Archive for November 30th, 2006

Make a Joyful Noise Unto the LORD

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

1 O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.

2 The LORD hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen.

3 He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

4 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.

5 Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm.

6 With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King.

Psalm 98:1-6 (King James Version)

I chose the King James Version of the Bible today because I love the way this passage reads in it. “Make a Joyful Noise to the Lord”!! Wow…what a way to describe how to praise God for all the wonderful things He has done for us.
What things has the Lord done for us? Let me quote from the New International Version of the Bible for a moment:
“The LORD has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.”
As we approach Christmas, I urge all of you not to get caught up in the commercialism; the need to get a bunch more stuff that you really don’t need or have room for anyway. Keep the true meaning of Christmas in your thoughts constantly.
Jesus, being sent to earth, to eventually die for our sins, He is the “Reason for the Season”.

Gay Jewish Rabbis?

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

Looks like there is a move among Jewish leaders that may soon allow openly gay Jewish rabbis and same-sex unions.

CHICAGO – The Conservative Jewish movement, the faith’s American-based middle ground between liberalism and orthodoxy, is nearing a leadership decision that seems likely to permit openly gay rabbis and same-sex unions.

The Rabbinical Assembly Committee on Jewish Law and Standards which last tackled the issue in 1992 meets in New York next week, its 25 members reviewing an issue that has already rent many Christian churches and simmers across Judaism.

“The way it looks, it will be decided on a more liberal understanding of the law,” Rabbi Irwin Kula, president of the National Jewish Centre for Learning and Leadership, told Reuters. “It would be a very big, big surprise if that’s not the case.”

Rabbi Joel Meyers, executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly, said: “I really don’t know what will happen. Many of my colleagues are betting they will have two opinions at the end — that rabbis can maintain the prohibition on homosexual behaviour and another that says it normalises homosexual behaviour.”

The assembly said in announcing the December 5-6 meetings that the committee’s function is to advise rabbis on Jewish law or Halakha affecting Conservatives, who number 2 million of the world’s 13 million Jews. The rabbis are not bound by its statements which in the past have sometimes offered multiple interpretations on issues.

Original Link

Openly Gay Man to Speak at Saddleback

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

Okay, I have kept my opinions about this to myself for as long as humanly possible. Unless you live under a rock, you probably know who Rick Warren is, but for all rock-dwellers let me fill you in. Rick Warren is the pastor of Saddleback Church in California, which is one of the largest “seeker-friendly” churches in America. We have all heard the news that “Barack Obomination”, a pro-abortion Senator, spoke at Saddleback Church. Now, Pastor Warren has asked Mark Dybul, Global AIDS Coordinator, to speak at Saddleback. Dybul, who is an open homosexual, was recently appointed by Condoleeza Rice. You may remember that when Dybul was sworn in, Ms. Rice referred to his lover’s parents as his ‘in-laws’. This man’s lifestyle proves that he is not interested in the things of God, so what purpose will it serve to have him speak in God’s church? Pastor Warren’s desire to help victims of AIDS is a noble cause, but compromising Christian values will not help anyone.

Well, it only gets worse. In all our focusing on the Barack Obama-nation (that one came from Janet Folger), we have not focused enough on the rest of the sordid line-up at Saddleback’s AIDS Show. With his gay lover watching, Mark Dybul was recently sworn in by Condoleeza Rice as global AIDS coordinator. Here’s the story from the Washington Blade of the swearing in ceremony where Dybul’s gay lover Jason held the Bible while Dybul was sworn in as “Ambassador” to AIDS. Now Rick Warren thinks he has answers for Christians at his Global Summit on AIDS and the Church. It is the homosexual rebellion against God’s Law that started the AIDS crisis in America over 20 years ago in San Fransisco. Let’s see: Rick Warren is bringing in a radical abortion loving Senator, a homosexual Ambassador and a Fidel Castro loving Calvin Butts. Stay tuned…

Here’s another story about it from the New York times that further describes how gay compromised the Republican Party is at the highest levels.

Original Link

Parents, Not Industry Must Protect Kids from Violent Video Games, Says Group

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

This should go without saying, but in today’s world, I’m afraid me must say it.

(CNSNews.com) – With parents rushing out to buy video games for their kids this holiday season, the National Institute on Media and the Family claims the video industry is exercising more responsibility, but that it remains up to parents to protect their children from the violence contained in the games.

