God first. Corporate “It-Girl” Marissa Mayer, who has just been named the new chief at Yahoo!, recently acknowledged God in a speech to industry insiders. She was pretty non-specific who-God/what-God, but it was nonetheless nice to hear her affirm “God first, family second, and Yahoo! third.” If we eventually discover that she is theologically conservative and believes in the God of Scripture, and not some non-descript “Higher Power,” that could be a particularly interesting turn of events for her employer. Yahoo! has a 100 percent ranking from the pro-homosexual Human Rights Campaign, and also matches employee gifts to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.
Statistics as propaganda. Speaking of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the group has just released its first-ever rating of municipalities. The HRC rated 137 cities, including all state capitals, the country’s 50 largest cities, and another 75 cities that have “high proportions of same-sex couples.” This last group is important. It means that the results of the survey will be skewed dramatically in the direction of gay-friendly cities. So, for example, when the HRC reports that 25 percent of municipalities in the survey scored 80 percent or higher in its rating system, an uncritical observer will think that “gay friendly” policies such as same-sex domestic partner insurance benefits are rapidly becoming the norm. Wait a minute, though. There are more than 30,000 incorporated cities and towns in the United States. This survey includes less than one-half of 1 percent of this total—and it includes 100 percent of the most gay-friendly towns in America. This “survey” is designed to bear false witness. It’s an example of statistics as propaganda.
The damage is done. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Terrence F. McVerry dismissed a lawsuit filed in August by the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh challenging the government mandate requiring the church to offer contraceptives to its employees under its health insurance plans. The suit said the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate violated its First Amendment religious freedom protection. Judge McVerry said in his opinion that the plaintiffs have not yet suffered harm from the mandate, since most of its regulations will not take effect until Jan. 1, 2014. At first blush, that ruling makes some sense. It’s a well-established principle in the law that you can’t file a suit against someone unless you’ve actually been wronged. The possibility that you might be harmed is not grounds for a lawsuit. This ruling also gives the diocese the right to file again in the future, if it is harmed by the mandate. But the other side of the coin is that long before the mandate goes into effect, organizations must incur costs in preparation for compliance. In other words, once the mandate goes into effect, much damage will have been done. Bottom line: The HHS mandate is a terrible predicament for us all.
Milestones. As I often do on Fridays, I point out a few milestones from history worth remembering, in part because when we remember our history we get an inkling of eternity. Therefore, I observe that yesterday, Nov. 29, was the birthday of both C.S. Lewis and Madeline L’Engle, two of the great Christian fantasy writers of the 20th century. Lewis, trying to give voice to that inkling of eternity, more than once wrote about the natural human impulse to place “God in the dock,” to cross-examine Him, to ask Him why? Upon further reflection, though, Lewis said that on the day we finally see heaven we will not ask God questions. We will, rather, and look around in awe and simply say, “Oh!”