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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, July 05, 2008

Curtain Call for Two Principal Actors

American Minute from William J. Federer

They both served in the Continental Congress. One was elected the second President and the other was elected the third. Once political enemies, they became close friends in later life. An awe swept America when they both died on the same day, JULY 4, 1826, exactly 50 years since they passed the Declaration of Independence. Their names were John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

In his Second Annual Message to Congress, December 5, 1826, President John Quincy Adams referred to Jefferson and Adams, stating: "Since your last meeting at this place, the fiftieth anniversary of the day when our independence was declared...two of the principal actors in that solemn scene - the hand that penned the ever-memorable Declaration and the voice that sustained it in debate - were by one summons, at the distance of 700 miles from each other, called before the Judge of All to account for their deeds done upon earth."

President John Quincy Adams added in an Executive Order, July 11, 1826: "A coincidence...so wonderful gives confidence...that the patriotic efforts of these...men were Heaven directed, and furnishes a new...hope that the prosperity of these States is under the special protection of a kind Providence."

William J. Federer is a nationally recognized author, speaker, and president of Amerisearch, Inc, which is dedicated to researching our American heritage. The American Minute radio feature looks back at events in American history on the dates they occurred, is broadcast daily across the country and read by thousand on the internet.

New Study Finds Only 20 Percent of Evangelical Universalists

You might recall a couple of weeks ago a Pew poll was released which made the following startling claim:

Among the more startling numbers in the survey, conducted last year by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life: 57 percent of evangelical church attenders said they believe many religions can lead to eternal life, in conflict with traditional evangelical teaching.

At that time, I pointed out that such a belief is in total contradiction to all Christian teaching.

LifeWay Research, which is associated with the Southern Baptist Convention, did it's own research and found radically different results.

From the Christian Post:
LifeWay Research, associated with the Southern Baptist Convention, found that only two out of 10 evangelicals – as defined by their belief system rather than what church they attend – agreed with the statement that eternal life can be obtained through religions other than Christianity.

Why such a difference? It comes down to a few critical factors. One of those factors is how the term "evangelical" is defined.
"When we define evangelicals as not just those who sit in pews but who agree with certain evangelical beliefs, we find a different picture than was widely reported in the news about the recent Pew study," said Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research, the research arm of LifeWay Christian Resources, in a statement.

The “evangelical” beliefs were based off of The Barna Group’s definition, which include saying one’s faith is very important to one’s life; a commitment to sharing one’s religious beliefs about Christ with non-Christians; believing that eternal salvation is possible only through grace, not works; believing that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; and asserting the Bible is accurate in all its teaching, among other criteria.

In the Pew survey, evangelicals were defined only as those attending evangelical churches. The church I attend is one of the most Biblical churches you'll ever find...and I guarantee you that there are a significant number of people who attend our church (especially the "show-up-for-preaching-and-go-home-for-the-week" crowd) who are probably no more Biblical in their worldview than the guy who's down at the casino while they're spending that 1 hour a week in church.

Some believe another factor may have skewed the Pew results. It comes down to some people defining "denomination" as "religion."
Other critics of the Pew’s definition of evangelical explained that many Christians when asked the question if they belief other faiths other than their own can lead to eternal life mistakenly consider their denomination rather than the Christian religion in their response.

It's not terribly common anymore to use "denomination" and "religion" synonymously, but some people still do. And you'll find that though there are many Christian denominations (Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Methodist, Pentecostal, Church of God, non-denominational, etc.) all believe in Jesus Christ as Savior. Some may vary on doctrinal issues like baptism and such, but all believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation, and also believe that their brethren in other denominations will still join them in heaven (even if their brethren ARE wrong about baptism :-) .

LifeWay asked the question this way:
“How much do you agree/disagree: If a person is sincerely seeking God, he/she can obtain eternal life through religions other than Christianity.”

Two out of ten believing other religions have the answer to eternal life is still too high, given that the Bible is crystal clear that Jesus is the ONLY way to salvation, but it's less alarming than 57%.

$102 Billion Given to Religious Organizations in 2007

Reprinted by permission of The Christian Post

By Elena Garcia
Christian Post Reporter
Fri, Jul. 04 2008 09:56 AM EDT

Giving to religious organizations and congregations hit a record of $100 billion in 2007, according to a recent report by Giving USA Foundation.

The report estimated that religious groups took home $102.3 billion, the greatest share of charitable giving in 2007 among the nine types of charities mentioned in the study. Religious congregations received one-third of the $306.4 billion that went toward U.S. charities.

Half of individual giving, which accounts for the bulk of charitable giving, went to religious groups.

Compared to 2006 data, giving to religious groups increased an estimated 4.7 percent or 1.8 percent adjusted for inflation.

This is also the first year giving to U.S. charities topped $300 billion – a 1 percent increase on an inflation-adjusted basis over the $294.91 billion given in 2006.

The increase in 2007 can be owed to stock market performance in the first half of the year, overall growth in the economy measured by gross domestic product, and increases in corporate and personal income as reported at the end of the year, according to the report.

“Giving USA 2008 shows that a strong start to the economy in 2007 helped lift giving despite worries at year’s end from gasoline prices or the housing and mortgage crises,” said George C. Ruotolo Jr., chair of the Giving Institute.

Researched and written by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, the report examined charities related to Arts/Culture/Humanities, Education, Environment/Animals, Health, Human Services, Public-Society Benefit; International Affairs, Religion and Foundations.

Every subsector saw giving rise except for private foundations, which experienced a 11.9 percent decline in giving when adjusted for inflation.

Charity directors, however, are concerned over whether the such gains would be enough in the coming year.

Janet Valente Pape, executive director of Catholic Charities of Wichita in Kansas, told The Wichita Eagle that while the organization had a 10 percent increase in giving last year, it had more than a 30 percent increase in people seeking food assistance.

"I think the issue is going to continue to be [that] it's not anywhere keeping pace with the demand that we're all experiencing," she said.

Copyright 2008 The Christian Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

How is Happiness Defined? Part 2



Part 1

To make a long research story short, all three countries have legalized abortion, And not only do both Denmark and Colombia have legalized prostitution in common but also, increasingly, gay rights. In 1989, Denmark legalized same-sex relationships. Norway followed suit in 1993, Sweden and Greenland in 1994, and Iceland in 1996 - all granting some but not all of the same rights to gay couples as are provided to heterosexual marriages. Of course, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and Denmark are frequently touted as the “best” countries in many surveys on various topics. So we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that the WVS Association is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden.

But how did Colombia, a country never before mentioned at the top of these lists, suddenly leapfrog the rest of the world? And how is it that Puerto Rico, a commonwealth of the U.S., ranks so much higher than the U.S.?

Not surprisingly, I discovered that Colombia began legalizing abortion in 2006, and in 2007 extended social security and health insurance benefits to same-sex couples, and on April 17, 2008, extended pension benefits to same-sex partners, moving itself rapidly toward legalized gay marriage. And, like the Lutheran church in Denmark, the Catholic church in Colombia is looking the other way.

To check my “tolerance” suspicions, I then analyzed Puerto Rico and, sure enough, its legislature had just rejected a gay marriage ban in June 2008.

Thus, on July 1, 2008, within two months of Colombia’s and Puerto Rico’s favorable gay rights legislation, we have the timely WVS release of “happiness” data (data that was actually collected in 2006) with standings apparently heavily weighted in favor of “tolerance,” and which miraculously vaults Colombia and Puerto Rico to new, unprecedented, and exalted international heights of happiness. I guess one could reasonably equate happiness with the word gay, but this is getting ridiculous.

