Archive for March 16th, 2006

Second test confirms US mad cow case

Thursday, March 16th, 2006

I’m sorry, I don’t mean to make light of this, but I couldn’t pass it up when I saw the cartoon over at Cox and Forkum. In all seriousness, this is not something to be taken lightly and I’m glad the USDA is on top of it.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said that a second test on an Alabama cow had confirmed the presence of mad cow disease in the animal, which has been killed and buried.
The government confirmed the country’s third case of mad cow disease on Monday, but insisted to the world that its beef was safe as it conducted further tests.
The USDA said in a statement that a government laboratory in Ames, Iowa, had conducted a second test for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, which returned “positive results”.
“The cow, initially reported to be a Santa Gertrudis, is now believed to be a red crossbred,” the USDA said.
The animal, which could not walk, was put down by a veterinarian, who collected a sample from the animal which was submitted for testing.
The animal was buried on an Alabama farm, the government said, stressing it had not entered the food chain.
The department is investigating the animal’s origin to trace its place of birth. It had been on the Alabama farm less than a year.
The number of BSE cases in the United States pales in comparison to the more than 183,000 infections confirmed in Britain, where the epidemic was first identified in 1986.
The United States recorded its first case of BSE in December 2003 in a Canadian-born cow in Washington state. The second case was confirmed in June last year in a cow in Texas.
The discovery of BSE in 2003 prompted a slew of bans on US beef imports around the world, which have only recently been lifted in some countries.
Consumption of BSE-infected beef has been linked to a brain-wasting disease in humans called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).

Ministry Hopes to Equip Texas Christians for Evangelizing Muslims

Thursday, March 16th, 2006

At here in the United States, Christians don’t get their heads cut off (yet) for telling a muslim about Christianity. Since muslims are not taught to question their religion (actually, they are taught that doing so can be hazardous to their health), it is often times difficult to gain inroads in order to witness to them. It’s good to see a Christian organization actively seeking them out. I wonder when the death threats will start against these organizations.

(AgapePress) – Evangelical Christians in Texas are being mobilized to bring the gospel to Muslims across America. Recently, a Virginia-based ministry called Truth for Muslims sent literature to 50,000 households nationwide, explaining the differences between Islam and Christianity.
Truth for Muslims is a project of Spear Ministries, a nonprofit organization dedicated to proclaiming the gospel to Hindu, Muslim, pagan, and other unsaved people groups. Officials with the ministry say the enthusiastic response from Christians in Texas to the recently literature distribution campaign exceeded expectations.
Now plans are under way for an organized initiative to help equip Christians in the Lone Star State witness effectively to followers of the Islamic religion. John Marion, project director for Truth for Muslims, says Islam is unique in the sense that “there’s been no greater challenge to the church of Jesus Christ in the past 1,400 years.”
Marion was a missionary to Afghanistan in the 1990s. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, he focused his attention on helping Christians meet the challenge of confronting Islam in America.
“Islam has shown itself to be very resilient and very anti-Christ in terms of theology,” the ministry spokesman observes. Muslims “deny the fact that Jesus is the son of God,” he says, “and they deny that Jesus died on a cross and rose from the dead. And those are fundamental truths in Christianity.”
Marion notes that evangelical Christianity “certainly seems to be strong in Texas,” if the overwhelming response among believers in that state to the Muslim outreach initiative is any indication. “Maybe President Bush has something to do with that, what he has stated about his faith,” he says.
On the other hand, the Truth for Muslims project director speculates, Texas Christians may be reacting to the ambiguous comments and messages about Islam that have come from the current administration. He acknowledges that there has been “some controversy about things that President Bush has said and, I think, confusion in general about what is Islam, what is the proper response” for individuals and also “what is the proper response for America.”
Marion believes the recent literature mailing has begun to address these questions for many Christians. Meanwhile, he hopes the evangelism initiative now being coordinated will assist Christians who have a burden to witness to Muslims in presenting the gospel effectively and explaining to them the differences between Islam and Christianity.

Homosexual Activists in Europe, Canada Using Gov’t to Silence Opposition

Thursday, March 16th, 2006

With our liberal courts here, it is only a matter of time before the homosexual community tries this here.

(AgapePress) – For decades homosexual activists claimed that they were oppressed by societies that wanted them to remain silent and in the closet. Now that homosexuals are experiencing cultural acceptance unheard of in Western Civilization since the time of ancient Greece, they are no longer unseen nor unheard. In fact, the homosexual community has obtained a seat at the table of political power.
Apparently, activists consider turnabout to be fair play. In Europe and Canada, those sympathetic to the homosexual movement are using the coercive power of government to silence those who oppose their agenda.
Pro-family groups in the U.S., meanwhile, are pointing to these other countries with increasing urgency, warning that what is happening in Europe and Canada is already starting to happen here. (See earlier article)

Trouble Across the Pond
In Europe, as the politically correct view of homosexuality takes root within the legal system, the Christian view is increasingly coming under pressure.
For example, when the Rev. Peter Forster, Anglican Bishop of Chester, England, told his town’s newspaper that homosexuals can leave their lifestyle by getting professional medical help, he got an unexpected visit from the police. Law enforcement officials went to Forster’s residence after a complaint was filed that charged him with a hate crime.
At least one homosexual group called Forster’s remarks “evil.” Martin Reynolds, the communications director for the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, told the Daily Telegraph (London), “These are irresponsible remarks that could inflame latent homophobia.”
The police investigated the complaint but decided against any further action — but only because the British law against inciting racial hatred has not yet been extended to include sexual orientation.
Pro-family advocate and author Lynette Burrows also learned the hard way, when she criticized homosexual adoption in a live radio interview in Cambridge, England. According to the Daily Telegraph, after a member of the listening public complained, police initiated an investigation — claiming that her comments may have constituted a “homophobic incident.”
“I was astounded,” Burrows said of the inquiry. When she told the female investigator that England was a free country that protected freedom of speech, the policewoman told her “it was not a crime but that she had to record these incidents. They were leaning on me, letting me know that the police had an interest in my views. I think it is sinister and completely unacceptable.”
The same pressure is being brought to bear elsewhere in Europe: Catholic Cardinal Gustaaf Joos of Belgium faces a lawsuit over his comments, published in a magazine, about the Christian view of homosexuality; in Spain Cardinal Antonio Varela of Madrid also faces a lawsuit for preaching against homosexuality in a sermon; and in Ireland Catholic clergy who distribute their church’s publications against same-sex marriage were told they could face prosecution under Ireland’s hate crime laws.
Meanwhile, as the European Union (EU) continues to attempt to oversee more and more of the daily lives of member nations, the clash between homosexual and religious rights becomes inevitable as well.
In January, for example, the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning “homophobia” and demanding that member nations introduce and then implement laws granting special rights for homosexuals in employment.
According to a story from the Rainbow Network, the resolution, which passed on a 469-149 vote, called on the European Commission to begin proceedings against countries that refuse to pass such laws.
Naturally, the passage of the resolution was applauded by homosexuals, one of whom thanked Christians for their inaction as the resolution came up. “Another positive point is that the lunatic fringe was apparently very silent,” boasted Joke Swiebel, a homosexual activist and former member of the European Parliament. “It does not pay anymore to shout against gays and lesbians in the Parliament itself.”

