Archive for April 13th, 2006

Protests backfire!

Thursday, April 13th, 2006

Zogby poll: National demonstrations by illegal aliens have negative impact

Well, I saw this one comming. What did the illegal community expect to happen? They paraded around with signs like “This is our continent, not yours” and “Who You Calling Immigrant, Pilgrim?” What did they expect from those of us who have been here for generation after generation, many from the formation of this country? What did they expect from those of us who have lost loved ones in wars to assure the very right they are using to protest?
Did they really expect that we would rush right out and say “hey, it doesn’t matter that you broke our laws by coming her illegally, overload our schools and healthcare systems, while not paying taxes (in many cases), but causing my taxes to skyrocket in order to support you…welcome anyway”?
I think they ask too much. I think they have hurt their cause. America (the legal citizens of this country) want this issue fixed. Now. Not later…Now.
The only way to fix it is to secure the boarders and send all illegals home. Period.
By the way, do non-citizens have the right to protest? I don’t think so, but I don’t know how the law reads on that.

Recent images of seas of illegal aliens marching in cities across the U.S. are having a far greater negative than positive impact on the foreigners’ cause, according to a new poll.
A Zogby survey of nearly 8,000 people shows coast-to-coast protests against immigration proposals in Congress – particularly to make it a federal felony to be an illegal worker in the U.S. – have not persuaded a majority of likely American voters.
Asked whether the protests have made likely voters more or less sympathetic toward undocumented workers, 61 percent said they’re less likely to be sympathetic to the plight of illegals as a result of the protests, while only 32 percent of respondents said they’re now more sympathetic. Younger respondents to the poll were more likely to be sympathetic than were older participants. And while 56 percent of Democrats said the protests made them feel more sympathy for unlawful workers, just 6 percent of Republicans felt that way.
“The gap between what the American people believe … and what these elites in Washington thinks is right, that continues to grow wider,” said host Sean Hannity on his national radio program today. “Many Republican leaders are siding with the elites, they are not siding with the people that put them in office.”
The survey also shows an overwhelming majority of Americans – nearly 4 out 5 – is doubtful President Bush and Congress will find a fair and effective solution to the immigration crisis. While 88 percent of Democrats and 85 percent of independents said it’s unlikely a solution will be found, 66 percent of Republicans agreed.
Doubt about the prospect of Washington’s success on the issue spreads across all geographic and racial demographics, the survey shows.
Asked specifically whether Bush or Congress is trusted more to properly handle the immigration issue, 50 percent said they don’t think it’s likely either branch of government will get the job done properly. Another 22 percent said they trust Congress more, while 17 percent said they think Bush is more likely to come up with the right answer. There was some difference depending on the age of the respondents – those over age 65 said they trusted Bush more, while those under age 30 said they put more trust in Congress.
Likely voters said their biggest concern about illegal immigration is the burden it places on government social services at all levels. While 27 percent said the increased burden was their top concern, another 22 percent said they hold a companion worry – that illegals will trigger an increase in the cost of government services.
One in four – 26 percent – said they were concerned America’s southern border may be the entry point for terrorists intent on attacking the U.S.
A majority of Americans said they oppose amnesty for illegals who already reside in this nation. While 52 percent said there should be no amnesty, 32 percent said they’d favor it.
The survey shows significant partisan divide on this question. Among Democrats nationwide, 51 percent favor amnesty, while 29 percent oppose it and another 20 percent said they are unsure. Among Republicans, just 13 percent said they favor amnesty, while 76 percent said they oppose such an offer.
The Zogby Interactive survey included 7,967 respondents nationwide between March 31 and April 3, and has a margin of error of +/- 1.1 percentage points.

