BY STAR PARKER
FOUNDER & PRESIDENT
COALITION ON URBAN RENEWAL & EDUCATION
In the midst of year-end craziness - taking care of my organization's year-closing business and doing Christmas shopping -- I didn't anticipate that I'd find time to read a new book. But when I saw Dr. Ben Carson's, "Take the Risk: Learning to Identify, Choose, and Live with Acceptable Risk," I couldn't resist.
I spotted the slim volume while gift shopping in a bookstore. But it wasn't the catchy title that caused me to pick it up. It was the author. I already knew Ben Carson's remarkable story. I read his first book "Gifted Hands" 10 years ago. After I read it, I gave it to my kids and insisted that they read it. (Full Article)
The Gods of Liberalism Revisited
The lie hasn't changed, and we still fall for it as easily as ever. But how can we escape the snare?
Saturday, December 29, 2007
BY STAR PARKER
Washington Watch Daily - Tony Perkins
Included: Mark Levin on the Fairness Doctrine, George Barna on poll results on why parents want a better future for their children, and Bridget Gabriel, a Lebanese civil war survivor who tells about why radical Islam is a world threat.
Click here to listen.
On Thursday night he told reporters in Orlando, Fla.: “We ought to have an immediate, very clear monitoring of our borders and particularly to make sure if there’s any unusual activity of Pakistanis coming into the country.”
On Friday, in Pella, Iowa, he expanded on those remarks.
“When I say single them out I am making the observation that we have more Pakistani illegals coming across our border than all other nationalities except those immediately south of the border,” he told reporters in Pella. “And in light of what is happening in Pakistan it ought to give us pause as to why are so many illegals coming across these borders.”
In fact, far more illegal immigrants come from the Philippines, Korea, China and Vietnam, according to recent estimates from the Department of Homeland Security.
Asked how a border fence would help keep out Pakistani immigrants, Mr. Huckabee argued that airplane security was already strong, but that security at the southern United States border was dangerously weak.
Okay, I'll buy that Pakistani terrorists might come to Mexico and then cross our borders. However, their greatest difficulty might be with Mexico, since Mexico's immigration and alien controls are far tougher than ours. But really, his response to this came across as pretty muddled.
But it sounds like his incorrect assertion about how many illegals are coming from what country just makes him continue to sound ill-informed on this issue, like when he said in the past that illegal immigration wasn't a real problem in the first place.
That, and the fact that he got it wrong about whether Pakistan was still under martial law. Someone who wants to be president should be on top of issues like this.
And "apologizing" for Bhutto's assassination isn't the thing to do...unless he thinks we had something to do with it. I know Huckabee's pretty liberal, but surely he isn't liberal enough to have joined the blame-America-first crowd. Probably just a mis-statement. But a mis-statement that makes Bush's "misunderestimated" verbal gaffs pretty inconsequential in comparison
The New York Post has a different take on the Bhutto assassination than you're likely to see in most of the media.
While writer Ralph Peters makes it clear that he doesn't condone the assassination, Bhutto may not be as squeaky-clean as the media may portray her.
In fact, Bhutto was a frivolously wealthy feudal landlord amid bleak poverty. The scion of a thieving political dynasty, she was always more concerned with power than with the wellbeing of the average Pakistani. Her program remained one of old-school patronage, not increased productivity or social decency.
The piece goes on to mention the corruption scandals that drove her from power, as well.
I didn't follow Bhutto's political career as closely as I have some other world leaders, so I don't feel confident offering an opinion of the level of veracity in the corruption claims.
But sometimes, unfortunately, when partnering with Third World countries against a greater evil, sometimes we have to choose the cleanest dirtbag of the lot. There's an unfortunate element of truth to the old saying: "Yeah, he's scum. But he's OUR scum."
Was she clean? I don't know. Was she dirty? I don't know. Was she cleaner than Musharraf? I don't know that, either.
But both she and Musharraf seemed inclined to work with the West in fighting terrorism. In addition to the regrettable loss of human life, Bhutto's assassination has robbed the people of Pakistan of much-needed stability, and much-needed choice in their democratic elections.
The latest from Operation Enduring Freedom showing the activities of American troops in country. Produced by AFN-Afghanistan.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Another good article from Commentary Magazine, this time about the Vietnam War. It is long, but well worth the read to the end of page 2.
The piece dispels many of the Leftist myths that have been poisoning America for 40 years.
It also gets to the heart of why we finally just gave up on this 10-year war that cost 58,000 American lives:
Tragically, the Johnson administration never accepted that it could win a war it was in fact winning. As H.R. McMaster shows in Dereliction of Duty (1997), the overarching theme of the Johnson years was not reckless war-mongering but its opposite: indecision followed by halfway measures, and a growing pessimism leading to more halfway measures. It was this that encouraged the North to extend its efforts in 1964, enabling its Vietcong auxiliary to regain lost ground. The same indecisiveness plagued the American approach to bombing, employed by Johnson and his Defense Secretary Robert McNamara largely for political rather than military objectives, i.e., in the vain hope of convincing the North to come to the bargaining table. Until 1968, in fact, Washington’s carefully planned bombing campaigns barely had an impact on the course of the fighting.
The article also points out how the Leftist media helped us lose a war we weren't losing, examining the Tet Offensive which was a brutal loss to the communists:
To be sure, all this made no impression on the American public. That was because the press had presented the Tet offensive as a stunning Communist success and a signal that there was no light at the end of the tunnel. The suddenness of the attack had caught not only the American military by surprise, but also the American media. After the war, one of their own, the Washington Post’s Saigon bureau chief Peter Braestrup, documented exactly how the major media proceeded to turn the reality of American victory into an image of American and South Vietnamese defeat.1 Basing themselves on that image, Walter Cronkite and others clearly felt they now had definitive grounds for mistrusting their government’s word and for concluding that, just as the antiwar movement had declared, victory in Vietnam was not and never had been a possibility.
Does any of this sound strangely familiar, as in recently familiar? There are definitely parallels between Iraq and Vietnam...but not the ones the Left wants you to believe in.
You can't win a war that you don't believe you can win. Sadly, that's a lesson that America's Left still hasn't learned after 40 years.
Maybe it's a lesson they don't really want to understand. It would require a bit of moral certainty...and that's something the Left avoids like the plague.
From today's Men of Integrity devotional:
A stalwart believer who worked in the mines was injured at a young age and became bed-ridden. Life passed him by.
When he was old, a younger man visited. "I hear that you believe in God," he said. "How can you with what's happened to you? Don't you sometimes doubt God's love?"
