Archive for March, 2006

Re-Post: Nearing Midnight for March 27th (Part 1)

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

Here We Go Again

Once again an area of the globe has been devastated by a natural disaster of unusual strength. This time around, Australia was the victim. Last Monday, Cyclone Larry struck that nation’s northeast coast.

The storm tore through Innisfail, a town of 8,000 people, about 1,700 kilometers north of Brisbane. At landfall, it was a category 5 storm with winds of 180 miles per hour. Amazingly, the storm caused no deaths, and only 30 people suffered minor injuries.

Larry destroyed more than 90 percent of Australia’s $252 million banana crop. It also caused over $1 billion in property damage. The financial loss was limited by the nation’s low population density.

Larry was the most powerful tropical system to hit Australia since Christmas Eve 1974, when Cyclone Tracy made a direct impact on the northern city of Darwin, killing 65 people.

In the past few years, we have had an amazing number of number of weather disasters. In 2004, Japan was hit by a record number of typhoons. The same year, Florida was hit by a record number of hurricanes. In 2005, the Atlantic hurricane season reached a number of historic benchmarks. Three key records stand out: (1) Katrina was the most costly hurricane in history; (2) Rita was the most powerful storm as measured by barometric pressure; (3) hurricane watchers recorded the most number of storms in one season.

You would think that Cyclone Larry would set off global warming alarm bells. Oddly enough, a majority of meteorologists seem reluctant to connect the burning of fossil fuels with the recent strength of tropical storms. For now, these scientists would rather point to long-term patterns as the cause of our unsettled weather. Most scientists do agree that global warming is a problem. The change in the past few years, has been so dramatic, it’s probably too dreadful a prospect for them to lay all the blame on greenhouse gases.

I am convinced that Bible prophecy is the key to understanding why we are seeing so many deadly disasters. The Word of God says that warning signs of the tribulation will increase like birth pangs. The rapid increase in the severity of storms makes me wonder what the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season will be like.

The pattern of birth pangs is not just found in weather. Earthquakes and terrorism, which have no connection to hurricanes, have also been very active. In December of 2004, a huge quake in the Indian Ocean triggered the most deadly tsunami in recorded history. When Pakistan was struck by an earthquake in October of last year, the event marked the deadliest one-year period since the great Chinese quake of 1556.

In the coming months, I look for more indications that we are on the tail end of the prophetic timeline. If the birth pangs are going to continue to get larger in magnitude, we should expect these coming events to begin to have a profound impact on society.

I fear terrorism that goes beyond the scale set by 911 is one birth pang we may soon see. In order to arrive at the police-state environment that the Antichrist will use to control the world, something will need to happen to cause free nations to do away with civil liberties. I just don’t see the rapture being the cause. If a chemical bomb went off in some major city, killing tens of thousands of people, the world community would likely turn to authoritarianism to control the violence.

“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth” (Luke 21:25-26).

— Todd

Battle waged over .xxx domain

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

I applaud any effort to limit or screen pornography from our young people. Right now, the most innocent web search can show them images of very pornographic material before they even go to a site. I don’t know how much this will really help, but it would make filtering material easier.
Listen, pornography is a terrible vice and addiction. All of us are bombarded by the “sex sells” mentality all day long, no matter what media we are using. It is nice to see that some people are at least trying to limit the content our youth can stumble across.

Though two senators believe a bill they’ve recently introduced will help protect children from pornographic websites, some anti-porn activists see the proposed .xxx Internet domain name as just another place for smut peddlers to sell their product.
Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Mark Pryor, D-Ark., have introduced S. 2426, which would require the U.S. Department of Commerce to work closely with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to establish a special domain for Internet pornographers. The plan calls for pornographers to move their websites from the traditional .com domains to a so-called “red light district” or .xxx domain on the Internet.
Wording has been added to the Cyber Safety for Kids Act that allow the Commerce Department to impose stiff fines to those who do not comply with the legislation.
Pryor told WND: “Children are accessing Internet pornography at alarming rates. … While addressing this matter will take a multifaceted approach, corralling indecent websites into a specially designated domain is a positive first step.”
Former Department of Justice consultant Dr. Judith A. Reisman thinks that while Baucus and Pryor may have good intentions, their legislation is naïve in it’s approach. Reisman says it is a mistake to think the influence pornography on our culture can be limited by “trying to relocate it.”
Opening up a special .xxx domain “will give pornographers another legitimate source of income and access,” Reisman told WND. Reisman is the author of the soon to be released WND Books title “Kinsey’s Attic: How One Man’s Pathology Changed the World.”

Concerned Women for America spokesman Bob Knight also opposes the bill.
“The backers of the .xxx domain know that (pornographers) can tie (their bill) up in the courts for years,” Knight said. If the bill becomes law, “Internet pornographers will double the number of sites for porn, and the benefit from having a special designation for porn addicts. It would be a win-win for the smut industry, and a lose-lose for families in America.”
Pryor disagreed with those who claim that this measure will be stalled in the courts.
Said Pryor: “Instead of issuing a blanket ban on explicit material, our bill simply provides parents with an effective tool in restricting their children’s access to indecent material.”
Former DOJ prosecutor Patrick Truman says the .xxx domain proposal “offers nothing but false hope. … Pornographers will not move out of the .com domain – it is their cash cow. They don’t obey obscenity law now, so they won’t obey a new law that attempts to move them from (their) .com sites.”
Pryor’s staff contends that fines built into the legislation will counter the porn industry’s reluctance to move from their present Web addresses to a new xxx domain.
“This approach is similar to laws requiring pornographic magazine to be placed behind convenience store counters,” Pryor noted.
Crawford Broadcasting radio talk show host Paul McGuire contends that “the pornography industry has billions to spend and will drag out the legal process for years. Until Americans and the Department of Justice develop the will to fight what is clearly destroying our civilization through aggressive prosecution, fines and arrests, pseudo solutions like the triple-x domain will have no affect.”
Concluded McGuire: “We need to start understanding that pornography is moral and spiritual terrorism. … How many rapes, molestations, sexual slavery incidents and divorces does it take to wake us up!”

Judge Grants Injunction Allowing Bible Reading at Recess

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

Thank goodness for a judge who actually knows what the law says. It has never been against the Constitution to read your Bible, on your own time, at school. It’s called the First Ammendment, in case anyone wants to look it up. It goes something like this:
“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.”
Do y’all get it? “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. It’s actually very clear cut.

