Thursday, November 30, 2006


I guess I caused quite a stink yesterday when I joined other Christian leaders in challenging Saddleback Valley Community Church pastor Rick Warren's speaking invitation to Sen. Barack Obama.

I will make perfectly clear that I do not object to Pastor Warren's admirable attempt to bring disparate voices to the table to ameliorate worldwide suffering from HIV/AIDS. I do applaud his ministry efforts and pray for his success. What I object to is his selection of Sen. Obama.

The problem here is Pastor Warren's political naivety. I've been on Capitol Hill for 13 years. There is no doubt in my mind that this is simply about Barack Obama getting a photo of himself in the pulpit of one of the largest, best known and widely acclaimed EVANGELICAL pulpits in the country.

Notwithstanding Pastor Warren's response to my call for a public statement distancing himself from the Senator's policies on abortion, there is little he can do now to stop the above from happening. As long as Barack Obama appears in Rick Warren's pulpit, the majority of the public will only know that "Barack Obama spoke at Rick Warren's church." In the average person's mind, that equates to "Rick Warren endorses Barack Obama."

In view of Rick Warren's burden for reducing childhood deaths do to disease, poverty and war, many of us who support these efforts are perplexed about why he can't see that Barack Obama's abortion policies result in the largest numbers of child deaths in the world!

I appreciate Pastor Warren's response to our call for clarification, and I continue to be prayerfully enthusiastic about his highly effective evangelistic and Christian humanitarian endeavors. But I maintain that he is being deliberately exploited and will only cause confusion in the Body of Christ should he proceed with the Senator's invitation.

By the way, for those who think rescinding such an invitation is mean-spirited, let me assure you Sen. Obama can take it. National politics is a brutal sport and those who survive and make it to the top have very thick skin. There are plenty of people Obama won't be photographed with or even be seen with in this town. He dishes it out; he can certainly take it. It goes with the job.

As for me. I am praying that Rick Warren will do the right thing and that Sen. Obama's heart and mind will be changed on abortion as his heart is changed by Christ.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


You may already have visited our new website at (Please read my article under Latest News: THANKSGIVING HAS ALWAYS BEEN A RELIGIOUS HOLIDAY--But Don't tell the ACLU!) If so, you know we're in the process of transferring all our forums, including this blog, to the new venue. I will post there in the future and this address will be closed.

For now, let me send to you my best wishes and prayers for a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving for you and yours! Our thanks go up to God for you and all you do for this ministry! (Including you, Jeff Wismer!)


Monday, November 06, 2006


The next 48 hours will say much about the course of our American civilization for the next few decades. What happens in voting booths on Tuesday, November 7, and in the Supreme Court building on Wednesday, November 8, will say much about where we are headed. Christians--like you and me--will play a very large role in setting that direction.

While many of us are confused, even jaded, about what so-called "conservatives" have done (or, more accurately, not done) in the last few years, we can't use it as an excuse to do nothing. Too much is at stake to sit by and let others make the big decisions.

This is America, where every adult citizen--whether born or naturalized--not only has the right but the responsibility to cast a vote. It's the very least we can do for our country. Hundreds of thousands have given their lives to preserve the liberties we enjoy in this nation. How dare we use a flimsy excuse to shirk our part.

Please take time to pray, then make your plan to get out and vote tomorrow. E-mail or call a friend, family member or fellow church member and tell them to do the same. Statistically, this is all about voter turn out. You don't have to convince anyone to vote for any particular candidate or issue. They will vote their convictions. What's important is that they go to the polls.

Send the E-mail, make the call, ask the question. Offer a ride or free babysitting. Offer your company. The least likely to go are the elderly and parents of young children. Make it possible for them.

God will use you as you make yourself available. In a representative republic, we only get what we deserve. If we get bad leadership in this country, it's because we didn't do enough to get good leadership.

Is taking an hour out of your day too much? I know you don't think so. Some races, some initiatives may very well be decided on a hand-full of votes. Yours, your family members' and your fellow church members will be among them.

Pray--then vote--then pray again on Wednesday. Wednesday is the day the US Supreme Court will hear the two biggest Sanctity of Life cases since Roe v. Wade. Once again, the High Court will consider whether puncturing the head of a child and draining her brains during the process of birth should be legal in this country. The decision hangs on one or two members of the Court.

Remember: Your vote tomorrow will determine what kind of justices sit on this court in the future. Choose prayerfully and well!


Be back with commentary on the results.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A budding friendship?

If you insist on using last names, I will address you Mr. Wisner.

Mr. Wisner, you say I am afraid to be held accountable. If I were, I would refuse to answer you. And, as you assert, if you are the only one reading this blog, it is well worth the expenditure of time and attention. One life has as much value as all lives. So, whether I’m writing to one, 100 or 100,000 doesn’t make a difference; I am communicating with you.