‘Progressive’ Christians Promoting ‘Different Voice’

Thursday, April 13th, 2006

“Progressive Christian”. What on earth is a “progressive Christian”? Would they be, by any chance, that group whom has decided that it’s no longer necessary to accept the Bible as true (Biblical Truth) and there is no such thing as “moral absolutes”? Could it be the group who takes political correctness, caresses it with Christian buzzwords and then presents this “doctrine” as true to the Word of God (the Bible) even though it isn’t? Yup. They are one of the same.
I’ve said it here in my blog before and I’ll say it again. God/Jesus/The Holy Spirit/Disciples never gave us permission to ignore parts of the Bible that made us uncomfortable.
So according to this group, I’m a “conservative minority” that is “using faith in America to create a divisive and polarizing atmosphere of exclusion”. I’d have to argue with the “minority” label for sure, and also the “atmosphere of exclusion” as well. As a Bible believing Christian, I want EVERYONE to know Jesus and accept them. I’d love to have EVERYONE around the Lord’s table in Heaven. But…I will NOT violate the Bible in order to make people “feel good” about sin.
Jesus washed away our sin with His blood, but He never gave us permission to continue sinning. Actually, He said quite the opposite. Show me one example from the Bible where Jesus sat down with unrepentant sinners. You can stop looking now. It’s not in there.
As a matter of fact, Jesus was quite harsh with the unrepentant sinners (Pharisees and Teachers of the Law).
So the question to ask is:
Who is being exclusive…
The Bible believing Christians who hold true to God’s Word, loves the sinner, but hates the sin and teaches that sin leads to hell, but belief in our Lord, Jesus, as the Savior, leads to an eternal existence with our Loving God,
or
The politically correct Christian who teaches “feel good”, no repentance required, “we won’t preach what Jesus taught about sin because it might make you feel bad”?
It’s the latter, my friends. They may feel they are inclusive on earth, but their teaching could lead someone to be excluded from heaven.

I posted on an article I found about the membership of the United Methodist churches in America. It showed that 43 percent of United Methodist Church congregations in the U.S. did not receive a single member by profession of faith in 2004. Not one member. Why?
Could it be that people see through the political correctness posing as Christianity and deem it false? Maybe people are hungry for the Word of God taught as written, instead of interpreted to mean that we overlook sin in order to get bodies in the pews? Maybe they see the way the world is and look for something different from churches?

Take a moment to read my article on the “Falling Away of the Church”. I think it might make some of you realize just how convoluted some of these Christian fellowships have become in order not to “offend” anyone.

(CNSNews.com) – On Easter Sunday, a group of Christians describing themselves as “moderates” and “progressives” will begin a 2,500-mile walk from Phoenix to Washington, D.C., to promote a “different voice for Christianity in America.”
The journey will begin in Phoenix with an ecumenical Easter sunrise service. During the trek, six ministers and lay leaders from the United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church and Metropolitan Community Church will walk from Arizona and through 12 states before concluding in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, Sept. 3, during Labor Day weekend.
“We are going on this journey because the Christian values of compassion, a welcoming spirit, acceptance and tolerance are being drowned out in large part by a small but vocal and well-funded minority,” said the Rev. Eric Elnes, co-president of the newly formed group, CrossWalk America.
That conservative minority is “using faith in America to create a divisive and polarizing atmosphere of exclusion,” stated Elnes, who also serves as senior pastor of Scottsdale Congregational United Church of Christ in Arizona.
Another reason for the four-month trek is “to affirm that most Christians believe our faith is based on the true values Jesus proclaimed as the three greatest loves — love of God, love of neighbor and love of self,” he added.
“We get into trouble when some Christians conclude that ‘two out of three ain’t bad,'” Elnes noted.
Members of the group call themselves “CrossWalkers” and hope to refocus the nation’s attention on what they consider the core values of the Christian faith.
To accomplish this goal, the organization is dedicated to “spreading the message that Christianity is first and foremost about the just and unconditional love of God for all people and Christ’s commandments to love God and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves,” Elnes said.
Participants will “walk the walk,” symbolic of the walking Jesus did during his three years of ministry while teaching people about love and justice, according to CrossWalk’s Jay Taylor.
More than 120 families have agreed to accommodate walkers in their homes, Taylor said.
Fifty-five congregations — including those from the United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), American Baptist Church, Episcopal Church, Unitarian Universalist and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) — have offered to provide hospitality and speaking opportunities along the route.
Key partners for the four-month event include the 1.3 million-member United Church of Christ’s Stillspeaking Initiative, which states that “God is still speaking” to people today, and the UCC-related Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, Calif.
Homosexual advocacy organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign and No Longer Silent: Clergy for Justice will also have representatives participating in the cross-country walk.
“Now why would I quit my job and be away from those I love for an extended time frame to go on this journey?” asked Rebecca Glenn, co-president of CrossWalk America. “I want to help raise awareness that there are Christians who do not believe in intolerance, religious elitism and pointing out the wrongdoings of others, contrary to what some in the media and some well-known religious leaders would try to have us believe.
“There is a silent majority of people who believe Christianity is a path of compassion, acceptance and reaching out to those in need,” Glenn said. “At a time when there is so much pain caused by religious polarization, many would like to see a renewed focus on love, and that is what this walk and the CrossWalk America organization are all about.”

