Signs and Wonders
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus speaks during the commissioning ceremony for the USS Michael Murphy, the Navy's newest guided-missile destroyer.
Associated Press/Photo by Tina Fineberg
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus speaks during the commissioning ceremony for the USS Michael Murphy, the Navy's newest guided-missile destroyer.

Signs and Wonders: Navy bans porn but misses the point


Porn ban. The Pentagon horrified many but surprised few people when it reported last month that since lifting its ban on homosexuality, the number of sexual assaults in the armed services increased to an astonishing 26,000, and that many of the assaults were male-on-male. After all, when you announce “anything goes,” you shouldn’t be surprised when “anything” actually shows up. We have, however, seen one positive outcome: Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus issued a command that all obscene material (including pictures, videos, electronic devices, calendars, documents, displays, and more) be removed from ships, hangers, training centers, and other workspaces. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council praised the decision, but said Mabus is treating the symptoms, not the cause: “The Pentagon needs to look deeper to the policies they’ve adopted for more permanent solutions to this crisis,” Perkins said. “Starting with the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’” Perkins believes “no one has done more to sexualize the military than President Obama.” He said, “While pornography is contributing to the problem, it’s time to take a long, hard look at the White House’s radical social policies and start acknowledging their role in fostering this dangerous, sexually-charged environment.”

Honoring Lee Hough. Lee Hough may be the most influential Christian leader you’ve never heard of. Lee is the vice president of Alive Communications, the evangelical Christian world’s leading literary agent. His clients included former WORLD writer Lynn Vincent, collaborator of the best-selling Heaven Is for Real, Same Kind of Different As Me, and Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue. In fact, it was through Lynn that I first met Lee. We hit it off immediately. At our first lunch meeting near his office in Colorado Springs, I was struck by both his intelligence and his warmth and vitality. Those of us who know him are not surprised that Lee is the recipient of the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Christy Award for his lasting contribution to the publishing industry as a literary agent. He’ll receive the award at the International Christian Retail Show in St. Louis next week. The award takes on a particular poignancy because Lee has cancer. Not just any cancer. Lee has Stage 4 glioblastoma brain tumor, which his friends know he has battled successfully for two years. Now, though, comes word that the cancer has spread. Rick Christian, founder of Alive Communications, said, “Lee’s quarterly MRI last month was clear, but symptoms flared up recently and another test two weeks ago indicated that barring a miracle, he has about 2 months to live.” Lee served at Alive for 12 1/2 years. Friday was his last day of work. Christian said these next weeks would be a “sacred time” for Lee and his family “as he prepares for the transition to the next stage of eternity.” He requests that friends not email or call, but communicate through his Caring Bridge website.

Now that’s zesty. One Million Moms has announced a “Shame on Kraft” campaign to protest sexually suggestive advertising of its Zesty Italian salad dressing. The ad, according to One Million Moms, is “A full 2-page ad features a n*ked man lying on a picnic blanket with only a small portion of the blanket barely covering his g*nitals. It is easy to see what the ad is really selling.” (One Million Moms said it used asterisks to get past certain spam filters.) The group said it is “the most disgusting ad on the inside front cover that we have ever seen Kraft produce. Kraft has gone too far and will push away loyal, conservative customers with this new ad campaign. Christians will not be able to buy Kraft dressings or any of their products until they clean up their advertising.” I’m actually a fan of Kraft’s Zesty Italian, and I think boycotts generally have a very limited effect. That said, I think OMM has a point, and at least till the ad campaign runs its course, I think I’ll be switching brands.

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Cooling off. There’s the IRS scandal, the Benghazi scandal, the AP phone records scandal—the list goes on. And it appears this growing list is finally taking a toll on President Barack Obama’s approval ratings. The most recent poll numbers show him at about 45 percent, down from 53 percent just a month or so ago. These numbers are significant, especially with the mid-term elections coming up. Low approval numbers will make it harder for him to get his legislative initiatives passed, and it will make him a less effective campaigner for his party in 2014.

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren is vice president of mission advancement for The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview and the host of WORLD Radio’s Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.


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