I was trawling through an old notebook today and came across some spider-scrawled notes from my 400 mile road-trip from Cleveland in central Mississippi to Baton Rouge in Louisiana on Easter Sunday this year.

Roadkill – armadillo, cats, dogs, birds (various), opossums, squirrels, snakes, skunk, toads, raccoon, deer, Turkey Vulture…

I usually listen to the (mostly) wonderful National Public Radio in the US but even I get sick of the occasional overweening earnestness of NPR. I kept picking up small local stations – there are some fantastic soul & R-n-B stations in the south – that would fall off the dial after a few miles so I’d keep hitting the Scan button…grazing across the broad sweeping plains of Highway 61’s airwaves.

I’d picked up a couple of the wilder examples of fundamentalist christian radio along the way including “American Family Radio” (“Nominate your pastor to win a Trip to Israel! AFR wants to send your pastor to the Holy Land for the trip of a lifetime! Find out how you can win this trip for your pastor.“). AFR is one of the 600 stations that broadcasts “Homeschool Heartbeat“, a program produced by the Home School Legal Defence Association, and which was pouring lightly concealed vitriol from my car’s speakers.

Like many parts of the lunar right in the US, the HSLDA runs a fine line in anti-UN sentiment, most notably a stern disregard for the Convention of the Rights of the Child, including this helpful information:

Ten things you need to know about the substance of the CRC:

1. Parents would no longer be able to administer reasonable spankings to their children.
2. A murderer aged 17 years and 11 months and 29 days at the time of his crime could no longer be sentenced to life in prison.
3. Children would have the ability to choose their own religion while parents would only have the authority to give their children advice about religion.
4. The best interest of the child principle would give the government the ability to override every decision made by every parent if a government worker disagreed with the parent’s decision.
5. A child’s “right to be heard” would allow them to seek governmental review of every parental decision with which the child disagreed.
6. This treaty has been interpreted to make it illegal for a nation to spend more on national defense than it does on children’s welfare.
7. Children would acquire a legally enforceable right to leisure.
8. Teaching children about Christianity in schools has been held to be out of compliance with the CRC.
9. Allowing parents to opt their children out of sex education has been held to be out of compliance with the CRC.
10. Children would have the right to reproductive health information and services without parental knowledge or consent.

And here is a brief excerpt from earlier in April:

Practical Implications for Your Family

4/7/2009

Why should you think twice about supporting an accepted international human rights treaty?

Mike Farris:
On the last program, we introduced the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child-known as the CRC. While the use of any international law for domestic purposes in the United States is a threat to American self-government, proponents of parental rights should pay the most close attention to the CRC-especially since it appears that significant effort on this treaty will be made under the Obama administration.

So what does the CRC actually say about the rights of children?


In two very important areas of parental choice-religion and education-the CRC interferes with parental choice and elevates a child’s wishes over that of the parent. Realistically, it is neither parents nor children who make the final decision in the case of conflict-it is the state that has the power and duty under the CRC to make ultimate choices for kids.

I’m Mike Farris.

But the pick of the day was an interview with an attorney and author with the wonderfully evocative name of Randy Singer that I picked up somewhere near Vicksburg, Mississippi and that stayed with me clear to the Louisiana border..

Randy is described in his publisher’s blurb as a:

…critically acclaimed author of two nonfiction books and five legal thrillers, including The Cross Examination of Oliver Finney, a novel in which this book plays a key role. A veteran trial lawyer, he teaches at Regent Law School and serves as Chief Counsel for the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. He is also legal advisor for the American Center for Law and Justice, a public interest law firm specializing in religious liberties. He and his wife, Rhonda, and their two children live in Atlanta, Georgia.

Being Easter Sunday some programmer at one of the many syndicated stations called Hallelujah 95.7 FM(“Your Inspiration Station!!; “Your Clear Choice for Gospel Hits!!“) decided that it would be a good idea to get Randy on the air to talk about his book, The Cross Examination of Jesus Christ“.

I’ve been unfortunate enough to have conducted a few cross-examinations in my time – it is never easy and can be the best and worst times of your life – all within the space of 5 minutes – ask a simple question – get an unexpected bonus in the answer – Heaven, and better than sex.  Ask the wrong question, fail to ask the right question – instant hell on earth and please open that hole in the floor so that I can fall into it.

And people wonder why lawyers – especially trial lawyers – have stellar rates of depression and alcoholism.

But Randy’s questions of the Big Fella definitely fell a bit flat for me as I was driving along on the day they rolled back the stone.

Here are a few examples from his an “editorial review” at Amazon:

· Can you prove that you’re the Messiah?
· How can you defend a woman caught in adultery?
· What does it take to reach heaven?
· How can we know God?
· What is truth?

Sorry Randy, but that would get you laughed out of Court in the Darwin Magistrates Court on any day…if not by the magistrate, then certainly by any witness with more than one brain cell bouncing around in his bonce.

All of this made for an immensely entertaining drive down through the towns of the great Civil War battles. I can’t find a transcript to show you just how entertaining Randy was on that day but you might get an idea from this passage – if you can make any sense of it let me know!

That’s when I discovered this mind-bending truth: if I want to be like Jesus, I must first realize how much I am already like the Pharisees. In God’s paradoxical way, that humbling realization is the first step toward becoming less like the Pharisees we loathe and more like the Savior we love. All of our mental gymnastics and convoluted questions can’t make it any other way. Tricky business, and dangerous, this road toward the mind of Christ. The devil is still a crafty cross-examiner, twisting the truth and distorting the testimony. Like Mike Tyson after his prime, Satan couldn’t land many direct punches on Christ, but he still had a nasty bite. At the cross, hell bit off more than it could chew.
“How do you know?” you ask (violating the cardinal rule of crossexamination).
“Because three days later they saw hell spit Him out.”