Archive for May 16th, 2006

Christians and “The Da Vinci Code”, Part 3

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006

In part 2, we looked at the Gnostic Gospels, the “sources” Brown used as the basis for his so-called “historically accurate” book, “The Da Vinci Code”.
This article will look at some of the more obvious mistakes Brown made in his “research”.

Click here for the Article.

‘Da Vinci’ undermines faith, survey claims

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006

It is sad that so many people, who claim to be Christians, do not even know the Bible and facts about the history of their faith well enough to discount this work of fiction.
A very sad truth about the world we live in.

“The Da Vinci Code” has undermined faith in the Roman Catholic Church and badly damaged its credibility, a survey of British readers revealed Tuesday as tensions over – and hype for – the forthcoming film reached a fever pitch.
As its stars off headed to walk the red carpet at Cannes, where the film was set to debut Wednesday before a worldwide release Friday, at least two countries limited the film’s release.
The British survey, released by a group of prominent Catholics, revealed that readers of Dan Brown’s blockbuster novel are twice as likely to believe Jesus Christ fathered children and four times as likely to think the conservative Catholic group Opus Dei is a murderous sect.
“An alarming number of people take its spurious claims very seriously indeed,” said Austin Ivereigh, press secretary to Britain’s top Catholic prelate Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor. “Our poll shows that for many, many people ‘The Da Vinci Code’ is not just entertainment.”
He heads a prominent collection of English Roman Catholic monks, theologians, nuns and members of Opus Dei, who commissioned the survey from pollster Opinion Research Business (ORB) and have sought to promote Catholic beliefs amid the film’s release.
ORB interviewed more than 1,000 adults last weekend, finding that 60 percent believed Jesus had children by Mary Magdalene – a possibility raised by the book – compared with just 30 percent of those who had not read the book.
The group, which stopped short of following the Vatican line of calling on Catholics to boycott the film, accused Brown of dishonest marketing based on peddling fiction as fact.
Ivereigh complained that Brown and film studio Sony Pictures “have encouraged people to take it seriously while hiding behind the claim that it is fiction.”
“Our poll shows they should take responsibility for their dishonesty and issue a health warning.”
The novel, which has sold over 40 million copies, also depicts Opus Dei as a ruthless Machiavellian organization whose members resort to murder to keep the Church’s secrets.
In the survey, readers were asked if Opus Dei had ever carried out a murder. Seventeen percent of readers believe it had, compared with just four percent of non-readers.
Opus Dei spokesman Jack Valero said he was astonished.
“Since we were founded in 1928, Opus Dei has promoted the highest moral standards at work, spreading a message of Christian love and understanding,” he said.
“Yet the Da Vinci Code has persuaded hundreds of thousands of people that we have blood on our hands.”

Read the rest here.
See my articles concerning the “Da Vinci Code” here and here. Part 3 is coming soon.

Three Churches Attacked in Sri Lanka

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006

Mark 13:13 (New American Standard Bible)
“You will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.”

DUBLIN, May 12 (Compass Direct) – Unruly mobs have attacked three churches over the past fortnight, in one incident setting car tires on fire in front of a Methodist church to prevent people from entering for Sunday worship.
On Saturday (May 6), a Buddhist monk led a mob to a site where members of the United Christian Fellowship in Poddala, Galle district, had begun building a community hall on land they had purchased in the village. The monk threatened the pastor and a construction worker; one man grabbed the construction worker by the collar and assaulted him.
The mob said they would set fire to the building if construction continued, despite the pastor informing them that it was a community hall, not a church.
Church staff reported the incident to police. Construction is on hold due to fears of another attack.

Methodist Church Attacked Again
Buddhist monks led a second mob to attack a Methodist church in Piliyandala, southeast of Colombo, on April 30. The church was previously attacked on April 23; protest rallies were also held outside the church on April 9 and 16. (See Compass Direct, “Sri Lanka’s Anti-Conversion Bill Revived in Parliament,” April 26.)
“On April 30, the Buddhist monks and their people did not allow us to have the service,” a local source told Compass. “They came early in the morning and gathered around the church, not allowing any of us to go in.”
The mob set car tires on fire on the road outside the church as a scare tactic to keep people away from the building. When church members phoned the police, about 30 policemen arrived but said they could do nothing until they received instructions from their superintendent.
“The superintendent had a quick meeting with us and said if we really wanted to hold the service, he would order the police to give us protection,” the source continued. “But if they came against us, the police might have to take violent action.”
Church members were advised to make an official complaint, noting that the police had advised them not to hold the service in the interests of maintaining peace. The police then arrested 10 people in the crowd and remanded them on a bail fee of 25,000 Sri Lankan rupees (US $243) per person. The police felt the bail fee might act as a deterrent against further attacks. All 10 appeared in court on Monday (May 8).
Church leaders have since contacted Buddhist leaders and hope to set up negotiation meetings with the senior monk in the village.

