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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Martial Arts Championship Winner

There was light posting today, obviously, but it was for a good reason.

My 11-year-old daughter Karissa competed in the 2008 Martial Arts Championship here in Rapid City today. There were many students competing from many forms of martial arts (Karissa is studying Jukite Ju-Jitsu, has earned her orange belt and is getting close to green belt), with some coming from at least as far away as Sioux Falls and over into Wyoming. It was an all-day thing and we didn't get out of there until after 7:00 pm tonight.

This was Karissa's first time competing in a tournament and she did pretty good. She's normally more aggressive when sparring in her own dojo (she rarely loses a match), but I think the new environment and going up against different arts (Karate, Tae Kwon Do, and some others) threw her a little.

Still, she did pretty well in sparring and got a 3rd Place trophy for girls beginner grappling.

The photo below is of Karissa with her trophy, and her head instructor, 7th Degree Black Belt Master Doug Langworthy.


Parker: We fail to learn from history

BY STAR PARKER
FOUNDER & PRESIDENT
COALITION ON URBAN RENEWAL & EDUCATION

How can you not feel that emptiness in the pit of your stomach as you watch our financial markets spin downward? The broad stock market indices are down well over 40 percent since the beginning of the year. Losses are somewhere in the neighborhood of $9 trillion.

The real economic realities behind these numbers are starting to show up. The only question at this point is how severe the recession we are now entering will be.

Maybe, when everyone is depressed I am supposed to write cheery things to encourage folks. But I can't, because I care about our country and what I see is not encouraging.

We just had a presidential election that in some circles produced a lot of euphoria. But I believe that at some point -- I hope sooner rather than later -- many Americans are going to wake up and realize that this election was not a cure for our problems but a symptom of the disease.

I think this is what our crashing financial markets are telling us.

There is a well-known quote from a less well-known philosopher -- George Santayana -- that those who don't remember history will repeat it.

The failure of communism and socialism is not that far behind us. Yet Americans cannot seem to recall that it happened -- and why it happened.

What characterizes these systems? Government control. Central planning. And Godlessness.

Let's consider the sad and pathetic state of our American automobile companies.

As the chairmen of GM, Ford, and Chrysler sat in Washington begging for public money to survive, Honda was celebrating the opening of a new non-union plant in Greensburg, Ind., which will produce 200,000 vehicles annually.

The starting hourly wage at this plant will be $18.41 per hour -- about $10 less than at the American companies. There were 33,000 applicants for 900 job openings.

Americans want to work, can work, and can compete with anyone. They just need to be free to do it.

In 1970, GM had 50 percent of the U.S. auto market. Today it has 20 percent. What happened?

The world changed in 1973. We were hit with the oil shock. The oil producing countries' cartel, OPEC, discovered its power, and drove up energy prices.

The power of a free country and free markets is that people, when left alone, will adjust to change and do what they need to do. In fact, that's what happened in businesses that were left alone. Changes and adjustments were made and overall the country is about twice as energy efficient today as it was in 1970.

But in our high profile auto industry that's not what happened. Our politicians, with cooperation from our auto industry executives, decided that the auto companies could not be left to their own resources to adjust to new realities.

First, we enacted import quotas on Japanese cars. Second, we enacted fuel standards to dictate to our car companies what kind of cars to make. And, of course, third, the power of the union was left intact.

Now look where we are. We have a destroyed industry that is the product not of Americans not being able to compete, but of allowing itself to become dependent on government.

This is why our auto companies have failed. This is why communist and socialist countries have failed.

A few days ago Rahm Emanuel, who Barack Obama has picked to be his chief of staff, spoke to a gathering of CEOs at a Wall Street Journal conference in Washington.

He went through the agenda to expect from the Obama administration. He sounded like a commissar from the Soviet Union. Government control and planning in health care, energy, the economy, and financial markets.

Why are our financial markets so pessimistic? They are bracing. The market sees the sad news that Americans have not learned from history. And it looks like we are about to relive its hard lessons.

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, November 21, 2008

The President Bush Snub That Wasn't

The juvenile snickerers and spitwad-throwers have yucked up the supposed "fact" that several world leaders refused to shake hands with President Bush at the G-20 summit.

They hate President Bush so bad that any opportunity to ridicule him--even if it is at the expense of their own country's prestige--is a welcome opportunity.

Just one problem (the usual problem with Leftist claims): it didn't happen that way.

The grownups had to educate the juvenile delinquents as to the background of the event...and perhaps to a little etiquette.

This is what the White House said:

White House Assistant Press Secretary Carlton Carroll said, "The President had already greeted ALL of those leaders prior to this picture--whereas the other leaders had not had the opportunity to greet each other yet that morning."

Typically when I attend a meeting or conference or other gathering of many people, I'll shake hands with people as I meet them the first time that day...and don't anymore that day, no matter how many subsequent times I may re-encounter them as events proceed.

But I suppose if you're a Leftist and love to see your Republican president look bad even if it does reflect negatively on your own country (not a big deal), then it makes for another good slam.

That, or maybe they're just not used to the civilized gatherings like this (kegger-parties and protest marches don't count).

The snub that wasn't. CNN's Jeanne Moos reveals why world leaders weren't shaking President Bush's hand.


Media Only Telling One Side on Christians and Homosexuality

Reprinted by permission of The Christian Post

By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Fri, Nov. 21 2008 12:56 PM EST


For many Americans, all they've heard is that Christians are "anti-gay." The recent passage of amendments in California, Florida and Arizona defining marriage between a man and a woman and the large support those measures drew from churches haven't changed that perception, and perhaps made it worse.

But few, if any, especially in the media, have given the public the "whole story" about churches and their persistent efforts to protect what they believe is God's definition of marriage.

"I’ve not seen any attempt [by the mass media] to understand or communicate the real concern of Christians concerning gay marriage," said Bob Stith, who heads the Ministry to Homosexuals Task Force in the Southern Baptist Convention – the largest Protestant denomination in the country.

And Christians haven't been much help either.

"Too many Christians have cooperated with this by emphasizing more of what we’re against than what we’re for," Stith commented, concerning the gay marriage debate.

But much of that "whole story" includes love.

Former homosexual Melissa Fryrear educates thousands of Christians every year on how to respond to the issue of homosexuality in a "Christ-like" manner.

Director of the gender issues department at Focus on the Family, which hosts Love Won Out conferences, she says she has been accused of being anti-gay because of her beliefs.

"I'm not anti-gay because I'm a Christian and I'm a heterosexual evangelical Christian," said Fryrear, who became a Christian and came out of homosexuality over 15 years ago. "I'm pro-biblical sexual ethic. I'm pro-God's created intent for sexuality" – that being marriage between a man and a woman.

"That's what I'm for, so anything that falls outside of that falls out of God's intent," she highlighted.

"It's not what I'm against, it's what I'm for," she added, noting the nuance.

Still, it's a tough sell for many gay rights supporters, especially the thousands that marched last weekend in protest of the passage of gay marriage bans in three states. Hundreds stood in front of churches with protest signs.

According to UPI.com, some opponents of California's marriage amendment, or Proposition 8, went as far as releasing blacklists (antigayblacklist.com) of those who made monetary contributions to support Proposition 8. The list includes the names of individuals, businesses, Christian ministries and churches and how much each donated.

Proposition 8 opponents are now preparing to defend same-sex marriage in court after California's Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to hear multiple legal challenges against the amendment. The high court had ruled in May to legalize marriage for same-sex couples and an estimated 18,000 gay and lesbian marriages were sanctioned before the Nov. 4 vote.

Meanwhile, proponents of Proposition 8 are also readying their arguments as the state high court agreed to allow them to intervene as defendants in the case. Arguments will be weighed beginning next month.

But while the legal battle rages on, Christians have been given the opportunity to clear up misunderstandings and boldly share their faith, some say.

