwoman was attacking and blaming well-informed parents and grandparents for being ignorant.  This will likely cost her a lot of votes.

In stark contrast, Senator Scott Wilk’s (R-Santa Clarita) moral clarity on the Democrat’s stubborn unwillingness to support SB 673 was quite illuminating.

He warned, “You [parents] need to stay engaged!  If you’re not sure what is going on in this building, we are having our own private version of Animal Farm.  Policymakers in this building want to raise your children….You have to stay engaged or you’re going to lose the ability to raise your own children.”

Indeed!  While on one hand the “People’s Republic of California” favors the state, the U.S. Constitution, which remains the supreme law of the land, and the U.S. Supreme Court fortunately clearly favor parents here.  For nearly 100 years, SCOTUS has repeatedly ruled that parents have the fundamental right to direct the care and raising of their children.

“The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the State to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.”  Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925).

However, the one-uber-liberal 9th Circuit ruled in 2005 that the right of parents to shield their children from sexually-explicit materials essentially ends at the school house door (Fields v. Palmdale).  The good news, however, is that well-respected constitutional attorneys believe the 9th Circuit’s case subverting parental rights was wrongly decided and that this collectivist and anti-family precedent will ultimately be overturned, either by an increasingly conservative 9th Circuit or a decidedly conservative U.S. Supreme Court.

Wake up California!   We the people must demand that our public servants actually start serving the public and not extreme special interest groups bent on sexually corrupting and harming our kids.  Our children are not primarily creatures of the state of California—to forcibly indoctrinate into its radical leftist mold.  Constitutional rights, including parental rights, do not end at the schoolhouse door.  The state does not have the authority to coercively impose a new sexual orthodoxy on our children and families, especially one that deconstructs truth and undermines the free exercise of religion and the freedom of speech.  Parents, especially those raising young children, deserve transparency and meaningful choices.  Yet, in most districts parents have been misled about CHYA and the CSE curricula has been concealed from families.  The status quo is unacceptable.  Informed consent is an ethical issue and is a civil rights issue, one that the majority of our public servants in California appear insistent on ignoring, to our collective peril.  California school districts that continue to ignore parents and trample on Constitutional rights should prepare themselves to be sued.

For further information about the Senate Education Committee SB 673 hearing and CHYA, please watch:

Pre-hearing Press Conference

Post Hearing Rally

Revenge of the Nerds: Bezos Flip-Flops on Amazon’s Platform Neutrality, Banning Change Allowing Therapy Books

Bezos

Is the United States truly a free marketplace of ideas, or are we becoming a nation where dissent from popular opinion is suppressed and demonized—whether by the government or by politically powerful private enterprise?  Amazon’s deplorable decision to ban books affirming change allowing therapy for people struggling with same-sex attraction tends to affirm the latter.  I am sorry to say that we may indeed be well on our way to ideological serfdom.

In today’s hyper-digital age, mega-businesses like Google, Facebook, and Amazon can and do censor ideas and squelch free thought and expression in ways that are similarly effective as, and are comparable to, fascist government repressions of days past.  George Orwell was quite right about our future, but the existential threat is not just big government, it’s also big corporations.

Amazon’s politically correct ban occurred as the result of a British LGBT activist complaining to the distribution giant about the works of the late Catholic clinical psychologist, Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, who died in 2017.  Nicolosi, considered the father of reparative therapy and who had successfully counseled thousands of former homosexuals, was the author of “A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality” and “Healing Homosexuality: Case Stories of Reparative Therapy.”  Of the ban of his father’s work, Nicolosi’s son stated in a released statement, “Amazon’s book ban puts radical LGBTQ ideology ahead of established science about how people leave homosexuality. It is anti-choice, anti-science, and anti-American.”  So much for the proverbial open marketplace of ideas.  That’s so, “the day before yesterday.”

Radical personal autonomy, especially regarding sexual choices, would appear to be a fundamental lynchpin of today’s progressive ideology and propaganda.  This is true, but only if one is making a sexual choice with which liberals happen to approve (i.e. blindly embracing and affirming LGBTQ ideology), not when one is making a choice with which they do not agree (i.e., learning how to overcome unwanted same-sex attraction).  What uber-liberals actually believe, but rarely publicly admit, is that the free flow of ideas and personal autonomy must now be disciplined and subjugated to serve the greater good of a sexually liberated socialist utopia, free from those purported Judeo-Christian sexually repressive restraints.  Unevolved pesky little things like Constitutions and First Amendments naturally get in their way.  They have actually become quite preachy of late, ironically becoming the new cultural fundamentalists.  They have become self-anointed sex gods.  For them, it is a “sin” to disagree with their radical sexual worldview.  Truth and morality are inverted as it has now become a “virtue” to silence any and all religiously informed views of human sexuality.

