Archive for December 1st, 2005

Judge: Legislative Prayers Can’t Mention Jesus

Thursday, December 1st, 2005

I hope that this ruling can be appealed and overturned. At least it’s only at the state level, but it’s only a matter of time before the anti-Christians advance this to the federal level.

INDIANAPOLIS — Prayers that typically open sessions of the Indiana House of Representatives can no longer mention Jesus Christ or advance a religious denomination, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
U.S. District Court Judge David Hamilton issued a permanent injunction barring House Speaker Brian Bosma from permitting sectarian prayer as part of the official business of the House.
Bosma can continue the legislative prayers, but must advise those giving the invocations not to advance one faith and not to use Christ’s name or title, Hamilton said.
The Indiana Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit in June on behalf of four people, including a Quaker lobbyist, who said they found the tradition of offering the usually Christian prayers offensive.
“We’re obviously very pleased by this (ruling),” ICLU attorney Kenneth Falk said. “We think that the significance of this decision is that it reaffirms the fact that the House of Representatives speaks for all of us, and that therefore if there is a prayer before the House, it should be one that is inclusive of everyone in Indiana rather than exclusive.”
The ICLU had said in court filings that at least 29 House invocations during the 2005 session mentioned Jesus Christ, the savior or the son.
During one prayer in April, a minister sang a gospel song called “Just A Little Talk With Jesus,” prompting some lawmakers to leave the chamber and several people to lodge complaints with the ICLU.
Hamilton wrote that the prayers overstepped constitutional restrictions.
“The practice of the Indiana House shown by the evidence here amounts in practical terms to an official endorsement of the Christian religion,” Hamilton wrote.
Bosma said he was shocked by the ruling. He said the ruling itself violates people’s rights to free speech.
“It is really the first step to completely remove the opportunity to express ourselves in accordance with our faith,” Bosma said. “It’s absolutely wrong. It’s absolutely intolerable.”
Bosma said the prayers that have been offered in the House have represented “many faiths of both our members and our citizens.”
“The prayers that have been offered have not attempted to proselytize, advance or disparage any faith or belief,” Bosma said. “In my years of service in the Indiana General Assembly, I have always appreciated the diversity and sincerity with which the invited clerics and members have led us in the invocation.
“The ruling today forbids invited ministers and members to continue to exercise their right to free speech and pray in the tradition of their faith.”
Bosma said he will try to determine what appeals can be made against the ruling.

University of Kansas Cancels Class on Creationism

Thursday, December 1st, 2005

Well, maybe the people of Kansas aren’t going to let this pass after all.

TOPEKA, Kan. – A University of Kansas course devoted to debunking creationism and intelligent design has been canceled after the professor caused a furor by sending an e-mail mocking Christian fundamentalists.
Twenty-five students had enrolled in the course, “Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and Other Religious Mythologies,” which had been scheduled for the spring.
Professor Paul Mirecki, chairman of religious studies, canceled the class Wednesday, the university said.
Mirecki recently posted an e-mail on a student organization forum in which he referred to religious conservatives as “fundies” and said a course depicting intelligent design as mythology would be a “nice slap in their big fat face.”
He later apologized, and did so again Thursday in a statement issued by the university.
“I made a mistake in not leading by example, in this student organization e-mail forum, the importance of discussing differing viewpoints in a civil and respectful manner,” he said.

You made a mistake all right, professor. Take a moment and see how you “feel” about it. Then resign and get yourself out of education, because you’ve no place teaching people when you can’t control your liberal slant any better than that.

ABC Reporter Exploits Tour of Christmas Decorations to Hit First Lady on Exiting Iraq

Thursday, December 1st, 2005

Yes, the liberal press is alive and well and still can’t pass up an opportunity to exploit situations improperly.

On ABC’s Good Morning America Wednesday (November 30), reporter Jessica Yellin was invited to share the First Lady Laura Bush’s tour of White House Christmas displays, cards and decorations. During the meeting, Yellin asked the First Lady “Have you ever met with a mother whose own loss has made you question, even for a moment, whether the U.S. should be in Iraq?” Of course, Mrs. Bush, being the classy Lady that she is, answered with “every loss is too many” and said that “I want to encourage Americans to reach out to our military families who suffer the most.”
Yellin couldn’t leave it at that and countered with “And do you hope the U.S. will be out of Iraq by this time next year?”

Read the partial transcript of the exchange below (courtesy of MRC’s Brian Boyd):
Jessica Yellin: “May I ask you on a more serious note, today, your husband will be delivering a speech on Iraq. This holiday season thousands of Americans are serving overseas. And I know you’ve met with families of the fallen, I wonder in your experiences have you ever met with a mother whose own loss has made you question, even for a moment, whether the U.S. should be in Iraq?”
Laura Bush: “Every loss, every loss is too many. Every one is too much. And it’s very, very difficult as you might imagine to meet with families who’ve lost somebody. And especially at the holiday season it’s especially hard for them, for people who don’t have someone at the table and will never have them there again, or for those whose families are deployed and they have an empty seat this season. So, I want to encourage Americans to reach out to our military families who suffer the most, who carry the heaviest burden of all of this. To be with them, to think of our troops who are overseas serving without their family members while they’re there. And to think about especially those children of our service members who are here this holiday season without their parents.”
Yellin: “And do you hope the U.S. will be out of Iraq by this time next year?”
Bush: “Sure, of course. You know, absolutely. I mean we want our troops to be able to come home as soon as they possibly can. And I feel actually very encouraged about Iraq. I know what people see on television is horrible because it’s really very difficult for us, but Iraq is about to have another election. When you think of how quickly they’ve been able to ratify a constitution; to have a free election, which they’ll be having this month; it’s really remarkable how far they’ve come. And is it difficult? Absolutely. We know that. It’s difficult for them, it’s difficult for us, but I really feel very, very encouraged that we’re going to see a great ending when we see a free, democratic Iraq right in the heart of the Middle East. I think it’s very important and it’s especially important that we stay with them while they build their democracy.”

I wish that for once, reporters could do what they are supposed to do and just report the news. No spin, no agenda, just do their jobs. They’ve been taking too many tips from their comrades, I mean peers, in the socialist and dictatorship countries.

Read the whole report at NewsBusters.
Hat Tip to Little Green Footballs.

Group’s Petition Urges Constitutional Protection of Motto, Pledge

Thursday, December 1st, 2005

Anything that will counteract the insanity propagated by Michael Newdow and his ilk, I’m all for.

Apparently there is a move in place to send a petition with one million signatures to congress in order to press them to start a Constitutional Amendment protecting our nation’s moto and pledge. In other words, “In God We Trust” and “one nation under God” would be protected from nut cases like newdow. Apparently there are over 400,00 signatures already. See the article from AgapePress here.

Now I’ve commented on the “establishment clause” before on other blogs, but I’ve never given the complete rundown here.

The first amendment to the constitution says:
Amendment I – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression.
Ratified 12/15/1791.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Now let’s examine what is meant by this:
Respecting: 1 a : to consider worthy of high regard : ESTEEM b : to refrain from interfering with 2 : to have reference to : CONCERN
Establishment: 1 : something established : as a : a settled arrangement; especially : a code of laws, b : ESTABLISHED CHURCH c : a permanent civil or military organization d : a place of business or residence with its furnishings and staff e : a public or private institution 2 : an established order of society: as a often capitalized : a group of social, economic, and political leaders who form a ruling class (as of a nation) b often capitalized : a controlling group 3 a : the act of establishing b : the state of being established