A federal judge has ordered an elementary school in Knoxville, Tennessee, to stop prohibiting a fifth-grade student from reading his Bible with a friend during recess.
Luke Whitson and his parents had filed a motion for preliminary injunction against Knox County School District officials for threatening to punish the fifth grader for reading his Bible during recess at Karns Elementary School. According to press reports, Knox County Schools officials had argued that Bible reading jeopardizes student safety. They also contended that recess is not “free time,” and therefore school officials can prohibit Bible reading during that period of the day.
After trying unsuccessfully to resolve their dispute with the school over the unconstitutional policy through legal counsel, the Whitsons, represented by attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), filed suit. They contended that school officials, acting “under the authority and weight of the government” were denying a ten-year-old student’s rights by refusing to allow him “merely to read his Bible and discuss passages found therein with a friend during recess time at school.”
The case, Whitson v. Knox County Board of Education, was filed June 1 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Knoxville. The request for injunctive relief for Luke Whitson and his family argued that the protection of the fifth grader’s “fundamental constitutional rights is clearly in the best interest of the public and will cause no harm to the school’s ability to fulfill its education mission.”
The court agreed with the arguments on behalf of Luke Whitson and his parents. Now, as part of a settlement ordered by U.S. District Judge Thomas Phillips, the boy is free to bring his Bible to school, read it on the playground, and discuss it with friends from now until the end of the school year.
The Whitson’s lead attorney, Alliance Defense Fund senior legal counsel Nate Kellum, notes that while Judge Phillips strongly admonished the Knoxville school system, the only question he had for the family was why the dispute had not already been settled.
“He said when he read the pleadings, when he read the complaint, when he read the answer, when he saw the evidence, he could not see why the school was still contesting the matter,” Kellum notes.
“And then he asked us why the case had not been settled,” the lawyer continues, “and we told him, ‘Well, because the school was unwilling to do that.’ And so, as far as dressing down, the only dressing down that we noticed was that addressed to the other side.”
Family’s Fight for Fifth Grader’s Rights Not Over Yet But although pleased with the settlement, Kellum says the dispute between the Whitsons and the school district is far from over. The district court, he explains, was asked to make sure Luke was not prevented from exercising his First Amendment rights while the case continues, and the preliminary injunction has provided this; however, a final legal resolution of the matter is still pending.
Also, there is the matter of a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the fifth grader. “It’s unbelievable really, when you think about it,” the ADF spokesman says. “What happened is the principal brought a slander suit against a 10-year-old child for three million dollars, and that’s certainly one of the issues as yet to be cleared up.”
Kellum says the family’s legal representatives are “in discussions with the school” about the principal’s lawsuit, “and our hope and our prayer is that [the matter of the slander allegation] along with other issues will be resolved as well.”
In the meantime, the attorney notes, the Knox County school officials’ apparent “fundamental misunderstanding of the Constitution” has been addressed for now and “Luke Whitson should not be prevented from exercising his First Amendment right to read his Bible with friends during recess.”
Kellum says the Constitution of the United States, far from prohibiting Bibles during recess, actually prohibits the wholesale banning of Bibles during recess.

Immigration Bill Includes Amnesty for Illegasl, Critics Say

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

I still have to wonder what part of “illegal” people are not understanding? Listen…if a person comes to the U.S. legally, then I welcome him/her with open arms and wish them the best of luck with the “American Dream”. If a person enters the U.S. illegally, then I say, at best deport them, at worse imprison them. None the less, close the border and enforce the laws we have.

(CNSNews.com) – The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12-6 Monday to pass an immigration and border security bill that would give 12 million illegal aliens a shot at U.S. citizenship without returning home first.
The bill faces an uphill battle in the Senate, where Majority Leader Bill Frist opposes it and may advance his own bill instead. Moreover, any bill allowing “earned legalization” will face strong opposition in the House of Representatives, which passed a bill in December making illegal immigration a felony.
A much more lenient bill emerged from the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday.
“The country has spoken, and today the Senate listened,” Sen. Ted Kennedy said, referring to recent rallies across the United States in support of “earned legalization.”
“No issue goes to the heart of who we are as Americans more than immigration,” Kennedy said in a statement on his website.
The bill’s most controversial measure, advanced by Kennedy and Sen. John McCain, includes a path to permanent residence and citizenship for people who came here illegally.
Millions of undocumented workers already in this country would be allowed to apply for temporary legal status for six years, but they would have to prove they’re employed in the U.S.
They also would have to pay a $2,000 fine, undergo background and security checks, learn English and study American civics, pay back taxes, and then wait in line behind others who have applied for U.S. citizenship.
“It is not amnesty,” Kennedy insisted. He said it will give immigrants “incentive to come forward and an opportunity to earn legal status.”
Kennedy noted that under his bill, temporary workers will be able to bargain for wages and benefits just as U.S. workers do.
“If they don’t like their jobs or the way they are treated, they will be permitted to change jobs. They will have the same right that American workers have to join or organize a union. Employers hiring temporary workers will be required to comply with all federal, state and local labor laws,” Kennedy said on his website.

‘Rewards for law-breakers’
Americans will view the Kennedy-McCain bill as amnesty, said Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican who also sits on the Judiciary Committee.
Cornyn voted against the controversial guest worker provisions. “It will encourage further disrespect for our laws and will undercut our efforts to shore up homeland security,” he said on his website.
Cornyn said immigration reform should improve U.S. security and border control; and identify undocumented immigrants and send them home, where they can apply for green cards through the proper channels. (Cornyn said the legislation he introduced with Sen. John Kyl achieves those objectives.)
“Adding border security measures to the McCain-Kennedy bill is not enough,” Cornyn said. “Any proposal that allows every single illegal alien to remain in the U.S., pay a fine and obtain permanent residence status is not acceptable; it will simply encourage additional persons to evade our laws.”
Cornyn said the 12 million illegal aliens already in this country must be addressed — but “we have to do so without granting them amnesty.”

Debate moves to full Senate
Sen. Bill Frist thanked the Judiciary Committee for its efforts, but he does not support the Kennedy-McCain “earned legalization” provisions, either.
Frist, as Senate majority leader, must now decide whether to let the Judiciary Committee bill advance in the full Senate — or he may substitute his own reform bill, which would deport people who come to this country illegally.
Frist’s bill also would crack down on human smugglers and make it easier for employers to confirm their workers’ legal status.
His bill adds nearly 15,000 more border control officers over the next few years; requires new investments in unmanned aerial vehicles, cameras, and sensors; and calls for a barrier to built along the 1,951-mile U.S. border with Mexico.
“As many know, I oppose amnesty,” Frist said. “With our economy at full employment, many who break our laws come to this country to do the work others won’t so as to make a better life for themselves and their families. I honor that. America has always been the place where one can come to live out a dream of improvement and renewal. But while we welcome those who refresh and restore our American spirit, we have always done so within a framework of law.”
Barring any procedural roadblocks erected by Democrats, Frist said the Senate will now discuss ways of balancing the rule of law with the problems of illegal immigration.
I’m hopeful that we can conduct this debate with civility and seriousness. I look forward to a thorough and full discussion over the coming days,” he said.

Attorney: Cancelled ‘Diversity Day’ Shows School’s Intolerance for Truth

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

As I reported last week, “diversity day” at a Wisconsin high school, can only be held as long as the ex-homosexuals stay away. This is laughable. “Diversity Day” but only one side can be presented. Do you Wisconsin educators realize how stupid this type of thing makes you look? Have the liberal educators really gotten so far out of touch with reality that they believe that by excluding a group or viewpoint that this makes them diverse? Wake up, drink an extra cup of coffee this morning and try to step out of your liberal essence long enough to see how hypocritical you really are.

(AgapePress) – A Wisconsin high school has cancelled its biannual “Diversity Day,” an event designed to introduce juniors and seniors to minority perspectives and to expose the teen students to alternative sexual lifestyles. The school scrapped this year’s event after a legal group encouraged inclusion of the perspective of former homosexuals in planned “Diversity Day” activities.
Students at Viroqua High School near La Crosse, Wisconsin, would have listened to two keynote speakers and a choice of three to ten panel discussions, which included talks on various religions and a presentation by a homosexual couple — that is, the students would have, if Diversity Day had gone as originally planned. However, the Christian and “ex-gay” perspectives were to be left out of the scheduled events.
A concerned Viroqua resident contacted Florida-based Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit litigation and policy organization that works to promote religious freedom and traditional values. On March 9, Liberty Counsel sent a letter to the Viroqua Area School District Administrator, explaining that the censorship of the viewpoints of Christians and former homosexuals violated not only the First Amendment’s establishment clause but also the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection.
The legal group sent another letter on March 14 to the District Administrator and the Board of Education. Two days later, the District Administrator confirmed in a telephone call that Viroqua High School’s Diversity Day activities had been cancelled. According to the school, the event was called off after the homosexual couple slated to present said they would be uncomfortable speaking in the presence of someone with an ex-gay viewpoint.
Liberty Counsel attorney Rena Lindevaldsen says the school’s actions are “just one more example of those who say they’re promoting tolerance [being] the first ones to discriminate against the true message getting out about homosexuality, which is that people can change and you’re not born gay.”
Frequently across the United States, Lindevaldsen contends, school officials and others will respond to those who disagree with the pro-homosexual stance on sexual orientation issues by censoring the opposing message. “When the request is made to include the ex-gay perspective, they will shut down the forum, shut down the program, rather than allow students to hear that people are not born gay,” she says.
The Liberty Counsel attorney says she does not buy Viroqua High School’s claim that it was too late to include a speaker who opposed homosexuality in the Diversity Day events. In fact, she notes, “We offered up a pastor who was willing to represent the Christian perspective and had individuals ready and willing to jump right in to represent the ex-gay perspective.”
For the school to have incorporated the Christian and ex-gay input would have been a matter of simply “finding a couple more classrooms to allow these people to talk,” Lindevaldsen asserts. “But if you’re going to have a ‘Diversity Day’ and it’s only going to present the homosexual perspective, we are pleased that the choice then was to at least cancel the event rather than present a one-sided message.”
The Board of Education was faced with citizen opposition to Diversity Day back in 2004, when a citizen petition was circulated in protest of the presence of speakers on homosexual and transgender issues. That petition was signed by 400 people and was enough to get Viroqua High School’s Diversity Day cancelled that year. Nevertheless, the pro-homosexual event was reinstated after spring elections resulted in new members on the Board.
Unlike 2004, however, this time around the school officials were confronted with legal precedent. In pointing out the problems with the high school’s refusal to include Christian and ex-gay viewpoints at this year’s Diversity Day event, Liberty Counsel presented school officials with a decision from a federal district court in Michigan, which ruled a similar exclusion of viewpoints from a Diversity Day panel unconstitutional.