“Video games are becoming a key part of our entertainment culture,” Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) said at a Capitol Hill press conference on Wednesday. But, he said there should be restrictions on what kids can access. He compared the games to alcohol, cigarettes and pornography.

“Media violence has a negative effect on children, with a greater correlation than between smoking and lung cancer,” he said.

Lieberman pointed to an annual survey and report card released Wednesday on video games, which showed that while video game consoles now have parental controls and ratings that are more comprehensive and better enforced, parents are not doing enough.

“It’s really time to focus on the parents,” he said. “Pay attention to the games your kids — our kids — are playing. Watch what your kids watch. Play what your kids play,” he said.

However, David Walsh, president of the National Institute on Media and the Family, said that over the last ten years there have been “significant changes.”

“For the past ten years, we have used this annual report card to challenge the video game industry to improve its record of attending to the welfare of younger players,” he said. “More recently, we urged retailers to step up their responsibility to keep adult games out of the hands of children and youth.

“This year we acknowledge the strides taken by both sectors of the industry,” he said. “This report has been an effective tool to bring about voluntary change.”

The group gave game console manufacturers as well as to big retailers such as Best Buy, Wal-Mart, and Target an “A” grade. The industry has “really given parents the tools. They’ve taken this seriously,” Walsh said.

Parental response, he warned, has been “inadequate.”

Original Link.

Liberal Christians Going Head-to-Head with Conservative Christians

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

Yes we are. I love everyone. Even Bill Clinton. I especially love my Christian Bothers and Sisters. But we will have issues if they reject sound Biblical teachings in favor of the politically correct, world view. And that is exactly what many liberal Christians are doing.

(CNSNews.com) – “Progressive” (liberal) Christian groups, attempting to dilute the political influence of their conservative brethren, are speaking up when conservative Christian leaders speak out.

The most recent example came on Wednesday, a week after Dr. James Dobson, the founder and chairman of Focus on the Family, discussed faith, sexuality and liberalism on CNN’s Larry King Live.

The Institute for Progressive Christianity — a new group — accused Dobson of making “highly inaccurate statements” and “crackpot assertions” during his conversation with Larry King. (typical liberal mantra. insult the person not the issues. -ed.)

In a lengthy news release on Wednesday, the IPC rebutted Dobson’s comments one by one. But it’s not so much what the liberal Christians are saying — it’s that they’re saying it at all.

Until now, conservative Christian leaders have been largely ignored by liberal groups and the mainstream media, except in cases where their controversial statements are held up for condemnation and ridicule.

Point, counterpoint

The Institute for Progressive Christianity describes itself as a “think tank comprising mainstream liberal Christians.” On Wednesday, it took exception to Dobson’s remarks that liberals “are often those who have no value system” and who embrace “moral relativism.”

The group also attacked Dobson’s beliefs on homosexuality. (Dobson rejected the notion that homosexuals are born that way and have no choice in the matter. He said he believes it’s a developmental disorder.)

The IPC also took issue with Dobson’s “serious misstatement” on “the separation of church and state.”

As Dobson told Larry King, the so-called separation of church and state is not found in the U.S. Constitution.

“The only place where the so-called ‘wall of separation’ was mentioned was in a letter written by Jefferson to a friend,” Dobson said. “It has been picked up and made to be something it was never intended to be. What it has become is that the government is protected from the church, instead of the other way around, which is that church was designed to be protected from the government.”

The IPC argued that Dobson’s comments are not supported by history. “While it is true that the phrase ‘separation of church and state’ is not found in the Constitution or the First Amendment, the concept was well understood by the leading thinkers of the time,” IPC Director Frank Cocozzelli said.

He added that Jefferson’s letter is considered by historians, legal scholars and the U.S. Supreme Court to be Jefferson’s “definitive statement on the meaning of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.”

Many conservatives, however, disagree with those interpretations.

Original Link.

‘Humanists’ Challenge Voting Booths in Churches

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

So let me get this straight. If one votes in a church (as has happened for countless years in this country), one may have to walk past a cross. And if one votes in a library, one may have to walk past (gasp) books!! And even worse, if one votes at a municipal building, one may even have to walk past (scream of horror) the County Assessors Office!! No!! Say it isn’t so!!
Churches have crosses. Libraries have book. Municipal buildings have County Assessor offices. Humanist…deal with it.
Maybe the Humanist need a hobby. It just seems that if they have this much time on their hands, that they need to find something worthwhile to do.
Hey, maybe they could get with the Muslims and work on methods of establishing world peace (sarcasm, in case anyone missed it).