Not content with stopping at the works of Nicolosi, under pressure from the left, Amazon expanded its authoritarian commercial censorship to other books affirming that change is possible.  Within a few weeks, the works of former homosexuals were also banned.  Joe Dallas’ book Desires in Conflict: Hope for Men Who Struggle with Sexual Identity was removed from the platform.  Also, my friend Anne Paulk’s book — Restoring Sexual Identity: Hope for Women Who Struggle with Same-Sex Attraction, was removed.   Books by ex-gays Alan Medinger and Richard Cohen, whose stories I was honored to tell in amicus briefs at the U.S. Supreme court in key marriage litigation cases, were also censored by Amazon.  Interestingly, an otherwise bright attorney told me on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 that my (very real) clients didn’t actually exist.  Now, Jeff Bezos’ mega corp. is erasing their powerful stories of authentic transformation from our public memory.

Although change allowing therapy has provided real help and hope to thousands of people struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction, LGBT activists intentionally disparage all change allowing therapies with the negative moniker, “conversion therapy.”  And, rather than engage in evidence-based conversations about the effectiveness of change allowing therapy, radical sexual liberty activists reactively disparage it as harmful and ineffective.  Without any evidence, Christians and others have been blamed for fostering the high LGBT suicide rates. This despicable defamatory disparagement continues in spite of the fact that aversive therapeutic methods are not used and the fact that thousands struggling with their sexual identity have successfully left the gay lifestyle behind.  Sexual activists hate the truth because the very presence of former LGBT’s exposes the propaganda of the “born gay” myth and the pernicious lie that change is not possible.  That’s not hope—that is hopelessness and despair.

So, what about the viability of the Amazon ban itself? Certainly the First Amendment doesn’t directly apply here because it is a private company—although Amazon certainly has a monopoly.  But is it the right thing for Amazon to do—to put its thumb on the scales of neutrality, deciding ideological winners and losers? I don’t think so. A misattributed Voltaire quote, famously employed by the ACLU and the free speech movement in the past is: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos seemed to be channeling Voltaire, when more than twenty years ago back in a 1998, he said, “We want to make every book available—the good, the bad and the ugly (emphasis added).”  True to his word, Bezos’ otherwise uber-tolerant platform has marketed and sold a wide variety of distasteful books, including books on Satanism, suicide, and Hitler’s Mein Kampf.  But that was then and this is now. Bezos spoke those reassuring words on the eve of the ascension of the radical sexual liberty movement—a movement with boastful totalitarian impulses to silence and obliterate all dissent—especially from those damn Christians.   A possible takeaway from this entire situation is that, at least for committed radical leftists, change allowing therapy (a.k.a. the gospel of Jesus Christ) is worse than Hitler.

I warned about the growing intolerance of the radical sexual left more than 25 years ago in a speech that I wrote titled, “The Myth of Tolerance.”  I wish I were wrong, but I predicted that those then clamoring for tolerance of their “alternative lifestyle” would wield their power quite intolerantly, once their initial cultural goals were achieved. I really wish that I had been wrong. Some are concerned that we may someday look back at this moment as a sort of historical reprisal of Kristallnacht, when the Nazi’s broke into places of worship and shops, burning disfavored literature in the streets.

As Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the majority opinion of NIFLA v. Becerra, “[T]he people lose when the government is the one deciding which ideas should prevail.” The people also lose when behemoth virtual corporate monopolies like Amazon decide which ideas should prevail. Corporate tyranny may prove to be just as detrimental to liberty as any government tyranny. We certainly don’t need business elites deciding what we can read, think, and say. And, in the glow of Amazon’s digital book burning, some are wondering what other Christian books are next, C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity?  The Bible?  Where will this literal liberal lunacy stop, no one truly knows.

So much for diversity and inclusion!  Oh well, along with tolerance, these liberal ideals were, in the end, just distracting excuses to overthrow the Judeo-Christian worldview and, with it, Western Civilization.  Tolerance, diversity, and inclusion are dead—unless we push back.

If we are to remain a free people, should Amazon remain a neutral platform in the marketplace of ideas?  Yes.  Is Amazon, as a company, now playing the part of a commercial 600-pound gorilla, displaying rank elitist politically correct anti-religious bigotry?  Yes.  Should they knock it off?  Absolutely.  Memo to Jeff Bezos (and your rich friends at Facebook and Google): a little more faux Voltaire and a little less ThoughtPolice, please.