"If people misunderstand Christianity or misunderstand God's truth, here is an opportunity for us to try to articulate those correctly and to demonstrate those rightly," said Fryrear of Focus on the Family.

That means, defending God's design for sexuality and doing so in a spirit of grace, humility and compassion, she explained.

"People think that Christians are intolerant or bigots or hate-filled. This is an opportunity to say that's absolutely not true," she added. "The very essence of God is love. In ways unbelievers misunderstand Christianity and the messages of Christ, this is an opportunity to actually live it out by showing love. That doesn't mean condoning behaviors outside God's created intent for sexuality."

Fryrear celebrated this year the 10th anniversary of Love Won Out conferences and testified that many gay advocates who attended the event were surprised not to have heard messages of hate but only of love and grace.

The ministry's goal is to model after Christ, and balance "grace and truth," she said.

Also hoping to clear up misperceptions and get the "whole story" across, Stith of the SBC said it is imperative for Christians to at least seek to communicate that "it isn't just that we believe gay marriage is bad for Christians, the culture at large, etc. But it is ultimately bad for homosexuals if we really believe God has something different in mind for them. This is true for anyone who desires the fullness of joy and peace that God wants them to have."

"Whether someone is living with another person outside the marriage covenant, is a serial adulterer, or engaging in premarital sex, they cannot experience all that God wants them to have," he continued. "Our motive should not be simply to deny gay marriage but to hold out the hope, the promise and the fullness that God wants all people to know."

Homosexuality has emerged as a major issue confronting churches in the recent decade. And Stith has been part of a growing effort seen among churches to inform, educate and encourage Christians to reach out and show compassion in response to homosexuality while affirming biblical truth.

Responding to claims that the church views homosexual behavior as a bigger sin than anything else, Stith simply stated, "When the culture continually argues for the acceptance of homosexual acts, the church is called to respond to that ... [and] to speak the truth of Scripture."

"If it seems that we devote an inordinate amount of time addressing that it is because an inordinate amount of time is given to promotion of homosexuality."

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


Texas Requirement to Teach Weaknesses of Evolution Being Reviewed

Reprinted by permission of The Christian Post

By Lawrence Jones
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Nov. 20 2008 09:17 AM EST

The Texas Board of Education on Wednesday heard public arguments for and against a current science standard that requires students to be taught the "strengths and weaknesses" of evolution.

The State Board is looking to update its state science standards and will vote on new guidelines next spring. The hearing on Wednesday was open to public comments on the proposed revisions to the state's science curriculum.

The current science guidelines, known as Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, or TEKS, require that students be taught the "strengths and weaknesses" of all scientific theories, including evolution.

The board is considering whether to retain the current mandate, change the language to say "strengths and limitations," or eliminate the reference altogether, as a review panel had recommended.

Despite being just three words long, the phrase has stirred up a heated debate among educators, parents, and interest groups.

Those who support retaining the decade-old reference say it provides students a balanced viewpoint on evolution and allows them a chance to come to their own conclusions.

Those who oppose keeping the current standard say the "weaknesses" language undermines evolution while opening the door for religious teachings like creationism in the classroom.

A majority of board members are in favor of retaining the "strengths and weaknesses" requirement. They dismiss concerns by critics who say the board's intent is to sneak religion into the classroom.

"There's no one on this board that is trying to inject intelligent design or creationism," Board Vice Chairman David Bradley told the Houston Chronicle. "They are trying to whip up into a frenzy over something that is not going to happen. But by trying to remove strengths and weaknesses, yes, they will get a fight."

Around 90 people had signed up to testify before the board on Wednesday, The Associated Press reported.

Steven Schafersman with Texas Citizens for Science urged the board to remove the reference, saying, "Scientific theories are strong. They don't have weaknesses," according to AP.

Jonathan Saenz, a lobbyist for the Texas Free Market Foundation, wanted the reference to stay.

"This is just another attempt to stifle academic freedom and to ban any kind of free and open science inquiry on this issue," Saenz, who had planned to testify, told AP.

Critics of the reference say the "weaknesses" requirement harms science education. But Casey Luskin, a spokesman for the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, a think tank on intelligent design, said the requirement actually helps academics.

"It's a facade to pretend that there are no scientific weaknesses of evolution, and not teaching the scientific weaknesses to students will prevent them from learning about the facts of biology, and it will harm their critical thinking skills," Luskin told the Chronicle.

A survey released last week of science professors from public and private universities in the state found that 95 percent of respondents said they want evolution to be the only theory of the origin of life taught in public schools. A vast majority of those surveyed also said students would be harmed if the state requires the teaching of the "weaknesses" of evolution.

Proponents of keeping the "strengths and weaknesses" language, however, have downplayed the survey, saying a "culture of intimidation" prevents scientists from voicing any objections to evolution. They also point out that it was conducted for Texas Freedom Network, an organization which has actively lobbied for the teaching of evolution in public schools.

"It’s a self-selecting survey," Luskin told the Star-Telegram. "There’s a well-documented culture of intimidation that makes scientists uncomfortable expressing their doubts about Darwinism. This just serves to reinforce that climate of intimidation."

The new science standards adopted by the board next year will remain in place for the next decade.

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


Tom Daschle: A 'Health' Secretary Who Promotes Unhealthy Practices

The news is out that President-elect Barack Obama has chosen former South Dakota senator Tom Daschle to be his Health Secretary, and one has to marvel that such a supporter of unhealthy practices should be chosen to shepherd the nation's health interest.

The South Dakota Left is predictably all aglow at the news. Daschle remains one of the few icons of liberal salvation here, and liberals have lamented Daschle's fall from grace in 2004. They have been in sackcloth and ashes on his behalf ever since.

However, traditional, God-fearing South Dakotans may be concerned that Daschle will yet again lead the nation to believe that people from the Rushmore State are far more liberal than we really are. In fact, many of us may just be embarrassed-in-advance for the dark path we suspect he will help take the nation down.

Tom Daschle had a nice ride from South Dakotans...until 2004 when an unprecedented campaign to inform voters about the real Tom Daschle swept the state.

You see, Daschle had for years operated as the typical federal Democrat does in South Dakota: legislate to the Left in Washington D.C., then come home for election and talk some reasonable "centrist" smack to the voters.

But in 2004 a coalition of bloggers, pro-family groups and individuals worked tirelessly to ensure the people of South Dakota knew they weren't getting the representation they expected. When South Dakotans found out about Daschle's D.C. residency (we thought he was a resident of our state, not the District of Columbia), his million dollar mansion in D.C. for which he was receiving a tax break, his Jaguar (that really went over well with the average Ford-or-Chevy driver in South Dakota), his criticism of the president on the eve of the Iraq invasion, and his liberal record, the voters gave him his walking papers and elected John Thune in his place. This was the first time a senate majority or minority leader had been put out to pasture by the voters in over 50 years.

One of the liberal positions South Dakotans got up to speed on that year was Daschle's strong support for abortion...

READ MORE...


Two More Adult Stem Cell Successes, Embryonic Still Zero

Two more adult stem cell research successes have hit the news in the last couple of days.

The first involves a "living bandage" used to repair knee injuries. From LifeSiteNews:

In the Bristol university experiment, cartilage-producing stem cells taken from 23 patients with knee injuries, were coaxed to grow and coat a sponge-like scaffold, made from hyaluronic acid - a compound that occurs naturally in cartilage. The scientists applied this cellular “bandage” to the inside of tears in knee cartilage in the lab.

After two weeks of growth, the cells and scaffold were inserted to fix tears of up to 11 square centimetres in the knee cartilage of the patients. The two halves of the tear grew back together. The team, led by Anthony Hollander, a professor of rheumatology and tissue engineering at Bristol University, told the New Scientist, “We found the cartilage matures well, even in patients with early osteoarthritis.”


The second involves the repair of a woman's trachea. From LifeNews:
Castillo, who has two children and lives in Spain now, had a severe collapse of her lung, according to an AP report, and she required regular hospital visits to clear her airways. The problems left her unable to care for her children.

Doctors considered removing her entire left lung, but Macchiarini proposed the windpipe transplant. Scientists at Italy's University of Padua prepared the transplant and doctors at the University of Bristol took adult stem cells from Castillo's bone marrow from her hip and used them to create cartilage and tissue that could cover the windpipe.

Castillo, now the first patient to receive a whole organ transplant using her own cells, has shown no signs of rejecting the transplant and does not require any immune-suppressing drugs that have significant side effects.

She said she is "very happy" with the results and can now care for her children and walk without running out of breath.

Below is a video from the BBC about the transplant.

Unlike the controversial embryonic stem cell research, adult stem cell therapy does not involve the destruction of human life. Stem cells from adult human beings are taken from that person's own body and used to stimulate growth of damaged tissue.

This brings the total of successful adult stem cell transplant therapies to somewhere around 80.

The number of successes for the life-destroying embryonic stem cell research: zero.

There is simply no reason--ethical or practical--to destroy human life in the pursuit of medical science.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Climbing Mt. Hoaximanjaro

It seems to be national Media Global Warming Scare Week, at least at NBC. They're making a mountain out of a molehill at Mt. Kilimanjaro, claiming the ice is melting there because of the mythical global warming. Just one problem: it isn't.

As the video below explains in part, there are a number of factors involved in the loss of ice at Kilimanjaro, including natural cycles, deforestation in the area, geography...and who knows, maybe the fact that it's a volcano could have something to do with it, too.

Reuters talked about this last year. But as Stuart Shepard says, we can always count on our "trusty" media to never let the facts get in the way of a good story...or a good scare.

In his Stoplight® video commentary, Stuart Shepard explains why NBC's Ann Curry didn't need to climb a mountain this week to discover what's happened to the snows of Kilimanjaro.



Smithsonian Honors Racist Eugenicist Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, is being honored with your tax dollars at the Smithsonian Institute.

In addition to starting the nation's #1 provider of abortions, Sanger was also a eugenicist (one who sought to cleanse the gene pool of "undesirable" races) of great proportions.

Aren't you thrilled to have this dark element of your country's past (and present) honored at the Smithsonian?

Aren't you even more thrilled that your wallet is being lightened to do it?

The Smithsonian is honoring one of the 20th century's most notorious eugenics proponets, Margaret Sanger. American Life League exposes Sanger's racist plan to create a "master race."



The End of School Prayer in America

American Minute from William J. Federer

On June 25, 1962, the Supreme Court stopped school prayer.

Ronald Reagan said, March 6, 1984: "From the early days of the American colonies, prayer in schools was practiced and revered as an important tradition. Indeed, for nearly 2 centuries of our history it was considered a natural expression of our religious freedom. Then in 1962, the Supreme Court declared school prayer illegal."

Reagan continued: "Well, I firmly believe the loving God who has blessed our land and made us a good caring people should never have been expelled from America's classrooms."

Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd, who was born NOVEMBER 20, 1917, agreed, stating: "In no other place in the United States are there so many...official evidences of...faith in God on the part of Government as there are in Washington...On the south banks of Washington's Tidal Basin, Jefferson still speaks: 'Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.'"

Senator Robert Byrd concluded: "Jefferson's words are a forceful and explicit warning that to remove God from this country will destroy it."

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.


eHarmony Caves to Homosexual Intimidation

How sad that yet another company has caved in to the intimidation of homosexual activists.

What's worse, the founder of this one--eHarmony.com--claims to be a Christian. Incidentally, I have no reason to believe Neil Clark Warren isn't a Christian...other than this compromise with evil. Anyone can make a mistake and compromise; I've unfortunately done so, and so have many others. But such a BIG compromise on such a BIG issue...

WorldNetDaily reports that homosexual activists filed a lawsuit against eHarmony.com for "discrimination" because the company wouldn't attempt to partner a homosexual with another homosexual.

If homosexual activists had a fraction of the "tolerance" they demand from others, they would leave this private business alone to operate as it chooses. But, as usual, that is totally insufficient for homosexual activists. The entire world must bend and bow to their will and totally accommodate their immoral and unhealthy lifestyle.

And rather than fight this immoral and unreasonable demand, eHarmony.com has caved in. In capitulating, they have agreed to match homosexuals (facilitating an immoral relationship), cough up $55,000, provide the suing homosexual with one year of free service, and provide free 6-month memberships to the first 10,000 homosexuals who register.

And since eHarmony admits up front that their goal is to help create relationships that culminate in marriage, then they must by default be participating in the ongoing attack on marriage by homosexual activists who seek to counterfeit marriage.

How low this once-honorable company has fallen. It has surrendered its principles and embraced an immoral and unhealthy sexual practice. And as an avowed Christian, Warren has brought dishonor and discredit on Christ himself.

What's more, I'm certain that homosexual activists are rejoicing at having intimidated yet another business into subservience to their agenda.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Finding Homes for Kids in Foster Care

Focus on the Family has started the "Wait No More" adoption campaign, and it kicks off in Colorado this weekend. More than 100 kids could be headed home, thanks to the efforts of 50 churches.


RINO Piracy



From our friends at Americans for Limited Government.


Repairing the Foundations of a Nation Under Assault, Part 2

Previously I discussed the need to rebuild America's foundation at the most basic level in order to save this "last best hope."

A majority of Americans have forgotten our historic roots of freedom, personal responsibility, and limited government. It's not enough anymore just to point out the need for a return to traditional Americanism; too many people don't understand what that means and lack the capacity for analytical thought. We must go back to the basics and explain why traditional Americanism is good and why the modern trend toward socialism is bad. People in our self-centered culture must be educated as to "what's in it for them" before they can move on to acting and voting in a manner based on "what's in it for society" or better still "what's right."

We will need to educate our fellow Americans because the institutions which have historically done so--the institutions of education and journalism--have demonstrated they are no longer willing to do so. Traditional Americans must therefore work in and within those institutions to foster change. We must also engage our fellow Americans on a personal level--at work, at church, across the back yard fence, and at the ball game.

But educating and providing facts is still not enough. Fundamental change is needed in the hearts of the American people. Since leaving our roots, we have spawned generations who have not cultivated a moral compass. We will not return America to societal greatness unless we cultivate a strong moral compass in the people.


PART 1

People also no longer understand the relationship between private morality and public behavior. Since the days of Bill Clinton we've been told that it doesn't matter if someone is a scoundrel and dirtbag in their personal life; what matters is whether they're a good leader.

But we saw with Bill Clinton that his "private morality" or lack thereof dragged the nation through the mud hole of his depraved infidelity. We also saw him lie to the American people--not only about his unzipped fly but about policy issues--almost every time his mouth opened. He lied about seeing black churches burning in Arkansas, reducing the size of government (he gutted the military while bloating the bureaucracy), lied about reining in the welfare state (congressional Republicans did this), and he lied about reducing spending (again, congressional Republicans did this). It was almost impossible to keep up with his lies and lack of faithfulness to the people he was elected to serve.

And in the same way he was derelict in his duty to be faithful to his wife, he was derelict in his duty to protect the United States...

READ MORE...


Zogby Releases Poll, Statement on How Obama Got Elected

Yesterday quite a few Barack Obama voters--the more cognizant ones, that is--were upset to hear about the video made by John Ziegler of questions being asked of clueless Obama voters after they had come out of the voting booth.

While almost every one could answer questions about the slurs the media and other liberals made against Sarah Palin, almost none could answer correctly concerning genuine gaffes made by Barack Obama and Joe Biden. They also could not answer basic facts concerning the candidates they had just voted for.

A quick summary of results from a Zogby poll which found stunning levels of ignorance on the part of Obama voters was also released.

This display of numbing ignorance was of course met with howls of disapproval and quick efforts to obfuscate and undermine credibility by liberals. In fact, the Daily Kos (the place where many liberals receive their daily talking papers) hit this one quickly and got out the standard denial-track overnight Monday night.

So it was that yesterday liberals parroted the "push polling, push polling" mantra fed to them by the Daily Kos.

It didn't matter how many times you explained to them why this the video and the Zogby poll were not push polling (primarily that it was done after the election where it could not do what push polls are designed to do: push the voter toward voting for a particular candidate based on negative information or insinuation). These liberals had been fed the "push polling" line, that was all they had, and they were going to use it like brave little soldiers.

Perhaps they'll believe Zogby International itself (there I go, getting optimistic again). John Zogby of Zogby International is himself a Democrat, so there are no reasonable (notice I said "reasonable") grounds for charges of Right-wing bias here).

Zogby has not only released the full results of the poll, but has also placed a statement on their website specifically to answer these mindless charges of "push polling."

Zogby says

"We stand by the results our survey work on behalf of John Ziegler, as we stand by all of our work. We reject the notion that this was a push poll because it very simply wasn't. It was a legitimate effort to test the knowledge of voters who cast ballots for Barack Obama in the Nov. 4 election. Push polls are a malicious effort to sway public opinion one way or the other, while message and knowledge testing is quite another effort of public opinion research that is legitimate inquiry and has value in the public square. In this case, the respondents were given a full range of responses and were not pressured or influenced to respond in one way or another. This poll was not designed to hurt anyone, which is obvious as it was conducted after the election. The client is free to draw his own conclusions about the research, as are bloggers and other members of society. But Zogby International is a neutral party in this matter. We were hired to test public opinion on a particular subject and with no ax to grind, that's exactly what we did. We don't have to agree or disagree with the questions, we simply ask them and provide the client with a fair and accurate set of data reflecting public opinion." - John Zogby

Here are some of the results of the poll:
97.1% High School Graduate or higher, 55% College Graduates

Results to 12 simple Multiple Choice Questions

57.4% could NOT correctly say which party controls congress (50/50 shot just by guessing)

81.8% could NOT correctly say Joe Biden quit a previous campaign because of plagiarism (25% chance by guessing)

82.6% could NOT correctly say that Barack Obama won his first election by getting opponents kicked off the ballot (25% chance by guessing)

88.4% could NOT correctly say that Obama said his policies would likely bankrupt the coal industry and make energy rates skyrocket (25% chance by guessing)

56.1% could NOT correctly say Obama started his political career at the home of two former members of the Weather Underground (25% chance by guessing).

As I told one persistent liberal yesterday, even if it had been a push poll, that does not alter the most important aspects of the exercise: that these facts about Barack Obama and Joe Biden were true, and that Obama voters were utterly clueless about the facts.

I admitted up front yesterday that not all Obama voters are clueless. Many are sincere, dedicated socialists who knew exactly the kind of un-American candidate they were supporting (un-American in that Obama espouses values antithetical to Americanism and how America was designed to work).

But a large number of average Obama voters--as evidenced by this video and the Zogby poll--simply knew very little about the candidates. They had swallowed the propaganda fed them by the "mainstream" media. As evidenced by the video, that propaganda said that John McCain was a mean old guy, Sarah Palin was a mean idiot, and that there was nothing negative about Obama or Biden.

First and foremost, it is every person's responsibility to educate and inform themselves. Our right to vote is a sacred and very important thing; it should not be exercised indiscriminately and without good information.

But our journalistic corps' job is to provide objective facts, not spin and propaganda which favors the candidate they favor (and polls also show that the "mainstream" media overwhelmingly supported Obama and other Democrats). Our media bills itself as being "unbiased" an "objective." Those things are essential to the health of a representative democracy.

But we do not have "truth in advertising" from our "mainstream" media. We have snake oil. And the deleterious of that poison the media sells was evidenced in this video.

I strongly suspect that on election day, ignorance carried the day.



Gettysburg

American Minute from William J. Federer

NOVEMBER 19, 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address where 50,000 soldiers were killed or wounded in a 3 day battle: "Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure."

Lincoln went on: "We are met on a great battlefield...to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live...But...we cannot dedicate...this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it."

Lincoln continued: "It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced...That from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure."

Lincoln ended: "That we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain-that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom-and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

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.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Star Trek Movie Trailer Released

I'd seen this over the past few days on dark, blurred bootleg copies out on the internet. But this one is nice and clear.

Clear enough to see what I presume is the original U.S.S. Enterprise under construction, the original NCC-1701. As Captain Montgomery Scott would say, "NCC-1701. No bloody A, B, C, or D."

This installment in the Star Trek series is a prequel movie to ALL of them, even the original series of the late 1960s. Scheduled for release on May 8, 2009, this movie takes place when the characters in the original series were youngsters, at Starfleet Academy and before.

The trailer opens with a scene of young James T. Kirk driving an ancient muscle car over a cliff.

Didn't Jim Kirk grow up in Iowa? I didn't know they had canyons like that in Iowa.

If you're not a Trekker, this has bored you I'm sure. But if you are a Trekker--especially one going back to watching TOS on prime time TV as I am--then you're probably pretty jazzed about the upcoming movie.

Daily Mail: The trailer starts with a speeding Corvette going through the desert being pursued by a mysterious driver on a hovering motorbike contraption. The car goes flying off the side of a canyon, leaving the young driver - too young to have a license - hanging off the side, clinging on for dear life. The pursuing driver, who appears to be a robot, steps off his bike and asks the youngster: 'What is your name?' The brazen boy replies: 'My name is James Tiberius Kirk.'



Constant Conservative Catches Missed Truths on Charity

Another great piece at the Constant Conservative today. The Constant Conservative actually mirrors some of the thoughts I had when I read this pro-socialist article at the Rapid City Journal yesterday.

Don't get me wrong. I am an enthusiastic supporter of private charity. I have a number of friends who work at charities (both as staff and volunteers) and I donate to charity on a regular basis myself. I think that people and private companies donating money and goods to help those in need is a wonderful thing--it's exactly how American is supposed to work.

What I DO oppose is socialism, the government-enforced version of charity which takes wealth from one person without their consent and gives it to another who may or may not need it (after filtering it through the sticky hands of an army of bureaucrats along the way).

What the Constant Conservative points out here that I appreciate so much is that many people not on the take from the government (and their fellow citizens) already live on or around the amount mentioned in the article. Living modestly is not such an alien and impossible thing as it is made out to be.

Another truth that I appreciate the Constant Conservative for pointing out is that food stamps (the socialist program being promoted by this article) are not intended to be a way of life. They are not intended to be a permanent or even long-term solution, but a temporary aid while people get back on their own feet.

In fact, no charity--whether private or government-enforced--should become a way of life. Many of us hit a rough patch and need a hand...temporarily.

What we don't need is an opiate that robs us of human dignity and the will to meet our personal responsibilities.

Many people with severe disabilities manage to take care of themselves, and I have personally known a number of them over my lifetime. These include people with disabilities such as Down syndrome, various forms of mental impairment, blindness, paraplegics and even quadriplegics. I've had extensive work done on my vehicle by a mechanic with only one hand; one arm ends somewhere around his elbow.

Most people, if they have the desire and motivation, are capable of meeting their own needs. For the few who are not, one of the duties of family is meeting the needs of fellow family members who are incapable.

Government charity is counter to the way America is supposed to work, and counter to Biblical charity.