Threats Issued
An Assembly of God church in Piliyandala is also facing intense opposition. Villagers launched a poster campaign in April, threatening mass protests if the church does not close down.
On April 9, a small crowd of 24 people gathered outside the church and chanted Buddhist prayers.
Church leaders alerted police, who arrived at the scene and granted permission for a short peaceful protest under supervision.
According to the National Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka, this same church was bombed and completely burned to the ground on September 25, 2003. When the church was rebuilt, villagers took church members to court in 2004 with the aim of closing it down. The court, however, ruled that Christians had a legal right to gather for worship.

Anti-Conversion Bill
Violent mobs have carried out at least 160 attacks on churches or Christian institutions since 2002, when Buddhist monks first launched their campaign to introduce anti-conversion legislation.
A 19-member committee appointed by the Sri Lankan Parliament is still reviewing a bill that would outlaw “forcible” conversion. The review committee was appointed on April 5.
The Buddhist Jathika Hela Urumaya (National Heritage Party) first introduced its draft Bill on Prohibition of Forcible Conversion to Parliament in July 2004 as an attempt to halt conversions from Buddhism to Christianity. The bill called for prison sentences of up to five years and/or a stiff fine for anyone found guilty of converting others “by force or by allurement or by any fraudulent means.”
It also encouraged members of the public to report cases of suspected forced conversion.
Minority groups challenged the constitutionality of the bill, and the Supreme Court ruled in August 2005 that it was incompatible with Article 10 of the constitution, which guarantees freedom of though, conscience and religion to every citizen.
An amended draft was tentatively approved in May 2005, but presidential elections in November 2005 and a breakdown in peace negotiations with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam slowed passage of the legislation.

Bush to Send 6,000 National Guardsmen to Southern U.S. Border

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006

I fear it’s too little, too late.

WASHINGTON – Saying the United States is not militarizing its southern border, President Bush announced Monday night that he is sending up to 6,000 National Guard troops to shore up U.S. Border Patrol efforts to stop the flow of illegal immigrants pouring in from Mexico.
Bush said that the Guardsmen will not serve in a law enforcement capacity, but as assistance to the Border Patrol.
“The Guard will assist the Border Patrol by operating surveillance systems, analyzing intelligence, installing fences and vehicle barriers, building patrol roads and providing training,” Bush said in a speech from the Oval Office.
“This initial commitment of Guard members would last for a period of one year. After that, the number of Guard forces will be reduced as new Border Patrol agents and new technologies come online.
In a prime time televised address to the nation, Bush acknowledged that U.S. Border Patrol does “not yet have full control of the border” and called on Congress to provide the funding to do so. He also said the United States will also stop its “catch and release” method of arresting illegal aliens and then freeing them to show up at a court date set for the future.
“I will ask Congress for additional funding and legal authority, so we can end ‘catch and release’ at the southern border once and for all. When people know that they will be caught and sent home if they enter our country illegally, they will be less likely to try to sneak in,” he said.
In more on the spending side of the ledger, the president announced that the federal government would seek to increase federal funding for state and local authorities assisting the Border Patrol “on targeted enforcement missions.”
“We will give state and local authorities the specialized training they need to help federal officers apprehend and detain illegal immigrants. State and local law enforcement officials are an important resource and they are part of our strategy to secure our border communities,” he said.

Read the rest of the article here.

Groups Condemn California Senate’s Passage of Pro-Homosexual Education Bill

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006

I read two quotes that really drive home some good points about this bill.

“I can’t believe that California would have a bill that mandates stating the sexual orientation of historical figures. Who cares? How would my understanding of history be any better if I knew the sexual orientation of the founding fathers?
I can see it now: a nation of young people who don’t know the three-fifths compromise, the Monroe Doctrine, or the Marshall Plan but know the sexual orientations of the founding fathers. Wonderful.”

“I wonder if gay and lesbian students will be made more comfortable when it is pointed out how many of our historical figures were heterosexual, not homosexual. Pointing that part out will probably be left out of the legislation, that is to not “offend” anyone.”