Evangelical “leader” used as PR prop for state resolution urging pastors and churches to abandon biblical sexual ethics and denounce change allowing therapy

Low Mannoia

 

Sacramento, CA—After facing growing opposition from religious organizations and leaders, California Assembly Member Low withdrew AB 2943 in 2018, which would have declared sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) consumer fraud, causing conscientious objectors to LGBT sexual orthodoxy to be targeted and punished by the state.  Now, he has replaced that failed effort with a resolution (ACR 99) seeking to pressure all Californians, including all religious institutions and religious leaders, to voluntarily embrace a statist sexual orthodoxy, regardless of their deeply held religious beliefs.  This time, however, Low is boasting about the very thin evangelical Christian support for his new resolution, specifically that of one appeasing evangelical leader.

As currently written, by a joint resolution of the Senate and Assembly, ACR 99, the government of the state of California “calls upon all Californians to embrace the individual and social benefits of family and community acceptance….”  Furthermore, “the Legislature calls upon religious leaders with conviction to counsel on LGBT matters from a place of love, compassion, and knowledge of the psychological and other harms of conversion therapy…. We call upon the people of California—especially its counselors, pastors, religious workers, educators—and the institutions of California with great moral influence—especially its churches, universities, colleges, and other schools, counseling centers, activist groups, and religious centers—to model equitable treatment of all people of the state…”  (emphasis mine)

ACR 99 is a transparent attempt to chill religious speech and silence the biblically faithful voices of our pastors.  The resolution not-so-subtly pressures religious leaders, including pastors, to disaffirm biblically orthodox viewpoints on human sexuality and replace them with pagan viewpoints.  Specifically, ACR 99 asks pastors to agree that change-allowing therapies, which the resolution defames as “conversion” therapy, are always harmful and ineffective.  Apparently for Low, pastors and churches should just get on the alleged “right side of history” here and adjust their preaching and counseling accordingly.

“Evangelical leader” Kevin Mannoia, who submitted a letter in support and testified in support of ACR 99 on June 18th in Sacramento, serves as Chaplain at Azusa Pacific University (APU) and formerly served as the President of the National Association of Evangelicals.  His letter claimed the support of “some Christian pastors,” who remain unnamed, vaguely expressing “various levels of support for ACR 99….”

During the resolution hearing, Evan Low read aloud the 2018 Op-ed. Mannoia had written in support of AB 2943, which threw change-allowing therapy under the proverbial biblical bus:

“Reparative therapy is without evidence as to its efficacy and is inconsistent with Christian living. We support Mr. Low in his opposition to practices that cause harm in people. This is contrary to the nature of the Christian message, which, while calling for change in all people to be oriented toward Christ even at great sacrifice, neither favors nor supports any practice that causes harm.”

Not surprisingly Mannoia’s employer, APU, has itself struggled with remaining biblically faithful, especially regarding issues of human sexuality, and according to many respected evangelical leaders, has, in fact, failed to remain biblically orthodox under growing cultural pressure.

Elizabeth Wonning, a former lesbian who is a leader with Equipped to Love and Changed, testified against ACR 99 implication that religion is to blame for LGBT suicides, “I take exception to the belief that religion is central to the high rates of suicide among LGBT youth.  For me, and many others, faith rescued us from suicide.  The experience of discovering you are different than most other people is traumatic and troubling whether you have faith or not.  Hopelessness causes suicide.”  Ken Williams, a pastor and former homosexual, concluded his testimony with these powerful words, asking Low to respect rights of conscience and religious freedom: “And so, assemblyman Low, I am asking you, you may have the votes to pass this, but I don’t believe that you have the right to presuppose people’s consciences, or to tell them what they need to believe.  I totally support your right, and everyone you represent, to experience whatever in life that you’d like to, I have no intention to take that away.  I just am asking that my rights, and my people group would also be respected. So I, I ask for a no vote on this resolution.”

We can all agree that aversive therapeutic methods, involving coercion or physical pain, should not be employed in the context of change-allowing therapies.  However, I submit that this is not actually a current problem.  Aversive therapeutic methods are not being employed today nor have they been widely employed for decades.   Indeed, the false accusation that change-allowing therapies are harmful and ineffective was strongly rebutted by a letter submitted and signed by dozens of therapists, attorneys, and public policy organizations, confirming that change allowing therapies are non-aversive, in that they often give people hope and result in transformative change.  Indeed, the very lives of thousands of former homosexuals and former transgender individuals tell a very different story.  Sexual identity isn’t immutable.  People can and do change.

