Archive for December, 2006

Carter’s Arab Ties

Saturday, December 23rd, 2006

This may explain some of why Jimmy Carter is so anti-Israel.

To understand what feeds former president Jimmy Carter’s anti-Israeli frenzy, look at his early links to Arab business.
Between 1976-1977, the Carter family peanut business received a bailout in the form of a $4.6 million, “poorly managed” and highly irregular loan from the National Bank of Georgia (NBG). According to a July 29, 1980 Jack Anderson expose in The Washington Post, the bank’s biggest borrower was Mr. Carter, and its chairman at that time was Mr. Carter’s confidant, and later his director of the Office of Management and Budget, Bert Lance.
At that time, Mr. Lance’s mismanagement of the NBG got him and the bank into trouble. Agha Hasan Abedi, the Pakistani founder of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), known as the bank “which would bribe God,” came to Mr. Lance’s rescue making him a $100,000-a-year consultant. Abedi then declared: “we would never talk about exploiting his relationship with the president.” Next, he introduced Mr. Lance to Saudi billionaire Gaith Pharaon, who fronted for BCCI and the Saudi royal family. In January 1978, Abedi paid off Mr. Lance’s $3.5 million debt to the NBG, and Pharaon secretly gained control over the bank.
Mr. Anderson wrote: “Of course, the Saudis remained discretely silent… kept quiet about Carter’s irregularities… [and] renegotiated the loan to Carter’s advantage.”
There is no evidence that the former president received direct payment from the Saudis. But “according to… the bank files, [it] renegotiated the repayment terms… savings… $60,000 for the Carter family… The President owned 62% of the business and therefore was the largest beneficiary.” Pharaon later contributed generously to the former president’s library and center.

Original Link

Indonesia overturns terror conviction

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

I didn’t expect anything less.

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Indonesia overturned a terror conviction Thursday against the militant Islamic cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, who served 2 1/2 years for conspiracy in the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings that killed more than 200 people.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard said he was upset for the families of the 88 Australian victims but was powerless to help. Australia, along with the United States, publicly accused the aging cleric of being a top leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, an al-Qaida-linked Southeast Asian terror group.

“Of course it is the court system of another country and we can’t change that,” Howard told the Nine Network television. “But it doesn’t stop us feeling upset, and I know there will be a feeling of anger on the part on the parents and loved ones, and I am feeling for them this morning very much.”

Howard noted, however, that those who carried out the bombings and those who were directly responsible for them have been convicted.

Bashir, 69, who was released from prison in June, has long claimed that the government in the world’s most populous Muslim nation succumbed to pressure from the West when it arrested him soon after the Bali attacks.

Bashir’s son, Abdurrahmin, said his father had received word of the verdict.

“Thank God the Supreme Court has finally revealed the final truth,” he said by telephone from Bashir’s hometown on Java island. “He is praying now to say thanks to God that his prayers have been accepted.”

Brian Deegan, an Australian lawyer whose 21-year-old son Josh died in the attack, said he had given up trying to understand Indonesian justice.

“I’ve steeled myself to the point that I will never understand the Indonesian judicial system,” Deegan told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio. “I lost faith a long time ago in the entire process.”

Thursday’s ruling was in response to an appeal filed during Bashir’s imprisonment.

Supreme Court Chief Judge German Hoediarto told reporters he had decided to quash the conspiracy conviction following testimony from 30 witnesses, but gave no more details. A written verdict will likely be made public soon.

The 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists, were the first in a string of attacks in Indonesia targeting Western interests, with 2003 and 2004 blasts at the Australian Embassy and the J.W. Marriott Hotel and triple suicide bombings on Bali last year.

Bashir has always denied any wrongdoing, but admits having known several Southeast Asian militants in the 1980s and 1990s who went to Afghanistan and trained there at al-Qaida-run camps.

Since his release, he has preached in towns across the country, espousing fiercely anti-American and anti-Jewish views and promoting his campaign to transform Indonesia’s secular state into an Islamic one.

Original Link.

