Monday, December 17, 2018

First "Transgender" in Miss Universe Contest Hailed As Men Can Be Women

In the Hans Christian Andersen tale, the emperor had no clothes. These days, if the emperor puts on the right clothes, he can call himself an empress. And we all have to applaud.

Yesterday’s Miss Universe contest featured, for the first time in the event’s 66-year history, a transgender woman. Competing as Miss Spain, Angela Ponce entered the pageant to much acclaim, writing in an Instagram post: “Today I am here, proudly representing my nation, all women and human rights.”

Ponce didn’t win, but the 27-year-old has been hailed by the media merely for competing. “Miss Philippines Catriona Gray took home the crown at the 2018 Miss Universe pageant on Sunday night in Bangkok, Thailand, but she wasn’t the only winner of the night,” a writer for ABC News declared Monday morning. “Miss Spain’s Angela Ponce became the competition’s first transgender contestant, a major step for the 66-year-old pageant.”

“In the wake of a Victoria’s Secret fashion show that many feel failed on the inclusivity front, Spain’s Angela Ponce is poised to make history as the first transgender woman to compete in Miss Universe,” a Yahoo! News writer began her article on the topic. The NBC News feature on the Miss Universe competition didn’t even mention Monday night’s winner until four paragraphs into the article, focusing instead on how Ponce “broke barriers.”

All of this fanfare raises the inevitable question: Could Ponce actually “represent all women” without being a woman at all? In our unscientific moment, so much as asking this question is enough to warrant being drummed out of polite company in certain circles.

Dwell for just a moment on the reality of Ponce’s biology — a reality that, no matter how much cosmetic surgery Ponce obtains and regardless of whether Ponce truly feels like a woman, cannot be altered. Technology might disguise that truth, but no amount of medicine or mutilation can coax Ponce’s chromosomes into submission.

But consider another question, too, and perhaps a more important one: Can Ponce live as a transgender woman without forcing us to go along for the ride? The Miss Universe pageant, the progressive media complex and, increasingly, the left wing of American politics, seem to think not.

Ponce told Time magazine in November that winning the contest would be symbolic: “Trans women have been persecuted and erased for so long. If they give me the crown, it would show trans women are just as much women as cis women.”

This is the charade we are being asked to accept. It is not enough to say, as we should, that gender dysphoria is a real psychological phenomenon, that a just and compassionate society ought to recognize the reality of the struggle people like Ponce face, and that bullying and hatred directed at such people is evil and wrong.

We are also meant to chant along with the crowd that Ponce is a woman. Anything less is transphobia. Decency and charity are no longer enough; affirmation and glorification — ideally before as large an audience as possible — are the only acceptable course.

And what does this new frontier of progressivism mean for other planks of the platform? The unassailable dogma that women are constantly oppressed and subjugated by the patriarchy — that we can only be free if we recognize and disempower the tyranny of white male privilege that prevents women from expressing ourselves and taking control of our lives — requires that there is such a thing as womanhood, and that it can be defined consistently.

Ponce’s much-hailed appearance in the Miss Universe contest, on the other hand, implies societal acceptance of the idea that men can in fact be women.

These two doctrines of progressivism are in fundamental tension. Even if one accepts the notion that some biological males can feel so female that they essentially are, in some intangible way, women, such a view necessarily conflicts with the feminist claim that there is something unique about being a woman — and that womanhood deserves to be shielded from the encroachment of male power.

The wholehearted embrace of transgender ideology necessarily, and quite intentionally, erases womanhood. It allows biological males to don the mantle of femaleness simply by asserting that it is their birthright. There has never been a more patriarchal claim.

Perhaps the far Left believes that if its members force skeptics to nod along with Ponce’s pageantry, they can avoid the schisms inherent to a movement that claims to value feminism while insisting that being female has no meaning at all.

By Alexandra DeSanctis — Alexandra DeSanctis is a staff writer for National Review

Having a Merry Pagan Christmas

Ross Douthat, a columnist for The New York Times, says the culture war in America may not be so much about secularism or atheism replacing Christianity but the rise of an old Christian foe — paganism.

This ancient religion differs from atheism in that it allows for a spiritual dimension to life and creation, but not an omnipotent, benevolent God. The power is in the creation itself, which is why so many New Age adherents find divinity when they look at a sunset, a flower, or in some cases, their own mirror image.

