Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 1/30/21

This past week, there was a DELUGE of news articles reporting on the growing split within the American Catholic church over member Joe Biden’s unqualified support for abortion and the LGBT agenda.

There’s a growing battle between Catholic progressives, including the pope, and conservative doctrinalists over the status of abortion-on-demand and LGBT defender, Joe Biden.

Seventy-years ago, my divorced mother-in-law was formally excommunicated from the Catholic church for remarrying. Conservatives in the RC church question HOW President Joe Biden can fully support and enable the ongoing abortion genocide and NOT be excommunicated. Keep in mind that Biden is parlaying his Catholic “faith” as a positive quality to religious voters.

This articles states that, “(Nancy) Pelosi told Hillary Clinton in a podcast that Donald Trump became president because of opposition to what she called a ‘woman’s right to choose,’ and said his promise to appoint anti-abortion judges was a ‘dogwhistle’ to Evangelicals and Catholics — something she says ‘gives me great grief as a Catholic.'” Pelosi has appointed herself pope and prelate by pontificating the Catholic position on abortion, just like the other 56% of Catholics who also support abortion. Wait a minute. Progressive pope Francis has also stated he doesn’t want the RCC to to be a single-issue institution consumed with defending the unborn. See here.

I applaud the Detroit archbishop’s exhortation to Catholics in his diocese to read and study the Bible. The RCC didn’t historically encourage the laity to read the Bible. I pray many Catholics will read God’s Word and that the Holy Spirit will draw many out of Roman legalism to salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

China is cracking down on the any trace of religious freedom, but it’s a shame that heterodox teacher Chan is exporting his twisted brand of pseudo-Christianity to Asia.

First Works Baptist Church of El Monte, California is part of the New Independent Fundamental Baptist Movement led by Steven Anderson that foments hatred and violence against homosexuals. Jesus loves sinners and genuine believers are to love sinners, too. The New IFB shares some similarities with the notorious Westboro Baptist Church cult. Why don’t I read any condemnations of the New IFB in the old IFB’s “Sword of the Lord”?

The seeker-sensitive, church growth model pioneered by Rick Warren and marketing guru, Peter Drucker, is taking over evangelical congregations from coast to coast.

A Baptist potluck and kale chips are absolutely and irreconcilably opposed to each other.

Kazan Redux: Elia Kazan’s Twelfth Film: “Baby Doll”

Today, as we re-start our “Kazan Redux” series, we’re going to re-review director Elia Kazan’s twelfth film, “Baby Doll.” The review below was first posted on April 25, 2017 and has been revised.


Baby Doll
Directed by Elia Kazan and featuring Karl Malden, Carroll Baker (nee Karolina Piekarski) and Eli Wallach
Warner Bros., 1956, 114 minutes

All of Elia Kazan’s previous eleven films contained some type of hard-hitting social message. With the farcical, dark comedy, “Baby Doll,” Kazan would break the mold and also begin his “Southern Trilogy.”


Middle-aged, Archie Lee Meighan (Malden), is at the end of his rope. He had bought the dilapidated Mississippi Delta plantation mansion, Tiger Tail, with plans to renovate it for his young bride, Baby Doll (Baker), but a modern, syndicate cotton gin plant has put the small, independent ginners in the area, like Archie Lee, out of business. Compounding his financial humiliation is the public’s knowledge of Archie Lee’s wedding pledge to Baby Doll’s father to refrain from consummating the marriage until her twentieth-birthday, just a few days away. But Baby Doll is repulsed by the financially strapped and increasingly unhinged Archie Lee. The last straw comes when all of the Meighans’ furniture is repossessed. Even the poor Black folk of the area hold Archie Lee in derision.

