Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Appeals court upholds Texas’ tough pro-life laws

From Texas Right to Life. (H/T Dad)

Excerpt:

A panel of three judges in the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit released its ruling upholding HB2, Texas’ Pro-Life law, which took full effect in October of last year.  The opinion affirms the constitutionality of the legislation passed last summer and rejects Planned Parenthood’s argument that HB2 places an “undue burden” upon abortionists, abortion facilities, and women seeking abortion.

The court upheld sections of the law that require abortionists hold admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, and that the dangerous RU-486 abortion drug be administered according to FDA procedure. The judges wrote,

“The district court held that parts of both provisions were unconstitutional and granted, in substantial part, the requested injunctive relief.  A motions panel of this court granted a stay pending appeal, and the Supreme Court upheld the stay.  We conclude that both of the challenged provisions are constitutional and, therefore, reverse and render judgment, with one exception, for the State.”

There is a minor caveat to the ruling, abortionists who have applied for admitting privileges prior to the law going into effect, but have not yet received a reply from local hospitals may continue to commit abortions until their applications for privileges are officially denied.

The court asserted that higher standards for an abortionist are, in fact, justified,

“During these proceedings, Planned Parenthood conceded that at least 210 women in Texas annually must be hospitalized after seeking an abortion.  Witnesses on both sides further testified that some of the women who are hospitalized after an abortion have complications that require an Ob/Gyn specialist’s treatment.”

This is the third time recently that this Court of Appeals has upheld Pro-Life policies attacked by abortion advocates.  The same court upheld Texas’ 2011 Sonogram Law and a policy that kept the abortion business Planned Parenthood out of the taxpayer-funded Women’s Health Program.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has my absolute favorite judge, Edith Hollan Jones. If I were President, that’s who I would choose, and then Janice Rogers Brown if I had two picks. Well, it might not ever happen, but a guy can dream… about Supreme Court picks.

At the beginning of the month, there was a story on Life News about how these laws are closing abortion clinics.

Excerpt:

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that the last two abortion clinics outside of big Texas cities will close Thursday because they can’t meet the restrictions placed on facilities under the state’s new abortion law.

Whole Woman’s Health in Beaumont and McAllen will close after providing abortions in the areas for a decade. Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Woman’s Health, which operated five abortion clinics before the law went into effect, said the provision requiring physicians to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic was proving the most problematic.

Miller said hospitals near her McAllen clinic refused to grant her physicians’ applications for privileges. Some hospitals in the area require their privileged physicians to live nearby. Others require a current physician to co-sign applications for privileges, which many are unwilling to do for fear of being targeted or stigmatized.

In Beaumont, one 75-year-old physician secured privileges, but a second one could not, Miller said.

In addition to that Texas news, there is also a story this morning from National Right to Life about the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has allowed Kansas to suspending taxpayer-funding of Planned Parenthood pending resolution of a court challenge. (H/T J.W. Wartick tweet) So there is more good news!

Filed under: News, , , , , , , ,

Peter J. Williams lectures on the historical reliability of the gospel narratives

Peter J. Williams

Peter J. Williams

Greg West of The Poached Egg tweeted this lecture featuring Peter D. Williams yesterday, and I’m posting it today with a summary below.

Here’s the main lecture: (54 minutes)

And here’s the Q&A: (9 minutes)

About Peter Williams:

Peter J. Williams is the Warden (CEO) of Tyndale House and a member of the Faculty of Divinity in the University of Cambridge. He received his MA, MPhil and PhD, in the study of ancient languages related to the Bible from Cambridge University. After his PhD, he was on staff in the Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge University (1997–1998), and thereafter taught Hebrew and Old Testament there as Affiliated Lecturer in Hebrew and Aramaic and as Research Fellow in Old Testament at Tyndale House, Cambridge (1998–2003). From 2003 to 2007 he was on the faculty of the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, where he became a Senior Lecturer in New Testament and Deputy Head of the School of Divinity, History and Philosophy. In July 2007 he became the youngest Warden in the history of Tyndale House. He also retains his position as an honorary Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies at the University of Aberdeen.

Summary of the lecture:

  • What if the stories about Jesus are legendary?
  • were the gospels transmitted accurately?
  • were the gospels written in the same place as where the events happened?
  • do the gospel authors know the customs and locations where the events happened?
  • do the gospels use the right names for the time and place where the events took place?
  • do the gospels disambiguate people’s names depending on how common those names were?
  • how do the New Testament gospels compare to the later gnostic gospels?
  • how do the gospels refer to the main character? How non-Biblical sources refer to Jesus?
  • how does Jesus refer to himself in the gospels? do the later Christians refer to him that way?
  • how does Jesus teach? do later Christians teach the same way?
  • why didn’t Jesus say anything about early conflicts in the church (the Gentiles, church services)?
  • did the writers of the gospels know the places where the events took place?
  • how many places are named in the gospels? how about in the later gnostic gospels?
  • are the botanical details mentioned in the gospels accurate? how about the later gnostic gospels?

