Musings of a Recovering Lutheran: July 2013
O LORD, God of my salvation,
         I have cried out day and night before You.
Let my prayer come before You;
         Incline Your ear to my cry. 

Psalm 88:1-2 (NKJV)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Scopes Trial

A summary of the case:
This month marks the 88th anniversary of the Scopes "Monkey" Trial, a famous legal case in 1925 in which a high school teacher, John Scopes, was accused of violating Tennessee's Butler Act, which made it unlawful to teach human evolution in any state-funded school.
The trial was the subject of a 1960 movie Inherit the Wind. According to some accounts the movie was never intended to be an accurate portrayal of the events of the Scopes trial*. As this article shows, that was something of an understatement. The real Scopes trial was far different from the hazy image of Christianity versus science that is relentlessly promoted by popular culture.

A few important quotes from the article:

When the Butler Act, a law which forbade the teaching of evolution in Tennessee's public schools, caught the attention of the ACLU they sent out a press release stating that they wanted to challenge the act in court. Dayton resident George Rappelyea, who was both a church goer and an adherent of evolution theory, saw an opportunity to garner some attention for the small mining town. After consulting with several town leaders, Rappelyea sent a telegram to the ACLU notifying the organization that they would provide the test case.

Although John T. Scopes was the plaintiff in the famous trial, he was not the regular biology teacher but a football coach who only taught the subject as a substitute. When Rappelyea approached him about being the 'sacrificial lamb' Scopes hesitantly agreed to go along with the PR stunt. Local prosecutors — who were also in on the plan — swore out a warrant for Scopes who was arrested and immediately released on bail pending trial.

The biology book that was used by Scopes was George William Hunter's Civic Biology. Although a standard biology text, it included the author's championing of eugenics and white supremacy, his contempt for people with disabilities, and his dislike of charity for the "inferior."

* - Supposedly Inherit the Wind was really an attack on "McCarthyism", which was (and still is) another name for anti-communism. But that explanation is worse, given what we know about the horrors of communism and the debunked myth of a 1950s anti-communist witch hunt. An anti-anti-communist film would be just like an anti-anti-Nazi or anti-anti-KKK film: an attempt to implicitly rationalize an ugly and inhuman monstrosity. It would be better from a public relations point of view to view Inherit the Wind as botched history rather than a defense of mass murder.

Be gone, Planned Parenthood

....and take your culture of death with you. Planned Parenthood will be closing its Bryan clinic tomorrow.

Praise God for the end of genocide in the Brazos Valley!

Today's verse

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Philippians 1:21 (KJV)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Today's verse

Remember, O Lord, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old.

Psalm 25:6 (KJV)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Today's verse

Ye shall therefore keep all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: that the land, whither I bring you to dwell therein, spue you not out. And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them. But I have said unto you, Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey: I am the Lord your God, which have separated you from other people.

Leviticus 20:22-24 (KJV)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Today's verse

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:14 (KJV)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Today's verse

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Genesis 3:1-6 (KJV)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Today's verse

I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

Psalm 40:8 (KJV)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Today's verse

Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak: O Lord, heal me; for my bones are vexed.

Psalm 6:2 (KJV)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Planned Parenthood busted for fraud

Recently the state of Texas passed a law that outlawed abortion after 20 weeks, and also tightened health requirements for abortion facilities. Planned Parenthood responded by closing several of its facilities and wailing about how poor women would no longer have access to low cost reproductive health programs.

Planned Parenthood's complaints are without basis. The Texas Women's Health Program provides the services that Planned Parenthood and its defenders claim are no longer available to poor women.

Now comes news that Planned Parenthood has settles a case with the State of Texas. Planned Parenthood will pay $1.4 million because of fraudulent Medicaid billings it made.

Please pray to end the genocide of abortion.

Today's verse

And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.

Luke 18:15-17 (KJV)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Stumbling through mathematics: the Riemann hypothesis

The Riemann zeta function ζ(s), where s is a complex variable, is given by:

Leonhard Euler (1707-1783) discovered that ζ(s) could be represented as an infinite product involving the prime numbers:

where p represents the prime numbers 2, 3, 5, ... The "trivial" zeros of the zeta function are ζ(-2) = 0, ζ(-4) = 0, ζ(-6) = 0, etc. The following is a Maple plot of a few of the trivial zeros:

The Riemann hypothesis states that all of the non-trivial zeros of the Riemann zeta function line on the line Re(s) = 1/2. Below is a plot of |ζ(1/2 + iy)| which shows a few of the non-trivial zeros:

As of 2004 over 10,000,000,000,000 non-trivial zeros have been calculated. All of them lie on the line Re(s) = 1/2; however, this does not constitute proof of the Riemann hypothesis. To date no one has been able to prove (or disprove) the Riemann hypothesis. A $1M prize has been offered to anyone who offers a valid proof one way or the other.

An excellent account of the Riemann hypothesis and its history is Prime Obsession, by John Derbyshire.

Today's verse

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27:1 (KJV)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Today's verse

He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Matthew 16:15-16 (KJV)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Today's verse

See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; in that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

Deuteronomy 30:15-16 (KJV)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Today's verse

If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:6-9 (KJV)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Update on Asia Bibi



Nasir Saeed writes in the Pakistan Christian Post about the need for courage in challenging Pakistan's blasphemy laws.