Pro-Family Advocates Cast Doubt on Guttmacher’s Reported Premarital Sex Stats

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

(AgapePress) – A pro-family group is expressing skepticism about the accuracy of a new report that says 95 percent of Americans have had premarital sex. A study by Lawrence Finer of the Alan Guttmacher Institute finds that 99 percent of Americans had sex by the age of 44, and 95 percent had done so before getting married.

The “reality-check research,” as Finer calls it, was based on interviews of more than 38,000 people, some 33,000 of them women, in 1982, 1988, 1995 and 2002 for the federal National Survey on Family Growth. The study purportedly examined how sexual behavior before marriage has changed over time. According to Finer’s analysis, even among those individuals who abstained from sex until at least age 20, four-fifths had had premarital sex by age 44. The study also found women, even those born decades ago, virtually as likely as men to engage in premarital sex.

An Associated Press report on the study quotes Finer as saying that the likelihood of Americans having sex before marriage has remained stable since the 1950s. In other words, the researcher claims premarital sex is “normal behavior for the vast majority of Americans, and has been for decades.”

However, Dr. Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America (CWA) sees Finer’s report as a ploy to cast doubt on the need for abstinence-until-marriage programs. “My eyebrows went up when I first saw the numbers,” she recalls, “and I thought that the results were a bit too pat because they fit so specifically into the agenda of Planned Parenthood and the Guttmacher Institute.”

For that reason, Crouse says she is “quite suspicious” about the numbers cited in the Institute’s report. “They are so extreme,” she contends, “I think you’d have to have another study done to replicate those results before I would buy into them.”

One reason the CWA spokeswoman feels the credibility of this report on Americans and premarital sex needs to be questioned is that Finer works for a group which she believes actually favors both extramarital sex and abortion. The Guttmacher Institute, a private New York-based think tank that investigates sexual and reproductive issues, is an organization that strongly discourages government-funded abstinence-only programs and instead promotes so-called “comprehensive sex education,” which is condom-based and emphasizes the concept of “safe sex.”

The Guttmacher Institute is among a number of organizations, including the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, that tout “sexual rights” and “reproductive rights” — terms many pro-family and pro-life supporters understand to mean unrestricted sexual license and the right to abortion on demand. The Institute’s website, similar to those of Planned Parenthood and SIECUS, expresses the organization’s commitment to individuals’ rights to express themselves sexually — regardless of marital status — and to have access to “comprehensive” information that will enable them to avoid unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease and to “exercise the right to choose abortion.”

“The federal programs prior to the Bush administration were overwhelmingly supportive of comprehensive sex education, of course, which is provided by Planned Parenthood and supported by Guttmacher and SIECUS and all of the left-wing groups,” Crouse says. “And now that there is some money — just a tad of money — going for abstinence-till-marriage programs, [such groups] are objecting to any money whatsoever being spent in that direction.”

Lawrence Finer talks about people needing a “reality check” regarding premarital sex, Crouse adds. However, she insists it is his research that needs the reality check.

Abstinence Education Advocate: Guttmacher’s Facts Are Skewed
Abstinence-based sex education proponent Leslee Unruh, who heads the South Dakota-based Abstinence Clearinghouse, is also suspicious of the Guttmacher Institute’s findings — and of the motives behind them. “Of course, right now we know the reason abstinence education is being attacked and these types of studies are going to continue to come up more and more in the following months,” she says, “is because of the reauthorization of Title V. Title V is the federal dollars that are funding the abstinence-until-marriage program across the nation.”

Unruh says Guttmacher has been a part of Planned Parenthood in the past, and it continues to have an interest in pushing “this new, so-called research,” which appears to support comprehensive sex education programs. However, she insists that the sexual “freedom” being promoted by Guttmacher and the other organizations pushing the “safe-sex” myth has failed an entire generation of Americans.

“The sexual revolution came, it went, and it lost,” the Abstinence Clearinghouse director observes. “The sexual revolution ended the last century, and we feel people need to be looking to what the newfound research is on sexuality,” she says. “Today’s a new day, and we know that from the studies we have seen, that many young people are demanding the higher standard of abstinence education.”