Researchers of course will say that their data shows that legalized (tolerant) prostitution, abortion, and same-sex marriages raises a nation’s happiness quotient. But the U.S. mean happiness data, the highest in the world as shown on their own charts, disproves that outcome. Clearly, the WVS Association has a social agenda that ignores its own data.

For my part, maybe happiness is really just an individual’s measure of expectations as compared to our past difficulties or to the status quo, to which the Christian faith plays the more significant role. When asked if we are happy, do we really first check our wallets (wealth)? Or our neighbor’s habits (tolerance)? Or do we simply take a moment to search our souls? University researchers might benefit from asking themselves that question in the future before politicizing their WVS data and expecting us to swallow their results.

Anton Kaiser was born in Aberdeen, South Dakota, and retired in Rapid City after serving twenty-seven years as a U.S. Army infantry officer. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, West Point, and holds Masters Degrees in Business and in Public Administration from Webster College, St. Louis, MO. He is also a veteran of Vietnam, Berlin, Operation Just Cause (Panama) and an honor graduate of the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, KS.

Remind Hispanics that it's about freedom


John McCain is trailing Barack Obama by 30 percentage points in support from Hispanic voters, according to this week's polling from Gallup. Even among Hispanics that self-identify as conservatives, McCain and Obama are even.

This is a far cry from 2004 when George W. Bush captured 45 percent of the Hispanic vote. At that time, Republicans were optimistic that Hispanics would become a majority voting bloc for the Republican Party.

The McCain campaign has two operative questions: Can ground be picked up among Hispanic voters? And if so, how?

I hope that the senator sets his sights on Hispanics. If he does it right, he can gain support from them and in so doing, also inject badly needed focus and excitement into his overall campaign.

A year ago, when it was far from clear that John McCain would be the presumptive Republican nominee, his defining issue was the war in Iraq. As public support for the war wavered, he put his popularity on the line, arguing that we must push on. "I'd rather lose an election than lose a war," he said.

Now, as the presumptive Republican nominee, McCain should take this same stubbornness and sense of principle and apply it to the broad agenda he needs to push.

Hispanics are the youngest major demographic group in the country. Their median age is 27, compared to 36 for the overall population. They account for 14 percent of our population today, but this is projected to increase to 29 percent by 2050.

As a population that is young and rapidly increasing, with a growing stake in the future of this country, Hispanics should be thinking hard about what kind of future that will be.

Long-term economic growth is vital. In the U.S. and all over the world, studies have demonstrated that low taxes foster growth and high taxes inhibit it. Hispanic citizens should be taught that keeping taxes low limits the growth of government and is essential to their economic future.

Hispanics should understand that today's entitlements crisis will fall disproportionately on them. Combined spending today on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid is about 8 percent of our gross domestic product. By 2050, when almost a third of Americans will be of Hispanic origin, this entitlement burden will more than double to around 18 percent of our GDP. Our payroll tax burden will also have to double to meet these obligations.

Fundamental reform of entitlements should be of particular interest to Hispanics.

Consider the proposal, now at a standstill, of changing Social Security from a tax-and-spend program to an ownership regime.

According to the Heritage Foundation calculator, today's 27-year-old Hispanic male can expect a -.7 percent return on his payroll taxes at retirement. If he could keep those payroll taxes and invest long-term in a highly diversified portfolio of minimum risk, he'd more than triple his monthly retirement income.

In a 2005 survey done by the Pew Hispanic Center, 49 percent of Hispanics favored personal retirement accounts.

How about education?

Colin Powell's organization, America's Promise, released a study earlier this year reporting the nationwide graduation rate from our public schools at 76.2 percent. Among Hispanics that rate is 57.8 percent. The Los Angeles Unified School District, where the majority of students is Hispanic, had a graduation rate of 45.2 percent.

Hispanics should be clamoring for challenging the government school monopoly and pushing for change that Republicans and conservatives have been championing for years. School choice.

Hispanics should be reminded that they left countries like Mexico, Cuba, and Honduras, where excessive and oppressive governments limit growth and opportunity, to come to a country where opportunity exists. Why would they want to kill the goose laying those eggs of opportunity by supporting the same kinds of ideas about government that they left behind?

Individual freedom, limited government, and traditional values combine to create the American recipe for greatness. McCain must tell the story and provide stark contrast with the big government and moral relativism being sold again by Democrats.

Hispanics may grasp the truth when they hear it.

If not, at least he will have said what needs to be said. After all, everyone's future is at stake.

Star Parker is president of the Coalition on Urban Renewal & Education and author of the new book White Ghetto: How Middle Class America Reflects Inner City Decay.

Prior to her involvement in social activism, Star Parker was a single welfare mother in Los Angeles, California. After receiving Christ, Star returned to college, received a BS degree in marketing and launched an urban Christian magazine. The 1992 Los Angeles riots destroyed her business, yet served as a springboard for her focus on faith and market-based alternatives to empower the lives of the poor.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Obama Reassures Liberal Leader on Faith Based Initiatives

Reprinted by permission of The Christian Post

By Jennifer Riley
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Jul. 03 2008 06:50 PM EDT

A leading progressive Christian leader warned Barack Obama of the “failure” of the faith-based program under President Bush which he hopes the Democratic presidential candidate will avoid if elected to the White House.

Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners, the largest network of progressive Christians in the United States, said he has been “deeply disappointed” with the “politicizing” of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives office along partisan line.

Instead of a partnership between the public sector and the faith community, the initiative became a “substitute for necessary public policies” dealing with poverty in the country under the current administration, Wallis expressed Tuesday.

However, Obama’s speech helped reassure the progressive evangelical leader that the idea of a true faith-public partnership was possible. The new faith-based initiative, according to Wallis, would be based on the “solid foundation” of a real partnership and the government’s commitment to “sound public policy” to reduce poverty.

“The key to today's proposal is that it is based on public and faith-based partnership, and will not become another replacement for sound public policy,” Wallis said in a statement released after Obama’s announcement on Tuesday.

“To truly be successful, this initiative must utilize the unique resources and identity of the faith community while, at the same time, recognizing the indispensible role that government and public policy must play in tackling the root causes of poverty,” according to Wallis. “Obama's proposals also contain necessary protections for religious liberty, pluralism and constitutional safeguards.”

But the conservative Family Research Council criticized both Obama and Wallis for supporting a plan that would not allow religious groups who apply for the program’s fund to hire and fire based on faith.

“The reality is that Obama's interpretation would be a body blow to religious groups that apply for federal funds,” FRC contended in its newsletter Wednesday.

Instead, the pro-family group praised Republican presumptive presidential nominee John McCain’s statement on Wednesday that says he supports the rights of religious groups to apply for government funding to “hire people who share their faith.”

Wallis, who is the bestselling author of the book The Great Awakening, Reviving Faith and Politics In a Post-Religious Right America, said he hopes the faith-based initiative can unite people across partisan lines.

Copyright 2008 The Christian Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Have you forgotten?

How is Happiness Defined? Part 1



The Perspectives on Psychological Science journal recently published the World Values Survey (WVS) results. “Researchers measured happiness [in 97 nations] by simply asking people how happy they were, and how satisfied they were with their lives as a whole.”

