October 31, 2006

Debate: Should elective abortion be illegal? Part 1

That is the question that was to be argued at a debate I attended last night. Taking the affirmative was a close friend of mine, Jojo Ruba, who a few years ago left Ottawa and moved out West to take up pro-life advocacy full-time with an organization called the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform. Tracy Davidson, the executive director of Planned Parenthood Ottawa, took the negative position, along with a last-minute partner, Jeannette Doucet, a volunteer spokesman with Canadians for Choice. The debate was held at the Azraeli Theatre on the campus of Carleton University, and moderated by a late replacement from the local civil liberties association, which takes no official position on abortion (and hence he admitted he had no axe to grind with either side). Considering that he joined the debate at the last minute (due to the scheduled moderator becoming ill) and had no experience moderating debates, I thought he did all right.

Over the next few days I want to incrementally post a summary of the debate, section by section, followed by my comments. This is mainly for time's sake, but also in the hope that a few extra days of contemplation might give me something additional to reflect upon. My comments will more than likely focus mainly on the pro-choice side, simply because my approach to the abortion question is essentially the same as Jojo's, and if I have nothing more to say than "Me too," there's little point in saying anything at all.

It's a hell of a horror show

Here's my "Hallowe'en special." Enjoy!

Trinity Church in Cedar Hill, near Dallas, Texas has put on a haunted house every Hallowe'en since 1990. But instead of coffins, skeletons, and bats, their house of horrors features domestic violence, abortion, AIDS, the occult, and suicide. This is the infamous "Hell House" - an evangelistic tool meant to warn the unsaved about the evils of modern society and the hellish consequences of making bad moral choices while rejecting Jesus. Thousands go through the Hell House every year, and the church has sold additional kits to churches all over the U.S.

In 1999, the church made headlines when that year's Hell House featured a school shooting. This was regarded as insensitive, following as closely as it did on the heels of the Columbine massacre only six months earlier. This inspired documentarian George Ratliff to make a short documentary, titled The Devil Made Me Do It about the production. On the basis of this film, the Pentecostal church allowed Ratliff to film a feature-length documentary about the attraction, giving him full access to every aspect of the production. Hell House is that documentary.

October 27, 2006

And now . . . this - Oct. 27, 2006

Good thing he wasn't a drunk, too

A dead man had one final earthly act before moving on.

Fire officials said the six-hundred pound man was in being cremated when his body fluids were too much for the oven.

The body fluids seeped out onto the floor and ignited causing a fire at the Garner Funeral Home in Salt Lake City.

"Those fluids can be very flammable," said Scott Freitag of the Salt Lake City fire department. "Sort of like a grease fire." . . .

The crematorium is back in business and the funeral director said they'll notify the family to assure them their loved one wasn't harmed.

[Full Story]

Wasn't harmed? Come again? "No, ma'am, he's OK, we just spread some salt on the floor and swept him up, no problem, it's not even slippery or nothing."

October 19, 2006

OK, by popular demand

Cindy and others have opined that I have derelicted my duty by ignoring an influential booklist. And they'd be right. So here is my take on "The Top 50 Books That Have Shaped Evangelicals" as judged by Christianity Today. I'll follow Cindy's lead and comment only on the ones I have read.

October 14, 2006

Why I hate silly quizzes

Well, actually, I love them, as long as they affirm my preconceived notions. This one didn't:

You scored as Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan. You are an evangelical in the Wesleyan tradition. You believe that God's grace enables you to choose to believe in him, even though you yourself are totally depraved. The gift of the Holy Spirit gives you assurance of your salvation, and he also enables you to live the life of obedience to which God has called us. You are influenced heavly by John Wesley and the Methodists.

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


Neo orthodox


Reformed Evangelical






Roman Catholic




Classical Liberal


Modern Liberal


What's your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com

Interestingly, just by redoing the quiz, but eliminating the "mildly agree/disagree" categories, and reserving the middle option for questions that were ambivalent or loaded, I did manage to score 86% Reformed Evangelical, 79% Fundamentalist, and only 71% Wesleyan. This isn't just the answer I want, it's what I know to be true by what I affirm. I attribute the skewed results above to ambiguities in the questions themselves. Do I believe "God's grace enables you to choose to believe in him"? Of course; only I mean something different by it than a Wesleyan would. Is it true that "[t]he gift of the Holy Spirit gives you assurance of your salvation, and he also enables you to live the life of obedience to which God has called us"? Absolutely, although in the former case, the Holy Spirit is not the exclusive assurance of salvation, and in the latter, I wouldn't use the language of "surrender" that is common in Holiness circles.

Still, it's fun to try and figure out why a particular quiz doesn't give you the answers you expect, especially when you know better.

(H/T to my friend Brandt for bringing it to my attention.)

October 11, 2006


I just finished doing a little bit of routine maintenance to my sidebar: deleting dead links, updating the names of blogs that have "rebranded," that sort of thing. I've also added a few new blogs to the blogroll.

All things Michelle

I haven't had any specifically politically oriented blogs in the blogroll yet (though La Shawn is pretty close). But in recent months I've been reading more and more of Michelle Malkin, and quite enjoying her approach to the issues.

Malkin is also "boss" of the group blog Hot Air, home of the daily vodcast Vent.

Loons on parade

This summer, when I was writing my critique of a few 9/11 conspiracy "documentaries," I came across a blog titled Screw Loose Change. Originally devoted to answering the dubious claims of the viral movie Loose Change, it's since become a more general clearinghouse for debunking 9/11 denial in all its forms. Plus, it's vastly entertaining reading, especially if you follow conspiracy theories as a hobby.

(As I write this, I have CNN tuned in to their live coverage of Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle's fatal plane crash into the side of a Manhattan high-rise. I don't like to be cynical, but how soon will it be until the moonbats start citing this as yet another example of a burning skyscraper that didn't collapse?)

Postscript: About the time it takes to write up this post. Idiots.

October 10, 2006

It's not on

A rare group photo of the Caner brothers and the Liberty debate organizers has been unearthed:

The Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow, Dorothy, and the Tin Woodsman

To the left is Ergun Caner, the self-described "intellectual pit bull of the evangelical church" - revealed not as a fierce fighting dog, but a cowardly widdle puddy tat. To the right is his brother Emir, the Straw Man. Next to him is debate moderator Brett O'Donnell who, like many women, can change his mind arbitrarily at the drop of a hat. Finally, the tin man's pointy hat makes it obvious that he is none other than His Holiness, Pope Jerry Falwell himself.