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'National Coming Out Day'—4 ways to respond

Sipa via AP ImagesYesterday was National Coming Out Day. The "Human Rights Campaign" has published a "resource guide to coming out" as well as ways straight people can "demonstrate your support for LGBTQ people and equality worldwide."

As I have discussed often, the Bible consistently forbids homosexual activity. Not because God hates gay people, but because he loves them. Their Creator wants what is best for them and knows that all sexual relationships outside of heterosexual marriage are damaging to those who engage in them.

My point this morning is not to revisit this issue, but to think with you about ways to relate biblically to LGBTQ people. God's word has much to say not only about homosexual relationships but also about how best to relate to those who engage in them.

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Why has California been spared the 'big one'?

Credit: Michael R Perry via FlickrCalifornia is more than a century overdue for the "big one," an earthquake with a magnitude greater than 7.0. But seismologists are now reporting that they have discovered an undersea fault line that may be absorbing pressure from the San Andreas Fault and preventing the earthquake everyone fears.

Their discovery is a metaphor for our day. As cultural pressures escalate, we need hope for a future better than the present. But our hope as a nation does not lie in our nation.

Name this country: the richest in the world, the largest military on the planet, the global center of business, the world's strongest educational system, the world's leading currency, and the world's highest standard of living. The answer: Great Britain in 1900.

A century ago, the United Kingdom was the largest empire the world had ever seen. As late as 1937, the "sun never set on the British empire" as it controlled lands in each of the world's twenty-four time zones. Today the UK ranks far down the global charts for prosperity, literacy, life expectancy, and gross domestic product per capita.

My point is not to criticize Great Britain. I'm actually an Anglophile who loves visiting the UK and is fascinated by British culture and history. My purpose is to note that no nation's future is guaranteed.

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The presidential debate and hope for the future

Credit: Saul Loeb via APLast night's debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton capped a tumultuous week in the presidential race. The candidates did not shake hands before the debate began, a sign of hostilities to come. The town hall meeting focused on issues ranging from Obamacare to Syria, but the negativity of the evening mirrored the divisiveness of the larger campaign.

Trump is facing widespread criticism for scandalous sexual statements he made eleven years ago. Even Mike Pence, his running mate, stated that he was "offended" by Trump's words and actions and "cannot defend them."

Clinton is under fire after WikiLeaks published transcripts of lucrative paid speeches she delivered to elite financial firms prior to the presidential campaign. Bernie Sanders and his supporters are reportedly furious over statements they believe prove her collusion with "big banks" and other entrenched institutions.

Prior to the media firestorm that began last Friday, Gallup's polling showed that Trump is viewed unfavorably by 63 percent of the public, Clinton by 55 percent. These ratings are by far the worst since Gallup began such polling in the 1956 election. The previous worst rating was Barry Goldwater in October 1964 at 47 percent. After the weekend's events, it is plausible that the candidates' ratings will go even lower.

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'This storm will kill you'

NOAA via AP"This storm will kill you." That's how Florida Gov. Rick Scott described Hurricane Matthew as he warned residents to flee the strongest storm system to threaten the US in a decade.

The western eyewall of the hurricane brushed by Cape Canaveral this morning, producing wind gusts of 115 mph. More than 300,000 people are already without power across the state of Florida. Officials are predicting that power will eventually be lost to 2.5 million as further "catastrophic damage" is expected.

Forecasters warn that this storm could be "unlike any hurricane in the modern era." About 3.1 million people are under mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders in three states. Some areas in the hurricane's path could be uninhabitable for weeks or months to come.

The region has instituted the largest mandatory evacuation since Superstorm Sandy in October 2012. However, the storm surge is expected to be much larger than the New Jersey shore saw during that tragedy. As the hurricane continues to hug the coast through Saturday, the National Weather Service warns that Matthew could deliver "the strongest, most destructive winds anyone in parts of the northeast Florida coast and Georgia coast has seen in their lifetime." Catastrophic flooding is predicted as well.

How should we respond today?

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Hurricane Matthew and the moral storms of our day

Ramon Espinosa via APNearly two million people are fleeing in Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas as Hurricane Matthew approaches. The storm has already devastated Haiti and eastern Cuba and is expected to strengthen over the next day. However, officials in South Florida are worried that residents have become complacent after eleven years of near misses. Weather authorities know what everyone should: the best way to respond to a hurricane is to flee its path.

This fact applies to more than hurricanes.

A new study involving more than a million women found a significant correlation between birth control pills and depression. The risk is especially elevated with teenagers: women between the ages of fifteen and nineteen who took oral contraceptives were 80 percent more likely to become depressed.

While some teenagers take the pill for medical reasons, 86 percent do so for birth control. If these women chose to abstain from premarital sex, they would avoid the pill's depressive side effects.

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