The top three countries with “smiley face” awards were Denmark, Puerto Rico, and Colombia. The U.S. ranked 16th, which is about the same “relative position” as the year 2000 when Clinton was president. Interestingly, according to WVS data, the U.S. happiness trend had decreased from 1945 to1980 but has consistently increased since 1981, the year Carter left us with a fat economic turkey, heavily smothered in that thick gravy of stagflation.

But contrast this WVS happiness data with that of the Pew Research Center survey which says that 81% of Americans believe their country is on the wrong track. (We have all heard about the Pew survey results from the mainstream media but how about the WVS survey?) Can it really be that Americans are actually happy even though we are going in the wrong direction? Or is somebody wrong? Or are polls and surveys simply subject to the whims and intent of their designers? All good questions but not really the subject of my interest.

Most fascinating to me was the idea that Denmark, Puerto Rico, and Colombia are the happiest countries in the world, yet with amazingly disparate governments, geographies, economies, climates, and daily lives.

Denmark is small, has a low birth rate, is virtually ethnically pure, has high taxes, universal health care, is at peace, and is rich. Colombia is large, has a high birth rate, is ethnically diverse, has low taxes, has a mix of health care programs that cover about two-thirds of the people, is at war constantly with guerrillas and drug cartels, and is relatively poor. And Puerto Rico falls neatly in between. But somehow all these people are rated equally happy?

And so I began my research into the WVS data. Surely the “happiness” answer must reside in something these three countries have in common.

By fact, in my research, I found that Denmark, Puerto Rico, and Colombia are highly literate democracies (98%, 94%, and 93% literacy, respectively), whose people speak primarily one language (Danish, Spanish, and Spanish, respectively), and who are overwhelmingly Christian (Lutheran 90%, Catholic 85%, and Catholic 85%, respectively) My initial thoughts, therefore, were that free people of whatever democratic persuasion, educated in the same language and reinforced in their beliefs by Christian values, must be the happiest people in the world - at least as it concerns these three countries.

So imagine my surprise when I found that the researchers at WVS somehow decided that freedom, wealth, and social tolerance (as opposed to freedom, education, language, and religion), were the defining factors for national happiness. I am willing to give them the freedom factor, but obviously they were ignoring Denmark’s ethnic purity and controversial strict immigration laws as concerns tolerance, and were equally ignoring Colombia’s $7,565 per capita annual income as concerns wealth. So there had to be other common factors between these countries that were somehow influencing the rankings.

Unfortunately, going to the WVS website doesn’t help. “Happiness” data for Denmark exists from 1945 to present, but no such lengthy data exists for Colombia or Puerto Rico. What is more, the 60 year Denmark data, on a happiness scale of 1.0 to 4.0 (with 4.0 the happiest), rose only slightly from 3.2 to a high of 3.4 in 1999. (By contrast, the U.S. equaled or exceeded a 3.4 rating - the highest of any country - in 1952 thru 1957, 1966 thru 69, 1995, 2000, and, yes, even 2006). Find the happiness trends for 24 countries here: http://www.worldvaluessurvey.org/.

Thus, something was being added to the "mean happiness" data that was bringing the U.S. down to 16th and bringing the other countries up to the top. Further, the answer had to be in either “wealth” or “tolerance.” Obviously, Colombia isn’t wealthier than most other highly ranked countries, so the answer had to be in tolerance. And so my quest began. What tolerances do these countries have in common?

Part 2 tomorrow...

Anton Kaiser was born in Aberdeen, South Dakota, and retired in Rapid City after serving twenty-seven years as a U.S. Army infantry officer. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, West Point, and holds Masters Degrees in Business and in Public Administration from Webster College, St. Louis, MO. He is also a veteran of Vietnam, Berlin, Operation Just Cause (Panama) and an honor graduate of the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, KS.

Thousands Celebrate at FreedomFest

Reprinted by permission of The Christian Post

By Joshua Kimball
Christian Post Reporter
Fri, Jul. 04 2008 08:20 AM EDT

Tens of thousands of residents from central Florida gathered Thursday to commemorate Independence Day with games, Christian music and fellowship.

FreedomFest, which was held this year at Florida Classic Park in Brooksville, Fla., featured popular Christian musician Matthew West and Christian artist Rob Taylor, a former offensive lineman for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The faith-based family event also included a talent show, family-friendly games, food and music and a fireworks display put on by nationally renowned Pyrotechnico of America, which brings world-class fireworks entertainment to the Super Bowl.

“FreedomFest is an annual community event featuring performances by popular, contemporary musical artists and spectacular fireworks to celebrate our freedom and those who have sacrificed so that we may enjoy it,” the event’s organizers state in its website.

Founded in 2006, FreedomFest is paid for each year by sponsorships and local churches and community groups in order to keep it free to the public. This year’s event was presented by the Brooksville Ministerial Association, along with several Christian organizations and a number of local churches and businesses.

“Because of its limited funding, a tremendous amount of effort goes into planning and hosting the FreedomFest, provided by an army of volunteers, consisting mostly of community leaders and business people,” the organizers explained.

“This makes the event a true representation of what can happen when a community unites,” they added. “The FreedomFest has continued to grow, almost doubling in size each year and we look forward to it being the largest event of its kind on Florida's West Coast.”

Event planner Joe Santerelli, senior pastor at Hillside Community Baptist Church and president of the Brooksville Ministerial Association, said he was glad FreedomFest came to Brooksville this year and that people got a chance to honor military veterans.

"We think they deserve to be honored," Santerelli told the St. Petersburg Times.

FreedomFest, which was held in Pinellas Park the previous two years, bills itself as being "all about people, and freedom and inspiration."

“Since its inception in 2006, FreedomFest has helped change over 800 lives,” the event’s organizers claim in their website.

This year’s event expected to draw around 30,000 people.

The free concert and fireworks show came at a time when public displays have been canceled across the nation mainly due to a sluggish economy. Tight budgets in cities throughout Florida, including Cocoa Beach and Weston, have led officials to pull the plug on the annual shows.

Copyright 2008 The Christian Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

America: Designed with Godly Intent, Pt 2

Focus on the Family - Dr. James Dobson

A legacy of faith is clearly evident in the writing of America’s Founding Fathers. "It's not the Constitution that will keep America great. What will keep America great is if we obey what God has told us in the Scriptures," said William Patterson – an American general in the Revolutionary War and a signer of the U.S. Constitution. David Barton of WallBuilders looks at the First Amendment to the Constitution and its critical role in maintaining religious freedom in our nation's homes, schools and workplace.

"Ben Franklin is one of the absolute least religious of the Founding Fathers … [but] when I go into secular universities and the law schools, I love to take nothing but the writings of Franklin and Jefferson because just out of their writings, I can make these two guys look like a couple of Bible-thumping evangelicals." – David Barton

Click here to listen

From OnePlace.com

Unlike the Ice, Global Warming Evidence is Melting

Ah, watch what little evidence anthropogenic global warming have slowly slip through their fingers like melting ice. Actually the opposite, in this case.

From the New York Times of all places comes word that Greenland isn't about to become green again, after all. Seems it's seasonal, cyclic, or some such non-apocalyptic thing.

One of the most vivid symbols of global warming used by scientists and campaigners to spur society to curb climate-warming emissions is photography of gushing rivers of meltwater plunging from the surface of Greenland’s ice sheet into the depths.

