Monthly Archives: May 2010


Introducing Sam Raynor, artist

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One of the most sickeningly talented artistic people I know is Sam Raynor of Gainesville, GA. I was her pastor for a number of years until she married and settled in her college town, but have always been blessed by her life and work.

Recently she finalized a website to display her various styles of art including water color and graphic art. She designed the cover for my book (which can be viewed here, hint, hint) and a Cover art for Holy Rewired by Sam Raynorwatercolor she gave me for doing pre-marriage counseling for her and Nathan hangs above my desk. Recently she designed the cover to the left for our mutual friend, Dr. David Phillips. At the top of the page is a logo she designed for the business of a friend.

Sam’s website (Sam has numerous examples of her logo work, book covers, biblical watercolors and whimsical watercolors. She can be contacted through the site.


Ninth Georgia District Special Election is Tuesday


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Tuesday marks the day of the Special Election in Georgia’s 9th congressional district to fill the unexpired term of former representative, Nathan Deal, who resigned to run for governor. The term, which will be less than a year in length, figures to give a head start to the winner for the general election in November. Unless, that is, anti-incumbent fever shows no mercy to congressional infants as it showed no mercy in Utah to the senatorial elderly.

There are eight people on the ballot: six Republicans, one Democrat and one Independent. Below are their names and websites. Those names in bold have already qualified for the July 20 primary election (according to the AJC) while those in italics have not yet done so.

Chris Cates, Republican: Cates, a cardiologist from Blairsville is campaigning on his knowledge of health care issues. Cates for Congress website.

Mike Freeman, Democrat: The former Episcopal minister and Navy Reserve chaplain from Gainesville is campaigning on his consensus-building abilities. Freeman is the only candidate to leave the race only to re-enter. Freeman for Congress website.

Tom Graves, Republican: The former Georgia House representative from Ranger is campaigning on conservative principles and strict adherence to the Constitution. He and Lee Hawkins are currently engaged in a mudfest over who is the true conservative. Graves for Congress website.

Lee Hawkins, Republican: The Gainesville dentist and former state senator is campaigning on conservatism and his experience as a state legislator and small-business owner. Lee Hawkins for Congress website.

Bert Loftman, Republican: The retired neurosurgeon from Jasper is campaigning on his health care experience and pushing a “Fair Tax” proposal in which a national sales tax would replace the federal income tax. Loftman for Congress website.

Eugene Moon, Independent: The Gainesville resident and marketing manager for a welding supply company is campaigning on conservative principles, including repealing the health care reform law and pushing for a “Fair Tax” proposal. Moon claims to be the first independent candidate in over 40 years to achieve ballot access in the state of Georgia. Eugene Moon for Congress website.

Bill Stephens, Republican: Stephens, from Cumming, has a history with both Democratic and Republican candidates in Georgia. Having served as spokesman for former Gov. Zell Miller and for the transition team for Gov. Sonny Perdue, he is now campaigning on a platform of reduced government spending, tax breaks for businesses and repeal of the federal health care reform law. Bill Stephens for Congress website.

Steve Tarvin, Republican: The president and CEO of a textile mill in the northwestern city of Chickamauga is campaigning on conservative principles and his experience as a businessman. Tarvin for Congress website.

The polls will be open from 7:00 AM until 7:00 PM. A clear winner will need to have more than 50% of the vote. With a field as crowded as this one a winner may not be determined without a run-off, which would be held June 8, 2010.


British Christians losing both freedom of speech and religion


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Within the past five days, the laws of England have proven to be no friend to Christians in the island empire. On May 2, 2010, The Telegraph reported that a street preacher, 42-year old Dale McAlpine, was arrested and charged for saying homosexuality is a sin. Says the report:

Mr McAlpine was handing out leaflets explaining the Ten Commandments or offering a “ticket to heaven” with a church colleague on April 20, when a woman came up and engaged him in a debate about his faith.

During the exchange, he says he quietly listed homosexuality among a number of sins referred to in 1 Corinthians, including blasphemy, fornication, adultery and drunkenness.

Sam Webster, a solicitor [attorney] for the Christian Institute, believes the police had no grounds for the arrest.

The police have a duty to maintain public order but they also have a duty to defend the lawful free speech of citizens.

Case law has ruled that the orthodox Christian belief that homosexual conduct is sinful is a belief worthy of respect in a democratic society.

McAlpine was arrested and charge with violating the Public Order Act which outlaws the unreasonable use of abusive language likely to cause distress and has been used to arrest religious people in a number of similar cases.

Unfortunately, Mr. Webster, the attorney defending the preacher, will find no friend in the courts of England. On April 30, 2010 the Religious News Service reported, via The Huffington Post:

A top British judge has ruled that Christian beliefs have no standing under secular law because they lack evidence and cannot be proven.

Lord Justice John Grant McKenzie Laws made the declaration on Thursday (April 29) in throwing out a defamation suit by Christian relationship counselor who refused to offer sex therapy to gay couples.

The counselor, Gary McFarlane, objected to the fact that he was fired because offering sex therapy to same-gender couples violates his Christian principles. Leaving aside the question why a gay couple would seek counseling from a person who does not support their practice in the first place, this judge’s finding should be found disturbing to people of any faith, not merely Christians. The article goes on to quote Laws:

Religious faith is necessarily subjective, being incommunicable by any kind of proof or evidence. He added that to use the law to protect ‘a position held purely on religious grounds cannot therefore be justified.’

No religious belief can be protected under the law, said the judge, ‘however long its tradition, however rich its culture.’

As might be expected, religious people and secularists are at odds about the ruling. Former Anglican bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali wrote in The Daily Telegraph newspaper in London that Laws’ ruling had “driven a coach and horses” through the ages-old ties between Christianity and British law.

Conversely Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society in Britain, applauded the ruling as a defeat for “fundamentalism,” adding that “the law must be clear, that anti-discrimination laws exist to protect people, not beliefs.”

I wonder what happens when you cannot separate people from their beliefs, just as it is often stated that you cannot separate people from their sexuality. If the law exists to protect people, what happens when people with opposing inseparable issues of being (whether beliefs or sexual orientation) come against one another? What happens when the government or the population becomes so exceedingly thin skinned that merely saying, “The way you live is sinful” becomes hate speech or causes “distress”? Heck, my parents caused me a lot of distress growing up and I’ve caused no small amount on my children. It’s called discipline. Does England next plan to ban any type of public correction for children or merely imprison offending parents for causing distress?

One thing is for sure, our friends across the pond do not seem quite so fond of freedom of speech as we Yanks.

Any thoughts?