Mr. Douthat explains the clash of worldviews presented in a new book by Steven D. Smith, “Pagans and Christiansin the City: Culture Wars from the Tiber to the Potomac”:

“What is that conception? Simply this: that divinity is fundamentally inside the world rather than outside it, that God or the gods or Being are ultimately part of nature rather than an external creator, and that meaning and morality and metaphysical experience are to be sought in a fuller communion with the immanent world rather than a leap toward the transcendent.”

This is quite different from, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1) and “All things were made through Him” (John 1:3).

Increasingly, “the universe” is replacing references to God in current TV shows and movies. On the flip side, some of this year’s new Hallmark holiday flicks lean the other way, featuring sacred carols such as “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”

The pagan worldview is promoted by leading figures such as Oprah Winfrey, with her New Age version of “can’t we all just get along?” and the prolific writer Sally Quinn, widow of Ben Bradlee, the longtime editor of The Washington Post.

Ms. Quinn writes on religious topics for The Post, and used to edit The Post’s religion page, which is a smorgasbord of modern heresies, the wilder the better. The left favors almost any religious expression other than orthodox Christianity, which is why it’s soft on paganism and even Islam.

The latter’s militants are inflicting terror all over the world, most recently when a gunman yelled “Allahu Akbar” before gunning down 16 people, killing at least two, at a Christmas market in Strasbourg, France, on Dec. 11. The Post, like the rest of the media, downplayed it, ignoring the religious motivation and playing up the shooter’s criminal past.

Ms. Quinn chronicles her own plunge into witchly pursuits in her 2017 memoir, “Finding Magic,” in which she describes dabbling with the paranormal and hexing people she didn’t like.

She says she left behind the dark arts following three deaths that occurred shockingly soon after her hexing. But she’s not done with the occult. In a Washingtonian magazine profile in August 2017, Michelle Cottle wrote, “Ouija boards, astrological charts, palm reading, talismans — Quinn embraces it all. And yes, she has been in contact with her husband since his passing. Through a medium. Repeatedly.”

Last Monday, Ms. Quinn moderated a bookstore appearance by porn star and Trump accuser Stormy Daniels. She said, with her son looking on, that she planned to attend Ms. Daniels’ strip show that evening, and that “I’ve watched Stormy’s porn, and it’s good. She knows what she’s doing.”

If you wonder why The Post gives short shrift to the biblical view that sex is a God-given gift to be enjoyed only in marriage, well, it shouldn’t be a mystery.

Elsewhere in The Post’s Style section, columnist Monica Hesse admits an addiction to the classic movie “White Christmas,” but makes sure to point out its politically incorrect flaws, such as a song about minstrel shows. The movie is redeemed when Danny Kaye rebuffs a kiss from the beautiful Vera Ellen. Mr. Kaye “demures so vehemently that the ‘White Christmas’ message boards have speculated that the character might be gay. Well, if so, kudos to that subversive choice, too.”

Kudos for subversion of romance between a man and a woman? This is liberal virtue-signaling at its purest. In the progressive worldview, everything is political, including sex.

Ms. Quinn says that friends have repeatedly asked her to place a hex on President Trump, an idea which, to her credit, she’s rejected. But think about that. Sally’s lefty pals hate Mr. Trump so much they want him magically killed, not just removed from office.

Pre-and post-Christian pagan societies are not known for their qualities of mercy.

by Robert Knight is a contributor to The Washington Times. His latest book is “A Nation Worth Saving: 10 Steps to Restore Freedom” (, 2018).

Monday, December 3, 2018

What Does It Cost To Be A Christian?

“Any of you who does not give up everything he has, cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:33

What does it cost to be a Christian?

I grant freely that it costs little to be a mere outward Christian. A man has only got to attend a place of worship twice on Sunday, and to be tolerably moral during the week — and he has gone as far as thousands around him ever go in religion. All this is cheap and easy work — it entails no self-denial or self-sacrifice. If this is saving Christianity and will take us to Heaven when we die — we must alter the description of the way of life, and write, “Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to Heaven!”

But it does cost something to be a real Christian, according to the standard of the Bible. There are . . .

  • enemies to be overcome, 
  • battles to be fought, 

  • sacrifices to be made, 

  • an Egypt to be forsaken, 

  • a wilderness to be passed through, 

  • a cross to be carried, 

  • a race to be run.