"Yes," the old miner admitted. "Sometimes Satan sits by my bed where you're sitting now. He points out my window to the strong, still-active men I once worked with, and asks, 'Does Jesus love you?' Then he casts a jeering glance around my tattered room, points to the fine homes of my friends, and asks again, 'Does Jesus love you?' Finally Satan points to the grandchild of a friend of mine—a man who has everything I don't—and whispers, 'Does Jesus really love you?' "
"And what do you say?" asked the young man.
"In my mind," the old miner said, "I take Satan by the hand to Calvary. There I point to the thorn-tortured brow, to the nail-pierced hands and feet, and to the spear-wounded side. Then I ask Satan, 'Doesn't Jesus love me?' "
—Bryan Chapell in The Wonder of It All
Here is a brief introduction to Dr. Del Tackett... (more)
Added: August 22, 2007
Here is a brief introduction to Dr. Del Tackett.
Dr. Del Tackett is president of the Focus on the Family Institute and Senior Vice President of Focus on the Family. He is also the chief spokesperson for Focus on the Family's The Truth Project—a nationwide initiative designed to bring the Christian worldview to the body of Christ.
An adjunct professor at New Geneva Theological Seminary and Summit Ministries, Dr. Tackett served more than 20 years in the United States Air Force. During the George H. W. Bush administration, he served at the White House, where he was appointed by President Bush as the director of technical planning for the National Security Council. Dr. Tackett later served in various senior analyst and manager capacities at Kaman Sciences Corporation and ITT Industries.
As a professor, Dr. Tackett has taught more than 30 undergraduate and graduate courses at three different institutions, over a 12 year period. He is also an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church in America. Dr. Tackett holds three earned degrees (D.M., Colorado Technical University; M.S., Auburn University; B.S., Kansas State University).
A sought after conference speaker, Dr. Tackett addresses topics such as American Christian heritage, Christian worldview, technical subjects and management.
Del and his wife Melissa have been married since 1972. They have four grown children.
Visit www.thetruthproject.org for more information.
South Canyon Baptist Church in Rapid City will start the 12-week Truthy Project on Sunday, Jan. 6 at 8:57 am to 10:15 am. Everyone is invited to this life-changing opportunity.
I've pointed to a number of areas over the past few months where Mike Huckabee comes up short in the area of moral discernment (an odd thing to say about a Baptist preacher, but I'm convinced it's true).
But here's another area where Huckabee comes up short: economics. When he talks business, he sounds like one of these Marxists in the Democrat Party. He seems to think when business succeeds, it's only does so by cheating "the little guy" somehow. He seems to think the policies of Ronald Reagan, which brought this country out of a economic tailspin and into unprecedented growth, personify "greed.
Here's what Jeffrey Lord has to say about Mike Huckabee, and the Club for Growth's exposure of his Marxist rhetoric, in the American Spectator:
The Club is famous for delving into the records of GOP candidates for not just the presidency but other offices as well, carefully combing the fine print of their speeches, programs and votes as office-holder or candidate and matching them to the Reagan ideal. Mike Huckabee, it seems, has supported any number of taxes while governor, and the Club has inevitably zeroed in on his economic beliefs.
What disconcerts is Huckabee's gut level response. Instead of either defending his record or admitting to a mistake or challenging the views of the Club he said this: "The Club for Greed, I call them. They hate that. Oh, they hate it. And I enjoy giggin' them about it..."
Hello? Is the Republican Party seriously considering nominating a candidate whose instinctive response to criticism from Reaganites is to use the favorite code word of Reagan's enemies? Does Huckabee really believe that Reaganomics represents a philosophy of greed? Does he agree that the 1980s was "The Decade of Greed"?
Can a poor or middle class person be greedy? Is the guy or gal spending hard-earned money on video lottery or lottery tickets not greedy for big winnings? Is the person who looks at the wealthy with such (jealous?) contempt not greedy? Liberalism itself feeds greed--greed for what others have.
Is there greed in parts of the private sector? Sure. Is there malfeasance and wrongdoing? Sure. But advocating that government simply take over and redistribute wealth--which is where Huckabee's kind of rhetoric is leading--is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater, or blowing your head off to cure a headache.
Where criminal activities occur in the business world, prosecute them. Where immoral and unethical behavior occurs, encourage morality and ethics (I know that even though they hate the unethical behavior, liberals somehow can't bring themselves to encourage morality).
But penalizing business simply for being successful, or taking wealth away from one person and giving it to another who has not earned it is simply a form of legalized plunder, or legal theft.
We don't want our government to be a legalized thief. It's not only immoral, but who knows when someday they might decide you have too much money...
Mark D. Tooley has an informative expose on the ultra-liberal National Council of Churches (NCC) proposed “Social Creed for the 21st Century.” The new creed, an updated of their 1908 one, is intended to infuse new life in an organization which is withering under the weight of its own liberalism and counter-Biblical positions.
While it is accurate to say that modern liberalism is in almost every way counter to Biblical counsel, Tooley goes on to explain why this is so, and why the vision of liberalism--and the NCC--is so flawed:
Accurately, the NCC’s new president, Archbishop Vicken Aykazian told the NCC’s General Assembly in November, “We Christians, we thought the 20th century was going to be a century of peace and prosperity, and we were wrong! … [The 20th century was] a century of bloodshed.” But the left-leaning mainline Protestants who dominate the NCC are loath to recognize the persistence of human sinfulness. Instead, they assume an array of government or multilateral initiatives, backed by the right motivations and sufficient funding, will extinguish poverty and war forever.
Now, as in 1908, the church council focuses nearly exclusively on the power of the state to impose its secularized vision of God’s Kingdom. Universal health care, more public education, more social security, redistributive tax policies, and restricted global trade. The only wars that seem to concern the NCC’s Creed writers are those waged by the U.S. That U.S. power, and not the United Nations, deters countless other wars goes unacknowledged. The role of church, family, cultural traditions, and other mediating institutions in creating a more just society are likewise and revealingly unmentioned.
This failure to recognize and acknowledge the sinful nature of man is what puts liberalism at odds with everything the Bible teaches--and at odds with how America was designed to function, since the Founders recognized man's fallen nature and worked to block it at every turn in our government.
The Bible teaches that, since the Garden of Eden and the fateful choice made by Adam and Eve to do it their way instead of God's way, humanity has been born with a sinful nature. This sinful nature means that humans are born with a predisposition to do the wrong thing, to put radical self-interest above conformity to God's character.
The only way to overcome this sinful nature is to become "born again," as Jesus put it in John chapter 3. Even then, the Christian's new born-again nature wrestles with the old sinful nature we're born with...and sin can be so attractive that we don't always allow our new nature to win.