And here are the questions from the audience:

  • how what about the discrepancies in the resurrection narratives that Bart Ehrman is obsessed with?
  • what do you think of the new 2011 NIV translation (Peter is on the ESV translation committee)?
  • how did untrained, ordinary men produce complex, sophisticated documents like the gospels?
  • is oral tradition a strong enough bridge between the events and the writers who interviewed the eyewitnesses?
  • what does the name John mean?
  • why did the gospel writers wait so long before writing their gospels?
  • do you think that Matthew and Luke used a hypothetical source which historians call “Q”?
  • which gospel do critical historians trust the least and why?

I really enjoyed watching this lecture. He’s getting some of this material from Richard Bauckham’s awesome book “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses”, so if you aren’t familiar with it, you can get an idea of what’s in it. Peter Williams is a lot of fun to listen to – an excellent speaker.

You can read an interview with Peter Williams here on Between Two Worlds.

And you can listen to the Peter Williams vs Bart Ehrman debate. That link contains a link to the audio of the debate as well as my snarky summary. It’s very snarky.

And Apologetics 315 also posted Peter Williams’ assessment of Bart Ehrman’s “Misquoting Jesus”.

Filed under: Videos, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Judge Jean Boyd gives no jail time to drunk driver who murdered four people

State District Judge Jean Boyd

State District Judge Jean Boyd

Here’s the story from CBS News.

Excerpt:

A Texas teenager killed four people while driving drunk in June. Prosecutors pushed for a 20-year sentence, but a judge sentenced the teen to 10 years probation and no jail time.

[...]A psychologist testified for the defense that the teen was a product of something he called “affluenza.” He meant [Ethan] Couch doesn’t link bad behavior with consequences because his parents taught him that wealth buys privilege.

That psychologist cited one instance when Couch, then 15, was caught in a parked pickup with a naked 14-year-old girl who was passed out. Couch was never punished, the psychologist said. He also testified the teenager was allowed to drink at a very young age and began driving at 13.

Investigators said surveillance tape showed Couch and his friends stealing beer from a Walmart store in June.

After leaving a party, police said Couch had his pickup going nearly 70 mph in a 40 mph zone. About 400 yards down the street, he slammed into Holly and Shelby Boyles, who had stopped to help Breanna Mitchell fix a flat tire.

Youth Pastor Brian Jennings was driving by and had also stopped to help. All of them were killed. Couch was charged with four counts of intoxication manslaughter and tried as a juvenile.

[...]Boyles said the verdict doesn’t give victims’ family the justice they need for closure.

“My immediate reaction is I’m back to week one,” he said. “We have accomplished nothing here. My healing process is out the window.”

You can read more about State District Judge Jean Boyd here. I can’t believe that this woman is a judge in Texas, of all places.

I was listening to Dennis Prager talk about this at lunch on Thursday, and I wanted to relay two points that came up. First, Prager noted that the judge was a woman, and that women tend to focus more on compassion and non-judgmentalism than men. Men tend to focus more on justice and moral standards. Men tend to believe that punishing evil harshly is the right thing to do because it deters future crimes. Men also tend to believe that punishing evil sends a message to the rest of society about what is wrong, which deters future crimes. What message does this judge’s sentence send to 16-year-old boys? It says “you can kill four innocent people and injure a fifth and get off Scot-free”.

Second, a caller to the show said that if the murderer is deemed not responsible because of what his parents did to him, then why are the parents not being punished for it? That’s a good question, and it prompts me to think about what real justice in the case might look like. Here is what real justice would look like, from someone who is not affected by the crime. First, disbar the judge so that she cannot practice law in Texas. Second, give the murderer the 20-year sentence sought by the prosecution. Third, confiscate every penny of the assets of the parents, and distribute it to the families of the victims. That is not lenient, but it would be restitution, which ought to be one of the functions of the law.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Peter J. Williams lectures on the historical reliability of the gospel narratives

Peter J. Williams

Peter J. Williams

This is a lecture I found from British historian Dr. Peter J. Williams.

Here’s the main lecture: (54 minutes)

And here’s the Q&A: (9 minutes)

About Peter Williams:

Peter J. Williams is the Warden (CEO) of Tyndale House and a member of the Faculty of Divinity in the University of Cambridge. He received his MA, MPhil and PhD, in the study of ancient languages related to the Bible from Cambridge University. After his PhD, he was on staff in the Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge University (1997–1998), and thereafter taught Hebrew and Old Testament there as Affiliated Lecturer in Hebrew and Aramaic and as Research Fellow in Old Testament at Tyndale House, Cambridge (1998–2003). From 2003 to 2007 he was on the faculty of the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, where he became a Senior Lecturer in New Testament and Deputy Head of the School of Divinity, History and Philosophy. In July 2007 he became the youngest Warden in the history of Tyndale House. He also retains his position as an honorary Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies at the University of Aberdeen.