‘Common Ground’ Document at Center of Homosexual-‘Ex-Gay’ Squabble

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

Well, you can spend 20 minutes working your way through the acronyms in this article. But in a nutshell, it basically says, that the homosexuals are mad and wish to quiet the former homosexuals. The document in question said that in regards to education, it was a good thing to let both sides present their messages. Now, as usual, the homosexual “double-speak” comes through that “it’s OK to present your message, as long as it doesn’t disagree with mine”.

(AgapePress) – A homosexual activist group and an “ex-gay” group are accusing each other of misconstruing a new agreement between the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and the Christian Educators Association International (CEAI) on how to deal with the issue of sexual orientation in public schools.
The document — which is called “Public Schools and Sexual Orientation: A First Amendment Framework for Finding Common Ground” — recommends that schools not adopt a certain organization’s agenda, but rather invite all stakeholders to the table when discussing sexuality. Among other things, this “common ground” document urges school officials to “take seriously complaints of name calling, harassment, and discrimination” and to avoid discriminating against student clubs because of their political or religious message. (See earlier story)
But Jody Huckaby — the head of the homosexuality advocacy group Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) — claims the group Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) has “utterly twisted the intent of the document” by suggesting that the perspective of former homosexuals is protected by the First Amendment and should be heard in public schools. In addition, PFLAG says although the “ex-gay” viewpoint should be “heard during deliberations,” it does not “warrant the stamp of legitimacy.”
Dr. Warren Throckmorton, a spokesman for PFOX who endorses the document’s guidelines, says PFLAG is engaging in doublespeak and promoting intolerance.
“The communication from PFLAG that PFOX doesn’t have a legitimate perspective worth hearing is contrary to the intent of these guidelines,” says Throckmorton. “The intent of these guidelines is that people who have viewpoints about sexual orientation should be allowed to express them within the public square, and the purpose of these guidelines has been misrepresented by PFLAG.”
PFLAG refers to the document as a “GLSEN project…to help educators and administrators create ground rules for discussing GLBT [gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, trans-sexual] issues.” But Throckmorton, a noted sexual orientation researcher, says PFLAG’s claim is “nothing but spin.”
“First of all, it was a project of the First Amendment Center and BridgeBuilders that solicited agreement from GLSEN and the Christian Educators,” he says. “It wasn’t their project. And also, the purpose wasn’t to create ground rules for discussing GLBT issues. The purpose was to create rules of discussion or guidelines for discussing sexual orientation issues in school.”
According to Throckmorton, the First Amendment guidelines affirm the right of people who believe that homosexuality is immoral to speak their mind in public schools. In fact, Finn Laursen, the executive director of CEAI, asserts the guidelines give Christian educators some control with regard to how homosexual issues are presented — without being forced to suppress absolute, biblical truth.

Constitutional Lawyer Hopes Congress Bars SCOTUS From Citing Foreign Law

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

This one really gets me. Why on earth would the U.S. supreme court be citing FOREIGN law? That is a contradiction in terms. They have been so out of control in the past (along with 90% of the rest of the U.S. judiciary). Maybe the recent appointments will bring some sanity back to our highest court.

(AgapePress) – An attorney with the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy (AFA Law Center) says he is disturbed over one Supreme Court Justice’s recent comments regarding those who want to prohibit the citation of foreign law in the high court’s constitutional rulings.
Last month, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg addressed an audience at the Constitutional Court of South Africa. During her speech, the 73-year-old justice blasted Republican-proposed House and Senate measures that would either criticize or bar the citing of foreign law in Supreme Court decisions.
Steve Crampton, chief counsel with the AFA Law Center, feels Justice Ginsburg’s comments are typical of activist judges. In fact, he says, “I think Justice Ginsburg is showing us why activist judges become activist in the first place. They simply see no limitations on the scope of their authority once they’re placed on the bench.”
Activist judges frequently step outside constitutional boundaries when issuing rulings, Crampton contends. He feels steps need to be taken to curb judges who routinely try to exceed the power and jurisdiction of the courts.
“What you’re talking about is ultimate authority in our society,” the pro-family lawyer asserts. “The question that American citizens must decide is who, ultimately, is going to govern us? Are we going to have unelected judges decide for us, in particular, the moral issues, the policy issues that are going to affect every life?”
Or, on the other hand, will Americans follow the guide that the framers of the Constitution provided, Crampton wants to know. That is, he asks, “are we going to retain the system that the founders erected and place that ultimate authority in the hands not of the judiciary but of the legislature?”
Many conservatives are unhappy with the Supreme Court’s use of foreign laws in recent rulings, such as those striking down the juvenile death penalty and laws against sodomy. In light of such rulings, Crampton says a move by Congress to bar the citation of other nations’ laws in U.S. high court decisions is long overdue.

Afghan Court Releases Christian Convert for ‘Lack of Information’

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

That’s good news, but with all the hate the islamic “religious” leaders have spouted during prayers, some “peace loving” islamist will find him and kill him. He’s probably going to have to leave the country for good in order to save his life. Gotta love thouse peace lovin’ muslims…NOT.

(AgapePress) – News reports say Adbul Rahman, who was facing possible execution in Afghanistan for converting from Islam to Christianity, has been released. But there are still concerns about his physical safety if he remains in the predominantly-Islam nation.
Afghan officials say the case has been dismissed against a man facing possible execution for converting from Islam to Christianity, and have ordered him released. But Abdul Rahman may need protection, because Muslim clerics have called for him to be killed. Last week some senior clerics in Kabul warned that if the government caved to Western pressure and freed Rahman, they will encourage people to “pull him into pieces so there’s nothing left.”
The human-rights group International Christian Concern encourages continued prayer for Rahman’s safety. “He will be in grave danger as long as he remains in the country,” says ICC president Jeff King. “The fundamentalists will seek to kill him regardless of what the courts say. He is an apostate and must be killed according to Islamic law.”
In an interview published Sunday by an Italian newspaper, Rahman said he chose to become a Christian “in small steps.” In his words, “I read the Bible, it opened my heart and my mind.” Rahman added, “If I must die, I will die.” In a clear reference to Jesus, he said, “Somebody, a long time ago, did it for all of us.”
Last week Associated Press reported that an Afghan prosecutor suggested the Afghan Christian might be deemed mentally unfit to stand trial. “We think he could be mad. He is not a normal person. He doesn’t talk like a normal person,” stated prosecutor Sarinwal Zamari. That report said if Rahman was examined and found to be mentally unfit, Islam would have “no claim to punish him” and charges would be dropped.
Indeed, that may have been part of the Afghani court’s rationale for releasing Rahman, along with a reported “lack of information” to continue the case. The chief counsel for Washington, DC-based Concerned Women for America questions the “mentally unfit” comments.
“Muslim leaders accused this man of being insane and mentally unfit to stand trial,” observes Jan LaRue. “Since when does being a Christian discredit your sanity?” But the CWA spokeswoman believes those leaders were following “the model of atheist Soviet regime by using the insanity claim” on Rahman.

A Pivotal Point for Islamic Nations
Wendy Wright, president of CWA, says Rahman’s case may provide an insight into the sincerity of Islamic nations and their stand on basic human rights. Religious freedom, says Wright, is a key element of freedom as a whole.
“Inherent in religious freedom is the freedom to convert to another religion,” she says, “and Afghanistan is now struggling with coming to grips with what is universally recognized as a fundamental right, a fundamental freedom.”
The 2004 constitution declares that “Afghanistan is an Islamic Republic” and that “no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions” of Islam. But its preamble declares respect for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which says people are free to change their religion or belief. The Afghan constitution says non-Muslims can practice their faith “within the limits of the provisions of law.” But Islamic law is commonly interpreted to forbid conversion away from Islam.
“There seems to be a contradiction within the Afghan constitution. This may happen as well with Iraq’s constitution,” says Wright. “And so this is a pivotal moment for these countries to decide which way they will go.”
The CWA president says Americans have bled and died to give these nations freedom, and a basic element of freedom is religious freedom and the right to believe as one wishes.
On Fox News Sunday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice emphasized the centrality of religious liberty and said the U.S. intends to help Afghanistan “work through some of these contradictions.”
“They have constitutional expectations that have been written in that they will, in fact, live up to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which protects individual conscience on religion,” said Rice. “What we have to do is stand with the Afghans to continue to insist on the principle and to help them work through some of these contradictions.”
Prior to Rahman’s release, the secretary of state said the U.S. was pressuring Afghanistan to drop the case against the convert. “We have been very clear with the Afghan government that the freedom of religion and the freedom of religious conscience is at the core of democratic development,” she stated, noting that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states an individual should be free to choose which religious beliefs they wish to follow.

A needless toll of natural disasters

Monday, March 27th, 2006

In case people haven’t noticed, there has been a spike in global natural disasters. Many try to explain this away by saying we just have better reporting methods. I maintain that it is the “birth pains” talked about in the book of Matthew. I believe we are in the end times and soon the Lord will return to collect His faithful. Will you be one of them??

WHEN A MUDSLIDE in the southern Philippines wiped out the village of Guinsaugon and killed more than 1,000 people last month, it was the latest in a seeming spike in developing world natural disasters.
The numbers impacted by recent calamities are indeed staggering. The earthquake that leveled large parts of Pakistan-administered Kashmir last October killed about 75,000 people, and left some 3 million homeless. About a year earlier, the Asian tsunami caused the deaths of 230,000 people and the displacement of 1.5 million. In these two tragedies, governments, international organizations, and private individuals were asked to provide urgent assistance, and they contributed some $20 billion to relief and recovery.
he bad news is that more and more people are being affected each year by natural disasters, and most of the populations are in the developing world. Since 2000, some 1.6 billion have lost their homes or livelihoods or have suffered other damage. This continues an upward trend over the past several decades and represents a four-fold annual increase, on average, from the decade of the 1970s.
In 2004 alone, disasters caused some $100 billion in damages and impacted the lives of about 140 million people.
One might reasonably take the apocalyptic perspective and conclude that this growth in damage caused by natural disasters comes from an increase in the number and magnitude of hazards like earthquakes and hurricanes. But while greater storm severity in recent decades is one risk factor, it cannot fully explain the large increase in overall effects — especially as there is little indication of a greater incidence or severity of earthquakes and other natural hazards.
Rather, it is human behavior that is primarily responsible. Worldwide migration to coastal areas has made populations far more vulnerable to hurricanes, and nearly 50 million people worldwide face risk of flooding due to storm surges. Environmental degradation has only accentuated this problem. In some areas of Sri Lanka, for example, mangrove trees provided critical coastal defenses during the tsunami and saved many lives. But where the mangroves had been depleted, the tsunami left a path of death and destruction in its wake.
Rapid urbanization, population growth, and poverty have also contributed to increased levels of risk. There are now some 400 cities with populations of more than one million people, the overwhelming majority of which are in poor countries — where public education on disaster preparedness is in short supply and citizens have limited ability to construct homes to meet whatever building codes may exist.
The good news is that human practices and development patterns can often be altered to prevent natural hazards from becoming full-blown natural disasters. Even when practices cannot be changed completely, there are other ways to mitigate manmade risks. These may have been the most important lessons coming out of the Asian tsunami.

Read the rest here.

Islamic world indifferent to plight of Afghan Christian

Monday, March 27th, 2006

The West sure needs to wake up to islam’s true colors. Violence and death.

BEIRUT, (RIA Novosti political commentator Marianna Belenkaya)

The story of Afghan citizen Abdul Rahman, who was arrested in Kabul after his relatives turned him in for converting from Islam to Christianity, and could be sentenced to death in accordance with Afghan law, should teach the West a lesson. It may be able to help topple an unwanted regime and bring new people to power, and even write a new constitution, but it cannot change the local mentality overnight. Western democracy cannot take root in traditional Eastern society. The West has been outraged by the plight of Rahman, but the Islamic world has hardly paid much attention to the story.
Rahman has become the first Afghan to be imprisoned for converting to another religion since the Taliban regime was forced out. He was arrested in February. On March 1, U.S. President George W. Bush, who did not know about Rahman at the time, visited Kabul, where he said, “it’s our country’s pleasure and honor to be involved with the future of this country. We’re impressed by the progress that your country is making.” Three weeks later, after the world media learned about Rahman’s plight, Bush had to explain, primarily to his fellow Americans, why he had said the above words. Indeed, how can a country, which is building democracy and has approved a constitution with the direct assistance of the West and the United States, sentence a man to death simply for converting to another religion?
This is also a serious problem for Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai. He has to justify the court’s decision in the West, which propelled him into power and is providing military and economic assistance to his country. He also needs to show to his own people that he is their leader and that he respects Afghan laws, however severe they may be.
In fact, his own legitimacy is ensured by the same constitution, which is based on Sharia, or Islamic law, and says that apostates can receive the death penalty. The Afghan constitution also claims to respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which stipulates the freedom of worship. But the Afghan people respect the Sharia law more, which is logical.
It was not the authorities, but Rahman’s relatives who created the problem by reporting the poor man. The West pressured Karzai to promise to free him. But how could he do so without setting the clergy against himself and how could he convince the people that he was doing the right thing? The Associated Press cited Hamidullah, the chief cleric at Haji Yacob Mosque as saying “The government is scared of the international community. But the people will kill him if he is freed.”
The Arabic television network Aljazeera’s website reported blitz polls in Afghanistan showing that the majority of the respondents were for executing Rahman. According to the TV channel, Afghan judges reject Western calls for freeing the man as interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan.
Some people there were troubled by Rahman’s arrest and the possibility that he would be killed for his personal religious convictions, but the majority of Afghans live according to ancient traditions, which cannot be changed overnight. What other pillar would support Afghan society then? Even the acquittal of Rahman would not solve the problem and will mean not a step forward, as U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, but a case of successful interference by the West.
On the other hand, this is not only Afghanistan’s problem. The point at issue is the incompatibility of two attitudes. Those who live by modern rules cannot understand those who live according to their old traditions. Nobody would speak to cannibal tribes about human rights. We can be shocked and repulsed at their customs, and try to save their prisoners, but changing their way of thinking looks impossible. But then, can we remain silent on matters of life and death?
The Western public was outraged by the arrest of Rahman because it sensed that this decision was incompatible with the ideals of democracy in the country and that Western governments were responsible for events in Afghanistan and hence the fate of the Afghan Christian. But Islamic countries remained completely indifferent to his plight.
The only Islamic organization to report the scandal was Aljazeera. There are several reasons for this. To begin with, there are too many other problems, including human rights violations, in the Islamic world. When regarded against the backdrop of Iraqi developments, the trial of Rahman is not news at all. After all, he could save himself, but who will save Iraqis? Then, the issue of apostates in many Islamic, including Arab, countries is too painful to be discussed publicly.
“What could people think about Christian converts when Sunnis say Shiites are apostates?” asked Manal al Nahas, a journalist with the Arabic daily Al Hayat.
However, despite the complicated attitude towards converts, many Muslims, in particular in Lebanon, still think that the death penalty is a much too severe punishment in such cases. Islam and the Islamic world have many faces.
Yousef Subeidi, the Beirut representative of Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani, the most influential Shiite cleric, said, “This is Afghanistan. What is there to discuss when they don’t know what Islam is? They are distorting the image of Islam. To them, the main thing is violence, which Islam does not accept.”
This opinion may be one more reason for the unwillingness of Islamic religious leaders to publicly interfere in the Afghan story: they know that their words will mean nothing to Afghan Muslims. Others prefer never to hold public disputes about Islam, especially disputes provoked by Western interference. The East has a different way of life and different problems and we can do nothing about it.

Afghan Convert May Go Free

Monday, March 27th, 2006

At least the Afgan government has some common sense. What is still very worrisome is that fact that this could happen in the first place. Islam is not a religion of peace. Never has been, never will be.

(CNSNews.com) – Afghan authorities may drop apostasy charges carrying the death penalty against Christian convert Abdul Rahman, following sustained diplomatic pressure from countries with troops deployed in the Muslim country.
Judicial officials were quoted as saying the case was being reviewed because of problems with evidence. Some reports also referred to the possibility that Rahman may be considered mentally unfit to stand trial.
The 41-year-old, who converted to Christianity while living outside the country 16 years ago, has refused to renounce his faith despite calls by prosecutors for capital punishment in line with Islamic law (shari’a).
The case galvanized Christians in the U.S. and other Western countries and drew strong rebukes from American, European, Australian and Canadian governments.
It raised anew questions about the new Afghan constitution, drafted following the downfall of the fundamentalist Taliban regime.
The constitution, which came into force early 2004, cites the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and says that “followers of other [non-Muslim] faiths shall be free within the bounds of law in the exercise and performance of their religious rights.”
But it also states that “no law shall contravene the tenets and provisions of the holy religion of Islam.”
Shari’a requires the death penalty for any Muslim man – and in some schools of shari’a, woman – who leaves Islam for another faith and refuses to recant.
On Saturday the Vatican announced that Pope Benedict XVI had added his voice to calls for President Hamid Karzai to free Rahman.
The pope said in a letter to the Afghan leader that dropping the criminal charges against the convert “would be the most significant contribution for our common mission to foster mutual understanding and respect among the different religions and cultures of the world.”

Clerics Call for Christian Convert’s Death Despite Western Outrage

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

More about Abdul Rahman, the Afgan who converted to Christianity, and the so called religion of peace and tolerance, otherwise known as islam, who wants to kill him. What really pleases me is that islam continues to show it’s true colors to the world, over the past several months. They are not, or have they even been, a religion of peace, tolerance and love.

KABUL, Afghanistan — Senior Muslim clerics said Thursday that an Afghan man who converted from Islam to Christianity must be executed and if the government caves into Western pressure and frees him they will incite people to “pull him into pieces.” (You mean that YOU (the clerics) will incite the people to “pull him into pieces” -ed.)
The trial of Abdul Rahman has fired passions in this conservative Muslim nation and highlighted a conflict of values between Afghanistan and its Western backers.
“Rejecting Islam is insulting God. We will not allow God to be humiliated. This man must die,” said cleric Abdul Raoulf, who is considered a moderate and was jailed three times for opposing the Taliban before the hardline regime was ousted in 2001.
Rahman, a 41-year old former medical aid worker, faces the death penalty under Afghanistan’s Islamic laws for becoming a Christian. His trial, which began last week, has caused an international outcry. U.S. President George W. Bush has said he is “deeply troubled” by the case and expects the country to “honor the universal principle of freedom.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters that she received assurances from Afghan President Hamid Karzai in a telephone call that Rahman would not be sentenced to death.
“I have the impression that he (Karzai) has a firm willingness” to abide by the human rights requirements and “I hope we will be able to resolve this,” Merkel said going into pre-EU summit talks.
Diplomats have said the Afghan government was searching for a way to drop the case, and on Wednesday authorities said Rahman is suspected of being mentally ill and would undergo psychological examinations to see whether he is fit to stand trial.
But three Sunni preachers and a Shiite one interviewed by The Associated Press in four of Kabul’s most popular mosques said they don’t believe Rahman is insane.
“He is not crazy. He went in front of the media and confessed to being a Christian,” said Hamidullah, chief cleric at Haji Yacob Mosque.
“The government is scared of the international community. But the people will kill him if he is freed.”
Raoulf, who is a member of the country’s main Islamic organization, the Afghan Ulama Council, agreed, saying, “The government are playing games. The people will not be fooled.”
“Cut off his head!” he exclaimed, sitting in a courtyard outside Herati Mosque. “We will call on the people to pull him into pieces so there’s nothing left.”
He said the only way for Rahman to survive would be for him to go into exile outside Afghanistan.
But Said Mirhossain Nasri, the top cleric at Hossainia Mosque, one of the largest Shiite places of worship in Kabul, said Rahman must not be allowed to leave the country.
“If he is allowed to live in the West then others will claim to be Christian so they can too,” he said. “We must set an example. … He must be hanged.”
The clerics said they were angry with the United States and other countries for pushing for Rahman’s freedom.
“We are a small country and we welcome the help the outside world is giving us, but please don’t interfere in this issue,” Nasri said. “We are Muslims and these are our beliefs. This is much more important to us than all the aid the world has given us.”
Afghanistan’s constitution is based on Shariah law, which is interpreted by many Muslims to require that any Muslim who rejects Islam be sentenced to death.
Hamidullah warned that if the government frees Rahman, “There will be an uprising” like one against Soviet occupying forces in the 1980s.
“The government will lose the support of the people,” he said. “What sort of democracy would it be if the government ignored the will of all the people.”
Meanwhile, human rights group Amnesty International issued a statement, saying that if Rahman has been detained solely for his religious beliefs, he would be a “prisoner of conscience.”
“The charges against him should be dropped and if necessary he should be protected against any abuses within the community,” the London-based group said.
Rahman is believed to have lived in Germany for nine years after converting to Christianity while working as a medical aid worker for an international Christian group helping Afghan refugees in Pakistan. He returned to Kabul in 2002.
It was not immediately clear when Rahman’s trial will resume. Authorities have barred attempts by the AP to see him and he is not believed to have a lawyer.

Re-Post: Deep Thoughts with Jen

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

THIS POST IS DEDICATED TO THE DEMISE OF THE EVIL ONE. DEVIL – YOU ARE GOING DOWN!

Alright, I hope that has caught your attention. That was the point. Basically, I am sick and tired of the stupid Devil. That’s really it! He is real, he is really there and he is really out to get you. He’s got your number and he’s out to kill you (and me), steal from you (and me), and do everything he can to destroy you (and me). He is actively fighting against us. We are human; we are flesh and blood still. We aren’t in Heaven yet, so, although we are reborn of the Spirit, we still inhabit this body as long as God sees fit. So, we are completely susceptible to the Devil and his active work of demise against us. But, now we know and that’s the first step in any battle – being aware of your opponent. You should know his strengths and weaknesses, his provisions and equipment and his tactics and strategies. You should go into battle with knowledge in all this or you are not prepared and not very wise. Prov 20:18 says, “Make plans by seeking advice; if you wage war, obtain guidance.” Prov. 24:6 says, “for waging war you need guidance…” And trust me – rising up against the Devil is WAR!

But, Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” See, we don’t have to be scared of the Devil or his ploys. WE HAVE TO BE AGGRESSIVE ABOUT OUT FREEDOM IN CHRIST! We have to be just as active in fighting him otherwise we will be defeated. We can not shrink back in complacency or in fear – NO! We have to take ground and vigorously assail the Devil. We have to call out to our Creator to reveal with His Holy Spirit all that we have been attacked with and we have to tell the Devil where to go and guess what? HE WILL! I love The Message version of Jam. 4:7, “So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud NO to the Devil and watch him scamper.” He won’t just shrug his shoulders and look at you with a look that says, “Are you really serious this time, because this worked the last time that I tried this on you?” NO! He will flee like the coward that he is because the name of Jesus and the fact that you used the authority of that name causes him to tremble in fear! Demons shudder at the name of Christ and His authority.

If we know this with out heads, if we have the knowledge of this, then why aren’t more people using it to dispel the darkness? Why aren’t people rebuking lies that they have been told? Why aren’t people stopping the Devil at his first word? Maybe it’s possible that people don’t realize that it’s an attack from the Devil. Think about it. Do you think that maybe you have been told lies? Do you think that you believe a lie right now? Do you think that it’s possible that you are captive by the Devil? He has attacked me with a quiet and cunning voice that has led me to believe that I am unworthy, that I will never be good enough for the things that I was designed for, that forever I will be inadequate. Have these thoughts crossed your mind? I am sure that they have.

One sure way to tell if you are under the assault of the Devil is to contrast them to the thoughts that God has towards you. Think about scriptures like these:

Isa. 54:10, “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed.”

In Jer. 31, He tells us, “I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”

John 17: 22 – 23 “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

This is profound! Not only did God love us so much that He would send His only beloved Son to die as ransom for our sins, but He loves us, just as much as He loves Jesus! That’s crazy, isn’t it!

I challenge you to get aggressive about your freedom in Christ! Nailed to that cross was every insecurity, every fear, every worry, every pain of your heart, every shameful thing that the Devil reminds you of, every sleepless night, every inadequacy, everything that hinders, right next to your sins! It was all crucified with Christ! He has already overcome every one of these obstacles. Praise God! So, start reminding the Devil of that and see what happens!

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Eph 3:16 – 19

posted by JEN @ 2:59 PM

Three Christian Activists Rescued in Iraq

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

I am glad that these men were rescued, but find two things ironic:
1) They were there to seek human rights violations (which they never found) by coalition troops.
2) They were kidnapped by the very people they were representing.
It is sad that one of them had to loose his life.

BAGHDAD, Iraq – A coalition force on Thursday freed three Christian peace activists taken hostage in
Iraq, ending a four-month hostage drama in which an American among the group was shot to death and dumped on a Baghdad street.
The Iraqi Interior Ministry said the captives were rescued in a joint U.S.-British operation in rural area northwest of Baghdad, between the towns of Mishahda, 20 miles north of Baghdad, and the western suburb of
Abu Ghraib, 12 miles from downtown.
British officials in Baghdad said those freed were Canadians James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32; and Briton Norman Kember, 74. The men — members of the Chicago-based Christian Peacemaker Teams — were kidnapped on Nov. 26 along with their American colleague, Tom Fox, 54, whose body was found earlier this month.
Speaking in Toronto, Doug Pritchard, co-director of the group, said no shots were fired during the operation and that the kidnappers were not present when the U.S.-British force freed the hostages. U.S. and British military officials did not provide details of the operation.
In London, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Kember was in “reasonable condition” in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone. The two Canadians required hospital treatment, he said, but gave no further details.
Straw also gave few details of the operation, saying only that it followed “weeks and weeks” of planning.

British Prime Minister
Tony Blair’s office said he was “delighted by the news” of the trio’s release. “He is particularly pleased for those released and their families. He congratulates everyone involved in the operation to rescue the hostages,” Downing Street said in a statement.
Loney’s brother, Ed Loney, told CBC television that his mother had spoken with Loney on the phone and he sounded “fantastic.”
“He’s alert and he was asking how we were doing and said he was sorry for the whole situation,” Ed Loney said. “My mom said, ‘Don’t worry about it — just get home and we’ll talk about all that stuff when you get here.'”
The kidnapped men were shown as prisoners in several videos, the most recent a silent clip dated Feb. 28 in which Loney, Kember and Sooden appeared without Fox. Fox’s body was found March 10 near a west Baghdad railway line with gunshot wounds to his head and chest.
The previously unknown Swords of Righteousness Brigades claimed responsibility for the kidnappings.
In a statement, the Christian Peacemaker Teams said the activists went to Iraq “motivated by a passion for justice and peace.” The group called for coalition forces to remove their troops from the country.
“We believe that the illegal occupation of Iraq by Multinational Forces is the root cause of the insecurity which led to this kidnapping and so much pain and suffering in Iraq,” the statement said.
Other Americans taken hostage in Iraq and killed in addition to Fox were Ronald Schulz, 40, an industrial electrician from Anchorage, Alaska; Jack Hensley, 48, a civil engineer from Marietta, Ga.; Eugene “Jack” Armstrong, 52, formerly of Hillsdale, Mich.; and Nicholas Berg, 26, a businessman from West Chester, Pa.
Still missing is Jill Carroll, a freelance writer for The Christian Science Monitor who was kidnapped Jan. 7 in Baghdad. She has appeared in three videotapes delivered by her kidnappers to Arab satellite television stations.
The last hostage to be freed in a military operation was Douglas Wood, an Australian rescued in west Baghdad by U.S. and Iraqi forces on June 15 after 47 days in captivity.

The Peril of Ignoring What Your Children Learn

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

The author of this article, Cindy O’Halloran is a book reviewer, writer, speaker, and playwright. She makes some very good points concerning the education of our youth. Many of her points have been echoed in this blog very regularly.

(AgapePress) – “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so ….” Our children love their Savior with a simple faith Jesus Himself recognized. We teach them their first verses and prayers, watch them bow their curly heads, and listen with satisfaction and relief when they grab on to what seems to be a sure place in heaven. But according to the Southern Baptist Council on Family Life, 88 percent of Christian children leave the church by the time they reach the age of 18. What is happening?
Many people believe that the schools are to blame for the growing secularization of Christian kids; that schools subvert the godly upbringing we work so hard to instill. The evidence, at first, seems to agree:
Literacy rates do not support quality public education. The Washington Post reports that only 31 percent of college graduates are proficient in reading and understanding short prose texts.
Increased rates of academic dishonesty show moral decay. The Ad Council Campaign to Discourage Academic Cheating shows that, while 20 percent of students in the 1940s admitted to cheating in high school, today between 75 and 98 percent do.
Sexual activity among teenagers also has increased. According to reports from the Heritage Foundation, 48 percent of American teenagers are sexually active and 8,000 teens contract a sexually transmitted disease every day.
Although these statistics clearly show that the public schools’ experiment in values-neutral education based on morality without foundation has failed, the Nehemiah Institute’s surveys remind us that as many as 25 percent of children educated in Christian schools have a secular worldview. Barna Research’s “Churched Youth Survey” shows that 57 percent of Christian children overall could not even say that an absolute standard of truth exists.
Every adult who interacts regularly with children teaches. Schools may appear to teach only academics, but along with that, they demonstrate moral values in the way they teach them. We all understand that what young people see, hear, think, and believe will determine the future. Praise God for godly teachers instilling biblical values — but we need to remember that it is our job as parents to be the chief force of godly standards; not only teaching, but evangelizing our children as well. We must be the ones to arm our children for victory in spiritual battle, teaching them to wear the armor of God as laid out in Ephesians 6. It is not the school’s job — not any school. Worldviews can be imposed but, in the end, each individual’s worldview must be chosen. This is a big job in a world where two out of three adult born-again believers do not believe in a standard of biblical absolute truth.
The heart of one church aches over what’s happening to our young people and their families. Richland Center Fellowship in Richland Center, Wisconsin, has taken on a mission to reveal the danger of this trend by bringing a live portrayal on stage incorporating culturally relevant scenes in their annual Easter production, The Keys.
The Keys plays out the life of Jesus from His ministry to the ascension, but it does more than communicate the Gospel. It intertwines modern scenes among the ancient scenes that relate the Gospel message to today’s issues. The 2006 modern theme shows Christian parents recognizing the flaws in their children’s education and in themselves in a way that will leave those who see it with a realistic image of the potential eternal consequences of their negligence.
As parents, we are accountable to God for what our children learn — whether it comes from us, through the church, or through one of their schoolteachers. We are also responsible before the Lord to impress biblical truths on our children constantly. “Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” (Deut. 6:7-9)
We must educate with intention in light of eternity, or none of us will be able to say we have lived righteously on Earth.