The founders said of government charity:

- A wise and frugal government...shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. – Thomas Jefferson

- Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated. - Thomas Jefferson

- With respect to the two words 'general welfare,' I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators. – James Madison

- I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents. – James Madison

- Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government. – James Madison

- We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money. — Congressman Davy Crockett

The Bible says of charity:
- If one of your countrymen becomes poor and sells some of his property, his nearest relative is to come and redeem what his countryman has sold. (Leviticus 25:25)

- Do not show favoritism to a poor man in his lawsuit (Exodus 23:3)

- Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly. (Leviticus 19:15)

- If a man will not work, he shall not eat. (2 Thessalonians 3:10)

- These should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family (1 Timothy 5:4)

- As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list…they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house (1 Timothy 5:13)

- If any woman who is a believer has widows in her family, she should help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need. (1 Timothy 5:16)

Government should not be usurping or substituting for family responsibility. Nor should it be excusing personal responsibility.

Thanks, Constant Conservative, for pointing out these important truths that the "objective" media somehow missed.


Bailout Syndrome



From our friends at Americans for Limited Government.


Thanksgiving Essay Contest at Red County

Red County, the national blog alliance where I also write, is running a Thanksgiving Essay Contest.

The contest is open to anyone who hasn't been previously published at Red County. The winning entry will be posted in the Spotlight Commentary section and will remain there Thanksgiving Day and through the holiday weekend.

Just tell Red County in 800 words or less, why you are Thankful to Live in the United States of America.

Americans are blessed to live in such a wonderful, prosperous and free country. This is your opportunity to express your gratitude for those blessings.

More information is available at Red County.


Obama Associate Bill Ayers: We Ought to Abolish Prisons

Barack Obama's terrorist associate Bill Ayers says some interesting things in this short video.

He regrets dedicating his terrorist manifesto Prairie Fire to Robert F. Kennedy-assassin Sirhan Sirhan...but denies doing it even though he regrets it.

He also says, "We ought to abolish the prisons."

I guess there are no bad people in Ayers world (except rich people and capitalists).

If we follow his advice, we should ship every one of the ex-prisoners to Ayers neighborhood and let them live next to him.


Thune Elected to Number 5 Senate Republican Spot

The Rapid City Journal reports Senator John Thune was elected by fellow Republicans to the Senate Republican Conference vice chairman, the #5 Republican spot in the U.S. Senate.

Not bad for a guy in his first term in the Senate.

Congratulations, Senator Thune!


Newsbusted Conservative Comedy 11/18/2008

Topics in today's show: --Old comparisons for Barack Obama --NYT reveals more national secrets --Oprah Winfrey gets excited --Lindsay Lohan calls Barack Obama "colored" Starring: Jodi Miller Director: Bruce Roundtower Executive Producer: Matthew Sheffield NewsBusted is a comedy webcast about the news of the day, uploaded every Tuesday and every Friday.


Rapid City Proposition 8 Rally

Below is a photo of the rally in Rapid City on Saturday in opposition to Proposition 8, California's marriage protection amendment. It was submitted by an anonymous area photographer.

If you missed the rally, you aren't alone. It doesn't appear to have been well attended. One was planned, but interest must have been minimal.

The photographer was there at the time designated for the rally, and remained there for about 15 minutes, but no one showed up to rally.

A number of rallies were held in various parts of the country last weekend in opposition to Proposition 8 this weekend, but thankfully our community was spared this indignity.

I don't usually have a whole lot of good things to say about homosexual activists around Rapid City or anywhere else for that matter; I just don't find anything to appreciate about undermining the moral fiber of society, undermining marriage and family, and legitimizing a lifestyle fraught with health hazards.

But it looks like the homosexual community in the Rapid City area has opted for a responsible stance on Proposition 8...and stayed home.

Some homosexual activists have been after me to say just one thing positive about homosexuals. Here you go. Credit where credit is due.

Marriage and representative democracy are important, and we should respect both. I'm glad the homosexual community in Rapid City did.


Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected

The "How Obama Got Elected" Zombie Voters video has gone viral. I posted it late last evening and it burned up the internet overnight.

Hannity and Colmes also talked to the man, John Ziegler, who commissioned the Zogby poll and did the documentary video last night (see below).

John Ziegler said he would bet Alan Colmes the money he spent on this video and poll, which was about $13,0000, and said if they got the same poll results or worse, he'd pay double their expenses.

Ziegler said the people in this video were not chosen by him, but were chosen by a black female.

Ziegler blamed the "mainstream" media more than these ignorant voters. He is right that the media deserves plenty of blame, because they put themselves forward as being "objective" and "unbiased"...and their behavior during this election made a mockery of that claim like never before.

However, it is every person's responsibility to ensure for themselves that they are knowledgeable and informed about the candidates and issues. In this day and age where an abundance of information and news sources are available, it is inexcusable for an American to be anywhere near this uninformed about the candidates and issues.

Ball games, the latest Britney Spears CD, new cell phone ring tones, and Survivor: Third Moon of Jupiter are not more important than our civic duty to be informed voters.

Sean Hannity said these interviews mirrored the results he gets when he does "man on the street" interviews his radio show; I've heard a number of these interviews, and they are truly pathetic.

Some of the Zogby results:

97.1% High School Graduate or higher, 55% College Graduates

Results to 12 simple Multiple Choice Questions

57.4% could NOT correctly say which party controls congress (50/50 shot just by guessing)

81.8% could NOT correctly say Joe Biden quit a previous campaign because of plagiarism (25% chance by guessing)

82.6% could NOT correctly say that Barack Obama won his first election by getting opponents kicked off the ballot (25% chance by guessing)

88.4% could NOT correctly say that Obama said his policies would likely bankrupt the coal industry and make energy rates skyrocket (25% chance by guessing)

56.1% could NOT correctly say Obama started his political career at the home of two former members of the Weather Underground (25% chance by guessing).

If I was Barack Obama and knew that this was my voter base, I would be profoundly ashamed.
"The media coverage of this campaign was so scandalous, so beyond bias into the realm of media malpractice."


Repairing the Foundations of a Nation Under Assault, Part 1

Many conservatives are not afraid to speak their mind and even speak up in the public arena for their values. But almost none of us (myself included) are consistently doing what must be done to positively impact our decaying culture.

Many of us grew up having been taught the founding principles of our great nation. Often our parents told us of our country's noble ideals and the things that make America great. If we grew up several decades ago, we might even have been lucky enough to be taught some of this in public school.

People who recognize the great founding principles of the United States, understand the inestimable value of personal freedom and responsibility, and cherish our heritage of limited government are usually known as "conservatives."

Even if we weren't taught these things as children, some of us have learned somewhere along the way that the liberal policies proffered by the Democrats (really Marxist policies) are antithetical to the principles of Americanism. People who didn't know this to begin with but later came to realize it are usually described as "liberals who were mugged by reality."

Sadly, few are learning these lessons today, and few have for decades.

Our public education system has acquiesced to if not embraced liberalism and has foisted that ideology on our children even as it has attempted to erase the history of our Christian heritage and origins of limited government.

Our media establishment sold out lock, stock and barrel to liberalism decades ago. From the movies to television to music to journalism, there is only a constant stream of revisionist history, derision of traditional values and shameless promotion of liberalism as the ultimate and only reality. Moral ambiguity is the best we can hope for in almost all media fare.

This flood of propaganda has proven very effective in producing one or more generations that are almost entirely ignorant of their heritage, oblivious to world history, and lack even the basic analytical skills necessary to sift truth from lies.

This brainwashed culture is what we face in the arena of ideas to day, and it is what conservatives must deal with as we try to turn our culture around from its headlong plunge toward the abyss.

We don't have to like it, but we must acknowledge it, deal with it, compensate for it...and then overcome it.

READ MORE...


The Intolerance of the Tolerant: On Through the Night

This video below is yet another lesson we've received recently from the apostles of tolerance from the homosexual community.

This took place last Friday night in San Francisco's Castro District. There was yelling and screaming and profanity and assaults and lewd behavior.

Since Proposition 8 passed in California on Nov. 4 to protect marriage, we have seen a number of displays of "tolerance" from the homosexual community that has so "innocently" beseeched tolerance from society.