Yes, Al Gore and his disciples have been getting their galoshes ready for years. Maybe they need to put them back in the closet for now.
Now, though, a new Dutch study of 17 years of satellite measurements of ice movement in western Greenland concludes that the speedup of the ice is a transient summertime phenomenon, with the overall yearly movement of the grinding glaciers not changing, and actually dropping slightly in some places, when measured over longer time spans.

It'd be a sad thing to watch grown people get so lathered up about science-fiction...if it wasn't so much fun to watch them get even more lathered up when, unlike the ice, what little evidence they have starts to melt.

HT to NewsBusters.

The Day of Deliverance

American Minute from William J. Federer

The Declaration of Independence was approved JULY 4, 1776.

John Hancock signed first, saying "the price on my head has just doubled."

Benjamin Franklin said "We must hang together or most assuredly we shall hang separately."

Of the 56 signers: 17 lost their fortunes, 12 had their homes destroyed, 5 became prisoners of war, 1 had two sons imprisoned on the British starving ship Jersey, 1 had a son killed in battle, 1 had his wife die from harsh prison treatment and 9 signers died during the War.

When Samuel Adams signed the Declaration, he said: "We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come."

John Adams said: "I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty."

John Adams continued: "I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost to maintain this Declaration...Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory...Posterity will triumph in that day's transaction, even though we [may regret] it, which I trust in God we shall not."

William J. Federer is a nationally recognized author, speaker, and president of Amerisearch, Inc, which is dedicated to researching our American heritage. The American Minute radio feature looks back at events in American history on the dates they occurred, is broadcast daily across the country and read by thousand on the internet.

The Source of Liberty

BreakPoint - Chuck Colson and Mark Earley

Dependence upon God

While most Americans know that the Declaration of Independence proclaimed our independence from Britain, few remember that it also declared our dependence on God.

Click here to listen

From OnePlace.com

Reaping a Family Whirlwind

The Christian Post had an inspiring piece yesterday on pastor Greg Laurie, who came from a broken and messed-up home and through the intervention of God, turned out much better than his circumstances would have normally dictated.

Without taking away from the happy ending and uplifting story, Laurie's story also illustrates why it is so critically important that we as a society move back in the direction of solid, whole, healthy families.

There are too many children being born out of wedlock, or born into a home that gets torn apart by divorce, and end up in an emotional hell. And with the fight to protect marriage from being hijacked by homosexual activists, we may soon see significant numbers of children (some already are) subjected to chaotic homes where they are also robbed of either a mother or a father.

From the Christian Post piece, consider Laurie's childhood:

"My life should have been a complete disaster," Laurie said in a sermon earlier this year at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif. "I could've ended up in a lot of places but God intervened and changed my life.

"God can take bad things and turn them into good things."

Laurie grew up with five different stepfathers. His mother, a Marilyn Monroe look-alike, went through seven marriages and would stay out most of the time, partying and getting drunk. Laurie was conceived out of wedlock and discovered, in his forties, that he was the product of a one-night stand. Most of his life, he believed his father was the first man his mother married. With no one to call "dad" and his mother never at home, Laurie questioned his existence.

"When you find out you're illegitimate, that you weren't planned, that's kind of disconcerting," he said. "You ask yourself 'Was I really meant to be? Was I a mistake? Is my life an accident? Or does God have a plan for me despite my rather inauspicious beginnings?'"

Throughout his childhood, Laurie witnessed men abusing his mother, was sent to military school twice and was "passed around" often between grandparents and other family members as his mother struggled to take care of him.

From my years in law enforcement and attempts to minister to broken families, I've seen a heartbreaking number of families and children like this.

Growing up in this kind of chaotic environment, lacking in guidance and supervision and love, kids often end up angry and hurting. They get in trouble with the law, or locked up in juvenile detention or jail. They sometimes end up getting killed by neighborhood thugs. They sometimes end up killing themselves because of their inability to cope with the pain of their lives, and see no way out.

If we really cared about children as much as our platitudes are meant to sound like, we'd put an end to our selfishness and strengthen families. We'd do everything we could to preserve our marriages and the marriages of those around us. We'd refuse to allow children to be put in homes with two homosexuals.

We reap what we sow. And we've spent the last 50 years sowing selfishness, rebellion, breakdown and chaos. Now we're reaping a crop of all that, with an infestation of the weeds of hurt and pain, to boot. And as each broken generation begets another even more broken generation, the suffering only multiples.

America: Designed With Godly Intent, Part 1

From yesterday's Focus on the Family broadcast:

"Religion is the only solid basis of good morals. Therefore, education should teach the precepts of religion and the duties of man toward God," said American diplomat Gouverneur Morris, the final man to sign the U.S. Constitution. What is the role of religion in America today? David Barton of WallBuilders – an educational organization that highlights America's forgotten history and heroes – gets back to the basics of U.S. history, taking a closer look at the nation's founding documents and their interpretation then and now.

"[The First Amendment] says, 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.' Very clearly, there is no separation phrase … it's just absolutely not there." – David Barton

Click here to listen.

From OnePlace.com

Letters from War

Letters from War by Mark Schultz

The Price of Freedom

May God bless and be merciful to the United States of America!

The Birth of Freedom

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

— John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Barack Obama: Empty Arguments, Empty Theology

Cory over at the Madville Times (aptly named) disagrees with my statements concerning Barack Obama's denial of Biblical truth about eternal salvation. He does in the same manner he typically uses to disagree with me theologically: bereft of Biblical support.

Obama "doesn't even understand the most basic and foundational tenet of Christianity," Bob fumes, and thus won't appeal to too many "serious" Christians. "Serious," of course, is Bob's code for folks who agree with him that "God doesn't provide an "Oh but I'm not a Christian" excuse to get out of Hell."

So, Cory, can you point me to the Scripture reference where that "Get-Out-Of-Hell-Free" card is found? Or the "Oh but I'm not a Christian" excuse for rejecting God's only provision for salvation?

It doesn't matter what Obama or Bush or the majority says on this issue: what does the Bible say? It doesn't matter whether someone agreed with me, either; do they agree with the Bible?

If you disagree with the Bible, you're disagreeing with the Creator of the universe and the savior of humanity. Even if I was siding with the majority, I wouldn't want to be on the wrong side of that one.

On another post at the Madville Times, Cory hypes a group called Matthew 25 Network. This group provides the following as their reason for supporting Barack Obama, a candidate who stands opposed to Biblical positions in almost every area:

We come together as individual believers to support candidates for public office who share the values of the Matthew 25 Network: promoting life with dignity, caring for the least of these, strengthening and supporting families, stewardship of God's Creation, working for peace and justice at home and abroad and promoting the common good.

Since there is no doubt that Obama supports abortion, support euthanasia, socialistic legal plunder, the concept of homosexual "marriage," environmental extremism including the fantasy of anthropogenic global warming, and opposes a strong national defense, it is fairly easy to cut through the Liberalspeak in this statement and discern what they support. Let me reword their statement with some much-needed transparency and honesty:

We come together as individual believers to support candidates for public office who share the values of the Matthew 25 Network: promoting euthanasia and killing defenseless disabled people we find inconvenient, a welfare state that takes money from one person and gives it to another, counterfeiting marriage by allowing homosexuals to use that distinction for their unions, environmental extremism that worships the earth and cuts the legs from under our capitalist economy, working for appeasement of terrorists and other evildoers at home and abroad in promotion of our fantasy that if we prostrate ourselves before tyrants, they will leave us alone.