OK, now “Respecting” seems to be pretty self explanatory, but let’s break out the word “established” from the definition above:
1 : to institute (as a law) permanently by enactment or agreement 2 obsolete : SETTLE 7 3 a : to make firm or stable b : to introduce and cause to grow and multiply 4 a : to bring into existence : FOUND b : BRING ABOUT, EFFECT 5 a : to put on a firm basis : SET UP b : to put into a favorable position c : to gain full recognition or acceptance of 6 : to make (a church) a national or state institution 7 : to put beyond doubt : PROVE

How anyone can look at the First Amendment and the definitions above and come to the conclusion that saying a prayer before a meeting, having “In God We Trust” on our money and saying “One Nation Under God” is the establishment of a State Religion, I have no idea. Well, actually I do…it is nothing more then a relatively small group of anti-Christians trying to force their views on the majority of Americans.
Part two of this is “What do you people think you’re doing when you keep me from practicing my faith?” Well guess what…you are in direct violation of the second part of the amendment “prohibiting the free exercise thereof“!! My Constitutional Right of freedom to practice my religion is spelled out in no uncertain terms in the Constitution, where your argument can only be developed by a very loose and intentional corruption of the amendment.

Some might say “What about the separation of Church and State?” Many believe this is actually part of the Constitution. Guess what? It’s not in there. This statement comes from Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802 to answer a letter from them written in October 1801. The Danbury Baptists were a religious minority in Connecticut, and they complained that in their state, the religious liberties they enjoyed were not seen as immutable rights, but as privileges granted by the legislature. Jefferson didn’t comment about the state issues they were experiencing, but did about what the federal governments view was on it. In his response back to them he wrote:

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state. [Congress thus inhibited from acts respecting religion, and the Executive authorised only to execute their acts, I have refrained from presenting even occasional performances of devotion presented indeed legally where an Executive is the legal head of a national church, but subject here, as religious exercises only to the voluntary regulations and discipline of each respective sect.] Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

The text in brackets was removed from the final copy but was in the first draft, so it is typically left in order to provide further clarifications. You can see that what Jefferson was telling the Baptist was that the federal government would not take the rights of one religion over that of another and that there was affectivly a wall of separation between Church and State.

If you have not done so already, I would recommend signing the online petition.

The letter from the Danbury Baptist.

All definitions are courtesy of Merriam-Webster Online.

The Shepherds and the Angels

Thursday, December 1st, 2005

On this first day of December, as we approach Christmas Day, let us take a moment to reflect on how the announcement of Jesus’ birth was proclaimed.

The shepherds of Jesus’ day were very common men. They tended the flocks twenty-four a day, seven days a week. They dressed common, talked common and lived common. They were usually some distance from their homes, living among their flocks, often with just a cloak and rock or tree to lay against at night.

Jesus repeatedly used the parable of the shepherd throughout his ministry. He knew that his people were like lost sheep in a world full of danger. He knew he was coming to be the shepherd to the people of our world. What better way to proclaim his arrival then to the shepherds.

Luke 2:8-20 New International Version (NIV)
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Footnotes:
Luke 2:11 Or Messiah. “The Christ” (Greek) and “the Messiah” (Hebrew) both mean “the Anointed One”; also in verse 26.

Redesigned Flight 93 Memorial Still a Crescent

Thursday, December 1st, 2005

OK, time to beat the dead horse. They (the artist and his ilk) said they had redesigned the Flight 93 Memorial in Pennsylvania. Now according to my fellow blogger, Alec Rawls on the Error Theory blog has pointed out that everything that made it objectionable in the first place is still there. See his post here.

The top image is the original design. The bottom one is the new design. I don’t see any significant differences. I thought when they said it was bowl instead of a crescent, that the crescent was completely gone. My mistake, I guess.
I’m not sure why this whacko artist feels the need to make so many “accidental” references to islam in this memorial, but if I was a family member of a victim, I would be yelling so loudly about this abomination that it could be heard all the way around the world. I hope something can be done about it soon.

Hat Tip to Little Green Footballs.