Archie Lee gets revenge for his misery by burning down the syndicate gin. The owner, Silva Vacarro (Wallach), suspects Archie Lee is the culprit and the very next day arrives at Tiger Tail with a convoy of raw cotton. While Archie Lee is gleefully preoccupied processing the cotton with his ramshackle gin, Vaccaro and Baby Doll remain at the mansion. He coyly coaxes her into signing an affidavit admitting that her husband was responsible for burning down the syndicate gin. That evening, Archie Lee returns to the mansion, and with the affidavit safely in his pocket, Vaccaro goads him to the breaking point. Archie Lee grabs his shotgun while Vaccaro scoots up a tree. When the local sheriff hauls Archie Lee off to prison, Vaccaro victoriously proclaims he’ll be back the next day with more cotton to gin. Baby Doll turns to her demented Aunt Rose Comfort (Mildred Dunnock) and says with a mixture of hope and despair, “Well, let’s go in now. We got nothing to do but wait for tomorrow and see if we’re remembered or forgotten.”

Sometimes, big shot, you don’t seem to give me credit for very much intelligence at all. I’ve been to school in my life – and I’m a magazine reader! – Baby Doll to Archie Lee


Baker, Dunnock, Tennessee Williams (screenplay), and Boris Kaufman (cinematography) were all nominated for Oscars, but it was Malden who stole the show as the tragically comic foil. The movie was filmed in Benoit, Mississippi at the abandoned Burrus Plantation, which has only recently been renovated (see here). As in many of his other films, Kazan used local citizens to augment the cast, including many African-Americans. There are several examples in the film of the segregation of the Deep South in 1956. It’s ironic that Archie Lee seeks swift justice for the perceived wrongs he has suffered while the segregated Blacks of the town must silently endure systematic abuse from Archie Lee and the rest of the White population.

Additional thoughts from a believer

Although it’s a simple farce without much of a plot or message, “Baby Doll” is ultimately about revenge and justice. Archie Lee seeks revenge and justice by destroying what he views as the cause of all of his problems; the rival syndicate gin. Vaccaro seeks revenge and justice by seeing that Archie Lee is successfully charged with arson. Baby Doll wants to extricate herself from her hopeless situation and sees in the suave Vaccaro a possible escape.

Can a follower of Jesus Christ garner anything from this “tiger’s tail”? Elia Kazan may have been an atheist, but his films often had excellent critical insights into the “human condition.” How much of our energy goes into striving to rise above others through our jobs/careers and number of possessions? How much of our self-worth is tied to money, the things we own, and social status? When we suffer loss or embarrassment, is our kneejerk reaction to seek revenge? How many of our undesirable circumstances are the “other guy’s” fault. How much do we live by, “Doeth unto them before they doeth unto you”? Why does it feel so good to hang onto a grudge?

We are all sinners full of self-serving hypocrisy and until you can admit to that, there is no hope for you. But God provided a way out from the eternal punishment we deserve through His Son, Jesus Christ. Accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior by placing your faith in Him alone.

“I did not come to call the [self-proclaimed] righteous [who see no need to repent], but sinners to repentance [to change their old way of thinking, to turn from sin and to seek God and His righteousness].” Luke 5:32 AMP

Next up: “A Face in the Crowd”

Throwback Thursday: What “gospel” does apologist Ravi Zacharias proclaim?

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on March 3, 2016 and has been revised. As an introduction, Ravi Zacharias was a very popular evangelical apologist who died on May 19, 2020. Disturbing reports of predatory sexual abuse involving Zacharias have come to light in recent months. Also disturbing was Zacharias’ long history of promoting ecumenism with Roman Catholicism.


During my lunch break today, I took a quick trip to the post office and tuned into The Word, WZXV, 99.7 FM, Christian radio station here in Rochester, New York. Every day at 11:00 a.m., the station plays the daily message from popular evangelical apologist, Ravi Zacharias.

Zacharias is widely considered to be one of evangelicalism’s leading apologists. He’s an excellent speaker – the words flow out of his mouth like honey. But beware, Zacharias’ messages are sometimes dangerous.

Today, the station broadcast one of Zacharias’ messages from his “Memories of Muggeridge” series (see far below for the link). Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-1990) was a highly respected British author and journalist and a longtime agnostic and eventual convert to Roman Catholicism.