What a pity that both Obama, Cory and these other mixed-up Christians are so lacking in understanding of the Bible they profess to believe. If they pursued God's truth instead of attempting to wrap Christianity around their Marxist philosophy like Christmas wrap, they would understand that it and socialism, its cousin, are incompatible with the truth about human nature: that humans are fallen, sinful creatures who are predisposed to do evil without the regeneration of Jesus Christ.

They would also understand that killing unborn human beings and the ill and the disabled is murder of innocent human life, created in the image of God.

They would also understand that nowhere in the Bible does God command the GOVERNMENT to take money from one person against their will and give it to another person...but the Bible does command PEOPLE to help other people, and to do so with a discretion almost impossible for government bureaucracies.

They would also understand that God's design for human sexuality is to be expressed between a man and a woman in marriage for life, and that God strongly disapproves of homosexual behavior.

They would also understand that while humans are to be good stewards of the earth, God gave them dominion over it and it is not to be worshipped or served. They might also have faith in a God intelligent enough and powerful enough to create a self-sustaining planet, rather than a fragile one hanging on the razor's edge of cosmic chance as non-Christians believe.

They might also understand that God has delegated authority to human government, both to punish the evildoer within society and to defend citizens from external threat. God expects PEOPLE to be kind to one another and live in peace with one another; when some refuses to do that, government has the duty, obligation, and God-given authority to protect innocent human life from danger, both at home and abroad. This is a doctrine also fleshed out in some depth in the "Just War" doctrine by Augustin and Thomas Aquinas.

If this group of liberal Christians wants to support Barack Obama, despite his anti-Biblical positions, that's their right in a free society. But they really ought to get into their Bibles and find out how God wants them to live...and vote.

By the way, Cory seems to think things like protecting innocent human life and protecting marriage--a fundamental institution ordained by God--from being hijacked by activists are "wedge issues." "Wedge issue" is usually Liberalspeak for "issue we're wrong on and want to minimize in people's minds."

Here's a hint, Cory: opinion doesn't count for anything with God. Not mine, not yours, not anyone's. If you're going to theologically disagree with a Biblical contention, you really need to provide Biblical evidence to the contrary. Otherwise your argument sounds pretty hollow and empty.

Like this one does.

Like Obama does.

Columbian Hostages Rescued by Obama Volunteers?

A really cool rescue of some hostages, including three Americans, came in Columbia yesterday.

Some Columbian government troops infiltrated the rebel group "Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia" (known as FARC) who had been holding several hostages for several years.

Bloomberg tells the story of how the thugs were planning to transfer the hostages to another rebel camp and placed them on a helicopter they thought was a rebel helicopter, but was instead piloted by the undercover Columbian troops.

Here is what hostage Ingrid Betancourt saw when she was handcuffed and manhandled aboard:

The T-shirts emblazoned with images of Ernesto ``Che'' Guevara convinced Ingrid Betancourt. She assumed the men with the iconic revolutionary on their chests were ushering her into the white helicopter for transfer to yet another rebel camp.

Instead, Betancourt, along with 14 other hostages, was taking her first steps toward freedom after six years of being held captive by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

Once the helicopter got out of range of the FARC camp, the undercover Columbian troops overpowered the FARC thugs who came aboard with the hostages and freed the hostages.
After the unmarked helicopter flew over the jungle and out of range of the FARC camp, the hostages saw the men in Che T- shirts spring on their captor. Gerardo Antonio Aguilar Ramirez, known by his alias as Cesar, was tied up and blindfolded. Then the Colombian troops revealed their identity.

``We are the national army, you are free!'' the six agents on board told them. ``The helicopter almost fell out of the sky because we jumped and screamed, we hugged and cried,'' Betancourt said.

What an incredible story! As others are saying, it's like something out of a movie.

I have to wonder, though. When Betancourt saw all those Che Guevara shirts on the helicopter, did it ever cross her mind that she might be taken to a Barack Obama rally?

New Private School Funded by Will Smith Uses Scientology Material

Reprinted by permission of The Christian Post

By Joshua Kimball
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Jul. 03 2008 02:46 PM EDT

LOS ANGELES – A new private school founded by popular actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith has set off a Hollywood media frenzy over its alleged ties to the controversial “Church” of Scientology.

The New Village Academy in Calabasas, Calif., which the Smiths have poured nearly $1 million into building, will open Sept. 3 and use teaching methods developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.

Although both Smiths have claimed not to be Scientologists and the academy’s director school insists the facility has no religious affiliation, news of the school’s controversial curriculum has raised flags.

"There is no reputable educator anywhere who endorses [study technology]," said David S. Touretzky, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University and a critic of Scientology, according to the Los Angeles Times. "What happens is that children are inculcated with Scientology jargon and are led to regard L.R. Hubbard as an authority figure. They are laying the groundwork for later bringing people into Scientology."

In its report, the LA Times noted that several teachers at the New Village Academy are Scientology members, and the small school, which will initially have about 40 students, will provide financial assistance for about 80 percent of its enrollees and laptop computers and organic meals for every student, with the aim of grooming a "citizen of the world."

While acknowledging the school’s use of “study technology,” Jacqueline Olivier, who was hired to head the school, said it will also use many philosophies, including Montessori, Bruner and Gardner.

She also defended the use of “study technology,” explaining it is not something taught but a method of teaching.

"People tend to think study technology is a subject, but it is really just the way the subject is taught," Olivier said, according to the LA Times. "They then come to the conclusion that we are teaching Scientology when actually a methodology doesn't have anything to do with content."

A spokeswoman for the Church of Scientology, Karin Pouw, also defended teaching method, saying that is not religious and is widely used in schools around the world.

Aside from the school, Will Smith has also come under the microscope for his own possible ties to Scientology, which his close friend, actor Tom Cruise, is an active advocate of.

When production on his latest movie, "Hancock," finished around Christmastime last year, Smith reportedly passed out "wrap presents" to the film's crew members: vouchers good for a personality test at a local Scientology center.

And in a story in Men's Vogue in December, Smith favorably compared Hubbard's teachings to tenets of other major religions.

"I've studied Buddhism and Hinduism and I've studied Scientology through Tom," Smith said. "And nobody's saying anything different!

“[I]n all the experiences I've had with Tom and Scientology, like, 98 percent of the principles are identical to the principals in the Bible,” the 39-year-old actor claimed. “The Bible talks about your spirit being immortal, that you were created for existence beyond your physical body. Well, that's no different from Scientology! I don't think that because the word someone uses for spirit is thetan that the definition becomes any different."

Despite his favorable view of Scientology, Smith has denied reports that he and his wife were becoming Scientologists.

"I am a Christian. I am a student of all religions. And I respect all people and all paths," the Hollywood star told the New York Daily News.

The most recent controversy comes as Smith is in the midst of a career hot streak – 11 of the actor-producer's films have grossed more than $100 million at the box office.

Copyright 2008 The Christian Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

On the Nation's Behalf

American Minute from William J. Federer

Washington, D.C., was in a panic as 70,000 Confederate troops were just sixty miles away near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The furious battle had lasted three days. As General Lee found his ammunition running low, he ordered General Pickett to make a direct attack. After an hour of murderous fire and bloody hand-to-hand combat, the Confederates were pushed back and the Battle of Gettysburg ended JULY 3, 1863, with over 50,000 casualties.