Conversion is not putting a man in a soft armchair, and taking him pleasantly to Heaven. It is the beginning of a mighty conflict, in which it costs much to win the victory. Hence arises the unspeakable importance of “counting the cost.”

True Christianity will cost a man . . .

  • his self-righteousness,

  •   his sins,

  •   his love of ease, and

  •   the favor of the world. 

A religion which costs nothing — is worth nothing!

A cheap, easy Christianity,
without a cross — will prove in the end a useless Christianity, without a crown!

by J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Church Bulletin Bloopers

For generations Sunday Church Bulletins have been a popular way to keep congregations informed. But often there are typos and bad grammar that have given us a treasure trove of bloopers. Here are some that we hope will give you a chuckle:

The outreach committee has enlisted 25 visitors to make calls on people who are not afflicted with any church.

Miss Charlene Mason sang “I will not pass this way again” giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.

The concert held in Fellowship Hall was a great success. Special thanks are due to the minister’s daughter, who labored the whole evening at the piano, which as usual fell upon her.

The 1991 Spring Council Retreat will be hell May 10 and 11.

The audience is asked to remain seated until the end of the recession.

Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.

The pastor will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing, “Break Forth Into Joy.”

Rev. Merriwether spoke briefly, much to the delight of the audience.

Due to the Rector’s illness, Wednesday’s healing services will be discontinued until further notice.

The women of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.

The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sabbath.

Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.

Our next song is “Angels We Have Heard Get High.”

The Fasting and Prayer Conference Includes Meal

Thursday at 5 PM will be a meeting of the Little Mothers Club. All wishing to become Little Mothers, please see the minister in his private study.

Please join us as we show our support for Amy and Alan in preparing for the girth of their first child. 

Weight Watchers will meet at 7 p.m. Please use large double door at the side entrance.

Bertha Belch, a missionary from Africa, will be speaking tonight at Calvary Methodist. Come hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa.

On a church bulletin during the minister’s illness: GOD IS GOOD; Dr. Hargreaves is better.

Applications are now being accepted for 2 year-old nursery workers.

If you would like to make a donation, fill out a form, enclose a check, and drip in the collection basket.

Next Sunday Mrs. Vinson will be soloist for the morning service. The pastor will then speak on “It’s a Terrible Experience.”

Don’t miss this Saturday’s exhibit by Christian Martian Arts.

We are grateful for the help of those who cleaned up the grounds around the church building and the rector.

A worm welcome to all who have come today.

Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.

The rosebud on the altar this morning is to announce the birth of David Alan Belzer, the sin of Reverend and Mrs. Julius Belzer.

The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the church basement on Friday at 7 p.m. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.

Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person(s) you want remembered.

Let us join David and Lisa in the celebration of their wedding and bring their happiness to a conclusion.

Helpers are needed! Please sign up on the information sheep.

Diana and Don request your presents at their wedding.

22 members were present at the church meeting held at the home of Mrs. Marsha Crutchfield last evening. 

Mrs. Crutchfield and Mrs. Rankin sang a duet, The Lord Knows Why.

At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be “What is Hell?”. Come early and listen to our choir practice.

The third verse of Blessed Assurance will be sung without musical accomplishment.

The music for today’s service was all composed by George Friedrich Handel in celebration of the 300th anniversary of his birth.

A song fest was hell at the Methodist church Wednesday.

Today’s Sermon: How Much Can a Man Drink? with hymns from a full choir.

Hymn: “I Love Thee My Ford.”

Announcement in the church bulletin for a National PRAYER & FASTING conference: “The cost for attending the Fasting and Prayer conference includes meals.”

The church will host an evening of fine dining, superb entertainment, and gracious hostility.

Ushers will eat latecomers.

Potluck supper: prayer and medication to follow.

Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around. Don’t forget your husbands.

Don’t let worry kill you off – let the church help.

The senior choir invites any member of the congregation who enjoys sinning to join the choir.

The Low Self-Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 to 8:30p.m. Please use the back door.

The sermon this morning: “Jesus Walks on the Water.” The sermon tonight: “Searching for Jesus.”

For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

Barbara remains in the hospital and needs blood donors for more transfusions. She is also having trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Pastor Nelson’s sermons.

Women’s Luncheon: Each member bring a sandwich. Polly Phillips will give the medication.

During the absence of our pastor, we enjoyed the rare privilege of hearing a good sermon when J.F. Stubbs supplied our pulpit.

The ushers will come forward and take our ties and offerings.