In the message, Zacharias spoke about Muggeridge’s growing disillusionment with politics, journalism, commerce, education, entertainment, and religion. He was allegedly searching for the ultimate truth. Muggeridge was subsequently baptized into the Roman Catholic church at the age of 79 in 1982. It was Muggeridge who first introduced the world to Mother Teresa and thrust her into the spotlight as THE standard of “Christian” charity.

As a Roman Catholic, Muggeridge believed in salvation by sacramental grace and merit. He believed, as do all Catholics faithful to their church’s teaching, that one must be in a sinless “state of grace” at the moment of death in order to merit Heaven. For Catholics, justification comes from obeying the Ten Commandments perfectly (impossible!). If they break the Law, Catholics must confess all of their “mortal” (deadly/major) sins and be absolved by a priest before death or they are taught they will go to hell.

So why would Zacharias, one of evangelicalism’s leading apologists, hold up Muggeridge and Mother Teresa, who both believed in salvation by works, as shining Christian examples? I also heard Zacharias praising St. Francis of Assisi in a different broadcast. Is it that Zacharias is just totally ignorant of Catholic doctrine?  Is it that he believes the differences in salvation theology between Gospel Christianity and Roman Catholicism are not important? What goes through the mind of Ravi Zacharias? Either the Gospel is salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone or it is salvation by sacramental grace and obeying the Ten Commandments (impossible!) as Rome teaches. It is either one or it is the other. It cannot be both!

A number of evangelical leaders are dismissing right doctrine and embracing those who teach works-salvation as “brothers and sisters in Christ” in the cause of “Christian unity.” I would ask them, is the Gospel the Gospel or isn’t it? Make no mistake; there are absolutely no Catholic apologists on EWTN Catholic radio singing the praises of Wycliffe, Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Tyndale, Spurgeon, Moody, Lloyd-Jones, etc. like Zacharias fawns over Muggeridge, Mother Teresa, G.K. Chesterton, and St. Francis. So why are evangelicals like Zacharias so deferential? Why are evangelicals so blind?

By embracing error as truth, Zacharias betrays the Gospel and misleads those who admire him.

“For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” – Galatians 3:10-13

Memories of Muggeridge, Part 4 of 5
Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM)
Broadcast 3/3/2016

Note: In this Throwback Thursday installment, I removed the link to the broadcast/podcast referenced above because RZIM no longer provides free access to that particular episode (#4) of the “Memories of Muggeridge” series or to episodes 2, 3, or 5 either. However, part 1 of the series can be accessed here.

See my earlier post on Ravi Zacharias’ dalliance with Roman Catholicism here.

Catholic nun, Mother Miriam, attempts to differentiate between venial and mortal sins

A few weeks ago as I was driving around town, I tuned into the local Catholic radio station and caught an encore presentation of “Mother Miriam Live,” hosted by conservative Catholic nun, Mother Miriam (aka Rosalind Moss, photo above). In this particular episode (video below), listener Marie sent in an email to the show asking what the difference was between venial and mortal sins. In Roman Catholic theology, venial (pardonable, small) sins can be expiated by attending mass. Any unforgiven venial sins will allegedly be punished/cleansed in purgatory. However, mortal (deadly, grave, major) sins supposedly can only be forgiven by a priest in the confessional. Any unforgiven mortal sins will send a person straight to hell according to Catholic theology. But where exactly is the line between venial and mortal sins? Mother Miriam states the difference is obvious. Hmm.

The Catholic apologetics website, “Catholic Answers,” attempts to help Catholics differentiate between mortal and venial sins with the “explanation” below:

“For example, deliberate hatred can be venial sin or mortal sin depending on the seriousness of the hatred. The Catechism explains, “Hatred of the neighbor is a sin when one deliberately wishes him evil. Hatred of the neighbor is a grave sin when one deliberately desires him grave harm” (CCC 2303). Another example is abusive language. “Abusive language is forbidden by the fifth commandment but would be a grave offense only as a result of circumstances or the offender’s intention” (CCC 2073).