But the failure to acknowledge this is why liberalism is an unworkable, dead-end philosophy. It assumes that if you can just remove all the negative environmental influences in the world (poverty, injustice, disease, etc.) that humans will naturally make the right choices.
The Bible says exactly the opposite, and the last century--filled with more innovation, disease-control and wealth than ever before--has proven it by being the most bloody century in human history.
The Founders of America recognized this fallen nature of man. It's why they created a Constitution to define in law our ideals and governmental parameters, set up the three-part government (executive, legislative, judicial), why they built-in checks and balances throughout our government, why they instituted federalism to share power between the central government and the states, and it's why they encouraged an informed and free citizenry. These all work together to diffuse that sinful human nature that, if concentrated in a central government, tends toward oppression.
It's why empowering government beyond its constitutional limits and making free people more dependent on government are so dangerous. This is why liberal efforts to undermine the Constitutional rule of law, the proper checks on government, and federalism all so disturb me. When we undermine these things, we undermine what makes our country work. When we undermine these things, we undermine the security of our own freedom.
And I am particularly disappointed that groups like the NCC fail to realize all this. Being Christian, having the same Bible that the rest of us have, they of all people should know this. The church is the conscience of our society; it should know better than this.
But then again, as I said before, that old fallen nature can still kick in, even among people who have a Bible. That fallen nature is what leads us away from the Bible and God's counsel, and toward the same mistake that Adam made in the Garden: I'll do it my way.
It's why, as Tooley said of the NCC, "For them, political creeds are the desired alternative."
Pro-family groups in California are trying to fight off bill that mandates gay indoctrination in schools. Situation serves as warning to other states
It appears three out of four Americans support stem cell research, if it doesn’t require death of human embryos
Importance of family-life for infants is underscored in Harvard study on orphans and effects of timely adoption
Click here to listen.
James Dobson Family Minute - Dr. James Dobson
Author Dr. James Dobson and colleague Dr. Bill Maier stress the benefits of a mother and father who are committed to each other.
Click here to listen.
From OneNewsNow, David Barton says what I've been saying in response to some assertions that Christians shouldn't prefer Christians when they consider their vote for office holders:
But David Barton, founder and president of WallBuilders, says Whitehead's assertion is completely ridiculous and a complete rewriting of Article VI. Voters who oppose Romney because he is Mormon, says Barton, do not need to be intimidated by Article VI -- which he believes is the intent of the current effort.
"Article VI has nothing to do with Romney's faith anymore than it had anything to do with Kennedy's faith," states the Christian historian. "It has to do only with preventing the establishment of a national church, and citizens are free to use religion or any other criteria they want in choosing whoever they want for president."
According to Barton, Article VI is a limitation only on the federal government -- not on the rights of individual citizens. "It was one of the clauses to make sure that there was no national denomination," he explains. "So if the federal government can't have a religious test -- such as the federal government [saying] you have to all be Mormons, or Anglicans, or Baptists, or Methodists, or whatever -- then there's no chance of having a national church."
I don't know if it's a systematic campaign by liberals to undermine the application of constitutional freedoms, or whether education on government and civics has become so dumbed-down that people simply don't understand this kind of thing anymore.
The limitations on government seldom apply to individuals. Our Founders believed individuals should have as much freedom as reasonably possible, but they also believed that government needed to be restrained in order for individuals to keep on enjoying those freedoms. That's why the government is prohibited from requiring a religious test for office.
But private individuals have the right to their opinions, and their preferences. And they can and should exercise that right.
And as John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, said,
"Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."
Thursday, December 27, 2007
I tuned in to South Dakota Focus "A Year in Review" on PBS tonight. The show featured a panel of news hounds, including Pat Powers (South Dakota War College) and Todd Epp (SD Watch). The panel also included Carson Walker of SD Associated Press, Bill Harlan of the Rapid City Journal (by phone), and Greg Belfrage, a radio host at KELO AM in Sioux Falls.
I thought Pat and Todd's answers at the beginning were actually the most reasonable, stating that it's hard to judge the impact of some of the "top stories" of the year, such as Hyperion and TransCanada, since they might have a long-term impact, or they might just bubble up and not amount to anything. It's too early to tell the impact of some stories because their events are not yet fully developed.
Todd was "shameless" about how the Dan Sutton and Ted Klaudt issues had driven traffic to the blogs to discuss these moral issues.
Greg Belfrage, who has a radio show and used to publish a blog, said that most of his radio listeners aren't following the presidential campaign yet, "it's too far out." Greg floated the idea that the country might want to consider moving to regional primaries where states like South Dakota with a late primary aren't left out of the picture.
On the issue of the education funding lawsuit, Pat voiced my opinion that, if people believe public education is underfunded, then the people need to elect representatives who will vote in the legislature according to their priorities--government agencies suing other agencies for more tax dollars is silly and financially irresponsible.
The host Richard Muller asked why abortion didn't make the top 10 list, and Greg said he believed there was a burnout factor, though it's an issue that will definitely be back. Pat said that the defeat last year was due to the lack of rape/incest and health exceptions, but that no matter what happens, any bill will end up in the courts for a while.
Todd also mentioned the the Shawn Cable issue and the surprising amount of interest it generated. It almost seemed like a version of "Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?"
During the discussion of the Sanford hospital donation, Todd said Sanford was a "modern-day robber-barron." (Marx would be proud, Todd.)
In the discussion of Hyperion, Todd said he had worked at a refinery during college, and that on the downside, they were smelly, etc. but were necessary for our energy needs and also provided jobs.
The Elijah Page execution was a #1 story on many lists, and Bill Harlan said everyone in the Black Hills area was hyper-aware of it. Harlan said what struck him was the "sheer ordinariness" of it. He said it was easy, bloodless and routine, and that struck him as "kinda odd, I guess."
On the issue of the Iraq war, Greg and Pat talked about it on a personal level, of how people come together to raise support for care packages and other needs for those deployed, and how people are more concerned for their friends and neighbors who are involved, than in the politics of it.
On the subject of under-reported stories, Walker said the diminishing number of kids going into the school system and the effect that's going to have across several segments of society.
Greg said he thought the Ted Klaudt story was over-reported. He said it was despicable, but it only impacts a few people greatly.
Todd said open government/open records was under-reported and commended the Argus Leader for their efforts.
Pat said the mayoral race in Rapid City was under-reported, with things like critical emails, slimy mailings, and drunken transvestites.
Harlan said Iraq was under-reported. He said we're at war but many of us don't have to make any sacrifices.
Muller said he believed anything Native-American had been under-reported.
Harlan also talked about how huge the TIFs and Cabela's deal was in the Rapid City area.
