The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when He abolishes all rule and all authority and power.
–1 Corinthians 15:24
The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act is a federal statute that was signed into law by U.S. President George W. Bush on July 27, 2006. The Walsh Act organizes sex offenders into three tiers and mandates that Tier 3 offenders (the most serious tier) update their whereabouts every three months with lifetime registration requirements. Tier 2 offenders must update their whereabouts every six months with 25 years of registration, and Tier 1 offenders must update their whereabouts every year with 15 years of registration. Failure to register and update information is a felony under the law.
The Act also creates a national sex offender registry and instructs each state and territory to apply identical criteria for posting offender data on the Internet (i.e., offender’s name, address, date of birth, place of employment, photograph, etc.). The Act was named for Adam Walsh, an American boy who was abducted from a Florida shopping mall and later found murdered.
It also contains civil commitment provisions for sexually dangerous persons.
December 8 is the anniversary of John Lennon’s death. He died 32 years ago. Ten months later, my mother died, and a few weeks after that I was working out in a gym and a man I didn’t know was going on and on about how great John Lennon was. I told him that actually I believed that many people whose names no one knows are the truly great ones. I told him about my mother, and said, “You’ve never heard her name until now, but in God’s eyes, my mother was great and John Lennon wasn’t.”
I’m going to end by linking you to a fascinating new video that talks about John Lennon and much more. But first, some thoughts about Lennon.
Lennon’s song “Imagine” has been widely heralded, and still is. It was sung in the closing ceremonies of this summer’s Olympics:
Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace
You, you may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one.
I talked about John Lennon in my book If God is Good. I said,
“Imagine there is no evil… it’s easy if you try,” Lennon wrote and sang. He celebrated a world without God: a secular utopia of free sex and drugs. But someone devastated by a partner’s adultery or a father’s sexual abuse or the crime-causing drug addiction of a loved one would picture a very different world: drugless and sexually pure.
That easily imagined world, if people like John Lennon and us were its architects, would in fact be filled with evil. And unlike God, we would lack the power to defeat the evil, bring good out of it, and guarantee by our righteous sacrifice that a goodness of cosmic proportions would one day eradicate the last remnant of evil.
When it comes to world-making, we might compare God’s résumé with ours. Complainers should consider designing a better universe, creating it, then going to live in it.
If that’s not practical, then maybe we should consider the possibility that God knows better than we do.
We who have not formed galaxies and fashioned worlds should not be so quick to tell God how to run his universe.
But I don’t mean to suggest I have no sympathy for John Lennon. I believe he was yet another lost soul, trying to find his way. I did some research and found that John wrote and sang “Imagine” in 1971, after he had expressed regret that he had said the Beatles were more popular than Jesus (though clarifying that he nonetheless thought it was true).
Interestingly, he continued to explore various religions, and made a few professions of Christian faith, but never for long. After quoting his own line “money can’t buy me love” he said, “It’s true. The point is I want happiness. I don’t want to keep on with drugs. ….Explain to me what Christianity can do for me. Is it phony? Can He love me? I want out of hell.”[i]
By 1977, Lennon was telling friends that he was a “born-again Christian.” He made no connection with a church, tried Buddhism, consulted psychics and dabbled in the occult, and later mocked Christians and the faith. By nearly all indications, he wasn’t a true Christ-follower.
Despite the words of “Imagine,” then, John Lennon did not live by the mantra of “no religion.” He was confused as he experimented with various religions, but he knew drugs were a dead end street, he wanted out of hell, he wondered if God loved him, and he said, “The point is I want happiness.” And in his desire for happiness he was like every other person who has ever lived. He was right to not want to go to hell, and right to ponder the love of God.
All this is a build up to a powerful video produced by my friend Ray Comfort. It’s called “Genius.” Ray asked me to watch it, and I wrote this:
“’Genius’ is a fast-paced, thought-provoking and compelling video, with fascinating content. To some it will be startling, to others refreshing, to all it will be eye-opening. I highly recommend watching ‘Genius.’”
The film presents the gospel and proposes there are many “false Christians,” those who think they are, but are not. I fully agree.
I encourage you to take 30 minutes and watch this with an unbelieving friend, or a group of Christians, encouraging them to reflect on it and pass it on to others: www.geniusthemovie.com.
[i] Steve Turner, The Gospel According to the Beatles (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2006), 187-88.
President Obama and Members of Congress:
You are serving at a historic time when out-of-control federal spending and soaring national debt threaten to destroy the American dream for future generations.
I stand with The Heritage Foundation and urge you to take immediate action to:
- CUT spending
- STOP increasing the debt
- LOWER taxes
- REFORM entitlement programs
I urge you to do the right thing and act boldly to end Washington’s spending spree. You can avert catastrophe and save our country’s future.
My fellow citizens and I will be watching.
Respect for America’s Fallen Heroes Act
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Respect for America’s Fallen Heroes Act (Pub.L. 109-228, 120 Stat. 387, enacted May 29, 2006) is an Act of Congress that prohibits protests within 300 feet (90 m) of the entrance of any cemetery under control of the National Cemetery Administration (a division of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs) from 60 minutes before to 60 minutes after a funeral. Penalties for violating the act are up to $100,000 in fines and up to one year imprisonment.
The Act was sponsored by Mike Rogers, a Republican congressman from Michigan. It was introduced in large part to combat the campaign by Fred Phelps from the Westboro Baptist Church, of Topeka, Kansas. Phelps and his supporters regularly demonstrated at the funerals of American service members who were killed in the war in Iraq, on the grounds that the deaths are divine retribution for social tolerance of homosexuality. This form of protest is protected by the First Amendment.
The Act was approved by the House via roll call vote with an overwhelming majority of 408 to 3. Ron Paul (R-TX), David Wu (D-OR) and Barney Frank (D-MA) voted against the Act, opposing it on civil liberties and constitutional grounds. Twenty-one members of the House of Representatives did not vote. Barney Frank said of the vote, “I think it’s very likely to be found unconstitutional. It’s true that when you defend civil liberties you are typically defending people who do obnoxious things… You play into their hand when you let them provoke you into overdoing it. I don’t want these thugs to claim America is hypocritical.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) opposed the legislation, saying that the Act was unconstitutional and that it would not stand up in court. They said of a similar ban in Kentucky, “The ACLU lawsuit recognizes that Kentucky has an interest in showing respect and compassion for the deceased and for their families, but argues that sections of these laws go too far in prohibiting peaceful protests.”[dead linnk’
The Senate passed the bill unanimously. It was promptly signed into law by President George W. Bush on May 29, 2006.
The American Civil Liberties Union prevailed in a 2007 lawsuit challenging a similar state law in Missouri.