Ach. After reading the above, a reader is no further ahead differentiating between venial and mortal sin. It’s all subjective interpretation.

Mother Miriam then referred her listeners to an article, “15 Mortal Sins Catholics are Missing in Their Confessions” written by traditionalist priest, David Nix (link far below), to demonstrate that many Catholics are unaware that they often commit mortal sins. In the one-hour broadcast, Mother Miriam attempted to get through the list, but only reviewed the first five. Below is the full list with a few comments from myself.

  • Contraception, IVF (In Vitro Fertilization), and Abortion – The use of non-abortifacient contraceptives is not sinful. The RCC-endorsed rhythm-method aka “natural family planning” hypocritically aims for the same result as artificial contraception. Catholic surveys reveal the vast majority of Catholic married couples use contraceptives in defiance of RCC teaching.
  • Masturbation and/or viewing pornography, before marriage or within marriage – God’s Word states that “everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28). Using pornography is sinful in all circumstances (note: there are many examples of paintings with nude characters at the Vatican and at other Catholic institutions – see here). As far as masturbation within marriage goes, see my note below regarding, “In marriage, anything unnatural.”
  • Immodesty, including wearing leggings and short shorts – I’ve observed Christian women wearing skin-tight leggings/yoga pants even at church. Yes, sisters, that is sinful. It’s immodest and it’s tempting your brothers to lustfully ogle you. Whoops! Almost forgot. These days, congregants at trendy mega-churches must also endure hipster pastors trotting around in skin-tight and semi-revealing skinny jeans.
  • Before marriage, making-out or anything more passionate than that – Fornication is sinful.
  • In marriage, anything unnatural – Let the marriage bed be undefiled (Hebrews 13:4). Christian married couples don’t need Catholic celibate priests or nuns dictating to them what is and isn’t God-honoring in the bedroom. As we’re all well aware, Catholic priests have a scandalously poor track record themselves in regards to unnatural sex acts.
  • Homosexual acts – Sinful.
  • Chronic failure to catechize your kids – Catholic parents “catechize” their children with the RCC’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.
  • Greatly harming someone’s reputation – Gossip is sinful (1 Timothy 5:13).
  • Missing Sunday Mass without good reason and/or unnecessary work on Sunday – The vast majority of Catholics (70% – pre-COVID) don’t attend obligatory weekly mass.
  • Denying your workers a fair wage – This is subjective. What is a “fair” wage? The vast majority of people don’t control payrolls anyway.
  • Getting drunk or high – Sinful.
  • Saying the name of Jesus in vain – Sinful. Many Catholics seek to “get around” this by exclaiming, “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!”
  • Denying the Catholic faith, including any involvement in the occult, even tarot cards or Ouija boards – This is ironic because Catholicism promotes necromancy by teaching praying to dead saints. I denied my former Catholic “faith” when I trusted in Jesus Christ as my Savior by faith alone and came out of works-righteousness Catholicism. Mother Miriam would view me as a damned apostate, but I am a child of God because of my faith in Christ Jesus while she is a lost works-religionist.
  • Skipping Friday Penance – The U.S. Catholic bishops lifted the ban on meat on non-Lenten Fridays in 1966 and substituted a mandatory “act of penance” instead. Very few Catholics comply.
  • Receiving Holy Communion with any of the above sins on your heart – EVERY Roman Catholic has sin on his/her heart when they consume the alleged consecrated Jesus wafer. Thinking that they’re without sin when they line up for the faux Jesus wafer is sanctimonious self-deceit (Luke 18:9-14).

Roman Catholics seek to justify themselves by going through a list like the one above and concluding that they don’t commit any of the sins. But God’s Word says there is NOT ONE who is righteous (Romans 3:10-12). We are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners. Such wearisome list-checkings are exercises in futility. If you don’t commit the “sins” (not all of them are sins, as I indicated) on this specific list in deed, you may commit them in thought. Every person disobeys God’s moral laws in thought, deed, and by omission every day. Catholics will strain and strain over the distinctions between venial sins and mortal sins when all such differences are arbitrary and will change depending upon which priest is consulted. Sin is sin and we are all guilty sinners deserving of God’s eternal punishment. But God loves us so much He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to save all who trust in Him.