President Abraham Lincoln confided to a general wounded in the battle: "When everyone seemed panic-stricken...I went to my room...and got down on my knees before Almighty God and prayed."

Days later, July 15, 1863, President Lincoln proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving, Praise and Prayer: "It is meet and right to recognize and confess the presence of the Almighty Father and the power of His hand equally in these triumphs and in these sorrows...I invite the people of the United States to...render the homage due to the Divine Majesty for the wonderful things He has done in the nation's behalf and invoke the influence of His Holy Spirit to subdue the anger which has produced and so long sustained a needless and cruel rebellion."

William J. Federer is a nationally recognized author, speaker, and president of Amerisearch, Inc, which is dedicated to researching our American heritage. The American Minute radio feature looks back at events in American history on the dates they occurred, is broadcast daily across the country and read by thousand on the internet.

Conservatives Defend Dobson Criticism of Obama

Reprinted by permission of The Christian Post

By Jennifer Riley
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Jul. 03 2008 12:01 PM EDT

Several conservative commentators this week defended Dr. James Dobson’s criticisms of Democrat Barack Obama’s Bible interpretation as standing up for the Christian truth.

Dobson, who took issue with Obama’s use of Bible passages to defend his public policy philosophy, was right to challenge the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, argues Pat Buchanan, founder and editor of The American Conservative and a political analyst for MSNBC, in a column featured on Focus on the Family Action’s Citizenlink.

Buchanan accused Obama of preaching a “kumbaya Christianity” where people who believe abortion is wrong are asked to push aside their beliefs in public for the sake of “ecumenical amity.”

But Christians, he said, are taught by Jesus Christ that He is the “way and the truth and the life,” and no one can go to the Father except through Him. Therefore, Christians cannot accept compromising their beliefs so that everyone can get along, he argues.

Dobson last week during his radio program blasted Obama for his interpretation of the Bible and its application in the public square. The Focus on the Family founder based his criticisms on the senator’s June 2006 speech where Obama highlighted that while the book of Leviticus declares homosexuality an abomination, it also says eating shellfish is an abomination and condones slavery.

The senator also said Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is “a passage so radical that it’s doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application.”

Dobson had accused Obama of “deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview, his own confused theology.”

"[H]e is dragging biblical understanding through the gutter," Dobson charged. “Am I required in a democracy to conform my efforts in the political arena to his bloody notion of what is right with regard to the life of tiny babies?”

The central argument of Obama’s speech was: “Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason.”

"What he (Obama) is saying here is that unless everyone agrees, we have no right to fight for what we believe," Dobson said.

Dr. Tony Beam, director of the Christian Worldview Center at North Greenville University in Tigerville, S.C., also found fault with Obama’s view that the truth is flexible.

“He sees truth as something that can be hammered into a compromise position that can then become amenable, not to the set standard of a Holy God, but to the ever changing and ever compromising standards of sinful humans,” Beam wrote in his column.

“Truth, absolute truth that comes from God’s revelation of Himself in His Word, defies the vote of the majority. It flies in the face of opinion polls and focus groups. What makes Barack Obama, Jim Wallis, or anyone else believes the only way truth can be injected into the public arena is by stuffing it with reason and coating it with compromise?” Beam asked.

The professor then pointed to Obama’s speech earlier this year at Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio, where the presidential hopeful said he supports a woman’s right to have an abortion and believes the Bible condones civil unions.

“If people find that (civil unions) controversial then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans,” Obama had said.

“Before evangelicals run out to vote for Obama,” Beam warned, “they need to ask themselves if they really want to support a candidate who says they are Christian but believes Paul’s theological capstone of the New Testament is nothing more than an obscure passage.”

“We should all thank Dr. Dobson and Tom Minnery for stepping up to the plate and refusing to allow Obama’s Universalist theology and warped sense of evangelical political expediency to go unchallenged,” he said.

Earlier this week Obama gave a speech about his plan to expand faith-based programs if elected president in a move to court religious voters. He will continue to focus on American values, including religious faith and patriotism, on the campaign trail this week leading up to the Fourth of July.

Copyright 2008 The Christian Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

U.S. Senate Candidate Dykstra Supports Thune Energy Legislation

From today's mailbag:

Sioux Falls, SD - United States Senate candidate Joel Dykstra has announced his support of the energy legislation currently being proposed by South Dakota Senator John Thune.

Dykstra attended the Gas Price Forum in Sioux Falls Wednesday hosted by Senator Thune where he detailed the plan. Dykstra said Thune's bill is a good checklist for real action and addresses the root causes and possible solutions to high energy prices. Dykstra said, "It marks a change from 20 years of inaction in Washington on energy solutions and so many other issues facing our nation today."

Dykstra said he was encouraged by the active leadership shown on the issue by South Dakota's Republican Senator and commends him for working to finally move forward with some meaningful legislation.

Dykstra has outlined his own proposals for solving the energy crisis at campaign stops across the state the last few months. His five-point plan includes:

1. The immediate removal of the moratorium on drilling and exploration of federal lands in Alaska, the offshore areas currently off limits and the oil shale areas of Colorado, Wyoming and Utah.

2. Increased production of renewable energy, including bio-fuels and wind power.

3. Development of a Trans-Continental Transmission system to deliver wind power from South Dakota and surrounding states east to the major markets.

4. Increased development of nuclear power generation.

5. A modern "Manhattan Project" to develop new energy technologies that can reduce American's dependence on hydrocarbons by as much as 50% in 10 years.

Details on these proposals can be found on Dykstra's web site at http://www.joeldykstraforsenate.com/issues_energy.html

Grand Jury Finds Insufficient Evidence to Indict Abortionist Tiller

Reprinted by permission of The Christian Post

By Lawrence Jones
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Jul. 03 2008 09:12 AM EDT

A grand jury that was convened to investigate notorious late-term abortion provider George Tiller adjourned a six-month investigation Wednesday without issuing an indictment.

In a written statement, the panel of 15 grand jurors said they did not have enough evidence to indict him on any crime related to abortion laws.

Grand jurors said they believed that the Kansas State Legislature worded abortion laws in a way that would only allow late-term abortions in "the gravest of circumstances" where the continuation of pregnancy would cause "substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function."

The Kansas Supreme Court has interpreted the language of "substantial and irreversible impairment" to include the mental health of the mother, according to grand jurors in the statement.

The panel said they found "questionable late-term abortions" performed at Women’s Health Care Services, the clinic Tiller runs. They added, however, that Kansas legislators needed to "provide clearer and more definitive guidelines regarding ‘substantial and irreversible impairment,' before an investigation would yield an indictment against Tiller or the clinic.

For many years, Kansas citizens have tried to charge Tiller with performing illegal late-term abortions. The recent probe of Tiller was prompted by a public petition.

Cases involving the Wichita doctor have often attracted national attention because he is among a handful of late-term abortion providers in the nation. Pro-life groups frequently hold vigils and protest at his clinics.

Troy Newman, president of the Operation Rescue, a Kansas-based pro-life group, issued his own statement expressing extreme disappointment in the panel's decision. In 2006, Newman had initiated a petition drive to probe Tiller's handling of a woman with Down syndrome, who died after having an abortion.

Newman contended that illegal abortions are being performed "under the misuse of a mental health exception that was not written into the law, but forced upon it by a pro-abortion former attorney general."