Biblically orthodox evangelical Christians cannot affirm that all change-allowing therapies are ineffective and harmful, nor can they endorse a therapeutic ban. This is true for the following reasons:  First, it is a denial that we are created in the image of God, as male or female.  Second, it is a denial of the transformative power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to change the human heart.  Third, thousands of former homosexuals and former transgendered persons have been genuinely helped by change-allowing therapies—being set free from unwanted same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria.  Fourth, it would result in government coerced supression of speech, in violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and the further diminution of religious freedom.

Members of the Coalition for Counsel Choice repeatedly tried to warn Kevin Mannoia and other pastors about engaging with Evan Low. They specifically raised the issue that any resolution that evangelical leaders might agree upon with Assemblymember Evan Low would be a compromise of one or more of the above truths—as ACR 99 actually is.  Furthermore, they cautioned that from a public policy and legal perspective, a compromised resolution will almost certainly serve as a stepping stone toward a future outright legal ban on change-allowing therapies.   If it does, CCC members warn that history may prove that evangelical leaders will have actually been complicit in moving the cultural conversation towards an ultimate ban on change-allowing therapies with the further erosion of religious freedom—resulting in Orwellian restrictions on sharing the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Mannoia was also specifically asked to not submit his vague and confusing “support” letter for ACR 99.  He did not listen.

Immediately after the resolution hearing, Evan Low was quick to take a victory lap, touting Kevin Mannoia as a PR prop by posting a glossy photo of himself and Kevin on Facebook, tagging all his radical friends at Equality California, the Trevor Project, the National Center for Lesbian rights and the Human Rights Campaign,  “@Kmannoia, Former President of the National Association of Evangelicals & Chaplain at @azusapacific, speak in support of #ACR99, to reaffirm our values of love and dignity while also acknowledging the harmful practice of #ConversionTherapy @TrevorProject @eqca @NCLRights @HRC”

Unfortunately, this unorthodox and aberrant behavior by one of our purported evangelical “leaders” highlights the dangers of the strategy of appeasing the enemies of the gospel and freedom in Christ.  It never ends well.  Tragically, too many Christians leaders today fear people and worship the culture, rather than fearing God and worshipping Christ. But this isn’t Christian leadership, it’s cultural surrender. To shamefully join forces with the enemies of Christ, to defame all change-allowing therapy, and to surrender to the idea that people can’t change is to surrender to the satanic lie that the Gospel has no actual transformative power.  For biblically orthodox evangelicals, that is heresy.

Christians can certainly all agree that everyone, including those struggling with same-sex attraction or gender identity should be treated with love, dignity, compassion, and respect.  Everyone deserves this, precisely because they are created in the image of God.  However, in a free society, this can and should be done without the government attempting to tell churches and pastors how they should counsel or what they should preach.  Christians, who desire to remain free, must always oppose the annexation of the church by the state.  We don’t want to have to relearn the painful and difficult lessons of the appeasing German Lutheran church of the 1930’s and 40s.

Christians ought to be concerned—very concerned—and must remain vigilant against the dark impulses of statist domination. Let’s be clear: our enemies want to silence us and thereby kill the gospel message. California, over the past five years, has been churning out a series of bad legislation targeting religious freedom and the freedom of speech, often in the name of LGBT rights (See i.e. AB 775, SB 1146, AB 1888, AB 569, AB 2943).  And History confirms that non-binding resolutions like ACR 99 often proceed more coercive, restrictive, and freedom-robbing legislation. That is why the NCLP submitted a powerful separate legal opinion memorandum explaining how ACR 99, if enacted, will chill speech and suppress religious beliefs and practices, in violation of the protections of the First Amendment.

The gospel is not fraud, consumer or otherwise.  It has the power to transform us, including our sexual desires.  Although deceptively camouflaged in the language of love and compassion, ACR 99 is a naked attempt by the government to establish progressive sexual orthodoxy and dis-establish (and destroy) religious sexual ethics. Although not binding, this resolution, if adopted, will chill the speech of pastors, churches, and Christians who are already concerned and fearful about government infringements, especially related to LGBT issues.  We can’t afford to have our voices censored and silenced by the state.  Truth is at stake.  The Gospel is at stake.

Rogue Nation: Birthplace of Religious Freedom Added to the List of Countries Where Christians Face the Most Persecution

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The silence was deafening as the United States, the birthplace of religious freedom, joined the infamous ranks of the world’s worst places to be a Christian—places where followers of Jesus Christ face the worst harassment and persecution because of their faith. Major American media outlets largely ignored a story of immense implications for the future of the Judeo-Christian worldview and western civilization.