“20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.” – Romans 3:20-22

Repent of (turn from) your rebellion against God and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone and then ask the Lord to lead you to an evangelical church in your area that teaches God’s Word without compromise.

15 Mortal Sins Catholics are Missing in Their Confessions

Truth from Arkansas! Sunday Sermon Series, #68

It’s Two-fer-Tuesday, my friends, which means two new sermons from the brethren down in Arkansas.

First, we have Pastor Roger Copeland of Northern Hills Baptist Church in Texarkana, preaching from Luke 2:21-40 on “How to Respond to the Virgin Birth.”

Next, we have Pastor Cody Andrews of Holly Springs Missionary Baptist Church in Star City, recovered from COVID-19 and preaching from Matthew 14:22-22 on “Focus on Jesus, Not the Storm.”

Both of these sermons were delivered on Sunday, January 10th.

Pastor Roger Copeland – How to Respond to the Virgin Birth

Pastor Cody Andrews – Focus on Jesus, Not the storm

Legion of Super-Heroes #12

It’s time once again for our monthly, LSH frivolity break (in fact, we’re three weeks past due because of DC’s ongoing publishing issues), so let’s climb aboard our time cube and travel to the 31st Century for another LSH adventure in…

Legion of Super-Heroes #12:
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis, Pencils: Ryan Sook, Inks: Ryan Sook and Wade Von Grawbadger, Colors: Jordie Bellaire
DC Comics, January 19, 2021


At the end of LSH #11, Superboy and Saturn Girl arrived on New Krypton and confronted planet-destroyer, Rogol Zaar, as all of the other Legionnaires lay strewn about on the battlefield, bloodied and vanquished. As we pick up the action in #12, Superboy engages Rogol Zaar, but he too is subdued. Saturn Girl uses her mind powers to “psychically wake” the entire battered Legion corps, who then engage Rogol Zaar. Just as the Legion appears to be gaining the upper hand, Mordru the Sorcerer appears along with a large contingent of Horraz pirates and a full-scale battle ensues with multiple vignettes highlighting individual Legionnaires and their unique powers. The combined forces of Rogol Zaar and Mordru prove too much for the heroes and defeat looms. Mon-El suddenly appears, returning from his self-imposed exile, to buy the Legion a little more time. Saturn Girl, Dream Girl, and White Witch then confront Mordru with their combined powers, but the showdown is interrupted by Dr. Fate who easily subdues the evil sorcerer. A defeated Rogol Zaar is then returned to the Phantom Zone. As Element Lad leads the effort to rebuild New Krypton, a few Legionnaires ponder whether the preceding battle was the “Great Darkness” that had been foretold and conclude that was not the case. Gold Lantern returns to Earth to retrieve Brainiac 5 for the victory celebration, only to learn that his ring is NOT a Green Lantern ring (gasp!) and that those who issued it to him are not elders of Oa (double gasp!).


Writer Bendis did a nice job with this showdown between the Legion and Rogol Zaar and Mordru and he tied up some dangling loose ends with the return of Mon-El, Dr. Fate, and Blok. Ryan Sook’s pencils are top-notch as usual. The entire 34-person Legion roster was included in this issue with appearances by Bouncing Boy, Chameleon Boy, Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Dawn Star, Ferro Lad, Invisible Kid, Karate Kid, Lightning Lad, Lightning Lass, Matter-Eater Lad, Monster Boy, Phantom Girl, Princess Projectra, Rose Forrest, Shadow Lass, Shrinking Violet, Star Boy, Sun Boy, Timber Wolf, Triplicate Girl, Ultra Boy, and Wild Fire. The as-of-yet-unidentified-skeleton-in-a-containment-suit character was also present. The fact that Bendis has not identified this anonymous hero after twelve issues must be his idea of an insider joke.

