A UNC student had a near death experience when she went horseback riding the other day. Everything was going fine until the horse started bouncing out of control. She tried with all her might to hang on, but was thrown off. Just when things could not possibly get worse, her foot got caught in the stirrup. When this happened, she fell head first to the ground. Her head continued to bounce harder as the horse did not stop or even slow down. Just as she was giving up hope and losing consciousness, the Walmart manager happened to walk by and unplug the ride.
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thank you....thank you....thank you! i was having a bad day and i went to check my email and found your newsletter, "thought and humor," in my inbox. i don't know who signed me up for it, but i am very grateful. it was positively delightful and it brightened my day....God bless you.
Now on to business... monkey business... I go to a really liberal school, Rice U., but find myself becoming more Conservative daily. Is that a bad thing? Of course not. Liberals seem to want to have things change, but not do anything to invoke change. I'm all for action that improves life for all mankind. Liberals also want all people to be "open-minded", but they seem dead-set that the only right way is the Liberal way. Perhaps if Liberals considered that the Conservative view could be right, then the world would be a better place. If thinking like that makes me right-winged, then I am right-winged. I enjoy your Conservative banter and critiques of foolish liberality. God... he's merciful and just. He improved my life and I can only pray that the hurt and weak, who don't know him, realize that the peace the world offers is worthless and find peace in Christ. ...this includes Liberals.... Keep fighting the good fight, Mr. Howdy.
Blue skies and tailwinds, Jesus is better than the devil,
Houston (yes... that's my name) at Rice U., Houston place where angry liberals can reach me with angry commentary:
A blind man walks in to a department store with his seeing eye dog on a leash. As usual the store manager behind the customer service counter looks up, notices the customer is blind, and not wanting to stare quickly looks away again. Out of the corner of his eye the manager sees the blind man start swinging the dog over his head with its leash.
Shocked, the manager runs over and says "Mister is there a problem - is there anything I can help you with?" The blind man calmly replies "No thanks - I'm just looking around."
Before the time she was eight, Vivian Dobbs had both made the honor roll and been labeled an "imbecile" by the Supreme Court. The story of how this could happen is one of the darkest, most frequently overlooked chapters in American history—one that isn't completely closed.
Vivian's mother was Carrie Buck, and her story is the subject of a new book, Better for All the World, by Harry Bruinius. In it, Bruinius tells "the secret history of forced sterilization and America's quest for racial purity."
In 1920, when Carrie was thirteen, her mother was sent to the Virginia Colony for Epileptics and the Feeble-Minded. There, Carrie's mother was sterilized. Four years later, Carrie herself became pregnant, most likely after her foster parents' nephew forced himself upon her. To avoid scandal, they had her committed to the Colony as well, where she gave birth to Vivian.
The Colony's administrator decided to have Carrie, like her mother, sterilized under a Virginia law that authorized the sterilization of the "feeble-minded." This decision was appealed to the Supreme Court. And in the 1927 Buck v. Bell decision, Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote that "it is better for all the world" if "society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind." He concluded his opinion with the words, "Three generations of imbeciles are enough."
Holmes's third generation of "imbeciles" was Vivian, who was no such thing—neither, for that matter, was Carrie. As Bruinius documents, determinations of "feeblemindedness" and "imbecility" were based on little more than pseudo-science and prejudice.
Yet, as the result of laws like Virginia's, perhaps hundreds of thousands were forcibly sterilized.
As Holmes's use of the term unfit suggests, these laws were an attempt to direct human evolution. This attempt to give evolution a hand was based, fittingly enough, on the theories of Charles Darwin's cousin, Francis Galton.
Galton, like many of his fellow Victorian elites, was troubled by demographic trends in nineteenth-century Britain. In his view, the "wrong kind" of people were having the most children. If these trends continued, the consequences for what he and others called the "British race" would be ruinous.
His response was what he called eugenics, coming from the Greek word for "well born." He, like his cousin, reasoned that man, in most important respects, was just another animal. And just as human beings direct the breeding of livestock, they can direct the breeding of their "race," as well.
In Galton's case, that direction took the form of encouraging the "fittest" to marry and have children. In the United States, eugenics took the form of preventing those deemed "unfit"—like Vivian's mother and grandmother—from reproducing. But in their quest for "racial purity," they went beyond forced sterilization and ended up with blood on their hands. That story, including their influence on Hitler's Third Reich, is the subject of tomorrow's "BreakPoint." It's a story whose final chapter is far from written, so please read "BreakPoint" tomorrow.
Deadly Exports Better for All the World?
April 7, 2006
Yesterday, I told you the story of how Darwinism, mixed with pseudo-science and prejudice, resulted in the forcible sterilization of countless Americans. But the impact of the American eugenics movement was felt far beyond the United States, with horrifying results.
In his new book, Better for All the World, Harry Bruinius tells how America became the "guiding light" of the eugenics movement.
While the eugenicists' preferred instrument was mass sterilization, that was not the only tool in their demonic toolkit. They also advocated segregation of the "unfit" and even euthanasia.