"Once again, we are suspicious that corrupt influences in the government, which have been influenced by Tiller's large financial involvement in Kansas politics, may have thwarted justice once again," he said.

Despite no charges being found by the grand jury on Wednesday, Tiller still faces 19 misdemeanor charges filed by the Kansas attorney general’s office. According to the allegations, Tiller failed to get the opinion of a second doctor who was financially or legally independent of him before carrying out late-term abortion procedures. A trial for that case is scheduled for July 28.

Copyright 2008 The Christian Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

World Religious Summit for Peace Kicks Off

Reprinted by permission of The Christian Post

By Ethan Cole
Christian Post Reporter
Wed, Jul. 02 2008 06:10 PM EDT

Some 300 people of various religions met in Japan on Wednesday to kick-off the two-day World Religious Summit for Peace ahead of the G-8 summit.

More than 20 countries were represented at the religious gathering held in Sapporo, Hakkaido – where next week’s G-8 summit will also take place.

Participants included 60 religious leaders representing Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam and Zoroastrianism, according to Kyodo News. Attendees from America include the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, general secretary of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, and Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union of Reform Jews.

During the religious conference, participants will make peace proposals and discuss how to end war and combat poverty, climate change and terrorism.

Plenary sessions include: “The G-8 Summit: Our Spiritual and Moral Responsibilities,” “Advancing Shared Security: The Commitments of the World’s Religions,” and “The Way Forward: Mobilizing the World’s Religious Communities in Common Action for Peace.”

At the end of the forum, adopted proposals will be presented to Japan’s Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, who is chair of the G-8 summit, according to Kyodo.

President Bush on Wednesday said agendas for the G-8 summit include AIDS relief in Africa, energy security, food prices, climate change, Afghanistan, among other issues, according to Reuters.

The Group of Eight (G-8) is composed of the world’s most powerful countries whose government leadership meet annually to discuss global issues. The G-8 is composed of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom, and the United States.

Copyright 2008 The Christian Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

August in Denver: Standby for Fun

When liberals are forced to the periphery of power, as they have been since at least 1994 and up until the last few years, they still hold socialist, big government, nanny-state, un-American ideas, but usually have sense enough to moderate their message to the voting masses knowing that their ideas just don’t appeal much to the God-country-guns-cheeseburgers and fries-Pabsts Blue Ribbon crowd.

Not so when they sense a shift of political winds in their favor. When the Democrats win some congressional seats by running distinctly conservative candidates and when they have been successful in their efforts to influence political discourse in their favor with the complicity of a sycophant national media, well now, the time is right to flex one’s muscles and implement some of the wacky ideas so carefully secreted from the public debate until the time was right.

First up, we have Denver mayor, John Hickenlooper who has imposed his will upon the Democratic National Committee (not that it took much cajoling) saying let’s “make this the greenest convention in the history of the planet.” Where to begin? For starters, there will be no fried foods of any kind at any official functions of the DNC at the convention. No fried chicken, no fried green tomatoes, no gyoza, no chimichangas. Never mind that deep fat frying is a mainstay of Southern and soul-food cuisine and according to food experts ““[It] has been called ‘a cooking technique which Africans introduced to America.’” No one expects to win the south anyway and everyone knows how African-Americans will vote.

Next, the city of Denver has to see to it that they are not embarrassed by the homeless population. After all, homelessness is a Republican problem and so can’t be seen on national television during the Democratic National Convention in a liberal bastion like Denver. What to do? Solution: Round them up, all 4000 of them, force them into shelters and make sure they are "comfortable" with flat-screen TVs, cable and bingo games. A menu of snacks and beverages is yet to be announced. This will all be financed by private donations from the community. This all puts me in mind of the plan by LA officials a few years back to give shopping carts to the homeless in order to make life a little better for them.

Liberalism is so much fun to watch when it starts getting some traction. It’s just that beneath all the frivolity lies great and menacing danger to ourselves and our country. As a TV sitcom, I would never miss an episode of Liberalism in the City, but in real life it scares the hell out of me.

Senator Thune Introduces Aggressive Energy Bill

Tired of paying over $4.00 a gallon for gasoline? Tired of congress doing nothing about the problem?

According to the Argus Leader, Senator John Thune is doing something about it. Senator Thune has introduced a bill in the Senate to kick-start U.S. energy policy and production.

Thune's bill would open areas off U.S. coasts, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and oil shale deposits in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming to oil exploration. It would fast-track the regulatory process for refineries such as the proposed Hyperion Energy Center in Union County. And it would use half the revenue from new energy production to pay for research into next-generation biofuels and energy-saving technology.

The article says Thune is working with five Democrat and five Republican senators on some aggressive energy bills.

Thune says the fast-tracking of refinery permits may not make it through to the final bill...but it should. We haven't built a new refinery in the United States in over 30 years, and the endless and phenomenally slow (and expensive) permitting process has a lot to do with it.

Our refining capacity is at or near full strength; a disaster like Katrina or a major breakdown could seriously hinder production and send prices even higher. Thanks to myopic energy policy and pandering to environmental extremists, we have no margin to play with.

Thune's efforts and the efforts of those he's working with are just what we need.

The upcoming trip to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) by U.S. House candidate Chris Lien and several other candidates also shows some folks are getting serious about tapping the energy America needs.

Many Pro-Family Leaders Unite Behind McCain

Time magazine reports that about 100 pro-family leaders met in Denver Tuesday to discuss and ultimately agree to support John McCain in his bid for the presidency:

The group included leaders like Phyllis Schlafly, the long-time leader of Eagle Forum; Steve Strang, the publisher of Charisma magazine; Phil Burress, a prominent Ohio marriage and anti-pornography activist; David Barton, the founder of WallBuilders and Donald Hodel, a former secretary of the Interior, who previously served on the board of Focus on the Family. Jim Dobson, the head of Focus and an outspoken critic of McCain, did not attend. The McCain campaign was also not directly represented at the meeting.

Why would conservative Christians support McCain despite his previous insults to them, and despite McCain's repeated refusals to meet them half way?

Probably for the same reason I'm backing McCain: the lesser of two evils. As unsavory as he is as a Republican candidate, he is still light-years better than Barack Obama, who would be a disaster for the country: militarily, socially and economically.

From the Time article, someone at the meeting seemed to confirm this sentiment:
A second person who attended the event, but asked not to be named, said that the group was motivated principally by a desire to defeat Barack Obama. "None of these people want to meet their maker knowing that they didn't do everything they could to keep Barack Obama from being president," the participant said. "You've got these two people running for president. One of them is going to become president. That's the perspective. That that's the whole discussion."

Having Dobson's support would definitely be a boost, but it's doubtful whether McCain will ever reach out far enough (despite having no qualms to reach out to anti-family Democrats) to meet Dobson somewhere in the middle.

Even if Dr. Dobson does end up giving some measure of support, it's still uncertain whether that will be enough. Memories of the lukewarm campaign of Bob Dole in 1996 are all too fresh.

A candidate who doesn't inspire or excite the base and personifies the "lesser of two evils" isn't going to fit anyones definition of "a sure thing."

Still, Barack Obama presents such a strong antithesis to American values and principles, and also family values, that McCain still could pull it off.

Obama Blows Main Tenet of Christianity

WorldNetDaily, the Religion News Service and The Nation indicate Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham and head of Samaritan's Purse, asked Barack Obama some pointed questions about his faith in a closed meeting recently.