Abstinence Clearinghouse has seen study after study indicating that increasing numbers of young people are open to the abstinence message and that many are choosing to remain chaste until marriage, Unruh observes. “According to the CDC, there are less kids having sex now than those that are,” she asserts. “So we have numbers that show there is a different thought process going on in America right now, and we believe a lot of that has to do with the fact that these programs raise the bar.”

Condom-based sex education, Unruh suggests, can have the effect of communicating to young people that “everyone else” is having sex, and that having premarital sex is not only normal but inevitable. What abstinence-only education does, the pro-family advocate contends, is empower young people to choose intimacy over immediate gratification, love over lust, so that more and more are “looking to a lifetime mate, a monogamous relationship, and choosing purity over promiscuity.”

Original Link.
My Original Post.

London Braces for Attack; ‘Miracle’ If There Isn’t One

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

Members of the so-called “religion of peace” aka Islam, are promising to attack London sometime around Christmas. Just because. No real reason, just because they hope to kill a bunch of innocent people during our Holiest season.

British intelligence and law enforcement officials have passed on a grim assessment to their U.S. counterparts, “It will be a miracle if there isn’t a terror attack over the holidays in London,” a senior American law enforcement official tells ABCNews.com.

British police have been quietly carrying out a series of key arrests as they continue to track at least six active “plots” tied to what they call “al Qaeda of England.”

Officials said they could not cite any specific date or target but said al Qaeda had planned previous operations during the Christmas holidays that had been disrupted.

“It is not a matter of if there will be an attack, but how bad the attack will be,” an intelligence official told ABCNews.com.

Authorities say they are seeking at least 18 suspected suicide bombers.

Original Link.

Mary’s Song

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me — holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.”

Luke 1:46-55 (New International Version)

Praise to the Lord, who blesses His faithful unceasingly!!

“2006: The Year of Perpetual Outrage” By Michelle Malkin

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

***update and bumped to the top: Zawahiri rings in the new year with a call to jihad for the Religion of Perpetual Outrage***

It began with the Danish cartoons. It ended with the flying imams. 2006 was a banner year for the Religion of Perpetual Outrage. Twelve turbulent months of fist-waving, embassy-burning, fatwa-issuing mayhem, intimidation, and murder resounded with the ululations of the aggrieved. All this in the name of defending Islam from “insult.” Let’s review.

In late January, masked Palestinian gunmen took over a European Union office in Gaza City to protest the publication of a dozen cartoons about Islam, Mohammed, and self-censorship in the Danish newspaper, the Jyllands-Posten. They stormed the building, burned Danish flags, and spearheaded an international boycott of Denmark products across the Muslim world.

The rage was manufactured pretext. The cartoons had been published four months earlier with little fanfare. It wasn’t until a delegation of instigating Danish imams toured Egypt with the cartoons—plus a few inflammatory fake ones including an old image of a French hog-calling contest participant deceptively portrayed as “anti-Muslim”—that the fire started burning. Think the mainstream media will remember that? Not likely. They fell for the ruse and were slow to acknowledge it after American bloggers and Danish television exposed the scheme.

What was really behind Cartoon Rage? Muslim bullies were attempting to pressure Denmark over the International Atomic Energy Agency’s decision to report Iran to the UN Security Council for continuing with its nuclear research program. The chairmanship of the council was passing to Denmark at the time.

Alas, Western journalists, analysts, and apologists were too clouded by their cowardice and conciliation to see through the smoke. More than 800 were injured in the ensuing riots and 130 people paid with their lives. The innocents included Italian Catholic priest Andrea Santoro, who was shot to death in Turkey on Feb. 5 by a teenage boy enraged by the illustrations. The Muslim gunman shouted “Allahu Akbar!” as he murdered Father Santoro while the priest knelt praying in his church. Several brave moderate Muslim editors who stood up to the madness were jailed, fined, and convicted of crimes related to insulting Islam. The Danish cartoonists remain in hiding.

The world soon tired of Cartoon Rage, but the “peaceful” Muslim ragers were just warming up. They found excuses large and small to riot and threaten Western infidels.