Well, folks, this issue wraps up the first year of the Legion’s comeback. My hat is off to DC and the creative team of Bendis, Sook, Von Grawbadger, and Bellaire for a very entertaining ride. There was some speculation on the web that DC was pulling the plug on the LSH after this issue, however, a full-page “Future State Checklist” at the end of this book lists “Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #1 [of 2]” on sale, tomorrow, January 26th and “Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #2 [of 2]” on sale February 23rd. That doesn’t necessarily guarantee that DC will be continuing the LSH franchise after “Future State.” No titles are safe given the publisher’s severe financial troubles except for its flagship Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman franchises.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 1/23/21

The big news in the temporal world this past week was obviously Joe Biden’s inauguration as the 46th President of the United States. The inauguration followed unprecedented election and post-election turmoil, culminating in the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6th. Me? I’ll follow the Lord rather than politics, but Biden as president does present some interesting stories.

In his letter marking the inauguration of Joe Biden, the archbishop of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops, José Gomez, reprimanded the new president for supporting abortion. The word “abortion” was used eight times in the short letter. Conservative Catholic prelates and priests continue to wring their hands over Biden’s ascension to the presidency as an unabashed supporter of abortion and the LGBT agenda. Although Catholic laypersons are stereotypically known for being anti-abortion, polls reveal that 56% of Catholics believe abortion should be legal in most or all cases.

This article states that more than one-third of Joe Biden’s Cabinet are fellow Catholics. That would have been disturbing seventy years ago, when the RCC still pursued militant, church-state hegemony, but that’s not today’s reality.

Biden’s great-grandparents purchased his inauguration Bible (photo above) in 1893. Although the article doesn’t specify, I assume the Bible is the Douay–Rheims translation, which was the only English-language Bible authorized by the RCC until 1943. It’s a very weak and error-filled translation that even Catholic scholars now disavow. Being a Catholic Bible, it also includes the non-Scriptural seven books of the Apocrypha. It’s interesting that the Bible is still used as a ceremonial prop in political events. Biden swore his oath on the Bible, yet condones the ongoing genocide of the pre-born.

Years ago, I watched several seasons of the Duggars’ “17 Kids and Counting” reality-TV show, mainly to observe their strict, fundamentalist Baptist lifestyle, which I had much personal experience with. It’s great to see Ben Seewald on his way to becoming a pastor. He caused a bit of a controversy among Duggar fans in 2017 by revealing he was reading one of evangelical apologist James White’s critical examinations of Roman Catholicism. See that post here.

Nope, militant Catholic hegemony hasn’t completely disappeared. I’ve reported on the ongoing persecution of evangelicals by Catholics in rural Southern Mexico since I started this blog five years ago. Persecution of Protestants was once the norm throughout all of Latin America (especially in rural areas).

Don’t be fooled by “American civil religion’s” inclusiveness parlance. While 88% of Congressional representatives are members of various religious institutions that claim to be “Christian” (mainline Protestant, Catholic, LDS), the actual number of genuinely born-again Christians is probably a very small percentage.

This past Monday was Martin Luther King Day. Dr. King should be respected for confronting institutional bigotry and widely-held prejudices and advancing the civil rights of Black Americans at great personal sacrifice. However, by his own admission, he preached mainline Protestantism’s liberal social gospel rather than the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. See here.

This is ironic. Franklin Graham, one of the primary prophets of American Christian nationalism, is calling the ten Republican congresspersons who voted for ex-President Trump’s impeachment, “Judases,” when he himself is actually the Judas. Why? Because Graham betrays the Gospel by blatantly embracing the false Roman Catholic church with its false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. Graham’s father, Billy, was also deeply invested in American politics (touted as “adviser” to 12 U.S. presidents) and was the principal trailblazer of evangelical ecumenical compromise with Rome.

Observation: Interracial couples on television ads

I’m not a social scientist, so I’m going out on a limb with my own anecdotal, subjective observations in this post.