This dirty dozen is a list created by the International Christian Concern (ICC), a watchdog organization formed in 1995 to protect the rights of Christians worldwide, released in its 2016 Hall of Shame Report. It was not surprising that the Islamist dominated countries of Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt and Nigeria made the list for their persecution and killing of the Christian “infidels.” Nor was it a shock that Russia, Mexico and India were noted because of the suppression of evangelical Christianity either by people espousing other variations of Christianity or by Jesus-hating radical Hindus. It is even understandable that that the totalitarian communist/atheist states of China and North Korea were included.

Nearly simultaneous with the ICC’s report was the European Parliament’s acknowledgement that Christianity, not Islam, is the world’s most persecuted religion. The Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World, confirmed that Christians are currently the earth’s most harassed and intimidated religious group that “routinely suffer religiously motivated persecution.”

Regarding the ICC report, what raises eyebrows is the first-time-ever addition of the United States to the list of the twelve worst countries for the Christian faith.  The ICC’s explanation is as follows:

“Throughout the US, current events and shifting perceptions are causing conflicts between Christian beliefs and public sentiment. This cultural shift affects Christians businesses, organizations and individuals through legal action, free speech infringement, public expressions of faith, and employment.”

The article explains that Christians in the US are facing constant attacks in the media, where they are portrayed as bigoted, racist, sexist, and close-minded. Furthermore, Christians and all religious people are being marginalized through laws and legal action. Specific examples include Christian bakers fined $135,000 for declining to back a cake for a same-sex wedding, Intervarsity Christian fellowship losing official recognition as a student club at California public colleges, employees being terminated because of their faith, and many more. The ICC report cites that claims of “intolerance” and “inequality” are being used to bully Christians and create legal precedents that are actually undermining well established First Amendment rights, including the freedom of speech and free exercise of religion.

As we celebrate the peaceful transfer of power, President-elect Trump may provide some relief for believers if he fulfills his promise to respect and restore religious freedom. The overwhelming evidence of the past eight years reveals that President Obama’s legacy must include the truth that he was no friend of religious freedom, exasperating Christians by his First Amendment undermining actions, which include, but are not limited to:

  • Trying to force Catholic nuns (The Little Sisters of the Poor) and other church groups to provide abortion-related products and services.
  • Supporting the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples (Obergefell v. Hodges).
  • The United States Commission on Civil Rights issuing its 2016 anti-religious hit piece report suggesting that sexual liberty (i.e. new anti-discrimination laws) should prevail over religious liberty claims (First Amendment protected) and asserting that “religious freedom” and “religious liberty” are code for anti-LBGT discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, etc. (i.e. Christians are the “deplorables”).
  • The Department of Justice and Department of Education’s 2016 transgender bathroom mandate, forcing public schools to allow student access to bathrooms and locker rooms corresponding based on their perceived gender identity rather than their biological sex.

The ICC posits that part of the explanation for the change may be growing secularization, citing a Pew Research poll showing that those the total U.S. adult population identifying as non-religious jumped by seven percent in just seven years, from 16 percent to 23 percent (2007-2014). Notably, a stunning 35 percent of millennials identify as atheist, agnostic or nothing in particular! The report, How America Changed During Barack Obama’s Presidency, confirms that those identifying as Christians also dropped seven percent, from 78 percent to 71 percent, though the share of evangelicals has remained fairly stable. So, what does this all mean?

First, it means we must recognize that there is rapidly growing public pressure on American Christians today, as many secular-progressive elite forces are seeking to drive us out of the public square into hiding and to silence us and the gospel of Jesus Christ. We live in a time where, sadly, the church is far more influenced by the culture than it is influencing the culture. “One nation” once “under God” has become “divisible,” and divided, as we are now left “with liberty and justice for” some. Most Christians in the US are not handling the current hostile environment very well and many are simply giving in to the pressure, allowing themselves to be silenced and marginalized. Biblical resistance is required. Millennials are the most vulnerable to cultural pressure and the church must do a much better job of inculcating a comprehensive biblical worldview, passing the baton of “the faith of our fathers,” to them.

Second, it means, as I have been warning others for more than a decade, that we are rapidly moving from “soft” persecution towards “hard” persecution of the church in a place formerly known as the land of the free and home of the brave. It is true that while some of us are losing our livelihood, we are not being imprisoned or killed yet, but if the pendulum keeps swinging in its current direction, those prospects may not be far off. The separation of sheep and goats, already well underway, will continue and accelerate. Do not be alarmed that many you thought were authentic believers were only pretending. We need to realize that persecution is a normal part of being a Christian and gird our loins accordingly.

Third, it means that if we value our freedom and the gospel of Jesus Christ, we had better wake up, engage the culture by speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:15), and fight the good fight of faith by actively pushing back culturally, politically, and legally. The American “health and wealth gospel” will be nakedly unmasked for the fraud that it always was. This is not the time for wimpy, half-hearted, “fluffy-bunny” Jesus or “comfortable” Christianity. Those days are long gone in America.  But do not despair!  We have the hope and confidence that our ultimate victory is secure in Jesus Christ. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness had not overcome it (John 1:5).

Ready or not, Biblical promises of persecution are about to get very “real” and, especially for the unprepared, it’s going to be a rough ride. You are not alone. There is a strong remnant. You are surrounded by a cloud of faithful followers of Jesus Christ. Be much in the Word, prayer, and fellowship. Be filled with the Spirit. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.

Passive Acceptance of Evil Is Not a Christian Family Value

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There is an epic war of the ages between darkness and light raging all around us, yet most Christians are content to have a picnic next to the battlefield.

When I first learned about the surreal scene of hundreds of citizens strolling into the countryside to observe a civil war battle near Washington, D.C., I thought “How odd, how strange! Why would anyone want to watch a battle in which they were not engaged?” Now, I understand that this bizarre visage is a rather apt yet tragic symbol of American Christianity today.

There is a very real war of good versus evil being fought in our midst, both spiritual and physical, but we are largely content to sit out the conflict on the sidelines. We should rather to be trained for warfare, arrayed in our armor, standing firm on the field of battle, engaged with our enemy, and advancing against the very gates of hell-but we are not (See Ephesians 6:10-20).

Why not? Well, for the most part, our Christian leaders have not effectively trained us for war. And far too many of us are distracted and ensnared by the worship of a multitude of our American idols-comfort, success, and popularity, to list a few, rather than Christ. We are trained to be passive sheep, lazily grazing on the sidelines, selfishly waiting for heaven to land on earth. Most of us do not know the Bible well enough or have a comprehensive biblical worldview that informs and motivates proactive engagement. And, even if we know what we ought to do, we are not motivated to obey-because it is hard. And “hard” requires sweat, blood, tears and we would rather not sacrifice, bleed, or cry. It is a lot easier to be distracted by the latest Walking Dead episode than fighting real spiritual zombies.

Then, there is the enormous obstacle of desperately wanting people to like us (fear of man) that causes us to stand frozen still when God-warfare opportunities arise.  If we loved and feared God more, we would not shrink back, but would be willing to fight the good fight.

As Charles Spurgeon asked, “Wouldst thou be a feather-bed warrior, instead of bearing the rough fight of love?” Too many of us Christians are content to be arm-chair prophets and feather-bed warriors. As such, we have little to no power or impact on the raging battle at hand. But authentic biblical love is not passive and disengaged when evil rears its ugly head; it is active and engaged with truth, love and all of the weapons of our warfare!

Passive acceptance of evil is actually more of a Buddhist or Hindu value, rather than a biblically Christian aspiration. These Eastern faiths were formed to try to answer the question of how to cope with the problem of human suffering. Their answer was to essentially ignore it and escape it, by putting on blinders to reality, checking out, and by going within for “truth”-a profoundly hollow exercise. The world can appear to be a much safer place when you close your eyes, cover your ears, and harden your heart.

As believers, we are not supposed to escape from evil and suffering but we are rather to escape to evil and suffering-we are to proactively engage and overcome evil with good. I submit that when American Christians are passive in the presence of evil, we are not behaving as authentic robust biblical Christians, but as passive and selfish spiritual weaklings. The sad result is that we end up compromising, capitulating, and even assimilating to the darkness, rather than exposing it, opposing it, fighting it, and destroying it. This weakness it not irrelevant, but has serious negative consequences for our culture and the future of our children and grandchildren.

Authentic biblical Christianity is not passive. The Lord said, “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams”(I Samuel 15:22).  We should hate what our Father hates and love what our father loves-and do something about it. And James admonishes us “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22).  Jesus still admonishes us today to deny ourselves, pick up our crosses, and follow Him (Matthew 16:24).

God will hold us morally accountable not only for what we have done (sins of omission), He will also hold us accountable for what we have failed to do (sins of omission).  One of my heroes, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who literally gave his life to stop evil in his generation said, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil; God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” The famous Christian British parliamentarian Edmund Burke wrote, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

As we are surrounded by evil, now is the time for good men and good women to do something. When we see evil we must boldly speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). When confronted by darkness we must act. We must never passively allow evil to triumph in our land, in our churches, or in our homes.