Cindy O’Halloran is a book reviewer, writer, speaker, and playwright. She can be contacted via her website. Special thanks to JoAnne Potter for her contribution to this article.

Afghan Convert to Christianity ‘Could Be Mad,’ Says Prosecutor

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

So here we have an “islamic democracy”, trying a man for converting from islam to Christianity. He could get the death penalty for his conversion, because under islamic law, the so called “prophet” mohammed, demanded that anyone who leaves islam be killed (Hadith Al Buhkari vol. 9:57). Now with international pressure mounting against the Afghan government, they are looking for any reason to let this guy go. All they have come up with is that he “could be mad”. So let me get this straight…being a converted Christian in Afghanistan makes on “crazy”? Someone (or group) is crazy, but I’d be willing to say it’s the Christians.

(AgapePress) – An appeal from the White House. Tens of thousands of e-mails urging President Bush to intervene. International reaction expressing concern for religious freedom. All of these are in response to the plight of an Afghan man who, because he converted from Islam to Christianity, faces possible execution if found guilty by a court in Kabul.
Forty-one-year-old Abdul Rahman reportedly accepted Christ as his Savior 16 years ago while working with an international Christian ministry helping Afghan refugees in Pakistan. After several years in Germany, he returned to Kabul — and last month, after being found in possession of a Bible, confessed to becoming a Christian.
Afghanistan’s constitution guarantees religious liberty — but because it is based on Shariah law, many Muslims interpret that to mean that any Muslim who rejects Islam be sentenced to death. Rahman’s trial began last week, and is under close international scrutiny. He has refused to renounce his conversion to Christianity, even with a promise from prosecutors that charges would be dropped if he did so.
Associated Press now reports that the Afghan Christian may be deemed mentally unfit to stand trial. Prosecutor Sarinwal Zamari says “We think he could be mad. He is not a normal person. He doesn’t talk like a normal person.” If examined and found to be mentally unfit, says a religious advisor to Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Islam would have “no claim to punish him” and charges would be dropped.
AP cites sources who report that the question of Rahman’s possible mental fitness may indicate the Afghan government, sensitive to the international reaction, is desperately searching for a way to drop the case.
Meanwhile, the United States, Britain, and other countries — some with troops in Afghanistan — have voiced concern about the trial. AP says Italy’s foreign minister has summoned the Afghan ambassador in Rome and may ask the European Union to intercede on behalf of Rahman. Germany’s foreign minister told a newspaper that he views the case with “great concern” and that German diplomats in Kabul have been in contact with Afghan officials about Rahman’s case. On Tuesday the Bush administration, being careful not to interfere with Afghanistan’s sovereignty, appealed to Kabul to allow Rahman to practice his faith in his home country. And today, ABC is reporting that Australia plans to lobby Afghanistan on behalf of Rahman.

International Concern Acknowledged
Afghanistan foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah says he is aware of concerns in the U.S. and elsewhere about Rahman’s arrest, trial, and possible execution. In a briefing at the U.S. State Department, Abdullah said the Afghan embassy in Washington has received hundreds of messages of concern from Americans about the prosecution of Rahman — but he makes no promises that the convert would be found innocent.
“The government of Afghanistan has nothing to do [with the charges brought against Rahman], and it’s a legal and judicial case,” Abdullah stated, “but I hope that through our constitutional process there will be a satisfactory result.”
Nicholas Burns, the U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, said that in talks with Foreign Minister Abdullah, Washington has called for open proceedings in the trial. “I said on behalf of our government that we hope very much that the judicial case … would be held in a transparent way,” he explained.
The prosecution of a religious convert, said Burns, is a legitimate cause for international concern. “We believe in universal freedoms, and freedom of religion is one of them,” the American official stated. “People should be free to choose their own religion, and people should not receive any severe penalties — certainly not penalty of death [or imprisonment] — for having made a personal choice as to what religion that person wishes to follow.”

Fighting for Whose Freedom?
Some conservative leaders in the U.S. see some irony in the Rahman trial. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, for instance, says it is an “outrage” that a trial is even taking place.
“How can we congratulate ourselves for liberating Afghanistan from the rule of jihadists only to be ruled by Islamists who kill Christians?” Perkins asks, pointing out that the trial is a flagrant violation of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights — which is incorporated into the new Afghan constitution.
“President Bush should immediately send Vice President Cheney or Secretary of State Rice to Kabul to read Hamid Karzai’s government the riot act,” the FRC president continues. “Americans will not give their blood and treasure to prop up new Islamic fundamentalist regimes. Americans have not given their lives so that Christians can be executed.”
American Family Association founder and chairman Dr. Don Wildmon agrees. “We understand that this is a sensitive issue. But if the U.S. can send troops to die for the freedom of [Afghanis], then surely our country can use all channels available to keep Mr. Rahman from being executed … simply because he is a Christian.”
Wildmon asserts it is “absolutely wrong” to kill someone just because they have chosen to be a Christian. “This is not the kind of government and courts our soldiers are fighting and dying for,” he says. Wildmon’s group reports that more than 200,000 of its supporters have e-mailed President Bush, urging him to intervene to save Rahman’s life.
Concerned Women for America has joined FRC and AFA in calling for Rahman’s freedom. CWA president Wendy Wright says Rahman and every other Afghan citizen deserves freedom of religion.
“The ruling of this case is pivotal in that it will set a precedent for all that follow,” Wright offers. “Abdul Rahman’s life is on trial and religious freedom for Afghanistan hangs in the balance.”
The pro-family leader takes note of Rahman’s bravery. “We offer our respect and admiration to Mr. Rahman for his courage,” she says. His unwavering conviction to take a stand for Christ is an example to us all.”

Attorney: Two Women’s Legal Battle Forces State Marriage Law Face-Off

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

OK, so the long and short of this is that two lesbian women went to another state (from Virginia, to Vermont) in order to get a civil union. Now that the couple has split up and Virginia won’t recognize the non-biological “parent” and give her visitation. Do y’all see what opening the box on gay marriages is going to do to society? Can you not see how it’s going to tear about the basic foundations of our society? Expect more of this type of thing.