The Black Lives Matter demonstrations were big news last year. Even some of the BLM protests here in Rochester made the national news shows. Amidst all of the racial tensions last year, I noticed something that defied those tensions. Maybe you did, too.

I’m not a huge television watcher – mostly news and sports when I do watch – but I have noticed the growing trend of television commercials featuring interracial couples, specifically White and Black characters.* This is noticeable to me because I grew up in an era – the 1960s – when such commercials would have been unthinkable. So what’s with these companies that are using interracial couples in their marketing campaigns? Are they part of some sort of cooperative social engineering effort by American “elites” to promote harmony and ease racial tensions? Hardly. An article I found on the topic quoted a marketing professor who said the ads, “attract the broad base of customers whose values align with those portrayed through these ads—inclusion and diversity.” Got it. Viewers who value “inclusion and diversity” and who see a commercial featuring an interracial couple are – consciously or subconsciously – apt to have a favorable view of the product and company, according to the marketing strategy.

In the 1960s, just seeing a Black person on a television sitcom was a novelty. Bigotry was still very blatant and accepted at that time. As another example, Governor George Wallace of Alabama, an unabashed segregationist, campaigned for President in 1964 and again in 1968 and received a surprising amount of support. Interracial dating and marriage were definitely not socially acceptable in the 60s and 70s. I can vividly remember riding in the car with my step-father-in-law around 1975 and passing a Black-White couple walking down the sidewalk. My step-father-in-law had an absolute hissy fit. Many conservative evangelical and fundamental Baptist churches (especially in the South) preached against interracial dating and marriage in those days. Yes they did. Pastors presented Scripture verses purported to show that God disapproved of the mixing of races. As one extreme example, Bob Jones University did not lift its ban on interracial dating until 2017.

While the New Testament doesn’t directly address interracial dating or marriage one way or the other, I can’t imagine Jesus Christ approving of segregationist policies/traditions/customs and forbidding interracial marriages. BTW, today’s DNA test kits are showing that we have a lot more ethnic and racial variety than our grandparents would have been comfortable acknowledging.

“Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.” – Colossians 3:11

It’s regrettable that we still have to deal with race issues. Prejudice still exists. And there are also those who stoke racial tensions for their own benefit. At the foot of the cross we are all sinners in need of the Savior, Jesus Christ.

Above: In this 1956 booklet, John R. Rice, a former leader of of the Independent Fundamental Baptist movement, recommended the perpetuation of racial segregation.

*I’ve noticed (my subjective observation) that in the majority of these commercials featuring interracial couples, the male is Caucasian and the female is Black. Perhaps that is the marketers’ pragmatic concession to lingering objections to a Caucasian woman being in a relationship with a Black man?

Does God frown upon interracial marriages?

Throwback Thursday: Godparents or ceremonial sham?

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on March 2, 2016 and has been revised.


Today, I was listening to the 11/17/15 podcast of the “Calling All Catholics” radio show via the Station of the Cross, 101.7 FM, in Buffalo, NY with Catholic priest, Rick Poblocki, answering questions about Roman Catholicism. A listener sent in an email to the show saying a friend had asked her to be a godparent of her soon-to-be-baptized infant child.* Catholic godparents are required to be practicing Catholics who act as witnesses at the baptism and promise to help the growing child fulfill her or his future obligations and responsibilities as a member of the church. The listener complained that the mother of the child is not a “faithfully practicing Catholic” and doubts whether she “sincerely intends to raise the child in the faith.” She asked “father” Rick whether she should be a party to such a pretense.

“Father” Rick advised her to agree to be a godparent because she could be the strong Catholic influence that the child would otherwise never have. He then went on to bemoan the fact that “there’s a lot of people getting their kids baptized or confirmed, (but) they can’t find anybody (to be sponsors) that’s practicing the faith anymore.” Catholic sources report that only 24% of Catholics attend mandatory weekly mass and only 24% of Catholics participate in mandatory yearly confession. Generally speaking, Catholics go to church for weddings, funerals, Christmas, and Easter, but beyond that it’s a crapshoot. But who can blame them? Their pope says even atheists will go to Heaven if they are “good” so why bother with all the obligatory liturgical rigmarole?