If you think you are not strong enough on your own to fight the good fight of faith, you are right! But you are not alone! God is with you! “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (II Chronicles 16:9). Step out in faith onto the battlefield and God will meet you there and He will empower you with strength, wisdom, and courage.

There’s a war raging! It is time for fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ to wake up and engage!  Now is the time to work and to fight for His Kingdom and His glory. We can rest in heaven. We fight not out of hate, but motivated by God’s holy-love, passion and power of our Father, who first loved us.

For now, let’s get out of our feather-beds, put on our armor, grab our weapons, and get our butts out on the battlefield! Prepare yourself for war, and fight in faith with the confidence that God wins in the end and we triumph with Him. And someday, though perhaps wounded, scarred, exhausted, and spent from battling many dark foes, you will understand and experience with joy the pleasure of your Father because you have fought a good fight, you will have finished your course, and there is laid up for you a crown of righteousness that does not fade. And on that day, you will hear those truly awesome words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” followed by the biggest party the universe has ever known!

Political Correctness Is Destroying America!

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Sorry, but no this is not an endorsement of the extremely blunt, some would say crude, Donald Trump or of plain-talking Senator Ted Cruz, for that matter.  While this upcoming presidential election is critically important, especially after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, I submit that the scope of the problem discussed here started at least 40 years ago and actually transcends partisan politics or the 2016 election.

I humbly posit here that the elite fabricated, and increasingly government enforced, self-censorship (a.k.a. “political correctness”) is dulling our thinking, is making us quite literally stupid, is leading to self-destructive decisions, and is herding us towards the eventual demise of what made America great.  Radical political correctness threatens the authenticity of the public discourse and the world of ideas like nothing we have ever seen.  Our very understanding of reality and the very nature of truth itself is at stake.  By “political correctness” (PC), I mean the pressure to conform to a particular sociopolitical ideology or point of view, especially to a liberal (a.k.a. “progressive”) point of view concerned with promoting radical “tolerance” and avoiding offense in matters of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation.

Last year PC was on full frontal display when the U.S. Supreme Court, ignoring biology, history, sociology, and common sense, declared that maleness and femaleness no longer have anything meaningful to do with marriage and family in Obergefell v. Hodges.  The result:  The court, in a divided decision, redefined marriage, fabricated a new “constitutional right (read “wrong”) to same-sex marriage.  This was a “yuge” PC victory. The score: PC 1, Constitution and truth 0.

In the last month, the ever shape-shifting and evolving PC insanity was also on full display in the left-coast’s San Diego County.  The first instance arose in the Poway Unified School District, once the paragon of excellence among California’s schools.  The issue is the 2014 California law (AB 1266) that allows children to self-identify their gender and forces public schools to allow transgender students to use facilities, like restrooms and locker rooms, consistent with their personal self-identification.  Privacy For All Students attempted to overturn the law, but was unsuccessful.

At Poway’s Rancho Bernardo High School the result is that boys are forced to share their showers with girls. Why?  California law now allows gender confused or questioning girls to self-identify as “boys” and vice versa.  Is this based on objective factors like biology and body parts?  No.  Based on their feelings alone!  Naturally parents, justifiably concerned about the raging hormones of their young men, who dared to ask for some decency and privacy for their sons are branded as bad, discriminatory, bigoted parents, who just need to live with the cultural sexual chaos and shut up.

Nearly simultaneously, perhaps a confirmation of too much sunshine to the brain in SoCal, the influence of the PC language police was on full display yet again in another part of San Diego County.  The City of San Diego’s Orwellian 2014 “Correspondence Manual” mandated that municipal employees not refer to “Founding Fathers” to avoid gender bias, replacing it with the gender-neutral term “Founders.”  It doesn’t matter a whit that the truth of history is that, though women made significant contributions, most leading founders were men, does it?  We must bow to feelings, and not judge those feelings, but validate them whether or not they bear any correspondence to truth or reality.  Mayor Kevin Falcouner, in a statement reversing the PC manual’s stupidity, pointed out, “Suggesting that our Founding Fathers should be referred to as ‘Founders’ is political correctness run amok.”  Run amok indeed!  We could use more of the plucky, truth-affirming common sense of our Founding Fathers.

On the surface political correctness appears happy and “nice,” but peer unflinchingly behind the beautiful curtain and you will soon see that it is truly dark and dangerous. This is because PC often ignores the facts, subverts critical thinking, is quite ironically intolerant and, rather than leading to a purportedly evolved higher plane of socio-political existence, is placing us all in grave danger. How so?