Nuttiness North of the Border
In Canada, pro-family groups and other conservatives suffered a serious defeat when that nation legalized same-sex marriage last year. But government pressure against those who dare speak up against homosexuality has been building for several years.
For example, in 2001 William Whatcott produced and distributed a flyer warning of the medical and spiritual dangers of the homosexual lifestyle, but that landed him in legal hot water after four homosexuals got the flyer out of their mailboxes and read it. They considered it “hate speech,” and the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal agreed. Whatcott was ordered to pay more than $17,000 to the homosexuals.
Meanwhile, the Knights of Columbus, a men’s organization affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, was fined $2,000 by the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal after the Knights refused to allow two lesbians to rent a hall for a same-sex “wedding.” While the tribunal gave the Knights of Columbus a pass on the basis of religious objections, the fine was issued because of the lesbians’ “humiliation” in having to find another location — even though it was the lesbians themselves who made the matter public by informing the press.
However, the lesbians were not satisfied with the ruling, and said they will appeal. Their attorney, Barbara Findlay, said, “This is going to be the first real legal test of the [same-sex marriage law]. We want the court to make the call — how far does freedom of religion extend under the charter? Where do we draw the line?”
The legal line may be irrelevant for David Hauser, the Knights of Columbus member who was responsible for nixing the lesbians’ nuptial celebration at the hall. As it turned out, according to a story on LifeSiteNews.com, Hauser got fired from his job at Costco soon afterwards, and he alleges it was because of the fracas.
His reason for thinking so? One of the lesbians who filed the discrimination allegation is actually a coworker of Hauser, and he said many of the people in management at his former place of employment are openly homosexual.
Ironically, other Christians are finding themselves on the wrong side of the law. Nondiscrimination statutes and hate crime laws — declared by activists to be absolutely necessary in order to protect the homosexual community — are now weapons in the hands of those who would silence Christianity.
Scott Brockie, a Christian printer, was fined $5,000 in 2000 by the Ontario Human Rights Commission because he refused, on the basis of his religious convictions, to print materials for a homosexual group. The Commission told him he must also print anything else the group wanted.
Even though an appellate court gave Brockie a partial victory — he was told he did not have to print any more homosexual-themed materials — the original fine was upheld. Moreover, the entire appeal process left him more than $100,000 in debt. Then the Human Rights Commission filed and won a motion that Brockie pay its legal costs. That saddled him with $40,000 more in debt.
But even when a Christian promotes his beliefs on his own time, in a manner unconnected with his job, the results can be devastating. Chris Kempling, a counselor at the Quesnel School District in British Columbia, granted an interview to CBC Radio in 2003 — while at home during his Christmas vacation.
In the interview, Kempling, who is a licensed psychologist with a doctorate in that field, explained about his specialty: counseling homosexuals who want to leave the lifestyle.
Kempling was suspended for three months by the school district, but when he tried to bring a religious discrimination complaint against the school, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal refused him a hearing.
In response, Rev. Tristan Emmanuel, an outspoken defender of the traditional family in Canada, told LifeSiteNews.com, “The [British Columbia] Human Right’s Tribunal decision has made it clear that it’s not about tolerance — it’s about the suppression of all opposition — a type of jihad against free speech and freedom of religion.”
Freedom of religion, in fact, continues to face pressure in Canada just as it is in Europe. According to the National Catholic Register, Catholic Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary ran afoul of the pro-homosexual establishment when he opposed same-sex “marriage” in a diocesan letter. Two homosexuals formerly charged the bishop with “discrimination.”
In his own defense, Bishop Henry argued, “My rights to freedom of religion and free speech have been violated. Those that support same-sex marriage want to shut the churches out of this important debate. Those who favor same-sex marriage have been given full opportunity to state their views on this issue. But now they are saying that anyone who speaks out against same-sex marriage is discriminating against homosexuals.”
For Christians north of the border, perhaps the most odious law was the homosexual hate crime measure, Bill C-250, which was passed by the legislature in 2004. As World magazine’s Lynn Vincent explained, C-250 makes it “illegal to publish, distribute, mail, import, or speak any communication that could be perceived as promoting or inciting ‘hate’ against ‘identifiable groups,'” which includes homosexuals.
“Everyone who, by communicating statements, other than in private conversation, willfully promotes hatred against any identifiable group is guilty of … an indictable offence,” the law says. Punishment includes imprisonment for up to two years.
Although an exemption was made in the law for religious groups, Christians in Canada fear courts will close the loophole, since the exemption only applies if a person expresses his religious opinion “in good faith.”
Vincent stated that “at least one Saskatchewan court has already held that certain Bible passages expose homosexuals to hatred.”
In light of the passage of C-250, at least one attorney in Canada is advising churches to consider “avoiding public criticisms of identifiable groups” and “limiting opinions to private conversations.”
If churches followed that legal advice, it would appear to sound the death knell for Christian witness in Canada. But then, it also appears to be what homosexual activists want. Those who have come out of the closet want to start stuffing Christians into a closet of their own.