The online petition calling for mercy for Asia Bibi can still be found here.

For those who do not know who she is, here is the story about Asia Bibi's unjust imprisonment and death sentence for "blasphemy" against the Prophet Muhammad.

Please pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

Today's verse

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Titus 2:11-14 (KJV)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A victory over evil!

Recently, Texas passed a law that was aimed at improving the conditions at Texas abortion facilities. The new law also outlawed abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy.

Today, Planned Parenthood announced that it was closing three "clinics" in Texas. One of them is in my area.

Praise God for the end of the slaughter! Over 6000 babies had died at the hands of abortionists in this soon-to-be-closed facility.

Today's verse

I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.

Psaml 119:7 (KJV)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Today's verse

For the Lord your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.

Deuteronomy 20:4 (KJV)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Today's verse

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

Psalm 51:1-4 (KJV)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Today's verse

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

Psalm 139:14 (KJV)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Today's verse

O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. For thou hast made of a city an heap; of a defenced city a ruin: a palace of strangers to be no city; it shall never be built. Therefore shall the strong people glorify thee, the city of the terrible nations shall fear thee. For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.

Isaiah 25:1-4 (KJV)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Today's verse

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:9-11 (KJV)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Today's verse

For I am the Lord that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.

Leviticus 11:45 (KJV)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Today's verse

All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers. And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.

Deuteronomy 8:1-3 (KJV)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Movie night

They Were Expendable (1945).

Today's verse

And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner: this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?

Luke 12:10-11 (KJV)

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Today's verse

Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me.

Psalm 56:1 (KJV)

Monday, July 08, 2013

Today's verse

I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

Psalm 138:2 (KJV)

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Today's verse

And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

Deuteronomy 31:8 (KJV)

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Today's verse

Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.

Proverbs 19:1 (KJV)

Friday, July 05, 2013

Movie night

Invictus (2009).

Today's verse

And in that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.

Isaiah 12:4 (KJV)

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Update on Asia Bibi



More information regarding Asia Bibi's condition, and the recent decision to move her to a new prison:
The [Pakistan Christian Congress] has already expressed concerns about the safety and security of Asia Bibi in Sheikupura Jail, but suddenly shifting her to Multan jail is a very serious issue, [Nazir S. Bhatti, President of Pakistan Christian Congress] said.

Bhatti feared that Bibi will face additional threats to her person in Multan Jail as well as being forced to convert to Islam after Islamic literature was found in her cell, according to the Post.

Prison authorities claimed the literature was put there to help teach Bibi, who is illiterate, how to read.

The online petition calling for mercy for Asia Bibi can still be found here.

For those who do not know who she is, here is the story about Asia Bibi's unjust imprisonment and death sentence for "blasphemy" against the Prophet Muhammad.

Please pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

Happy 4th of July

Here is Reagan's speech, which he made on July 4, 1986:

Today's verse

If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

John 8:36 (KJV)

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

The revolution will be televised...

...or at least blogged. Legal Insurrection has the details.

UPDATE: (1:21 PM Central Time) Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi's national security adviser Essam al-Haddad says a military coup is now underway.

UPDATE: (2:15 PM Central Time) Huge crowd gathers in Tahrir Square. Is it just me, or do the fireworks look odd?

UPDATE: (2:27 PM Central Time) Egypt's top military commander says the army is now in full control of the country and President Mohammed Morsi has been replaced by the chief justice of the constitutional court as the interim head of state.

UPDATE: (3:05 PM Central Time) Legal Insurrection has a roundup of today's events.

Please pray for the people of Egypt.

Today's verse

Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.

Proverbs 14:34 (KJV)

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

The battle of Gettysburg

This week represents the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. The battle - arguably the most important of the American Civil War - began when the Union and Confederate armies accidentally ran into each other.

No one on either side planned to fight that battle. But it happened. And history was changed forever.

There are many heroes on both sides in that battle, but my personal favorite is Brigadier General John Buford, Jr. Here is a short description of Buford's role in the Battle of Gettysburg:

On July 1, 1863, Buford, now commanding the 1st Division of the Cavalry Corps, ran into parts of the Army of Northern Virginia outside of Gettysburg. Having only enough strength to post one man per yard of ground, Buford instructed one of his brigades, under Colonel William Gamble, to dismount to impede the advance of A.P. Hill’s Confederate III Corps along the road from Cashtown. Buford’s skillful defensive troops alignments along with the bravery, dedication, and the skill of his men, gave the Union First Corps, under Major General John F. Reynolds, the time it needed to deploy to meet the Confederates outside of Gettysburg, thus maintaining a Union foothold on the strategically important positions that would become the backbone of the Union defensive positions for the remainder of the battle.
A few weeks later Buford contracted typhoid fever and died. His quick thinking at Gettysburg may very well have kept the Union from suffering a huge defeat. If the Confederacy had won at Gettysburg, they probably would have marched on Washington - and imposed a cease fire on President Abraham Lincoln and the Union. America would have been permanently split, and slavery might never have been abolished.

For a readable account of the Battle of Gettysburg, check out Michael Shaara's Pulitzer Prize-winning The Killer Angels.

Movie night

Gettysburg (1993).

Today's verse

Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways.

Psalm 128:1 (KJV)

Monday, July 01, 2013

Today's verse

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Romans 12:3 (KJV)