(AgapePress) – The governor of California could be all that stands in the way of a proposed new law that would endorse and promote the homosexual lifestyle in public schools statewide. The bill has already passed the California Senate and, if it gains Assembly approval as well, only a veto will be able to stop it.
The legislation known as SB 1437 requires California education officials to re-write textbooks to include “gay” themes and homosexual people, positively emphasizing their contributions and their place in history. It also bans any negative reference to homosexuals based on religious beliefs, which is why Bob Knight of the Culture and Family Institute sees the law as an attack on biblical values.
The people behind the language in SB 1437 have taken a decidedly pro-homosexual position, Knight points out. “They specifically say in the bill that other opinions have to be resisted, including sectarian or denominational opinions about homosexuality that would put [the homosexual lifestyle] in a negative light,” he says.
“In other words,” Knight explains, “they’re saying, ‘Whatever your faith teaches you is wrong. In our tax-supported schools, we’re going to create a new religion. We’re going to say what’s right and wrong regarding sexual conduct.'”
According to the CFI spokesman, SB 1437 represents an effort on the part of homosexual activists to negate the teachings of various faiths and elevate the state to a level of creating its own politically correct religion. He says the prospect of this bill’s passage has awakened concerned citizens throughout California, parents and others who feel the homosexual lobby has gone too far, and they are urging the state’s chief administrator to act.
“The governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is being contacted and asked to veto this terrible bill,” Knight says, “because it abridges the freedom of parents to send their kids to a school that isn’t attacking their religious values.”
CRI Decries Homosexual Agenda’s Attack on Families, Disservice to Children
Other pro-family groups have been outspoken in their criticism of SB 1437 and its supporters in the California legislature. Karen England, executive director of Capitol Resource Institute, says the bill is “just another example of how radical the State Senate has become.” That legislative body is “so far out of touch with California families that it is beyond alarming,” she contends.
England describes SB 1437 as an effort to indoctrinate innocent children caught in the tug-of-war between traditional family values and the radical homosexual agenda. “The traditional family is under attack,” she contends, “and this is a latest — and most outrageous — attempt to corrupt the minds of our children.”
Under the legislation, the CRI spokeswoman points out, not only would textbooks and instructional materials be affected by the pro-homosexual guidelines for children from kindergarten through grade 12, but all school-sponsored activities would be affected as well. And furthermore, she notes, school districts may well have to do away with dress codes and start accommodating transsexuals on girl-specific or boy-specific sports teams.
It is shameful, England asserts, that the California Senate is preoccupied with promoting homosexual and transgender history in schools while some parents are actually suing the state because their children have not been prepared to pass a basic exit exam. Also shameful, she says, is the fact that the California Teachers Association is supporting this measure “when they should be focused on preparing our students in the fundamentals.”

CWA: Parents, Teens Being Misled About Dangers of Premarital Sex

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006

The Bible is very clear on this subject. But even beyond that, God gave us these rules because they are just good sense. Parents and teens are being misled about premarital sex. Also, teens are going to watch their parents and imitate them. If the parents did it before marriage, or if they are currently divorced, dating and doing it now, the teens are going to think “well, if it’s OK for them, then it’s OK for me” Parents need to lead by example.
We all know that our society is obsessed with sex. It is virtually impossible to read a magazine, or watch TV, without being inundated by commercials for sex enhancers or STD drugs. These drugs do not cure the STD’s, they only (sometimes) control the symptoms. The only way to be absolutely sure that you will not catch an STD is Sexual Abstinence.

(AgapePress) – An official with Concerned Women for America (CWA) says Americans must be educated with the truth about the consequences of sex before marriage.
Recently a study from the Harvard School of Public Health challenged the authenticity of pledges made by teenagers to abstain from premarital sex. According to the Harvard study, teens who pledge to save sex for marriage break their vows within the first year; and those who have premarital sex are likely to say they never made a vow of abstinence in the first place.
Dr. Janice Crouse, senior fellow of the Beverly LaHaye Institute at CWA, has challenged the findings of the study — which she says are misleading and deceptive — and contends that it is clear from research that abstinence until marriage is “the best recipe for marital happiness and well being.” Crouse contends abstinence education is the only effective tool to teach young men and women the dangers of promiscuous behavior.
But secular society, she says, downplays the consequences of sexual promiscuity and premarital sex, especially when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). “Every year there are more than three million new cases of STDs, and those affect three million teenagers,” she says. “You see advertisements on television all the time that show people dancing around and wildflowers out on a meadow somewhere, [and people] saying they’re free of STDs.”
But what those ads are talking about, she explains, is something that is medically under control. “They’re talking about [having a condition that is] treatable and well-treated, but that’s not cured,” she notes.
Crouse argues that it is vital that parents and adolescents be given truthful information regarding STDs. “You have a whole movement among the experts [saying] they’re sexually transmitted ‘infections’ — not sexually transmitted diseases — because they want to take the stigma away from STDs so that [the message is] ‘You know, anybody can get an infection and it’s no big deal.’
“Well, it is a big deal,” says Crouse, “and parents need to be aware of that. They need to make their teens aware of that.”
The pro-family activist says the high rate of teen suicide can be traced partly to the large numbers of STDs in that age group. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about one-fourth of all new STD infections occur in teens. The CDC reported in 2000 that it was not uncommon to find that more than five percent of male teens and five to ten percent of female teens were infected with chlamydia. Other common STDs include gonorrhea, herpes, and human papillomavirus (HPV).