One of the six principles which guide our work at Focus on the Family is the Permanence of Marriage. We believe that marriage, as the basic building block of human civilization, was designed by God to be a thriving, lifelong relationship between a man and a woman. And since we live in a fallen world, all couples who are committed in the covenant of marriage will at some point face trials, sickness, financial crises and emotional stresses.
You operate a family-owned photography business which, among other services, creatively captures weddings on film. Further, imagine that you’re a Christian photographer and due to your religious convictions, decide to turn down certain photo shoots including “commitment ceremonies” for same-sex couples. Now, imagine your shock when a judge orders you to pay $6,637.94 to settle a lawsuit brought by an individual who complained about this alleged act of “discrimination.”
That’s what happened last year to Jon and Elaine Huguenin, owners of Elaine Photography LLC when Vanessa Willock filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission.
Last Monday night, an unidentified businessman allegedly assaulted his girlfriend, and then led police on a low-speed chase through several Southern California highways. Hours later, sitting behind the wheel of his $100,000 luxury Bentley sedan, the armed driver shot himself to death. According to published reports, the man was distraught over losing his business.
We’re not told why his business collapsed. Whether tough economic times, inadequate capitalization, or poor management skills were at fault, he had failed and that failure sparked a depression which drove him over the edge.
Jean and I were married August 24, 1986. We started with a bang—with lots of travel, the thrill of being newlyweds, and the dreams of spending a lifetime together. While I cannot pinpoint with any accuracy the date when we reached rock bottom, the dark clouds moved in sometime during our second year of marriage. I remember that night all too well. I had stepped into the bathroom to brush my teeth as we readied ourselves for bed.
Next Sunday is Super Bowl XLIII, the most watched football event of the year. And I’m bummed. I’ll be in Australia on business. Due to the time zone differences, I’ll probably miss the Pittsburgh Steelers going head-to-head with the Arizona Cardinals for the NFL World Championship. For a number of reasons I think it’ll be quite the game. Clearly the underdog, Arizona is hungry for the win–this isthe first time the Cardinals have made it to the big game.
Like millions of people around the world, I watched the inauguration of President Barack Obama earlier this week with interest. Whether or not you agree with his positions on the issues and there–are many that concern me deeply–truly the world witnessed history in the making. Scanning the faces of those in the crowd, I saw a joy and happiness that parallel something I witnessed in South Africa when Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, was elected.
A week before Christmas last year, America lost a great statesman, an inspiring conservative thinker, and a steadfast advocate of the traditional family. I’m referring to my friend Paul M. Weyrich, co-founder of the Heritage Foundation and Chairman of the Free Congress Foundation It’s likely you’ve never heard his name. Paul was like that. He was the kind of man content to labor behind the scenes in Washington, D.C. in defense of the values conservatives cherish.
At age eight, Mark* was dying from a congenital heart disorder. A battery of diagnostic tests revealed that the malformation of his heart was irreparable. Mark’s doctors informed his parents that nothing short of a heart transplant would save his life. Worse, Mark didn’t have much time to live. A proper organ donor had to be found, and fast.
Meanwhile, at the same hospital where Mark awaited a heart transplant, medics rushed another young boy, Alex*, into the emergency ward.
During our Christmas vacation, Jean and I packed the suitcases, planned the route, and piled into the minivan. Anticipation filled the air as the kids were strapped into their car seats like astronauts preparing for liftoff. With the house buttoned up, the mail stopped for a week, and a prayer for safety shared, off we went on a thousand mile journey to Jean’s parents’ home in Los Angeles.
Everything was going smoothly for a couple of hours .
As the clock runs out on 2008, just about everyone is assembling a Top Ten list featuring the most popular movies, CDs, books, restaurants, and news stories of the year. You name it, there seems to be a list for it. I figured it might be fun to put together a list of my Top Ten blog posts of the year, based upon the number of comments they generated. Here’s what I found, with No. 1 being the most popular post of 2008: