Join John Stonestreet for a daily dose of sanity—applying a Christian worldview to culture, politics, movies, and more. And be a part of God's work restoring all things.
What is Replacement Theory, How to Make Abortion Unthinkable, and How to Engage Business - BreakPoint Q&A
John answers how a listener can respond and think well about the issue of replacement theory, something that has become a popular topic due to the recent shooting in Buffalo, New York.
John also gives perspective to how abortion became not only illegal, but also unthinkable. He answers which came first and how the abortion movement can replicate the trajectory of slavery becoming unthinkable in society.
To close, John answers a listener's question related to social movements inside the business community. He provides a path forward for Christians who find themselves in a changing landscape.
Keeping the Big Picture In View
According to the BBC, the Chinese government has arrested Joseph Zen, a 90-year-old Roman Catholic cardinal and outspoken critic of the Beijing regime. He is now in chains for his role in the 2019 human rights protests.
On the same day this arrest was reported, the Daily Mail announced that ISIS forces had slaughtered 20 Nigerian Christians, guilty only of being Christians, which was enough to seal their martyrdom.
While the last few years have presented incredible challenges to the Western church—plagues, riots, scandals, even war—followers of Christ in places like China and Nigeria have consistently weathered incredible hardship, and for so long. Their stories remind us that there’s a wider world out there—and a wider Church.
Ours is not the only part being played in the grand drama of God’s redemptive work in the world. Let’s pray for our suffering brothers and sisters around the world, and take hope that their role in shaping Christ’s kingdom doesn’t rest in our success but in God’s faithfulness.
Covering Up Evil
This past Sunday, a devastating report was released about America’s largest Protestant denomination. According to the Guidepost Solutions’ Report of the Independent Investigation on the Southern Baptist Convention, not only has sexual abuse been a scourge within the denomination, but leading members actively obstructed efforts to expose the guilty, hindered attempts by victims to report the crimes, and worked to maintain the public image of the Convention at the expense of the truth. What the victims have been forced to endure for so long is sickening and heartbreaking. Lives will be forever marred by the corruption exposed in the report.
Though it feels as if some new report is revealing sexual misconduct, abuse, or criminal behavior within the Church every few months, in God’s economy, the day after evil is exposed is better than the day before. When evil is allowed to remain hidden, it flourishes. When it is exposed, both victims and perpetrators are in a better position to find grace, healing, and forgiveness.
At the same time, we can expect the world to be wagging its fingers at Christian hypocrisy. In response, there’s a strong pull in our hearts to point right back. After all, the infamous “casting couches” of Hollywood legend have raised such lechery to an abhorrent art form. And this has gone on for decades. Even Shirley Temple, the Golden Girl of classic cinema, was chased around an office by one of the top movie moguls of her day. Yet, he kept his post despite this and other crimes.
More recently, after headlining everything from dramas, to comedies, to action flicks through the 90s and early 2000s, Brendan Fraser found himself cast from favor after refusing the very aggressive advances of a (male) movie executive. Five years ago, Oscar-winning Kevin Spacey was blacklisted as stories broke of his habitual abuse of young actors. Most notorious of all, Harvey Weinstein was one of the most powerful men in the film industry until the rising #MeToo movement gained enough momentum to bring him down for his abuse of young women and threats to any who spoke against him. And that’s just Hollywood. We could also talk at length of public schools, congressional leaders, and corporate executives.
Of course, why would we expect any better from a culture like ours, in which sexual activity is treated as the high point of human existence? When Hugh Hefner is treated as a virtual saint and praised as an advocate for women’s dignity, who is the world to cast stones at the Church for its own failings? If they’re not any better than we are, why do we get the third degree while they get a pass?
It’s almost as if followers of Christ are held to a higher standard or something! To this we can only say, we are. By God.
One of the premiere accounts of worldly morality in the Scriptures is in the infamous story of Sodom and Gomorrah. In Genesis 19, the story is told of two angels coming to Sodom, meeting Lot in the town square, who takes them into his home. After the men of the city seek to sexually accost his guests, Lot instead offers his daughters to them as sexual sacrifices.
This horrific tale is echoed later in Judges 19. Visitors from out of town, a meeting near the city, an invitation to dinner, a rapacious mob, and finally, a young woman offered to the lust of the crowd which, in this case, turns murderous and leads to military revenge, mass executions, and human trafficking. In this story, however, it’s not sinful pagans. It’s the people of God who commit an evil that exceeds even that of Sodom.
The reason the story is told how it is—other than to report what actually happened—is clear. The people of Israel had become indistinguishable from their pagan neighbors. And this, God could not abide.
In Romans 2, Paul writes, “You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. For, as it is written, ‘The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles beca
Whoopi and the Archbishop
On Friday, according to the Catholic News Agency, “San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone instructed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi not to present herself for Holy Communion until she publicly repudiates her support for abortion.”
On Monday, Whoopi Goldberg told the archbishop via her audience on The View, “This is not your job, dude. That is not up to you to make that decision.”
It is, of course, the archbishop’s job to oversee the proper administration of the sacraments in that geographic region of the church. It is exactly his job, in fact. Other than playing a nun in the Sister Act movies, it’s not clear what qualifies Goldberg to tell an archbishop what his job is.
Years ago, Dr. Frank Beckwith taught a group of students how to respond to someone dismissive of their arguments: “If anyone ever says to you, ‘Who are to say what’s right?’ just ask back ‘Who are you to say, “Who are you to say?”’”
This isn’t about Whoopi, of course. Skeptics, secularists, and non-believers will often ask, “Who are you to speak for Jesus?” while speaking for Jesus.
A good response is, “Well, who are you to ask?”
Exploiting More Women Is Not an Improvement
On the YouTube channel “Lutheran Satire,” there’s a video entitled, “A Christian and a Feminist Almost Agree on Stuff.” In it, two sock puppets discuss the cultural breakdown of sexuality and marriage and how pornography plagues both. “Pornography harms women,” says the feminist sock puppet.
“Totally agree,” says the Christian puppet. “Pornography demeans women, and it also corrupts men by making them think of women as nothing but sexual objects.”
“Therefore,” interrupts the feminist sock puppet, “women should empower themselves by taking control of the porn industry and producing their own sexually explicit material.”
To which the Christian puppet responds, “That is not the solution I had in mind.”
Pornography and sexually suggestive material of any kind objectifies women, training consumers that female bodies are things to be leered at, to be lusted after, rather than persons to be loved and valued.
Those Lutheran sock puppets came to mind last week after Sports Illustrated announced the covers of its annual swimsuit issue. Of course, there’s never been any point to the swimsuit edition other than to objectify women to the publication’s largely male readership. It has nothing at all to do with sports. It has nothing at all to do with even marketing swimsuits.
It has been, instead, for decades now, the most visible example of everything that Christians and feminists and other protectors of women have decried about our objectifying culture: selling skin, airbrushed and impossible beauty standards, sexual provocation, etc., etc., etc.
This year’s cover model does not represent the typical, unreachable standards of thinness that porn and photoshop have imposed on women. However, she is still posed provocatively in a barely there swimsuit, as objectified as any other cover model has ever been.
There seems to be some confusion. The problem here is not that all women should be objectified for their bodies. It’s that no one should be objectified at all. Valuing a human being made in God’s image by changing standards of outward appearance is always wrong. But we don’t atone for a sin by committing it against everyone.
Now, I know it sounds a bit quaint in 2022 to object to swimsuit covers, but at the heart of even the mildly suggestive material in our culture is a lie that has long consumed our culture, the same one that is at the heart of the always accessible and ever darker online pornography world. That lie is that people are things to be used and therefore can be abstracted from their bodies for our gratification or titillation.
This lie can never be made true, even when people consent to it. As Christine Emba pointed out recently in The Washington Post, it is possible for a woman to objectify herself, and therefore consent to things that are actually terrible for her. Consent, Emba concludes, is not a sufficient sexual ethic by itself. We need to talk about a much more important value: love, which she defines, taking a cue from St. Thomas Aquinas, as “willing the good of the other.”
There is no sense in which reducing a woman to her body and putting her on display for millions is willing her good. No person—man or woman—is merely a body. Christians have always insisted, and must continue to insist against things like prostitution, polygamy, slavery, and pornography. Because human beings are bearers of God’s image, they must always be taken seriously, body and soul.
If there is a problem with displaying scantily clad women as objects for the eager eyes of sports fans—and there is—if we recognize the connection this ritual has with far darker corners of our culture especially online—and it does—the answer is to stop. Certainly, the answer is not more of the same. We have to treat women as whole people.
Breakpoint Podcast - Preparing for a Post-Roe World with Kristan Hawkins
Kristan Hawkins, founder and president of the Student for Life. Kirsten spoke at the recent "Preparing for a Post-Roe World" event at the recent Wilberforce Weekend.
Thought-Provoking and Engaging
I’ve been listening to Breakpoint for six years and I am thankful for its output. I don’t always get to visit the website so having the audio content in this format is extremely helpful for me. Breakpoint content helps me to see and think more clearly in a world where news and cultural content is processed and formatted to show only highlights and push agenda. Without political bias, BP stands firm in Biblical truth and helps us to see things from a godly perspective. Keep doing this amazing work for the kingdom!! Thank you so much!!
Friday with Maria & John
Thank you for your thoughtful stimulating podcasts. Since I have MD & reading is becoming difficult I love hearing your well thought out comments from a Christian viewpoint. Lakechelan1
Thankful for this podcast!
I have always loved the show but I was so excited to hear that Maria had been added as a co-host. It is nice to have a woman’s point of view alongside the current wonderful hosts. Thank you for all that you do!