Greg said the "nanny state" issues have really gotten out of control and are infringing on property rights.
As for the blogger panelists, I think that, regardless of ideological bent, they represented the blogosphere positively and professionally. Good job, guys!
The Black Hills Pioneer ran a story a few days ago on the Ingalls family who live near Faith. I'm honored to know them; they are a special bunch of folks.
Robert and JoDee (in the picture, JoDee is left, with Sandy Rhoden holding the Ingalls' baby Joey) have 13 children, five of whom are adopted, and many of them have special needs. Here's a little of what the article said:
Today, the oldest child in the family is 15-years old. From there the family has almost every other age covered, with ages including 14, 13, 11, 9, two 8-year olds, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1-year old. Of them all, five have downs syndrome, one is also severely autistic, one has fetal alcohol syndrome, one was exposed to methamphetamines, and another was exposed to another drug. They're all special, and they all bring a specific attribute to the family unit which helps bind them together.
"It just works here," JoDee said. "We are really set up and geared toward the children and their needs. We have always been very interested in special needs. There was a time when we were afraid of it, until our first child had downs syndrome. She just really shattered the myths that we had. We had a lot of false concepts about people who have disabilities. We realize that it's not so bad after all."
We frequently here pro-abortion folks cite birth defects as a reason why we need to keep abortion available. However, even if caring for a child with birth defects is too much for a woman or family, there are plenty of families out there who are willing and even eager to adopt children with special needs.
Families like the Ingalls (and I know other families like them) have an exceptional love and selflessness that, I'll be honest, I cannot claim. But folks like this exist, and they're not as rare as you might think. So it's particularly vexing to me when I hear pro-abortion folks want to end the lives of children who aren't perfect, even before they can get out of the womb. Baby Joey narrowly escaped abortion himself, when his sisters were aborted in the womb he also was in, and the abortion of his sisters has a lot to do with why he has many health problems
The world needs more selfless, loving people like the Ingalls'.
The latest from Operation Enduring Freedom showing the activities of American troops in country. Produced by AFN-Afghanistan.
Focusing on the latest news from Operation Iraqi Freedom. American Forces Network Iraq presents Iraqi Freedom Minute.
According to the Census Bureau and the Las Vegas Review Journal, South Dakota comes in around the middle of the pack in terms of population growth: #20
State July 2007 July 2006 %Change
South Dakota 796,214 788,467 1.0
There's been a lot of buzz about homeschooler support of Mike Huckabee, as a OneNewsNow article illustrates. It even contains a funny paragraph about how incredibly dumbfounded elites are about homeschooling:
Huckabee's Iowa campaign manager says reporters have been known to ask him strange questions on the subject, and he cited a time when one mainstream media outlet asked, "How do home schoolers communicate with each other?" To which a sarcastic Woolson replied, "They use telepathy."
We homeschool, so I appreciate this article.
However, I have to wonder how many of the homeschooling families (who are typically conservative) know that Huckabee isn't too keen on vouchers, and is pretty fond of throwing even more money at an abysmally failing public education system? That, in addition to the host of other areas where Huckabee leans Left? If they knew Huckabee's actual record, as opposed to what he's saying these days, would they still support him over a real conservative?
The "Great White Fleet"...16 battleships that embarked on a 14-month voyage around the world to show the power of the U.S., marks its 100th anniversary this month.
From Renewing Your Mind - Dr. R.C. Sproul
Is poverty a sign of lack of faith? What does the Bible teach about wealth and poverty? Are Christians allowed to have more than they need?
Series: Making Tough Moral Decisions
Click here to listen
CNS News is pointing out something I've said about Mitt Romney before: he was pretty spineless when the royal Mass. Supreme Court decreed that homosexuals should be able to "marry."
former state legislator Brian Camenker claims that Romney's moves during the period leading up to the May 17 implementation of the court's order actually helped grease the skids for gay marriage in the Bay State.
The November 2003 Massachusetts high court ruling said that the rights and privileges of marriage had to be applied to everyone -- including same-sex couples -- under the state constitution. It gave the Massachusetts Legislature 180 days to act on a homosexual marriage law.
By April 2004, lawmakers had not acted. But Romney had. Camenker said not only had the governor ordered JPs to perform gay marriages, but he also issued new marriage certificates that replaced the titles "husband" and "wife" with "Party A" and "Party B."
"The legislature never acted. He didn't have to do anything," said Camenker, who is currently president of MassResistance, a suburban Boston-based anti-gay marriage group. "Romney was a major force in creating same-sex marriage."
Of course Romney claims he had no choice but to do this. But the Supreme Court had zero authority to order this, as evidenced by the fact that the court told the legislature it had to act; if such a decision already had a legal basis, there would have been no need for the legislature to do anything.
And if the courts get to create law (which they they have no authority to do), then why could they not decree that a man could marry his cat, or that a woman could marry her son? If the source of authority for what's right and wrong depends on a court majority, then these would be just as legitimate as a decree that two men can shack up, have sex with each other and call it "marriage."
We don't need a president who lets himself be led around by the nose by people who have no authority.
According to OneNewsNow, Judicial Watch says four of the current presidential candidates are on their "Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians" list:
The public-interest group says former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani were the two Republicans on the list, while Senators Barack Obama (D-Illinois) and Hillary Clinton (D-New York) made the list from the Democratic side. Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton says Mrs. Clinton has a long and "sordid" ethics record dating back to when she first entered public life -- and in 2007 the scandals continued.
Interesting that Mike Huckabee would be on this list, with all his support from Christians and other conservatives. Hmmmm. Maybe he isn't as conservative as he says he is?
Time Releases Annual List Of Least Influential Americans
Time Magazine's eagerly anticipated annual list of the 299 million least influential Americans hits newsstands this week.
Commentary Magazine features a long but interesting piece by Jay Lefkowitz, a lawyer and White House advisor.
The piece deals specifically with stem cell research and the process through which President Bush decided to allow taxpayer-funded embryonic stem cell research only on those lines where the human embryos were already destroyed.
This decision drew predictable disappointment on both sides of the issue, but Lefkowitz's article illustrates that it was a decision Bush didn't take lightly. It is also very informative about the entire issue and the arguments on both sides.
Don't forget to click the "next page" link at the bottom of the first page. It's long, but worth the read.
By Carrie K. Hutchens
I just took a poll of the people around me and it was unanimous -- no votes for Hillary! What makes any other poll fairer or more unfair than the one I just conducted?