From WorldNetDaily:

According to River's account, Graham went on to ask Obama whether he believed Jesus is the only way to salvation.

Rivers, a declared Obama supporter, recalled: "Obama said, brilliantly, 'Jesus is the only way for me. I'm not in a position to judge other people.'"

Not exactly an answer that will satisfy Biblical Christians--and not an answer in harmony with the Bible, either. In fact, not in harmony with what Jesus said.

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." - John 14:6

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." - Acts 4:12

"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him." - John 3:36

I think you get the point.

God doesn't provide an "Oh but I'm not a Christian" excuse to get out of Hell, nor an "Okay for thee, not for me" exception.

A man who doesn't even understand the most basic and foundational tenet of Christianity isn't likely to win over too many serious Christians.

Milestones on the Road to Iraq

Arthur Herman has a great piece on "Why Iraq Was Inevitable" at Commentary Magazine.

The Left and their accomplices in the "mainstream" media have been hard at work since the war itself trying to ignore and rewrite history, but Herman does a thorough job of cataloging what led to the 2003 invasion and why, under any standard of common sense, it was inevitable.

Among the key milestones cited by Herman:

- Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas, or biological weapons. . . . Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. With Saddam, there is one big difference: he has used them. Not once, but repeatedly. . . . I have no doubt today that, left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again. - President Bill Clinton, December 16, 1998

- Six weeks earlier, Clinton had signed the Iraq Liberation Act authorizing Saddam’s overthrow

- You allow someone like Saddam Hussein to get nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, chemical weapons, biological weapons. How many people is he going to kill with such weapons? . . . We are not going to allow him to succeed. - Vice President Al Gore

- The U.S. had already been at war with Iraq for a decade when George W. Bush took office; the end of the Persian Gulf War was a cease-fire, not a formal surrender followed by a peace treaty. That cease fire agreement required regular weapons inspections to ensure Saddam's weapons were destroyed, and sanctions to prevent Saddam from building more WMDs

- On February 17, 1998 President Clinton said there was an “unholy axis” of rogue states and that “There is no more clear example of this threat than Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.”

- In October 1998 Iraq threw out ten American weapons inspectors and ceased cooperation with the UN inspection team.

- In December 1998 Richard Butler said Saddam was engaging in obstruction and deception

- John Kerry and several other Democrats sent Clinton a letter urging him to act against Iraq and the “threat posed by Iraq’s refusal to end its WMD programs.”

- On December 16, 1998 Clinton launched Operation Desert Fox against Iraq, which involved days of bombing by U.S. and British warplanes and missile attacks. Unobstructed inspections still did not resume

- In 1999 Clinton looked at options to invade Iraq, since many Democrats were supportive, like John Kerry who had said Saddam was determined “to build WMD’s no matter what the cost,” and that the U.S. “must be prepared to use force to achieve its goals.”

- By the end of 1999, the UN passed yet another ineffective resolution demanding inspections cooperation. But even that weak option split the Security Council; France, Russia, and China were either ideologically aligned with Iraq or on the take from the "Oil for Food" program kickbacks or selling weapons systems to the Iraqis, or both, and refused to back the measure.

- After 911, the Bush White House found that al Qaeda leader Abu Musab Zarqawi had received safe haven in Iraq. There was also evidence that other al Qaeda had joined Zarqawi in Iraq.

- A March 2002 New Yorker article said members of Ansar al-Islam were being trained in al Qaeda camps and paid through Saddam's intelligence service

- In September 2002 the CIA released the "Iraqi Support for Terrorism" report which said "Iraq continues to be a safe haven, transit point, or operational node for groups and individuals who direct violence against the United States.”

- Captured intelligence shows that Saddam was involved with Palestine Liberation Front, Hamas, and other terrorist groups.

- The UN estimated there were 1.5 tons of VX gas for which there was no proof of destruction

- The UN also believed Saddam still had SCUD missiles which could be used to deliver WMD payloads.

- By October 2000 Saddam was working militarily with Syria despite the UN policy of "containment"

- Saddam had been firing on US and British warplanes over the no-fly zone for years

- "Hussein’s vigorous pursuit of biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons, and his present and potential future support for terrorist acts and organizations . . . make him a terrible danger to the people of the United States." - Senator Chuck Schumer, September 2002

- "My position is very clear. The time has come for decisive action to eliminate the threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s WMD’s." - Senator Hillary Clinton

- "Every day [Saddam] gets closer to his long-term goal of nuclear capability." - Senator John Edwards

- "There’s no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat to the U.S. and our allies." - Howard Dean

- 81 House Democrats voted to authorize President Bush “to defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq”

- France, one of the nations on the take in the corrupt "Food for Oil" program, declared “nothing! nothing!” could justify invading Iraq, and the opposition of other UN nations on the take effectively de-toothed any effectiveness sanctions might have had.

- The "mainstream" media's much-touted "rush to war" took something like 7-8 months, roughly from August 2002 to March 2003.

- In November 2002, the UN finally passed Resolution 1441 requiring Saddam to disarm and prove it or face “serious consequences.”

- In late November, Saddam dropped tons of irrelevant documents on UNMOVIC, which would require months to sift through the mess, buying himself even more time with no real compliance.

- Even Bob Woodward (no Right-winger for sure) said in his book Plan of Attack that Bush had been “a study in patience.”

- It was Saddam's failure to comply with his own burden of proof, not Bush's doctrine of preemptive war, that resulted in the March 2003 invasion

- Despite Powell's later back peddling, in February 2003 he provided more than 100 examples of Saddam’s deceptions which were backed up by eyewitness testimony, radio intercepts and satellite photos.

- Even Democrat Senator Joe Biden said "Saddam is in material breach of the latest UN resolution. . . . The legitimacy of the Security Council is at stake, as well as the integrity of the UN." (I would add that even more importantly, the United States' credibility was at stake)

- After the invasion, the Iraqi Survey Group (ISG) reported “dozens of WMD-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment”

- David Kay said “Iraq indeed had WMD’s” and told the Daily Telegraph that he had found evidence that some of them had been moved to Syria before the invasion

- Kay also said in Senate testimony that “the world is far safer with the disappearance and removal of Saddam Hussein”

Herman's conclusion:

Given the logic of the situation, at what point could Bush have avoided war? To have taken the military option off the table before going to the UN would have undercut everything his analysts and policy advisers, including at the CIA, had been saying since 9/11—and brought howls of protests from leading Democrats in Congress. Doing so after the passage of Resolution 1441 would have made a mockery of the rationale for going to the UN in the first place, and, as Powell explicitly recognized, undermined the resolution itself.

Herman also cites other negative consequences of not invading Iraq, but I'll leave you to read them on your own.

Saddam should have been removed under the Clinton administration when it first became apparent that there would be no meaningful or lasting peace with him. Clinton decidedly lacked the courage or conviction to do that, however; lobbing a few missiles at the problem from a safe distance was as much political risk as he was willing to take.

George W. Bush has not been another Ronald Reagan, but he has kept the country safe since 911. And he had the courage of conviction to do what needed to be done in Iraq, despite the political cost. For both of those accomplishments, I salute him.

And I resist attempts to rewrite history by cowards and political opportunists.

Herman's entire piece is over 6,800 words long, so grab a Coke before you sit down, but it's worth it.

It might surprise a few of you Bush-hating "blood for oil" disciples...if you can open your mind up long enough to read it.

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