Summary of the lecture:

  • What if the stories about Jesus are legendary?
  • were the gospels transmitted accurately?
  • were the gospels written in the same place as where the events happened?
  • do the gospel authors know the customs and locations where the events happened?
  • do the gospels use the right names for the time and place where the events took place?
  • do the gospels disambiguate people’s names depending on how common those names were?
  • how do the New Testament gospels compare to the later gnostic gospels?
  • how do the gospels refer to the main character? How non-Biblical sources refer to Jesus?
  • how does Jesus refer to himself in the gospels? do the later Christians refer to him that way?
  • how does Jesus teach? do later Christians teach the same way?
  • why didn’t Jesus say anything about early conflicts in the church (the Gentiles, church services)?
  • did the writers of the gospels know the places where the events took place?
  • how many places are named in the gospels? how about in the later gnostic gospels?
  • are the botanical details mentioned in the gospels accurate? how about the later gnostic gospels?

And here are the questions from the audience:

  • how what about the discrepancies in the resurrection narratives that Bart Ehrman is obsessed with?
  • what do you think of the new 2011 NIV translation (Peter is on the ESV translation committee)?
  • how did untrained, ordinary men produce complex, sophisticated documents like the gospels?
  • is oral tradition a strong enough bridge between the events and the writers who interviewed the eyewitnesses?
  • what does the name John mean?
  • why did the gospel writers wait so long before writing their gospels?
  • do you think that Matthew and Luke used a hypothetical source which historians call “Q”?
  • which gospel do critical historians trust the least and why?

I really enjoyed watching this lecture. He’s getting some of this material from Richard Bauckham’s awesome book “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses”, so if you aren’t familiar with it, you can get an idea of what’s in it. Peter Williams is a lot of fun to listen to – an excellent speaker.

You can read an interview with Peter Williams here on Between Two Worlds.

And you can listen to the Peter Williams vs Bart Ehrman debate. That link contains a link to the audio of the debate as well as my snarky summary. It’s very snarky.

And Apologetics 315 also posted Peter Williams’ assessment of Bart Ehrman’s “Misquoting Jesus”.

Filed under: Videos, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Great news: Supreme Court declines to hear appeal of Texas ban on late-term abortions

Life News reports.

Excerpt:

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia issued an opinion today indicating the Supreme Court will not get involved in a case out of Texas that has abortion facilities there appealing a law that has closed numerous abortion clinics that can’t protect women’s health.

In a big victory for pro-life advocates in Texas earlier this month, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Judge Lee Yeakel of the Western District Court in Austin and restored key portions of a pro-life law in Texas that will ultimately stop abortions and could close abortion clinics. Abortion clinics appealed that decision to the Supreme Court and Justice Scalia issued a ruling today saying the high court will not get involved.

“The underlying legal question — whether the new Texas statute is constitutional — is a difficult question. It is a question, I believe, that at least four members of this court will wish to consider irrespective of the 5th Circuit’s ultimate decision,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote with Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito concurring. “I would maintain the status quo while the lower courts consider this difficult, sensitive, and controversial legal matter.”

The justices voted 5-4 to leave Texas’ pro-life provisions in place and the four Democrat-appointed pro-abortion justices all voted to overturn the pro-life measure. Justice Stephen Breyer write a dissenting opinion saying he expected the case to return to the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy did not join an opinion or write their own, but they sided with Scalia, Thomas and Alito.

So the pro-life side wins, for now. All five Republican-appointed judges sided with Texas. But that decision could change if we elect another Democrat to be President and the balance of the Supreme Court changes to be more pro-abortion. For example, Hillary Clinton is almost as pro-abortion as Obama is, and she would definitely appoint pro-abortion judges.

However there was some bad news in Texas to spoil the good news:

A grant from the Obama administration is allowing the Planned Parenthood abortion business to reopen a clinic in Texas it closed after the passage of new pro-life laws there.

Planned Parenthood has closed a number of clinics after Texas Governor Rick Perry signed into law a bill that bans abortions after 20 weeks and holds abortion facilities accountable for higher health and safety standards. Other clinics closed after Perry signed a bill to stop taxpayer funding for the abortion giant.

But now, thanks to federal funding, a Planned Parenthood clinic will reopen in Mission, Texas that has been closed for two years.

The Obama administration is the most radically pro-abortion we’ve ever had. They have no qualms at all about about using the tax dollars of pro-lifers to fund organizations that provide abortions.

Filed under: News, , , , , , ,

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