There was a time when I respected polling and thought there was some positive benefit to conducting them and studying the results. I suppose that was when companies, candidates and others truly wanted to know what the people thought. It was before the rigged questions with answers that were likely to get a specific (and determined) end result. It was before the rigged polls were used to sway public opinion. After all, there are some people who go with the numbers, rather than deciding for self. And, by wording the questions just so... one can often plant other false information in the minds of unwitting people. The Terri Schiavo case comes to mind. (Full Article)
Could 2008 turn into a virtual Tale of Two Nations in the U.S.? We'll look at what the New Year and an Election could bring
Pro-abortion forces deny link between breast cancer and abortion. But a new look at European data says there is a correlation
Latest attack on marriage is an idea that calls for "privatizing" the concept. But what does it mean?
Click here to listen.
It was the kind of breakthrough scientists had dreamed of for decades and its promise to help cure disease appears to be fast on the way to being realized.
Researchers in November announced they were able to turn the clock back on skin cells and transform them into stem cells, the mutable building blocks of organs and tissues.
Then just earlier this month a different team announced it had cured sickle cell anemia in mice using stem cells derived from adult mouse skin.
"This is truly the Holy Grail: To be able to take a few cells from a patient -- say a cheek swab or few skin cells -- and turn them into stem cells in the laboratory," said Robert Lanza, a stem cell pioneer at Advanced Cell Technology.
"This work represents a tremendous scientific milestone - the biological equivalent of the Wright Brothers' first airplane," he told AFP.
"It's bit like learning how to turn lead into gold."
Amazingly, there remain some who STILL insist in destroying human life in embryonic stem cell research--even after this breakthrough, and even after the numerous adult stem cell treatments that have ALREADY helped people.
I knew there were many adult stem cell successes, but had never actually counted them. Well, the Family Research Council has done so, and it turns out the adult stem cell successes to embryonic stem cell successes is a little, um, lopsided:
Let's end our embrace of the culture of death, and choose life. It's not only more ethical, it's more productive!
Focusing on the latest news from Operation Iraqi Freedom. American Forces Network Iraq presents Iraqi Freedom Minute.
It's good to see I'm not the only one who feels this way about the new dollar coins with the "In God We Trust" printed on the edge.
From Baptist Press:
The coins feature what the mint calls edge-incused inscriptions -- used in other countries -- of the year of minting or issuance, "E Pluribus Unum," "In God We Trust" and the mint mark. The size, weight and metal composition of the presidential coins is identical to that of the Sacagawea Golden Dollar. The 2005 congressional bill mandated the inscriptions be placed along the edge to allow "larger and more dramatic artwork" on the front and back. It was not a decision made by the mint.
But some coins made it through production without having the inscriptions stamped on the edge, and some experts say the wording on the coin's edge could rub off over time. Others expressed concern that moving the "In God We Trust" motto to the side of the coins was the first step in removing it altogether.
"Since the colonial beginnings of the United States, citizens of this nation have officially acknowledged their dependence on God," Brownback said in a news release Dec. 6. "It is important that our national motto, 'In God We Trust,' is prominently displayed on all of our currency. We should not relegate our heritage to the side."
The inscription on the side is not nearly as prominent as one so important should be. I've also seen lots of quarters where the ribbing on the side has been rubbed smooth. And given the anti-Christian sentiment among elites in this country, I suspected this move might be some precursor to removing "In God We Trust" altogether.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
PIERRE, S.D. -- Motorists in South Dakota now have a valuable new tool to help them travel safely.
The South Dakota Department of Transportation announced today that camera images of Interstate highways are now available on its traveler information Web site, www.SafeTravelUSA.com/sd.
Love INC's motto is "Mobilizing Churches to Transform Lives and Communities in the Name of Christ." Love INC's approach is the superior, life-changing way to extend compassion to those in need.
From the latest Love INC newsletter...
An excerpt from the testimony of one family that went through Love INCs Budgeting Program:
We experienced freedom when we learned to be intentional about spending. We use cash for purchases (people spend 30% less money when they use cash). We started a savings account, balanced our bank statements, and after a year, miraculously, we were debt free. It was awesome. About four months later we incurred some unavoidable medical debt, but this time we prayed together and had a plan to pay it off. We weren't discouraged; God gave us hope and vision. It is not about putting your security in money--it is about trusting God and being in His will.
A new Love INC Budgeting Program 10-week class starts on Thursday, January 3 in Rapid City. Visit www.loveincinline.com or call 605-718-5683 for more info. (I know a manager from a major national finance company that volunteers his time to teach some of these classes--it's a great thing!)
Love INC could also use some help with child care on Thursday nights. The newsletter says, "Helping as little as four times a year can truly bless these children and their families. Call Janene at 484-4313 for more information."
The newsletter also tells about the new Successful Living classes Love INC started in September. They help people "live with a purpose while minimizing the things that hold them back." Here are some of the topics: Life Values, Time Management, Boundaries, Truth and Lies, Relationships, and Personality SHAPE. People from Pennington County Extension, Cornerstone Women's Home, Lutheran Social Services, Living in Reconciliation Counseling and others came together to develop this curriculum.
Volunteering your time or financial contributions would be most welcome. Contact Love INC Executive Director John Ligtenberg or anyone at Love INC about how you can help extend the true compassion to those in need--and help transform lives for the better!
At CNS News, Robert Novak details a "Rogue CIA" which is part of what I've referred to as a "shadow government" operating to undermine President Bush and our national security interest.
In the piece, Novak talks about the CIA destruction of interrogation tapes, Valerie Plame, and the myopic National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) which says Iran is now a good little boy when it comes to their quest for nukes.
Bush has not taken a firm enough hand with these shadow government types. I had hoped he might clean up the State Department and CIA, among others. However, there is little or no evidence anything has been cleaned up.
We cannot afford for liberal elements within our government, which should be accountable to elected representatives, do just do their own thing.
CHICAGO, December 26, /Christian Newswire/ -- Peter LaBarbera, longtime pro-family advocate and founder of the Republicans For Family Values website, is calling on pro-family leaders who have endorsed Mitt Romney to withdraw their support for his candidacy in light of his recent comments on NBC's "Meet the Press" supporting pro-homosexual "sexual orientation" state laws. (Full Article)
Answers in Genesis has an article today listing six "Geologic Evidences for the Genesis Flood," for those who have a mind open-enough to seek the truth.
Evidence #1—Fossils of sea creatures high above sea level due to the ocean waters having flooded over the continents.
Evidence #2—Rapid burial of plants and animals.
Evidence #3—Rapidly deposited sediment layers spread across vast areas.
Evidence #4—Sediment transported long distances.
Evidence #5—Rapid or no erosion between strata.
Evidence #6—Many strata laid down in rapid succession.