(AgapePress) – A Virginia judge has ruled that a Vermont court visitation order, issued in favor of a lesbian non-custodial and non-biological parent, may not be registered in Virginia because the state’s laws do not allow civil unions or same-sex “marriage.”
The case involves Lisa Miller, her biological child, and Janet Jenkins. In December 2000 the two women, who lived in Virginia, traveled to Vermont to obtain a civil union. In time, Miller gave birth to a child through artificial insemination. However, the lesbian couple’s relationship ended when Lisa became a Christian and left the homosexual lifestyle.
A Vermont trial court awarded Jenkins “parent-child” contact and visitation with Miller’s child. However, a Virginia court declared Miller to be the sole parent and ruled that the Virginia Marriage Affirmation Act barred recognition of civil unions. Simultaneous appeals are pending at the Vermont Supreme Court and the Virginia Court of Appeals.
Miller, the biological parent, is represented by Matthew D. Staver, president and general counsel of the Florida-based group Liberty Counsel. He says the legal battle between the two women pits the laws of Virginia and Vermont against each other.
“While this was on appeal, Janet Jenkins tried to register [the Vermont trial court’s] order and essentially tried to short-circuit the appeals process,” Staver says. Registration, he explains, is the first step in enforcing an out-of-state visitation order in Virginia.
Judge William Sharp acknowledged that the Vermont order was not enforceable with appeals pending but went ahead and registered it, Miller’s attorney notes. “The good news now, however, is that the attempt was met head on,” he says, “and the judge ruled that a Vermont civil union has no validity in the state of Virginia. It cannot be enforced.”
Staver believes this latest development in Miller v. Jenkins demonstrates the importance of states passing marriage protection amendments. “Whenever a state crosses the line and adopts a same-sex union,” he says, “whether it’s a civil union as in Vermont or same-sex marriage as in Massachusetts, the other states are directly affected, and children are caught in the middle of these conflicts.”
But the Liberty Counsel spokesman is convinced that not even state constitutional amendments will keep proponents of homosexual marriage from exploiting the legal system to challenge established laws in an effort to extend “marriage rights” to same-sex couples. “The definition of marriage is not for judges to decide,” he contends. “It must be decided by the people. It must be uniform.”
Unless the U.S. Constitution is amended to protect traditional marriage, Staver asserts, “same-sex marriage advocates will continue using the courts to force their agenda on the rest of the country.” While pleased that a judge has ruled that a Vermont civil union is legally invalid in Virginia, the pro-family attorney believes only a federal amendment can ultimately prevent future interstate conflicts over the definition of marriage.

Islamic Advocacy Group Silent on Afghan Apostasy Trial

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

And one would expect them to vocal about it? No way. They are way to busy complaining about cartoons of their “prophet” to actually talk about someone loosing his life because he converted to Christianity. Hypocrites!!

(CNSNews.com) – What does the Council on American-Islamic Relations have to say about the trial of an Afghan Muslim who may get the death penalty for converting to Christianity? Nothing so far, noted a conservative, pro-family group.
“Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations so far has been silent,” the Family Research Council said in an email message on Tuesday.
“Hooper is usually quick to decry any anti-Muslim slight. By not speaking out against this outrageous action, CAIR is dealing with the issue,” said FRC President Tony Perkins.
CAIR, in an email message of its own on Tuesday, did not mention the case of Abdul Rahman, who converted to Christianity 16 years ago. The judge hearing Rahman’s case was quoted as saying that Rahman could face the death penalty if he refused to return to Islam.
Some of CAIR’s leaders, along with other Muslims, met on Tuesday with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes and top officials of the National Security Council. But the meetings focused on outreach efforts to the Muslim world and “how to address growing levels of Islamophobia in the West,” CAIR said.
CAIR recently launched a “Not in the Name of Islam” campaign, which seeks to distance Muslims from terrorism and “correct misperceptions of Islam.”
The apostasy trial of Abdul Rahman has rallied American Christians. The American Family Association is circulating an online petition, urging readers to contact President Bush and request his intervention in the case.
And the Family Research Council’s Perkins said he’s sent letters to President Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), the respective foreign affairs committee chairmen, telling them that Americans have not given their lives in Afghanistan so Christians can be executed.
“The judge in Rahman’s case soothingly assures us that all will be forgiven if he renounces his Christianity because ‘Islam is a religion of tolerance.’ Really?” asked Perkins.
Perkins is particularly upset with comments made by White House spokesman Sean McCormack, who said on Tuesday, “Freedom of worship is an important element of any democracy and these are issues as Afghan democracy matures that they are going to have to deal with increasingly.”
Said Perkins, “Religious freedom is not just ‘an important element’ of democracy; it is its cornerstone. Religious persecution leads inevitably to political tyranny. Five hundred years of history confirm this.”
Perkins has said that President Bush should send Vice President Cheney or Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Afghanistan to read the Afghan government the riot act.
“Americans will not give their blood and treasure to prop up new Islamic fundamentalist regimes,” he said earlier this week.

See my original post here.

San Antonio Faces Lawsuit Threat Over Pre-Council Meeting Prayers

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

Another lawsuit over the non-existent “separation of church and state ” thing again. When are these atheist nutcases going to realize that it’s already been declared both by the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court that it’s not unconstitutional for a public body to pray before they open their meeting? Probably never.

(AgapePress) – The City of San Antonio, Texas, may be facing litigation over its practice of starting its city government sessions with prayer. An organization that specializes in religious liberty cases has offered to defend the city in a lawsuit over its invocations at its City Council meetings.
Recently, a local resident threatened to sue the city, claiming the prayers violate the establishment clause of the Constitution of the United States. Upon hearing of the lawsuit threat, Plano-based Liberty Legal Institute offered to represent the city free of charge.
Hiram Sasser, Liberty Legal Institute’s director of litigation, says the complaint and others like it are “completely unjustified and frivolous.” He notes that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1983 that invocation prayers at meetings of government bodies do not violate the Constitution.
Besides, Sasser points out, the way the City Council’s invocations have been offered has made them all the more constitutionally defensible. “What’s interesting about the situation in San Antonio,” he explains, “is that they’ve had such a wide variety of practitioners — Muslims, Jewish folks, Native Americans, various Christian denominations — such that they’re completely insulated from attack, having that kind of diverse representation.”
The attorney notes that San Antonio is one of many cities across the United States where local government bodies have come under attack for permitting individual expressions of faith in an official forum. “A lot of these cities allow themselves to be bullied by these people demanding a cease of all prayer or religion in public life,” he says.
“It’s unfortunate,” Sasser continues. “But when you stand up to these guys, nine times out of ten they just back down,” he asserts, “because they were bluffing, and they knew the law was not on their side.”
The constitutional litigation experts at Liberty Legal Institute “are confident the City of San Antonio will stand strong and battle to protect First Amendment rights,” Sasser adds. He says the City Council has the right to allow invocations at the beginnings of its meetings, and his organization is ready to aid the Council members in fighting any suit threatening to prohibit this constitutionally-protected practice.

Man faces death penalty for becoming Christian

Tuesday, March 21st, 2006

More love and generosity from the RoT (religion of tolerance, aka islam). Apparently they want to put this man to death because (gasp) he converted to Christianity. Oh yeah, in case you didn’t realize it, that is a crime in the islamic world. A crime punishable by death. Remember, this is taught to all muslims (Hadith vol. 4, no. 260).

Despite the fact the hardline Taliban regime is no longer in power, an Afghan man faces possible execution for allegedly abandoning his Islamic roots and becoming a Christian.
“Yes that’s true, a man has converted to Christianity. He’s being tried in one of our courts,” Supreme Court judge Ansarullah Mawlavizada told the Middle East Times.
The case centers on Abdul Rahman, believed to be 41, who converted from Islam to Christianity some 16 years ago. His relatives reportedly notified authorities about the conversion.
The constitution in Afghanistan is based on Shariah law, which states any Muslim who rejects his or her religion should be sentenced to death.
“We are not against any particular religion in the world. But in Afghanistan, this sort of thing is against the law,” the judge told the Associated Press. “It is an attack on Islam. … The prosecutor is asking for the death penalty.”
If he indeed is sentenced, Rahman would be the first person punished for leaving Islam since the Taliban was ousted by American-led forces in late 2001, in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the U.S.
Prosecutor Abdul Wasi says he offered to drop the charges if Rahman made the switch back to Islam, but the defendant is maintaining his Christian beliefs. The judge is expected to rule within two months.
About 99 percent of Afghanistan’s 28 million people are Muslims, with the rest mostly Hindus.