(CNSNews.com) – The American Humanist Association on Wednesday announced the launch of the first “nontheistic” legal center in the nation’s capital — a direct response, it said, to the “influence exerted by the religious right under the Bush administration.”

The group said it is particularly concerned about “damage” to Thomas Jefferson’s “wall of church-state separation.”

The AHA’s first legal project (lawsuit) stems from the midterm elections. The group is challenging the location of polling places in churches. While some churches cover their religious symbols on Election Day, others do not, and the AHA sees that as a major problem.

Humanists plan to argue that religious proselytizing took place at the polls. “We put out a call to our members whose polling places were churches, asking them to report what they saw,” said AHA President Mel Lipman. “The response was shocking.”

An Illinois humanist says he voted in a church that displayed a four-foot wooden crucifix right above the election judges,” said AHLC attorney James Hurley.

“Another member in California was confronted with a large marble plaque dedicated to the ‘unborn children’ who are ‘killed’ by abortion and containing a quote from the Bible justifying the notion that the soul is alive in the womb.

“And a New York member voted in a room featuring large religious slogans on the wall behind the voting machines.”

But the AHA said it would pursue “one of the most egregious and well-documented cases” — that of plaintiff Jerry Rabinowitz who was assigned to vote at Emmanuel Catholic Church in Delray Beach, Fla.

The case, Rabinowitz v. Anderson, alleges that to enter the polling place, Rabinowitz had to walk past a church-sponsored “pro-life” banner framed by multiple giant crosses. In the voting area itself, “he observed many religious symbols in plain view, both surrounding the election judges and in direct line above the voting machines. He took photographs that will be entered in evidence,” the attorney Hurley said.

Original Link.
See my article “What Does the U.S. Constitution Actually Say About Religion?

Legal Group Tells IRS to Back Off Intimidating Churches

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

About time too.

(AgapePress) – A religious liberties group says it has had enough of the Internal Revenue Service bullying pastors, and wants those pastors and churches to know that the U.S. Constitution trumps IRS regulations about what can and can’t be said from the pulpit.

The Washington, DC-based Becket Fund for Religious Liberty says the First Amendment — which forbids the government from prohibiting free speech or establishing an official religion — take precedence over regulations established by the IRS concerning political speech from the pulpit of a house of worship. Anthony Picarello, vice president and general counsel for the Becket Fund, says the first mistake most churches make when they are confronted with an IRS investigation is keeping quiet about it. He recommends they go public.

“Make sure that the world knows about what’s going on,” he suggests. “I think that’s one of the best approaches that a church can take when it’s confronted with this sort of investigation.” The attorney believes the federal agency does not have the resources to fight drawn-out battles against churches and cannot afford the kind of negative publicity such cases generate.

Picarello says groups like Americans United for Separation of Church and State frequently file complaints against churches when their pastors address politics from the pulpit. Those churches, he says, should call his group.

“What we’ve taken a stand on is the ability of any minister of any faith to preach on any topic — political or otherwise, short of an incitement to violence — from the pulpit,” he explains. “That is precisely the kind of freedom that the First Amendment protects.”

The Becket Fund spokesman says if the IRS pursues penalizing churches, synagogues, or mosques for what their ministers say from the pulpit, “then the IRS is going to have a fight on its hands.” He says his firm will defend any pastor’s statement from the pulpit that does not involve an incitement to commit violence.

Original Link.

“Can We Talk? (Well, we can, but we shouldn’t)” by Andrew C. McCarthy

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

This is a war of will. If we lose it, the historians will marvel at how mulishly we resisted understanding the one thing we needed to understand in order to win. The enemy.

In Iraq, we’ve tried to fight the most civilized “light footprint” war of all time. We made sure everyone knew our beef was only with Saddam Hussein, as if he were a one-man militia — no Sunni Baathists supporting him, no Arab terrorists colluding, and no Shiite jihadists hating us just on principle.

No, our war was only with the regime. No need to fight the Iraqis. They, after all, were noble. They would flock to democracy if only they had the chance. And, once they hailed us as conquering heroes, their oil wealth would pay for the whole thing … just 400 billion American dollars ago.

This may be the biggest disconnect of all time between the American people and a war government.