MTV Pokes Fun at Jesus’ Crucifixion

Thursday, April 13th, 2006

What else could we expect from this network. At least it probably will not air here in the U.S.
I wonder where all the riots and bloodshed are over the desecration of images of Jesus?

(CNSNews.com) – As Christians around the world prepare for Easter, magazine readers in Germany were confronted this week by full-page advertisements depicting Jesus, wearing a crown of thorns but descended from the cross, enjoying a television program.
“Laughing rather than hanging around,” (Lachen statt rumhaengen) reads the tagline of the ad, which has drawn strong protests in Germany, where two-thirds of the population identifies as Christian.
The ad promotes MTV’s plan to broadcast a cartoon lampooning the pope and Vatican hierarchy. The series, Popetown, was considered too controversial to be aired in Britain, and it caused an uproar in the one country where it has appeared, New Zealand.
Coming at a time when the dust has yet to settle from the furor over newspaper cartoons caricaturing Mohammed, the row has prompted some Germans to ask why their faith should be an easy target.
The Deutsche Welle broadcaster quoted Joachim Herrmann of the Christian Social Union party as saying that MTV would have thought twice before poking fun in a similar way at Muslims.
“It is not acceptable that the Christian faith in particular is dragged into the dirt just because it is easier and less dangerous,” he said, calling for MTV to pull both the series and the “tasteless” ads.
Christians believe Jesus is God incarnate and that he died on a cross to redeem mankind and then rose from the dead three days later. Those events are marked this weekend, the highlight of the Christian calendar.
Germany is the home country of the present pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI.
The German Bishop’s Conference said it had not given up hope that dialogue with MTV management would result in the screening being canceled.
The bishops said the magazine ad was “a provocation for Germany’s Christians just a few days before Good Friday and Easter.”
Munich Archbishop Cardinal Friedrich Wetter said in a separate statement the ad was deeply hurtful to believing Christians.
A German Christian magazine, Verse One, has instituted an online protest and boycott campaign.
“After the events surrounding the Mohammed cartoons we had thought there was agreement that media should show consideration for the religious feelings of believers, whether Muslims, Jews, Buddhists or Christians,” said Verse One publisher Birgit Kelle.
“Obviously we were mistaken.”
Kelle, a Protestant, said the issue did not concern “our Catholic brothers and sisters” alone. If Christians did not defend themselves – with arguments, not force – “this will never stop.”
MTV said the series was satire and should be treated as a work of art. It planned to go ahead with showing it in Germany, Austria and Switzerland as scheduled early next month.
‘Spoiled brat’
“Banned from TV, damned by the church, and brought to you in devilishly uncensored form,” runs the tagline on the Popetown website, promoting the program on DVD.
The series portrays the pope as an uncontrollable, infantile character who pogo-sticks around a Vatican populated by corrupt, money-grabbing cardinals.
The 10-episode series originally was commissioned by BBC television, but after strong protests the BBC decided against going ahead with the scheduled broadcast in 2004.
The one country where the series has been shown is New Zealand, where a youth-oriented channel, C4, shrugged off protests by Catholic bishops and aired it last year.
In an unusual move, the Catholic Bishops Conference (NZCBC) urged the country’s half a million Catholics to boycott C4 and other stations owned by the Canadian broadcaster CanWest, and also to target companies advertising on the channels.
In a letter read out in parishes across the country, the bishops said the pope was depicted “as a cretinous, dirty, spoiled brat, and the curial cardinals as venal and dishonest,” according to a statement made available by Catholic spokeswoman Lyndsay Freer Thursday.
The letter also said the program implied that one Vatican-based priest had “a predilection … for exotic animals in a way that suggests moral degeneration of an appalling kind.”
C4 said it did not believe the series was offensive to a significant proportion of the population, and continued to air it.
Freer said Thursday that various organizations and individuals had lodged complaints with New Zealand’s statutory Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA), claiming that Popetown breached “decency, good taste and fairness.” All had failed.
The NZCBC’s own complaint was still awaiting a decision, although the BSA did, late last month, reject a request by the bishops to have their complaint aired in full and formal hearings.
The bishops had argued that increased public interest as a result debates about the Mohammed cartoons justified such hearings.
“The possible political and economic consequences of the Danish cartoons incident clearly demonstrate what is at stake is not the outcome of an academic debate on the rights and freedoms of the media,” the NZCBC said in a statement.
“The matter has now become far too serious to be dealt [with] without fair consideration and debate.”
The BSA said the Mohammed cartoons were not relevant to the case under consideration. And although it accepted that the wider issue had become a matter of intense debate, it turned down the request for formal hearings.
C4 was in the firing line again earlier this year over yet another program that many New Zealand Christians found offensive – an episode of the South Park cartoon series that featured a menstruating statue of the Virgin Mary.
Again, Catholic bishops called for a boycott, and again C4 went ahead despite protests not just from Catholics but also Protestants and adherents of other faiths.
Freer said the NSCBC was preparing a further complaint to the BSA about the South Park episode.
The offending South Park program earlier aired on the Comedy Central in the U.S., prompting one Catholic organization to describe it as “one of the most vile TV shows ever to appear.”
Comedy Central and MTV are both owned by the media conglomerate Viacom.