If you're uncertain about the truth of our origins, or even a skeptic, try purging your mind of any materialistic/naturalistic biases, and just consider the evidence to see if it makes sense. Maybe even more sense that the theories offered by atheists?
The latest from Operation Enduring Freedom showing the activities of American troops in country. Produced by AFN-Afghanistan.
From the Yankton Press & Dakotan, here are the state's top 10 stories as rated by South Dakota Associated Press member newspaper editors and broadcast news directors:
1. The execution of Elijah Page.
2. Sen. Tim Johnson's recuperation.
3. Homestake's selection as a national lab site.
4. The Ted Klaudt case.
5. The DM&E is denied a government loan.
6. A philanthropist gives $400 million for health care.
7. A killer Black Hills fire.
8. The Elk Point area is eyed as a refinery site.
9. The state Senate censures Dan Sutton.
10. Spring rains inundate Aberdeen.
The Elijah Page execution may have actually been the top story, but somehow it doesn't feel like it. After all, we (in Rapid City) didn't have to endure any more 1,900 word violin-accompanied soliloquies about the tragic life of Elijah Page, eclipsing any sympathy toward his victim or his victim's loved ones. One episode of that was more than enough.
If you are in a good marriage, don't take it for granted. That's advice of marriage experts who recently surveyed marriage landscape
When your child takes off for college, it's important for them to find a spiritual home away from home
'In God We Trust' is found on everything from buildings to license plates and 2007 marked 50th anniversary of its appearance on back of one dollar bill
Click here to listen.
Morality without God
Is it possible to build a moral society without belief in God? That's what the "New Atheists" would have you believe. The old atheists would laugh in their face.
Click here to listen.
True, fewer people today live in households with incomes between $30,000 and $100,000 (a reasonable definition of "middle class") than in 1979.
But the number of people in households that bring in more than $100,000 also rose from 12 percent to 24 percent.
There was no increase in the percentage of people in households making less than $30,000.
So the entire "decline" of the middle class came from people moving up the income ladder; for married couples, median incomes have grown in inflation-adjusted dollars by 25 percent since 1979.
It's a simple fact of life that human beings are different. Some will inevitably be better money managers, work harder, make better decisions, take more risks that pay off, and so on down the line. And some of us will simply value a life of less stress and more free time, over the life of 16-hour days and forgotten families that many big-earners live.
Using government to try and erase these differences is not only unbiblical, it's impractical and nonsensical. As communist experiments with doing this have shown us over and over and over, just like the "Animal Farm," equality-schemes will still only establish that "some animals are more equal than others."
The loud-mouthed secularists among us would have us believe that only a few ignorant, drooling primitives are Christians or identify with Christianity. After all, no intelligent person could identify with the silly, superstitious claims of Christianity, right? The reality is a little different.
About 82% of Americans in 2007 told Gallup interviewers that they identified with a Christian religion. That includes 51% who said they were Protestant, 5% who were "other Christian," 23% Roman Catholic, and 3% who named another Christian faith, including 2% Mormon.
Because 11% said they had no religious identity at all, and another 2% didn't answer, these results suggest that well more than 9 out of 10 Americans who identify with a religion are Christian in one way or the other.
The poll really breaks down quite well, taking it down to the point of separating those who are "cultural Christians" and those who take their faith seriously.
It's very informative. I'd recommend reading the whole article.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
From NewsMax, Will Smith is falsely being accused of saying Adolf Hitler was a good person.
Will Smith is angry over celebrity gossip Web site articles that he said misinterpreted a recent remark he made in a Scottish newspaper about Adolf Hitler.
In a story published Saturday in the Daily Record, Smith was quoted saying: “Even Hitler didn’t wake up going, ‘let me do the most evil thing I can do today.’ I think he woke up in the morning and using a twisted, backwards logic, he set out to do what he thought was ’good.”’
The quote was preceded by the writer’s observation: “Remarkably, Will believes everyone is basically good.”
Over the weekend, dozens of celebrity gossip Web sites posted articles about the comment, many saying that Smith believed that Hitler was a “good” person.
I wouldn't give you a nickle for rap music--even the clean stuff--but I've always liked Will Smith as an actor. And from personal interviews I've seen of him, he seems like a nice guy.
Despite this, I think the media generally has a positive impression of him, too, which is why I'm reluctant to put this false accusation down to malice.
At the same time, even knowing liberals like I do, I still find it hard to admit that some in the media could be this stupid as to misinterpret what he said.
It's something I've said a number of times myself. Most if not all evil people don't believe what they're doing is evil. They have a rationale for why what they're doing is good, whether their name is Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Saddam Hussein, or John Doe down the street.
It goes back to the fact that right and wrong aren't subjective and they aren't dependent on our feelings ("Well, I don't feel that's wrong"). Something is wrong based on the fact that it mistreats another human being and/or violates the character of our Creator, regardless of what we think or feel about it.
Sadly, many today can't grasp this truth, as the hard time they're giving Smith proves.
And the fact that he DOES get it just raised my opinion of him yet another notch.
God's Blessings Your Way!
I remember during the 2006 abortion ban campaign that we were told that no religion in the world prohibited abortion, that it was just something us fundamentalist Bible-thumpers made up.
I knew that was categorically false and refuted it at the time, but here is fresh proof of this falsehood.
From YnetNews.com, Israel's Chief Rabbinate says abortions are a grave sin, and is working to reduce abortions in Israel:
"The vast majority of abortions are unnecessary and strictly forbidden according to halacha because they are carried out even when the pregnancies do not endanger the mother's health," the rabbis wrote in their decision.
The rabbis believe that these types of abortions are a grave sin which may even delay the coming of the messiah. They base this assumption on an expression uttered by the Jewish sages which can be construed as signifying that the messiah will not arrive until all souls meant to be born to Jewish mothers are in fact born.
The halachic basis for the rabbis anti-abortion position is articulated in Genesis 9:6 which reads: "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man."
The rabbis see fetuses as constituting a "man" based on a Gemara passage which states that a fetus in its mother's womb should already be considered a human being.
While there have been those religions in the past that have celebrated death (Mayan, Caananite, etc.), the world's major religions have always treasured life, from the womb to the tomb.
The only major religion today that celebrates death is humanism, and you can't be a faithful Christian, Jew, or Muslim and a humanist at the same time.
Isaiah 9:6-7 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David's throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
By Steve Tanska
“’For as [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he’ (Proverbs 23:7). If there is anything peculiar to the Protestant churches which emerged from the Reformation, it is this: All life must be grounded in truth. That which we believe is going to determine what we do, and the life we live will spring inevitably from the beliefs that we hold.” D. James Kennedy, Truths that Transform.