In the wake of 9/11, the American people did not care about democratizing the Muslim world. Or, for that matter, about the Muslim world in general. They still don’t. They want Islamic terrorists and their state sponsors crushed. As for the aftermath, they want something stable that no longer threatens our interests; they care not a wit whether Baghdad’s new government looks like Teaneck’s.

To the contrary, Bush-administration officials — notwithstanding goo-gobs of evidence that terrorists have used the freedoms of Western democracies, including our own, the better to plot mass murder — have conned themselves into believing that democracy, not decisive force, is the key to conquering this enemy.

So deeply have they gulped the Kool-Aid that, to this day, they refuse to acknowledge what is plain to see: While only a small number of the world’s billion-plus Muslims (though a far larger number than we’d like to believe) is willing to commit acts of terrorism, a substantial percentage — meaning tens of millions — supports the terrorists’ anti-West, anti-democratic agenda.

Islamic countries, moreover, are not rejecting Western democracy because they haven’t experienced it. They reject it on principle. For them, the president’s euphonious rhetoric about democratic empowerment is offensive. They believe, sincerely, that authority to rule comes not from the people but from Allah; that there is no separation of religion and politics; that free people do not have authority to legislate contrary to Islamic law; that Muslims are superior to non-Muslims, and men to women; and that violent jihad is a duty whenever Muslims deem themselves under attack … no matter how speciously.

These people are not morons. They adhere to a highly developed belief system that is centuries old, wildly successful, and for which many are willing to die. They haven’t refused to democratize because the Federalist Papers are not yet out in Arabic. They decline because their leaders have freely chosen to decline. They see us as the mortal enemy of the life they believe Allah commands. Their demurral is wrong, but it is principled, not ignorant. And we insult them by suggesting otherwise.

Democratizing such cultures — in anything we would recognize as “democracy” — is the work of generations. It is a cultural phenomenon. It is not accomplished by elections and facile constitution writing … especially, constitutions that shun Madisonian democracy for the State Department’s preferred establishment of Islam and its adhesive sharia law as the state religion.
Elections, in fact, play to the strengths of Islamic terrorists. Jihadists are confident, intimidating, and rigorously disciplined. They are thus certain to thrive in the chaos of nascent “democracies.” Consequently, it should be unsurprising to anyone with a shred of common sense that terrorist organizations are ascendant in the new governments of Iraq, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories.

———-

For our own sake, we need to respect the enemy. That means grasping that he’s implacable, that he means us only harm, and that he must be subdued, not appeased. Negotiating with such evil is always a mistake, for any accommodation with evil is, by definition, evil.

Rejecting the democracy project is about respecting the enemy. Declining to talk to the enemy is about respecting ourselves.

Original Link.

Christians Must ‘Let Go’ of Some Beliefs for Sake of Peace, Theologian Says

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

He’s got to be kidding, right? Nope, he’s serious.
Let me remind everyone of what Paul, writing in Galatians 1:6-10 (New International Version), has to say about this:

6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
10 Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

So there you have it. Paul is very plain about what we are to believe. Some of us will never “let go” of our Christian beliefs in order to appease Islam or any other group.

To live peacefully with Muslims and Jews, Christians must put aside the notion that their faith requires the creation of a Christian kingdom on Earth, a Lipscomb University theologian told an interfaith gathering at the university.

“We are not going to get very far in our relationship with Jews or Muslims if we do not let go of this idea,” Lipscomb professor Lee Camp said at Tuesday’s conference.

The unusual gathering of several dozen clergy and lay people was devoted to resolving religious conflict in Nashville and around the world.

“We need to forsake the Christendom model,” Camp said. “The most basic Christian commitment … is that we say we believe in the Lordship of Jesus. But, if we claim that, how can a Muslim or Jew trust us, if we say Jesus is the Lord of all Lords?”

———–

For Kahled Sakalla, a spokesman for the Islamic Center of Nashville, some of the answers lie in better education about Islam in the non-Muslim world.

———-

Sakalla said there may never be reconciliation on the fundamental theological divisions.

“Every religion has different teachings,” he said. “For Muslims, it’s: Do you believe in one God and that Muhammad” is his prophet? “I don’t think we can teach individuals that the way you go to heaven in other religions is OK. You have to teach differences.”

No question on where the Muslims stand on this issue. Everyone else must give up what is dear to us, but not the Muslim.
Well, I have one thing to say to Sakalla and the Muslims: “Lan astaslem; I will not submit to Islam”.

Original Link.