Europe’s Chastisement? — How the Abandonment of Christianity May Be Leading to Disaster

Thursday, April 13th, 2006

We always say this can’t happen here, but it could very well. Be watchful and keep the Lord in your thoughts and mind always.

(AgapePress) – Anyone know where we can find some Etruscans? You know, members of the Etruscan civilization that existed in ancient Italy, predating even Rome?
Well, there aren’t any. The Etruscans were absorbed by the Roman civilization and ceased to exist as a distinct people.
Ominously, if a growing number of experts and cultural observers are right, it’s entirely possible that the same question may be asked 100 years from now — only about Italians or Spaniards or Russians.
As writer Mark Steyn glumly put it in The New Criterion, “Much of what we loosely call the Western world will not survive this century, and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most Western European countries.”

A Birth Dearth
What could possibly cause such a cataclysm? Another world war? A nuclear confrontation? The devastation of a plague, similar to that caused by the Black Death in the 14th century? Nothing quite so dramatic, say the experts. Rather, Europe is slowly dying simply by refusing to have enough children to replace the people who die each year.
Catholic scholar George Weigel, a senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and author of The Cube and The Cathedral, says Europe is “committing demographic suicide, systematically depopulating itself.”
For any population to remain stable, it must maintain a birthrate of 2.1 births per woman. That rate provides a replacement for both mother and father, while the .1 covers infant and child mortality. When the birthrate falls below that number, a population goes into decline — unless it invites in large numbers of immigrants.
“The ‘birth dearth’ is what demographers call plummeting birth rates in most of the industrialized world,” says culture critic Chuck Colson. “Throughout Western Europe and East Asia, the birth rate is well below 2.1 births per woman ….”
Sociologist Ben Wattenberg, author of Fewer: How the New Demography of Depopulation Will Shape Our Future, puts this birth dearth in historical perspective. “Never in the last 650 years, since the time of the Black Plague, have birth and fertility rates fallen so far, so fast, so low, for so long, in so many places.”
According to U.N. figures and other projections, Patrick Buchanan states in The Death of the West that by 2050 Europe (from Iceland to Russia) will see its population drop from 728 million (in 2000) to 600 million — and perhaps 556 million. And if current trends continue, by the end of the century Europe’s population will stand at 207 million.