They called for violence and murder against the people who voted to protect marriage. They ripped a cross out of an old lady's hand, stomped on it and shouted her down as a reporter attempted to interview her. They've stolen and vandalized private property. They have disrupted church services with yelling profanities, blasphemies and throwing condoms. They've burned a holy text on the doorstep of a church. And since blacks voted to protect marriage by a 70-30% margin, they've resorted to calling black people "niggers" and such.

At this point, I don't know if homosexual activists will ever be able to peddle their "tolerance" snake oil again. There has been far too much animosity coming from their camp toward people who simply voted to maintain the integrity of marriage as humanity has known it since the beginning of the human race.

If voting for morality, normality, and preserving marriage and family are "intolerance," I wonder what the behavior described above and in this video would be called...

From the video description:

I went to the Castro (the homosexual district of San Francisco) with JHOPSF (I have been with the Justice House of Prayer San Francisco since April 2008.) like we usually do on Friday nights.

Normally, we sit on 18th and Castro, and someone plays the guitar, and we all worship God.

Sometimes a person will yell at us, or maybe a few. Sometimes people will ignore us. Sometimes people will let us pray with them.

This time was not a normal night. It was the first time we'd been back in the Castro to do our normal outreach since California Proposition 8, which defined marriage as "one man with one woman" was passed. We played the guitar and sang together and worshiped the Lord. After just singing and worshiping God for a while, Roger decided that we should all hold hands in a circle and continue singing. So we did.
Someone (Actually a person who came up and hugged and kissed some of us who he knew from the past) convinced some people that we were there to protest against the no on 8 campaign.

Then some guy who was dressed up like one of the sisters (The sisters of perpetual indulgence is a group of men who dress up like nuns and call themselves the spiritual authority of the Castro.) took a curtain-type thing (Which I think they use to curse people) and wrapped it around us.

Then a crowd started gathering. We began to sing "Amazing Grace", and basically sang that song the whole night. (At some points we also sang "Nothing but the Blood of Jesus" and "Oh the Blood of Jesus".)

At first, they just shouted at us, using crude, rude, and foul language and calling us names like "haters" and "bigots".

Since it was a long night, I can't even begin to remember all of the things that were shouted and/or chanted at us.

Then, they started throwing hot coffee, soda and alcohol on us and spitting (and maybe even peeing) on us. Then, a group of guys surrounded us with whistles, and blasted them inches away from our ears continually.

Then, they started getting violent and started shoving us. At one point a man tried to steal one of our Bibles.

Chrisdene noticed, so she walked up to him and said "Hey, that's not yours, can you please give it back?". He responded by hitting her on the head with the Bible, shoving her to the ground, and kicking her.

I called the cops, and when they got there, they pulled her out of the circle and asked her if she wanted to press charges. She said "No, tell him I forgive him."

Afterwards, she didn't rejoin us in the circle, but she made friends with one of the people in the crowd, and really connected heart to heart. Roger got death threats.

As the leader of our group, people looked him in the eyes and said "I am going to kill you.", and they were serious. A cop heard one of them, and confronted him. (This part is kinda graphic, so you should skip the paragraph if you don't want to be offended.)

It wasn't long before the violence turned to perversion. They were touching and grabbing me, and trying to shove things in my butt, and even trying to take off my pants - basically trying to molest me. I used one hand to hold my pants up, while I used the other arm to hold one of the girls. The guys huddled around all the girls, and protected them.

Soon after, the cops came and stood between us and the mob. When it was getting more heated, the cops were like "You guys should leave." and Roger said "We want to stay." Someone tried to steal my backpack, but I tapped a cop on the shoulder, and said "Hey, that's my bag." and he got it from him and gave it to me. Others weren't so lucky. Probably half our team got their jackets stolen.

Eventually, as the crowd was getting more and more uncontrollable, the cops were afraid for our lives, so they escorted us to our van. (The cops were very nice to us from start to finish.) Our van was parked pretty far because it was hard to find parking that day.

As the cops escorted us, the mob followed us, until the cops formed a line, and held off the people so we could drive away.

We took the long way home, just in case anyone tried to follow us. When we got home, we prayed and sang more, and then prayed over each-other. Please know my heart.

All of what we do is for the Love of Jesus Christ, and the love for those in the Castro. The Bible says to love God, and then love people. We can only love because He loved us first. We can't hate the people because they are just broken and blinded by the spirit of this age. Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against Principalities and Powers. It's not a political thing, we just love the people.


WARNING: Offensive language in this video!


Monday, November 17, 2008

How Obama Got Elected: Zombie Voters

Now I know that our liberal bloggers in South Dakota are more informed than the folks in this video (our lib bloggers at least know who most of the players are), so don't think I'm poking fun at you, liberal bloggers.

But you know as well as I do that this is almost certainly all-too-typical of the Obama voter profile.

The website How Obama Got Elected put together this video and their website features some interesting information gathered by Zogby polling on Obama voters:

97.1% High School Graduate or higher, 55% College Graduates

Results to 12 simple Multiple Choice Questions

57.4% could NOT correctly say which party controls congress (50/50 shot just by guessing)

81.8% could NOT correctly say Joe Biden quit a previous campaign because of plagiarism (25% chance by guessing)

82.6% could NOT correctly say that Barack Obama won his first election by getting opponents kicked off the ballot (25% chance by guessing)

88.4% could NOT correctly say that Obama said his policies would likely bankrupt the coal industry and make energy rates skyrocket (25% chance by guessing)

56.1% could NOT correctly say Obama started his political career at the home of two former members of the Weather Underground (25% chance by guessing).

You might recall that I wrote a few weeks ago about the Case Against Clueless Voting. You probably thought I was being mean and unfair. This video proves I was not; I was probably being overly gracious.

A vote is a sacred thing, not to be exercised lightly. It is also a potentially dangerous thing when used indiscriminately, and in concert with other indiscriminate and poorly-aimed votes.

Note where most of these mindless zombies got their vast ocean of political information: NPR, PBS, CNN, Bill Maher, New York Times, BBC (which, incidentally, for you fellow zombies out there, is the liberal British Broadcasting Company), MSNBC, Jon Stewart. All Leftist propaganda mouthpieces, most of which try to pass themselves off as "objective." However, I think the only folks they're fooling into believing that are the type in this video.

I wish they had asked these Obama voters their number one reason for voting for Obama. Given the level of ignorance here, I think it would be a pretty safe bet to guess it would be something like "Because he's gonna stick it to the rich!" or maybe "He'll pay for my health care" or some such envy-driven drivel.

You know, if I ran for office and had this many complete ignoramuses vote for me, I think there's a good chance my sense of integrity would compel me to step down for the good of the country.

By the way, I suppose these Obama voters at least deserve credit for recognizing there are not 58 states in the United States (as Obama said).

www.HowObamaGotElected.com looks at how media coverage of the 2008 election impacted what Obama voters knew (or thought they knew) about the campaign.



Under California Constitution, Proposition 8 Should Stand

SACRAMENTO, California, November 17 /Standard Newswire/ -- With their vote under attack by liberal county governments, homosexual activists and the ACLU, many Californians are wondering whether they've lost the right to amend the constitution. The answer is no, according to the constitution itself and the legislative and legal history regarding the difference between an "amendment" and a "revision."

"An amendment is when the voters make changes to one or more of the provisions of the constitution," said Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families, a leading California pro-family organization. "In contrast, a revision is when the legislature and the voters both agree to make numerous, sophisticated changes to the entire constitution. If the constitution were a house, a revision would be an extensive remodel where you knock down all the inside walls and repaint everything; an amendment would be a minor change, like replacing a lamp or a chair in the family room."