WAS JESUS OF NAZARETH A REAL PERSON?
Viterbo Italy, north of Rome, 2006. Atheist Luigi Cascioli sued Rev. Enrico Righi for allegedly deceiving people into thinking Jesus was an actual historical figure. The judge eventually threw the case out, but it leaves the question for those who do not know; Would the atheist have won in court? Could he have won? What is the evidence? What should we believe?
This article will touch on some of the evidence and also ask the question; “who is Jesus?” (Full Article)
Monday, December 24, 2007
JESSICA YELLIN: [Iowa voters] really take this process as a legitimate experience and feel entitled to ask "how are you going to fix my life?"
How pathetic and sad that some people sit around, looking to politicians to "fix my life."
HT to Free Republic.
Bob Smith was a New Hampshire Republican senator who drew praise from the pro-life community for helping to lead the fight to ban partial-birth abortions. Now, the lawmaker is weighing in on the Republican presidential battle and has thrown his support to Rep. Duncan Hunter, a pro-life congressman thought to have little chance of capturing the nomination. Describing him has an “inspirational leader” and the one best qualified to carry the “Reagan Torch,” Senator Smith sent a letter to his fellow conservatives throughout New Hampshire making them aware of his support. “Congressman Duncan Hunter for 25 years has stood up for the rights of the unborn,” Smith said in the letter the Hunter campaign provided to LifeNews.com. “If you really want to see change, then I urge you to vote for him. He is what American needs now more than ever.”
The Rapid City Journal and Bismark Tribune have an article about some "artistic license" taken with the geography of the Black Hills in the new "National Treasure" movie:
If the sequence followed reality, the characters would find themselves in front of a nondescript tunnel carved 70 feet deep into the rock where Rushmore sculptor Gutzon Borglum once envisioned putting a "Hall of Records." Borglum's plan was to house historical documents such as the Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence there and make it accessible to visitors.
The sculptor's plan was never completed, but the actual tunnel does feature a capsule sealed with a granite capstone holding including a biography of the artist, stories of his struggles to carve the memorial and other Mount Rushmore historical data.
The Hollywood version takes a different route.
Once the movie's treasure hunters climb the metal staircase, they wind up on a beautiful lake that actually doesn't exist at Mount Rushmore. The real location of the shot is Sylvan Lake, about 30 miles away in Custer State Park.
Sylvan Lake is perhaps the most beautiful lake in the Black Hills. The trailers I've seen which show Sylvan Lake look very breathtaking.
Even with the "liberties" taken with geography, I look forward to seeing all this fit together in the movie.
By Gordon Garnos
AT ISSUE: While this may be the season of love, generosity and devotion, it is also the season of the spin. That season started when the wannabes started their campaigns for President and other high offices and it will continue in one form or another until at least next November when voters will have an opportunity to put the skids to it. Doing away with term limits in South Dakota also seems to surface about this time of year as our legislators prepare to go to Pierre. Whether or not South Dakota ever gets rid of term limits for its elected leaders, we should not even consider term limiting Santa Clause. (Full Article)
Today's Washington Times has an article on the "resurgence" of atheism, quoting Nick Gillespie, editor of Reason, a libertarian magazine.
"To the extent that this administration has been seen as a complete failure," he said, "on the right, you'll see a reach for a new kind of conservatism. It will have more in common with atheism that says religion should not be part of politics."
If that turns out to be the case, then this kind of conservatism will have severed itself from normal conservatism, which looks to the historical roots of America and finds...oh my, religious faith at the heart of this nation's founding.
I would remind Mr. Gillespie of the following statements by America's Founders and elder statesmen:
"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists but by Christians, not on religion but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ." - Patrick Henry
"I am a Christian, that is to say a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus. I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our Creator and, I hope, to the pure doctrine of Jesus also." - Thomas Jefferson
"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports...And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion." - George Washington's Farewell Address 1796
"We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind of self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God." - James Madison
"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." - John Adams
"Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers." - John Jay, First Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
"Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise. In this sense and to this extent, our civilizations and our institutions are emphatically Christian." - Richmond v. Moore, Illinois Supreme Court, 1883
"Can it be, that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a Nation with its Virtue? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices?" - George Washington
Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion whose morality is so sublime and pure…are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments. – Charles Carroll, signer of the Declaration of Independence
Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters. – Benjamin Franklin
Sensible of the importance of Christian piety and virtue to the order and happiness of a state, I cannot but earnestly commend to you every measure for their support and encouragement – John Hancock
Righteousness alone can exalt them [America] as a nation…The great pillars of all government and of social life: I mean virtue, morality and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone, that renders us invincible. – Patrick Henry.
The practice of morality being necessary for the well-being of society…We all agree in the obligation of the moral precepts of Jesus and nowhere will they be found delivered in greater purity than in His discourses. – Thomas Jefferson
The Holy Scriptures…can alone secure to society, order and peace, and to our courts of justice and constitutions of government, purity, stability, and usefulness. In vain, without the Bible, we increase penal laws and draw entrenchments around our institutions. Bibles are strong entrenchments. Where they abound, men cannot pursue wicked courses. – James McHenry, signer of the Constitution, Secretary of War
I believe that religion is the only solid base of morals and that morals are the only possible support of free governments. Therefore education should teach the precepts of religion and the duties of man toward God. – Gouverneur Morris, penman and signer of the Constitution
Religion and morality…are necessary to good government, good order and good laws, for “when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice” – William Paterson, signer of the Constitution, U.S. Supreme Court Justice
Without the restraints of religion and social worship, men become savages. – Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration
Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled either by a power within them or by a power without them; either by the Word of God or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible or by the bayonet. – Robert Winthrop, Speaker of the U.S. House
As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, so they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes and effects, Providence punishes national sins by national calamities. – George Mason, Father of the Bill of Rights
The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained. – George Washington’s Inaugural Address
The law…dictated by God Himself is, of course, superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times. No human laws are of any validity if contrary to this. – Alexander Hamilton, signer of the Constitution
Let it never be forgotten that there can be no genuine freedom where there is no morality, and no sound morality where there is no religion…Hesitate not a moment to believe that the man who labors to destroy these two great pillars of human happiness…is neither a good patriot nor a good man. – Jeremiah Smith, Revolutionary soldier, judge, U.S. Congressman, Governor of New Hampshire
It yet remains a problem to be solved in human affairs whether any free government can be permanent where the public worship of God and the support of religion constitute no part of the policy or duty of the state in any assignable shape. – Joseph Story, U.S. Supreme Court Judge, Father of American Jurisprudence
Whatever makes men good Christians, makes them good citizens. – Daniel Webster
Christianity to which the sword and the fagot [burning stake or hot branding iron] are unknown—general tolerant Christianity is the law of the land. – Daniel Webstser
The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were…the general principles of Christianity. – John Adams
The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws…All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible. – Noah Webser
Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is divine. – James Wilson, signer of the Constitution, U.S. Supreme Court Judge
Whoever is an avowed enemy of God, I scruple not to call him an enemy to his country…God grant that in America true religion and civil liberty may be inseparable and that the unjust attempts to destroy one may in the issue tend to the support and establishment of both. – John Witherspoon, signer of the Declaration
No country on earth ever had it more in its power to attain these blessings than United America. Wondrously strange, then, and much to be regretted indeed it would be, were we to neglect the means and to depart from the road which Providence has pointed us to so plainly; I cannot believe it will ever come to pass. – George Washington (how deeply sad that we have betrayed Washington’s confidence)
"The frustrating thing is that those who are attacking religion claim they are doing it in the name of tolerance, freedom and open-mindedness. Question: Isn't the real truth that they are intolerant of religion? They refuse to tolerate its importance in our lives." - Ronald Reagan
But the greatest injury of the “wall” notion is its mischievous diversion of judges from the actual intentions of the drafters of the Bill of Rights…The “wall of separation between church and State” is a metaphor based on bad history, a metaphore which has proved useless as a guide to judging. It should be frankly and explicitly abandoned. – the late Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court William Rehnquist
If the Christian faith is ever successfully removed from the public life of this nation, this nation will be doomed, just as surely as if someone had put a gun to its head and pulled the trigger.