Collapse of Family Values
Why has this happened? As it turns out, a variety of factors and trends have combined to create, as it were, the “perfect storm.”
World magazine’s Gene Edward Veith sums it up this way: “Why the population decline? The worldwide collapse of what are, literally, family values. Thanks to contraceptive technology, sex has become separated from childbearing. With women pursuing careers of their own and men getting sex without the responsibility of marriage, why bother with children? For many women and men, pregnancy has become an unpleasant side effect, something to prevent with contraceptives or easily treated with a trip to the abortion clinic.”
Abortion comes in for particular blame in Veith’s view. “The dirty little secret of the population implosion, one seldom mentioned by demographers, is that the world is aborting its future generations,” he says.
Pro-family groups in the U.S., for example, rightly bemoan the abortion rate here, where Veith says one-third to one-fifth of all pregnancies end in abortion. Some European nations are far worse, however. “In Russia, the average woman may have as many as four abortions in her lifetime,” he says. “There are two abortions for every live birth. That is to say, Russians kill two-thirds of their children before they are born.”
All this is symptomatic of a pervasive hedonism that permeates the West, “a complete philosophy of pleasure,” according to Allan Carlson, president of The Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society.
“Everywhere in the European Community and Anglo-America, real attention focuses on the consumption of food (alternately rich and fat-free), frequent sex, and raucous fun,” Carlson says. “Relatively few are pestered these days by children. Fertile young adults rely on mechanical devices and chemical agents to thwart the designs of nature. In places as culturally different as Spain, Italy, Denmark and Germany, the sexual experimentation starts early, but hardly anyone brings forth a child.”
Despite efforts on the part of some European nations to increase the desire of adults to have children — such as tax breaks or cash incentives — some experts think the pursuit of personal fulfillment will triumph.
Joseph Chamie, director of the U.N. Population Division, says, “No demographers believe birth rates will rebound. How much will it take to convince a woman to have four children? People are concerned about their appearances, their education, their careers.”
What’s ironic, however, is that this pursuit of personal pleasure and personal wealth may result in economic ruin.
“When it comes to forecasting the future, the birthrate is the nearest thing to hard numbers,” Steyn argues. “If only a million babies are born in 2006, it’s hard to have two million adults enter the workforce in 2026 ….”
Veith lists but a few of the ramifications of population decline. “Citizens are not just consumers but producers,” he says. “Having fewer people can wreak havoc on an economy, creating both a labor shortage and a shortage of buyers. A government with a shrinking population faces a smaller military and fewer taxpayers. Dwindling populations have always signaled cultural decline, with less creativity, energy, and vitality on every level of society.”

Abandoning Christianity
These explanations do not go far enough to suit culture critic and columnist Don Feder, who sees Europe’s abandonment of its Christian heritage as the true root cause of its population problems.
“It’s no coincidence that central to the new Europe … is a refusal to acknowledge the continent’s origins,” says Feder, who is Jewish. “The proposed constitution for the European Union (a document of over 70,000 words) contains not a single reference to Christianity. Thus more than a millennium of European history is effectively erased.”
The abandonment of Christianity in most European countries has been well-documented. For example, author and journalist James P. Gannon says that in five key European countries — France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy — over the last 30 years regular church attendance has fallen from roughly 40% of the population to about 20%.” As Weigel says, Western Europe has become a “post-Christian society.”
Feder believes there is a clear link between a lack of faith and the loss of that sense of duty to the future that leads people to conceive and bear children. “Having lost their faith and embraced an ethic of radical autonomy,” he says, “Europeans stopped going to church, stopped taking the Bible seriously, stopped believing in the future and stopped having children.”
Maria Burani, president of the Parliamentary Commission for the Family and Infancy in Rome, told Citizen magazine that faith is a foundation for the kind of lifestyle that parenting requires. “If you don’t have inside your head great religious and ethical principles,” she insists, “you’re just not going to want to go and have these kids because it’s a sacrifice.”
Beyond that, of course, is the fact that religious principles also restrain the often selfish behavior that grows out of the “radical autonomy” that permeates Europe. “Among the consequences of Europe’s abandonment of its religious roots and the moral code that derives therefrom is a plunge in its birth rates to below the replacement level,” says Gannon. “Abortion, birth control, acceptance of gay marriage and casual sex are driving the trend.”