You say (rather dogmatically, I might add), that I can’t represent knowing a Supreme Being without taking responsibility. (Please explain in greater detail and I’ll respond in kind. )

For now, let me say, if there is no Supreme Being, no God, then you have absolutely no authority to assert anything. Your opinions are simply the imagination of your own mind, a construct of your own ego and have no currency, no meaning and no weight outside your own thinking. If I accepted your opinion that there is no God, I would not waste time corresponding with you because it would be meaningless.

But . . . because I believe there is indeed a God, that He loves and values you as much as He does me, I consider it a happy responsibility to correspond with you. In fact, I am doing more--I am praying for you!

If we were both lost in the desert, and I learned where water could be found, but withheld that information from you, I would be rightly condemned by my conscience and all other moral persons. I have learned where Living Water can be found and I am morally obligated—because of the existence of a Supreme Moral Being--to share this knowledge with you. Of course, as the old adage says, I can’t force you to drink.

Here is what I know: God is our Creator, meaning we are not mere products of chance. Human beings have souls, a “third dimension,” if you will, that has been alienated from the Creator by our own desire to replace Him. As in any relationship, our struggle to dominate results in a chasm between the two: humankind and God. It takes the One in the superior position to reach across the divide. God has done so in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, who says to us, “Come, all you who are weak and burdened and I will give you rest.” “Come to me, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Mr. Wisner, the restlessness you experience in your heart, mind and soul can only be settled when you make peace with God by accepting His terms. He is eternally in a position of superiority over us. We can only accept His conditions, not the other way around. Once having accepted those terms, we can relax and know utter and eternal consolation.

I am, as they say, just one beggar telling another where to find bread. I am in no way better than you. In fact, have no doubt that I’m worse than you. Perhaps that’s why God saved me before you. He knew I’d do more damage!

Your apparent anger at me—and, I assume, against God—is proof of God’s existence. Why be angry unless there is something to be angry at? Why waste time seeking to prove that something doesn’t exist? The fact you spend any time on it at all proves that God is worthy of your attention.

Enough said for now. Please know that tonight I am praying for you.

And thanks for reminding me about accountability. My sinful tendencies require that I be reminded often!

Blessings to you and yours,

Back folks. I renew my apology. This has been the busiest time of any year in recent memory. Something had to give—and I’m afraid it was this blog.

I note that Jeff Wismer of Beltway Atheists has posted a number of times. Correct me if I’m wrong, Jeff, but I believe you grew up in a Christian home. Didn’t you tell me that? We had a nice visit here at our ministry center the day we dedicated the Ten Commandments monument.
We have a similar life story, but only in this way: You apparently rejected the faith of your youth, while I rejected the atheism of my youth. I was raised in a dyed-in-the-wool liberal Democrat home. Our religion was a careful blend of liberal / nominal Reformed Judaism, agnosticism and humanism. My upbringing was much closer to where you are now.

My father, whom I love very much and consider my greatest mentor, gave me the best of his advice when he told both my brother and me to “search for truth.” I did and it paid off. I found, “The Way, the Truth and the Life.” (You know Who He is, don’t you?)

Especially in His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was to me, in the first encounter, the greatest humanist who ever lived. Then, the logical lens through which my father taught me to look at the world demanded I resolve the age-old conflict: How could Jesus be the greatest humanist if he lied about his identity? I either had to take Him at His whole word, or doubt everything. So, I tested it. Putting aside my arrogant, demagogic, self-centered, narcissistic egoism, I asked, “What is it about Jesus that would prove He is not the Son of God?” Hmmm. Only my opinion remained.

The other day I debated Barry Lynn of the so-called Americans United for Separation of Church and State. In the make-up room with us was a woman (I’m embarrassed that I can’t remember her name) of a political organization representing secularists; maybe you know her. She identified herself as an atheist. I asked if atheists ever have doubts about their convictions the way we Christians often do about ours. She confidently asserted she does not. I asked if she could help me to gain such an unwavering confidence. She didn’t answer.

My point is to appeal to your other, non-activist side, Jeff. The best advice I’ve received outside of my dad’s was from Dr. Doug Louie, a Chinese-American psychologist and man of deep Christian faith. In my formative days as a minister, he said, “Rob, you will do well in your ministry if you remember it is never what people say or do that matters, but only why they say or do it.” Those words have really served me well over the years.

Jeff, you might take a little quiet time, in the privacy of your own soul, to ask why it is you say and do the things you do. That exercise has paid out richly for me.

I truly enjoyed our short conversation at our ministry center. You’re welcome back any time. I’d love to continue the exchange. You may be surprised just how similar we really are. I admire your activism. I can’t wait until it is in the service of your Creator!