I was baptized into the Catholic church as an infant, but my godparents never once encouraged me in my religious training. That’s probably the case for 99% of so-called godparents. It’s all just empty ceremonialism and ritual. As a young parochial school student, my baptized classmates and I went through all the formalities – first confession, first communion, and confirmation – but it was all empty, impersonal ceremony, like checking off a religious to-do list. No one had accepted Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone because the genuine Gospel was never presented to us. Rather, we were all jumping over the prescribed, ritualistic religious hurdles as we attempted to earn our way to Heaven. The institutionalized church we were members of presented its religious system as “the way” rather than Jesus Christ as the Way.

The Lord worked on my heart for many years and, through God’s Word, the Holy Spirit led me out of religious ritualism to Jesus Christ. I accepted Him as my Savior by faith alone and was genuinely born-again at the age of 27. It’s not ritual. It’s not ceremony. It’s not liturgy. It’s not sacraments. It’s understanding that we are all sinners deserving eternal punishment and that there is no hope, no plea other than Jesus Christ and then accepting Him as Savior and then following Him as Lord. Unlike the pope, the Bible says no one is “good,” no not one.

“He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” – Mark 7:6-8

*Roman Catholicism teaches baptismal regeneration and that infants are “born-again” when they are baptized.

1328 followers? Hardly.

I’ve been blogging for 5.5 years and WordPress shows that I currently have 1328 followers. Huh? 1328 followers? Really? The reality is that only a very small number of those “followers” actually interact with me and my blog on any kind of regular basis. Out of curiosity, I recently scanned through the long list of followers and noted those below who drop by, from every-now-and-then to daily:

Beth at Born Again

Bruce at Reasoned Cases for Christ

Cathy at Peacemakers

Craig at Poetic Perspectives

Chris at Wings of the Wind

Crissy at Walking by Faith

David at EttingerWriting.com

Jimmy at The Domain for Truth

Joseph at Complicated Politics

Kent at Gersom Clark

Lauren at Tulips & Honey

Lisa Beth at theburninglampdotcom

Mandy at Blue Collar Theologian

Marlagro at God Stories for Me, Yippee!

Marques at Overcoming The Times

Did I miss anyone? I’m grateful for the above 15 bloggers for their fellowship, support, and encouragement and for their witness for Jesus Christ and the Gospel. Thank you! I was introduced to half of the above folks in just the past twelve months. I’m very grateful for the handful of “old friends.” But what about the other 1313?

Many bloggers, expecting reciprocation, “follow” people in an attempt to gain followers for themselves, but shut off any and all automatic notifications. A blogging maxim is that you’ll get what you give. A blogger will attract followers by following other bloggers and by “liking” and commenting on their posts. But I try to actually read the posts of the bloggers I follow and there’s only so many hours in the day.

I noticed there are several who remain on my followers list who have stopped blogging over the years. I’m certain there are also a number of followers who disconnected because they were offended with one or more of my “controversial” posts or who were just not interested in Gospel outreach to Roman Catholics or in the dangers of ecumenism, my two major topics. I myself have disconnected from Christian bloggers who never bothered to reciprocate or who post views that I cannot support.

Although in our flesh we would like for other bloggers to like us and the posts that we write, that should not be our motivation. Our aim should be to please the Lord.

Postscript 1: Wally at Truth in Palmyra had to stop blogging in October 2019 because he went back to school, but he gets an honorable mention. In addition, Sbreaker95 regularly contributes comments to my apologetics posts, but doesn’t maintain a blog.

Postscript 2: Credit goes to David at EttingerWriting.com who wrote a similar post back in August in which he also questioned his inflated number of “followers.” See ‘Followers’: Fake News.

For 100 Bible Verses on Friendship, see here.