Proposition 8, approved by the voters, added Article 1, Section 7.5 to the California Constitution, reading, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

The City of San Francisco alleges Prop. 8 was a constitutional revision requiring two-thirds legislative approval. Yet in July, the California Supreme Court refused to hear these same arguments when the City of San Francisco urged the court to strip Prop. 8 from the ballot. "This summer, the Supreme Court unanimously refused to hear the claim that Proposition 8 was a revision," said Thomasson, who is seeking to intervene in the Prop. 8 lawsuits on behalf of the voters. "The Court disagreed that Prop. 8 is 'a substantial alteration of the entire constitution.'"

"The Supreme Court knows the difference between a single-subject, voter-initiated amendment and a multi-issue, legislature-initiated, whole-scale revision that alters many sections of the state constitution," said Thomasson. "The first clue is revisions always require a two-thirds legislative vote, but voter-initiated amendments such as Prop. 8 are directly added to the constitution by the people. Thank God that the state constitution tells us 'all political power is inherent in the people,' that 'they have the right to alter or reform it when the public good may require'" (California Constitution, Article II, Section 1).

In 1978, the California Supreme Court distinguished between a revision of the constitution and a mere amendment of the constitution, stating that a revision referred to a "substantial alteration of the entire constitution, rather than to a less extensive change in one or more of its provisions" (Amador Valley Joint Union High School District v. State Board of Equalization, 22 Cal.3d 208).

The California Supreme Court last ruled on this issue in 1991, rejecting similar arguments that the City of San Francisco is using now. The Court ruled that Prop. 140 was not a revision:

"As previously noted, petitioners contend that the combined effects of the foregoing term and budgetary limitations on California's 'basic governmental plan' will be as devastating and far reaching as those involved in the provision of Proposition 115 invalidated by us in Raven v. Deukmejian, supra, 52 Cal.3d 336, 276 Cal.Rptr. 326, 801 P.2d 1077. They thus assert that Proposition 140 has achieved a qualitative revision of the Constitution. We disagree.

"Raven invalidated a portion of Proposition 115 because it deprived the state judiciary of its foundational power to decide cases by independently interpreting provisions of the state Constitution, and delegated that power to the United States Supreme Court. (Ibid.) By contrast, Proposition 140 on its face does not affect either the structure or the foundational powers of the Legislature, which remains free to enact whatever laws it deems appropriate. The challenged measure alters neither the content of those laws nor the process by which they are adopted. No legislative power is diminished or delegated to other persons or agencies." (Legislature v. Eu 54 Cal.3d 492)

The California Constitution itself states that the people may amend the Constitution by the initiative process, where they collect signatures, qualify an amendment to the Constitution, and pass it. No legislative "permission" is required for voter-initiated amendments such as Proposition 8. "The electors may amend the Constitution by initiative" (Article 18, Sec. 3).

Explaining the clear distinction between an amendment and a revision is University of California, Berkeley Department of Public Science Chairman Emeritus Dr. Eugene C. Lee, who, in 1991, wrote:
"Specific changes to the California constitution may be proposed by amendment. Substantial changes may be proposed by a constitutional convention or by the legislature as constitutional revisions. Regardless of their origin, all changes must be approved by a majority of the electorate voting on the issue. Legislative amendments, the method most commonly used, require a two-thirds vote in each house of the legislature. Initiative amendments may be placed on the ballot by a petition of registered voters equal in number to 8 percent of the total vote cast in the preceding gubernatorial election. By explicit language in the constitution concerning initiatives and by court interpretation with respect to measures arising in the legislature, amendments are required to be limited in scope. As far back as 1894, the California Supreme Court distinguished between a revision of the constitution and a mere amendment thereof (Livermore v. Waite, 102 Cal. 113). As reiterated in 1978, the court held that a revision referred to a 'substantial alteration of the entire constitution, rather than to a less extensive change in one or more of its provisions' (Amador Valley Joint Union High School District v. State Board of Equalization, 22 Cal.3d 208)." -- Eugene C. Lee, "The Revision of California's Constitution," April 1991, commissioned by the California Policy Seminar, UC Berkeley

CAMPAIGN FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES (CCF) is a leading West Coast nonprofit, nonpartisan organization representing children and families. CCF stands for marriage and family, parental rights, the sanctity of human life, religious


Survey Finds U.S. Churches Less Engaged in 2008 Election

Reprinted by permission of The Christian Post

By Jennifer Riley
Christian Post Reporter
Sun, Nov. 16 2008 12:47 PM EST


Churches were less active in this year’s election process than in 2004, according to a recently released survey.

The survey by Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that significantly fewer voters who attended religious services said that they received information about political parties and candidates at their place of worship during the 2008 election cycle.

Among all voters who attend religious services at least once or twice a month, only 15 percent say they received election information at their house of worship. In 2004, 27 percent said they were given such information.

The difference was most greatest among white evangelicals, who reported a 17 percent change between 2004 and 2008 (33 to 16 percent, respectively) and among Catholics, who also saw a 17 percent drop (31 to 14 percent).

Black Protestants, meanwhile, were the most likely to hear about candidates and parties in churches during this election year (29 percent) compared with other religious groups.

Besides being less likely to receive information on presidential candidates, church-goers this year were also less likely to say they received information about state or local ballot initiatives or constitutional amendments.

In 2004, nearly one-in-five (19 percent) voters who attend religious services received such information, compared with 13 percent in this year’s campaign.

Fewer voters also said their clergy explicitly encouraged them to vote in a particular way. Only eight percent of those who attend services say they received this kind of encouragement in 2008, which is slightly less than the 11 percent who said they were urged to vote for a particular candidate or ballot initiative by clergy or religious group in 2004.

Among the religious groups, Catholics were the ones most likely to say they were encouraged by clergy or other religious groups at their church to vote in a particular manner. Nearly one out of five white Catholics (18 percent) said they were urged by the church to vote a certain way, more than double the figure for any other religious group.

The survey results were based on telephone interviews conducted Nov. 6-9, 2008, among a sample of 1,500 voters (“voters” are those respondents who said they voted in the 2008 election).

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


Homosexual Rights Group Intends to Put Marriage on 2010 Ballot

Reprinted by permission of The Christian Post

By Katherine T. Phan
Christian Post Reporter
Sat, Nov. 15 2008 10:03 AM EST


California voters may have to face the issue of gay marriage again on the 2010 ballot if the state Supreme Court decides to uphold the passage of Proposition 8.

Equality California, a gay rights group which ran the "No on 8" campaign, said this week it intends to launch an effort to put a ballot initiative to reverse the gay marriage ban in two years should current legal efforts fail.

"We will go back to the ballot only after we have exhausted our legal avenues and after we have a majority of voters with us," said Geoffrey Kors, the group's executive director, according to The Associated Press.

While the San Francisco-based organization has indicated that it was not currently active in pursuing a repeal effort, one gay rights group said they have already begun an effort to put an initiative reversing Prop. 8 on the 2010 ballot.

A group called Courage Campaign said it is taking lessons from the "Yes on 8" campaign and attempting to build a grassroots network, similar to the network of churches used to support Prop. 8, that would boost the repeal effort.

"The problem was, the other side ran a better media campaign, and had thousands and thousands of people, typically through churches, who they were organizing," the Campaign's founder Rick Jacobs told Capitol Weekly.

As of Friday, the group garnered over 180,000 signatures toward a petition to repeal Prop. 8.

If a repeal effort does appear on the 2010 ballot, it would be the third time Californian voters has considered a ballot initiative concerning gay marriage.

Last week, state voters passed Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, 52 to 48 percent. In 2000, 61 percent approved a similar ban on gay marriage, known as Proposition 22, which was opposed by 39 percent of voters.

Following Prop. 8's passage, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, and the American Civil Liberties Union filed the suit, Strauss v. Horton, on behalf of several same-sex couples and Equality California.

The lawsuits ask the California Supreme Court to block the measure from taking effect, which would allow gay marriages to continue under the Court's ruling in May.