If these last two sound familiar, that's because, as Bruinius tells us, what the Germans called "racial hygiene" was based on American efforts. While serving time in Landsberg prison in the 1920s, Adolf Hitler read The Passing of the Great Race by American eugenicist Madison Grant and called it "my bible."
After the Nazis came to power, they naturally looked to the United States as a model. The Nazi sterilization law explicitly cited a similar California statute. The Nazis, who were not restrained by what Grant called "mistaken" and "sentimental" beliefs in "divine law" and "the sanctity of human life," soon surpassed their American teachers. This prompted one American eugenicist to admiringly proclaim, "The Germans are beating us at our own game!"
It was not until the defeat of Germany and the full horror of the Nazi eugenic program and medical experiments became widely known that eugenics became discredited. Actually, it was the expression eugenics, more than the idea itself, that was discredited. While overtly racist eugenics is hopefully a thing of the past, what we might call the "eugenic temptation" is very much alive and well.
For instance, women seeking donor insemination are practicing a kind of eugenics. In seeking donors who meet certain physical and intellectual criteria, they are following in the footsteps of Francis Galton, Darwin's cousin, and the father of modern eugenics.
The more obvious contemporary example of "directing human evolution"—what Christians call "playing God"—is biotechnology. As philosopher Peter Augustine Lawler has written, biotechnology is about more than "the eradication of some particularly horrible diseases such as Alzheimer's." It's about the reinvention of what it means to be human.
Specifically, what's being promised is a world where those who are considered "unfit" never are born and, thus, never are a burden on the rest of us. Whether we admit or not, we still seek the improvement of the "race" by identifying those who carry "undesirable" traits and preventing their births.
What we are doing to babies with Down syndrome, who have been "targeted for elimination" by doctors, governments, and insurance companies, is only the beginning. The more we learn about the genetic basis of "undesirable" traits, the longer the list of those we "target."
The only thing standing in the way of this are the same people who stood in the way of the old eugenics: Christians. As Bruinius tells us, it was Christians, people like Billy Sunday and William Jennings Bryan, who led the opposition to eugenics in the United States. And in Britain, it was G. K. Chesterton, the great writer.
If the "new eugenics" is to be stopped, it's because today's believers in "divine law" and the "sanctity of human life" are prepared to join this distinguished company.
Many Christians do not really understand the Christian worldview. Many do not know the historic biblical plotline and how it all relates. While recognizing they have a relationship with God through Christ, many are unsure as to why this salvation is a universal truth and necessity for all. Many are even unsure as to how their present relationship with Christ relates to history and the future. All this leads to a profound doubt and lack of confidence with respect to the evangelistic task. Why would we share the good news if we cannot fully articulate why it is good?
The plotline and great story of Scripture places the gospel of Christ in its overall context, making it intelligible, meaningful, and compelling. The biblical view of history is paradise lost to paradise regained in the eternal plan of God. The good news of salvation is necessary for all because there is, indeed, bad news. Something is very wrong! We need Christ and his sacrificial death to redeem us from the curse and restore humanity to himself. It is a story worth telling.
As we recover biblical literacy in the church and the consequent appreciation of the Christian worldview Christians themselves will have a coherent and compelling comprehension of the message they will want to share. And when our message is both coherent and compelling, non-believers who find Christianity something of a mystery will begin to grasp what it is these "proclaimers of strange divinities" (Acts 17) are talking about.
True evangelism is a comprehensible communication and announcement of the dramatic action and rule of God in history culminating in the advent of Christ, his life, death, and resurrection. This does not mean that friendship, social action, literature, and the arts do not greatly contribute to people's receptivity to the gospel--they do. Our call is to be living letters devoted to an evangelistic lifestyle. But without this clear explanation and declaration, our task is incomplete. This is why I believe that apologetics--giving a reasoned defense and justification for belief--is inseparable from evangelism itself.
Of course, to share the faith can be intimidating at times, especially with friends and family. But there is perhaps nothing more wonderful or joyous in the Christian life than having the opportunity to lead someone to faith in Christ as we are co-workers with the Holy Spirit in his miraculous activity. Just to be a link in the chain of a person's journey to faith is one of the greatest privileges afforded to us.
People need meaningful friendship, but above all they need Christ. Why not begin praying for two or three people, that God would bring them to faith and use you in the process? Why not take the opportunity this year to begin to step out in a new God-given confidence in sharing your faith? If you have no sphere of influence, pray that God will bring you one. Last year I joined a local soccer league and invested in relationships with my neighbors in order to build more relationships with those lost and without Christ in this world. I am constantly amazed by the work God is doing in every heart to draw people to himself, and how open people can be to hearing about the hope that is in us.
As we find our identity and confidence in Christ, put our faith in the truth of his Word, grow in our knowledge, and depend on the Holy Spirit for his enabling, we can be confident that God will grant us success. Let us remember that God is love and He sent his Son into the world to seek and save the lost. He has a vested interest. And let us look to God that He would move again from sea to sea.
Joe Boot is executive director of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Canada.