From today's front page Rapid City Journal:
Even on Christmas Eve, you can't seem to get away from this environmental nonsense. Is somebody intentionally trying to spoil my Christmas?
Nah, not going to let it work. Remember that Christ, the creator of this world that some would rather worship than Him, is the reason for the season.
Here's an interesting Letter to the Editor of the Rapid City Journal, this Christmas Eve:
Timeless holiday wish written in America’s constitution
Stan Adelstein recently shared the following holiday sentiment from a neighbor: “Last night as I stood in my yard, I admired your Menorah and my Christmas lights. I thanked God that you and I live in a place where peace prevails.” His neighbor could have said, “May congress never establish a religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof...” which of course has already been said. Cast in stone, forged in iron.
In a world where religious extremism is on the rise — suicide bombers on the one hand, secret visits to the White House by conservative Christians on the other, indoctrination of children by all and sundry — America is faced with a difficult challenge to the first precept of a remarkable self-governing plan.
So this Christian wishes everyone he knows and ever hopes to meet a Merry Christmas.
And he would be pleased and honored to be wished the equivalent greeting by those who enjoy the unfettered celebration of their respective faiths in the greatest country in the world.
LAWRENCE M. KOSTANESKI
Notice how, as this "Christian" sings the praises of Stan Adelstein, he manages to somehow, accidentally I'm sure, equate pro-family Christians with suicide bombers.
"I wish 'everyone he knows and ever hopes to meet' a Merry Christmas, even as I smear and malign those of the same faith I claim to be a part of." Hmmm...
Sunday, December 23, 2007
How do you define "worldview"? What is your "worldview"?
South Canyon Baptist Church in Rapid City will start the 12-week Truth Project on Jan. 6 at 8:57 am - 10:15 am. Even if you attend another church, you may still have time to come and then go worship at your church.
Visit www.thetruthproject.org for more information.
Doug Giles has a great column out entitled "10 Reasons Why Pastors Avoid the Culture War."
I've seen pastors that fit any number of these descriptions. Fortunately, this type isn't as common in South Dakota. There are some outstanding men of God around here that, when it comes time to do business for Christ in the public square, you know they're going to be there.
For the rest of you...well, read these reasons and ask yourself if any of these fit you. Then go read Giles' description to be sure.
If these do fit you, then it's time to fix it. God is counting on you and your congregation needs your leadership. The coming year is too important to sit-out for any of these reasons.
1. Fear of man.
4. Last Days madness.
6. They don’t want to lose their tax exempt status.
7. They bathe in paltry pietism.
8. They have bought into the Taliban comparison.
9. They can’t say “no” to minutiae.
10. They likey the money.
Alan Aker has an important column in the Rapid City Journal today.
Alan tells a bit about himself and his background because, as he says, he's received letters from readers who seem to think he's some silver-spoon fat-cat who has no idea what it's like to be poor.
You know that I’m a Republican who thinks government spends too much money trying to help people and takes too much money from wealthy people. You know that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with people having to pay $3 a gallon for gas.
You don’t know the whole story.
You don’t know that I grew up in a trailer house next to a wood treating plant and wore homemade shirts to middle school. You don’t know that I’ve been on welfare.
You don’t know that 15 years ago, I supported a family on less than $18,000 in income.
I am hard on poor people.
It’s because I used to be one.
It’s because I know that for most people,long-term poverty is a choice.
I have received many of those same letters over the years I've been writing.
They don't know I grew up the dirt-poor son of a small farmer who refused to play the big-debt games that some farmers do. I grew up without fancy clothes and fancy cars and didn't get to do a whole lot of fun things as a kid--we were always busy trying to keep the farm from going under--which it eventually did.
I've had my times as an adult, too. There was a long stretch where I lived on a can of store-brand spaghetti and a personal-size pizza with some Shasta cola every day until I could dig myself out of a financial disaster I foolishly allowed someone to drag me into. And times were lean again when I stared a new career after getting out of the military.
But I've not taken a single dime of welfare, unemployment, or anything from the government. And I'm proud of that. As any man should, I take pride in having taken care of myself, even when it was tough. Some folks absolutely have to seek the assistance of others for a short time, and that's okay.
But if you don't have the dignity that compels you to do for yourself, then looking to others to meet your needs quickly becomes a way of life. A poor, lousy, unpleasant way of life, but some people actually prefer that to the hard work of meeting their own needs.
I can't speak for Alan, but I suspect he's like me. He's seen enough poverty to know from his heart that he doesn't want people to live that way.
For those who have financial setbacks and major medical problems, there may be no choice. But for those who got that way because they like to drink too much, like drugs too much, like to gamble too much, or just flat don't like the responsibility of a solid work ethic, well, patting them on the head and telling them it isn't their fault isn't going to make it better.
Poverty isn't fun. But for some people, if we remove the unpleasantness of it through reckless government welfare, and if we remove the stigma by telling them it's the fault of some evil rich guy, it's easier for them to stay in that situation than to do the hard work of getting themselves out of it.
Sometimes, long-term poverty is a choice.