Islamification of Europe
However, the prognosis for Europe gets even worse because many of the nations there have chosen a risky path for making up for their population shortfalls: immigration. Because North Africa and the Middle East represent a relatively convenient source of cheap labor, millions of Muslim immigrants have been flooding the continent for a half century.
“Western Europe has gone from a Muslim population of 250,000, 50 years ago, to 20 million today,” says Feder.
Unlike Westerners, however, Muslims typically have large families. According to Robert S. Leiken, director of the Immigration and National Security Program at the Nixon Center, higher Muslim birthrates combined with Muslim immigration have led the U.S. National Intelligence Council to project that Europe’s Muslim population will double by 2025.
As a result, Colson says flatly, “[d]emographics may bring about what the Moors and Ottoman Empire couldn’t: a Muslim Europe.”
But so what? Isn’t such hand-wringing about Muslim immigrants nothing more than utter bigotry?
Hardly, say concerned Westerners. The Islamification of Europe would bring incredible cultural changes to Europe. “In 50 to 100 years, the Europe of Shakespeare and Victor Hugo, the Europe of Rembrandt and Bach, the Europe of Churchill and Karol Wojtyla will exist only in textbooks and museums,” Feder says. “Or, perhaps the remnants of Christian Europe will be subjected to the fate of Afghanistan’s Buddhist statues, demolished by the Taliban regime.”
Political changes would also be inevitable, Steyn insists. “Can a society become increasingly Islamic in its demographic character without becoming increasingly Islamic in its political character?”
It is a rhetorical question, of course, and Steyn predicts that by 2050 many European nations will be forced to apply Sharia — Muslim law — to Muslim communities. He notes the results of a 2004 poll that found that over 60 percent of British Muslims want to live under Muslim law — while living in the United Kingdom.
At first, most European governments would probably resist the demands of an increasingly assertive Muslim population. But in response, it would not be surprising to see an escalation of what has already begun to transpire: terrorist bombings in London and Madrid; the 2002 assassination of conservative Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn, who campaigned on a platform of limiting Muslim immigration; the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004 for allegedly insulting Islam; rioting by Muslim youths throughout France in 2005; and rioting this year in response to political cartoons that were deemed offensive to Muslim sensibilities.
Steyn thinks Europe will see more such unrest — and soon. “It seems more likely that within the next couple of European election cycles, the internal contradictions of the [European Union] will manifest themselves in the usual way,” he says, “and that by 2010 we’ll be watching burning buildings, street riots and assassinations on American network news every night.”
In any case, Carlson says, “the Great Party [of Western hedonism] will not last much longer. There is an iron law in history: the future belongs to the fertile. Just as the clan-centered, child-rich barbarian tribes of the Germans swept away the sensuous and sterile Western Roman Empire, so shall new barbarians arise.”

Scripture teaches that God rules over the nations, and the future of Europe looks increasingly like that of Israel when its prophets warned of impending chastisement and judgment. Are we on the brink of God’s chastisement of Europe, even after a century of wars and other atrocities failed to bring the continent back to Christianity?
How ironic it would be that a European culture that demanded unlimited personal freedom might wind up living under the repressive heel of Muslim totalitarianism. Or that a culture that rejected its Christian heritage might, instead, be subjected to Islamic fundamentalism.
Cultures have disappeared before. Just ask the Etruscans. If you can find one.