The suits also challenge the validity of the measure and argues that the measure prevents the courts from protecting fundamental rights. "Any measure that would change the underlying principles of the constitution must first be approved by the legislature before being submitted to the voters," argued Equality California in a press release.

Liberty Counsel, a Christian legal firm, has filed a motion to intervene to defend against the lawsuits. A number of Christian-based groups have also filed amicus briefs arguing against the opponents of Prop. 8.

"The law suit seeking to block Proposition 8 is patently frivolous," said Mathew D. Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, in a statement. "The people have a right to amend their constitution."

Glen Lavy, senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, said there was "no structural revision to the state constitution" that took place.

"The people have simply restored the definition of marriage that the constitution has always assumed," he stated.

Christians are outraged as thousands of protesters surround Mormon temples and Protestant churches, chanting such words as "Mormon scum" and vandalizing church property and church members' cars.

What hypocrisy from those who spend all of their time preaching tolerance to the rest of us! How dare they threaten and attack political opponents? We live a democratic country, not a banana republic ruled by thugs," stated Chuck Colson, an influential evangelical and founder of Prison Fellowship.

At a press conference on Friday, Frank Schubert, co-manager of the campaign supporting Prop. 8, highlighted, "Amidst all this lawlessness, harassment, trampling of civil rights and now domestic terrorism, one thing stands out: the deafening silence of our elected officials. Not a single elected leader has spoken out against what is happening. Where is Governor Arnold Schwarzenengger while churches are being attacked? And where is Senator Dianne Feinstein while people are losing their jobs and grandmothers are being bullied by an angry mob?"

Leaders of ProtectMarriage.com gathered Friday to voice opposition against attacks and harrassment they say are increasing against them.

According to ProtectMarriage.com, in Sacramento, a musical theater director was forced to resign after he was blacklisted for contributing $1000 to the initiative, numerous churches have had their property defaced, and an unknown white powder was mailed to several Mormon temples and the National Headquarters of the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic organization that supported the campaign.

Gay rights advocates, who are riled over the passage of Prop. 8, plan to hold a nationwide protest on Saturday against the measure. In California, the protest is scheduled to take place throughout the state, including Sacramento, San Francisco, Berkeley, Modesto, Los Angeles and San Diego.

The state's top court has not indicated when it will decide to whether to take up a the case.

Constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage also passed last week in Arizona and Florida.

Connecticut began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples this week, joining Massachusetts as the only two states where gay marriage is legal.

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


Confusion & Compromise: Restoring the Next Generation

By S. Michael Craven
Center for Christ & Culture


I received many responses to last week’s article, Marriage Survives! Can it Endure? Some revealed the very problem I was addressing: the next generation, including many Christians, are either confused or compromised on the issue of homosexuality and, by implication, biblical authority.

One young college student wrote:

I have been a Christian all my life. I am ashamed at the way you put down homosexuals. You should educate yourself about the culture you are attacking. If Jesus was as exclusive as you how would the Gospel message have been spread? Love all God's children and learn something about a social group before you attack all of them as immoral sex freaks. Closed minded Christians like yourself are what is pushing us youth away from the church in the first place. Shame on you!

After several lengthy e-mails back and forth, this central theme emerged:
I think a lot of what this argument boils down to is our interpretations of Scripture. It seems to me that you are arguing that homosexuality is a sin because the Bible says so. Now I am no minister, and I’m sure you could provide more examples, but as far as I know the only book in the entire Bible that EXPLICITLY describes homosexuality as a sin is the Book of Leviticus. It seems that all your other scriptural evidence comes from verses concerning heterosexual marriage, to which you are reading in condemnations of homosexuality. The point here is that you seem to interpret the Bible very literally. But if you adhere to the Law as defined in the Old Testament then shouldn’t all Christians be kosher? Should we all stop eating pork, wearing clothes with more than one fabric, etc.? So if Christians can in fact break the Law of Moses then by what authority do you condemn homosexuality? Isn’t it the Law of Moses that gives you your position on homosexuality?

He continues:
Finally, here is my biggest problem with your position. You act as though your opinion of scripture is God’s. … Is your notion of truth not based on your own interpretation of scripture? And aren’t you a human? And if those two things are true, then isn’t your interpretation of scripture subject to the flaw that marks all humans? … A certain aspect of Christianity is left to mystery because none of us can ever fully understand God. Thus we are left to make the best decisions with what information we have. We are all unique so our decisions will be different, that doesn’t necessarily make them wrong. ONLY GOD gets to decide that. And you sir, are not God.

The following is a portion of my response:
I really appreciate the thoughtfulness with which you have responded (despite your occasional jabs). You have obviously thought deeply about this and I think we, as Christians, should consider these matters carefully. Also, Christian love compels us to reason together when we disagree in a way that does not undermine the unity we share in Christ. Clearly we are dealing with a complex issue that ultimately involves people who are precious to God. So I am in no way offering a reproach to those people living the homosexual lifestyle; I am instead addressing the behavior and testing—against Scripture—the proposition: is it morally right or wrong? This is, after all, our final authority for such determinations.

That being the case, it is not fair to simply reduce our disagreement to the matter of interpretation. To do so, comes perilously close to the deconstructive approach to reading put forth by Jacques Derrida. While there is some truth to the postmodern claim that interpretations necessarily vary, it is incorrect to assume that because of this condition there is no possibility for ever discovering the truth. The truth is not found in interpretation but rather in the meaning of the text itself as established by the author. The proper approach to biblical interpretation is one in which the whole of Scripture is considered and what the Scriptures reveal to us about God and his moral character. In this way we are given a clearer picture. Certainly not complete in some cases, but neither incomplete in every instance.

We may, for example, deduce different interpretations of the Bible’s intent regarding baptism, the Lord’s Supper, or eschatology, but this is only because the Scriptures are not exhaustive on these subjects. Good Christians can disagree on these matters and remain within orthodoxy.

Furthermore, you are correct in asserting that we are “flawed” human beings and thus limited in our understanding. Our mind, along with every other aspect of our nature, is adversely affected by sin. This certainly hinders our ability to perfectly interpret God’s revelation. As the apostle Paul said, “We see through a glass darkly.” However, this is not true of everything in Scripture and it does not mean that we cannot know the truth about anything. This is where tradition and the collective wisdom of the Christian community are invaluable.

For example, are the commandments against murder, adultery, and lying subject to interpretation beyond their implicit intent? Is the divinity of Jesus subject to interpretation? What about salvation through Christ alone? Certainly not, and I think you would likely agree. We understand these as absolutes. To venture beyond what are the accepted dogma, creeds, and doctrine of the church based solely on one’s own interpretation is to regard yourself as the ultimate and final authority. Suffice it to say that such an approach is fraught with peril and often leads to error.

Suffice it to say, I went on to share numerous arguments that most of you have read before, including the New Testament passages (Romans 1: 24–28, 1 Corinthians 6:9–11 and 1 Timothy 1:8–11) that directly condemn homosexual acts. This dialogue clearly illustrates the problem within the church. However, as you can see here, the real problem is not rooted in the issue of same-sex marriage but biblical knowledge and authority. This young believer, like so many of his peers, has suffered far greater influence from the culture than discipleship from the church. It is in the church first that we must begin to create culture.

Thankfully, this young man responded with grace and humility, writing, “I must first apologize … clearly I’ve over-estimated my own knowledge …” demonstrating that being prepared with an answer given with gentleness in love can persuade or at least encourage someone to reconsider his position, which is often a starting point.

S. Michael Craven is the President of the Center for Christ & Culture. Michael is the author of Uncompromised Faith (Navpress).The Center for Christ & Culture is dedicated to renewal within the Church and works to equip Christians with an intelligent and thoroughly Christian approach to matters of culture in order to demonstrate the relevance of Christianity to all of life. For more information on the Center for Christ & Culture, the teaching ministry of S. Michael Craven, visit: www.battlefortruth.org


 
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