PC ignores factsPC has an uncomfortable relationship with objective truth.  In PC land, truth is radically subjectivized, personalized and relativized to the individual.  Transcendent truth (i.e. reality) is replaced by transient and often unstable personal feelings and emotions, which can and often do shift and change. PC glorifies each of us and our feelings as “god,” as we refulse  to acknowledge or accept objective and important distinctions.  PC enforces an intolerant “sameness” and lack of good judgment, even where real differences exist.  Basic truths and realities about things as they really are, get ignored.  Facts like biological boys having boy parts, biological girls having girl parts.  That boys are boys and girls are girls.  That our Founding Fathers were men.  That most terrorists today are Muslim (i.e. not Christian or any other religion).

PC subverts reason and logic.  Once you jettison facts and truth, critical thinking quickly becomes a thing of the past.  PC is mind-numbing and is thought-destroying.  We are not to consider hard cold facts and use our reason and logic to reach conclusions.  No, we must agree with whatever PC B.S. the liberal elite are selling this week.  The brain is turned off as PC drones mindlessly repeat liberal mantras until we are all propagandized.  Simply put, PC makes us stupid.  In PC fantasyland, there is no reason to worry about small and unimportant details like: 1) Boys with boy bits may be harmed or negatively impacted (i.e. struggle with lust) if girls with girl bits are showing up nude in their locker rooms, 2) We are not properly vetting Muslim immigrants with dangerous ideologies, or 3) The breakdown of the African-American family has negative consequences. 

PC is quite viciously intolerantPC commands us not to discriminate, yet viciously discriminates against us and demonizes us.  It orders us not to hate, but foments hatred against us.  It begs for tolerance, but is aggressively intolerant of anyone expressing or living out biblical Christianity.  Indeed, if you don’t march in lock step in the PC parade, you are “evil” and you are quite literally a stupid backwards devil.  If you are, for example, a Christian who doesn’t agree with the PC replacement “Ten Commandments,” you are a hateful, narrow-minded, intolerant, bigot.  Do you remember what happened to Kim Davis in Kentucky this past summer?  We can’t “discriminate” and call names but its okay to call us names and demonize us.  The emperor has no clothes: the “myth of tolerance” has been exposed.

PC puts us all in dangerSince we can’t look at facts and can’t use those facts to reason or make informed decisions, we have rendered ourselves powerless to respond appropriately to real and existential threats.  A neighbor of the Jihadi San Bernardino couple suspected they were up to no good, but failed to report the suspicious activity to law enforcement!  Why?  Because they didn’t want to be seen by others as politically incorrect or discriminatorily “profiling.” Christians are publicly attacked today, mostly with words.  As a result, many are silent, instead of standing up for their civil rights.  But, tomorrow, if we don’t get fully on board the PC bandwagon, will we lose our jobs?  Will we go to jail?  Will we be killed?  These are all unsavory possibilities that we are not too far from as a society.

PC undermines freedomPolitical Correctness is a freedom-crushing downward spiral of silence.  It is an underestimated sociological force that has the dark effect of at first stifling and later silencing nearly all discussion or dissent.  This includes freedom of thought, freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, and religious freedom.  As the cacophony of PC loud bullying tactics rises, the level of meaningful resistance to its transparently fascist tendencies diminishes.  As the voices of the elite carrying culture’s PC megaphones becomes shriller and more deafening, all other voices are tragically drowned out.  PC does not breed true liberty, it breeds enslavement. This was on full display recently on university campuses across the U.S. as “black lives matter” activists, tried to exclude whites, the media, and those who disagreed with them from their “safe spaces.”

And if you are right about now wondering, “What the h–l just happened?”  Well, simply put, the “free love” hippies of yesteryear’s sexual revolution have grown up, overrun academia and government, destroyed, in delight, the Judeo-Christian worldview, and are now officially running the asylum.  The elite’s replacement for the Judeo-Christian worldview is Hinduism, and to a lesser extent Buddhism, which I will write about more next month.  This revolution is not without profound consequences.  It is steadily ruining our lives and destroying America.  In our brave new PC alternative reality world, good is called “evil” and the sane are now declared “insane.” Yes indeed, we have lost our freaking minds!  I fear that if we don’t collectively regain consciousness from this “bad trip” soon, all may be lost for generations.

Worldviews matter! Ideas, indeed, have consequences.  Bad ideas have bad consequences.  Political correctness is a bad idea that has bad consequences.  Yes, we should be angry! Angry at how we have allowed truth and freedom to slip through our fingers like sand.  Angry that we are losing that which our Founding Fathers and others have fought so hard to establish and protect.  Angry that our fear of man, sloth, and cultural disengagement and general wimpiness will lead to the suffering of our children and grandchildren.  But we must harness and channel our anger, transforming its energy into purposeful and effective action.