In India, they protested the magazine publication of a picture of playing card showing an image of Mecca and also burned Valentine’s Day cards. An insult to Islam, they screamed. In Spain, they protested a Madrid store for selling a postcard with a mosque on it with the words “We slept here.” An insult to Islam, they protested.

In Pakistan, they burned down a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant, a Pizza Hut, and toppled Ronald McDonald. In Jakarta, they smashed the offices of Playboy magazine. You know why.

In June, the trial against lioness journalist Oriana Fallaci for insulting Islam commenced in Bergamo, Italy. She had been charged by professional Muslim rager Adel Smith of the Muslim Union of Italy of “vilipendio”—vilifying Islam—in her post-9/11 books slamming jihad. A judge had refused to throw out the case. She faced a pile of death threats and accusations of “Islamophobia” for speaking truth to Islamo-power.

Fallaci’s death from cancer during the fifth anniversary week of the September 11 terrorist attacks preempted the trial in Italy, but her passing did nothing to preempt the eternal rage of the perpetually outraged. The day she died, the grievance-mongers were shaking their fists and calling for the head of Pope Benedict XVI for his speech that made reference to a 14th century conversation touching on holy war and jihad.

For engaging in open, honest intellectual and spiritual debate, he was condemned, lit afire in effigy, and targeted anew. The ragers bombed Christian churches in Gaza City and Nablus.

They murdered Italian Sister Leonella Sgorbati, an elderly Catholic nun shot in the back by a Somalian jihadist stoked by Pope Rage. “Whoever offends our Prophet Mohammed should be killed on the spot by the nearest Muslim,” a Somalia cleric had declared. The Vatican made nice with Muslim leaders.

New outrages are always in bloom. In late September, it was a Berlin production of Mozart’s “Idomeneo” that featured the decapitated head of Mohammed. A week later, it was a banyan tree attacked by Indonesian Muslims who wanted to disprove its mystical powers. A few days after that, it was former British foreign secretary Jack Straw, who had the audacity to make the very obvious observation that full Muslim veils impede communications between women and Westerners. Offensive! Disturbing! An insult to Islam!

Not to be outdone, a delegation of extortionist imams boarded a U.S. Airways flight in Minneapolis in November and tried to manufacture an international human-rights incident.

They clamored for a boycott and threatened to sue.

The good news: The fire did not catch here this time. The bad news: As Oriana Fallaci warned before her death:

“The hate for the West swells like a fire fed by the wind. The clash between us and them is not a military one. It is a cultural one, a religious one, and the worst is still to come.”

Original Link.

Police Killer Dresses as Veiled Muslim Woman and Escapes from U.K.

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

Can you PC (politically correct) pundits get it through your thick skulls that this is exactly the type of thing we have been warning about for quite some time now. It doesn’t matter if it’s right or wrong for a woman to wear a veil. There are certain times when she is just going to have to properly identify herself by removing it. Period.
If not, as in this case, the criminals are going to take advantage of it.
Some might say, that since he used his sister’s passport, that she should be arrested an punished, but keep in mind that to a Muslim man, a woman is property, and if necessary will be sacrificed to save him.
That fact, coupled with the fact that this is happening in the liberal U.K, makes punishment for her next to impossible.

A man who was being hunted for the murder of a policewoman is understood to have escaped from Britain by disguising himself as a veiled Muslim woman.

Mustaf Jama, a prime suspect in the fatal shooting of PC Sharon Beshenivsky, assumed his sister’s identity — wearing the niqab and using her passport — to evade supposedly stringent checks at Heathrow, according to police sources.

The use of the niqab, which leaves only a narrow slit for the eyes, highlights flaws in British airport security. At the time, Jama was Britain’s most wanted man, while Heathrow was on a heightened state of alert after the 7/7 terrorist atrocities in London five months previously.

The Times has learnt that British immigration officers rarely carry out a visual check to match a passport photograph with a departing female passenger’s veiled face.

Details of Jama’s disguise emerged yesterday as his younger brother, Yusuf, awaited a life sentence for the murder of the police officer, who died during an armed robbery at a Bradford travel agency in November last year.

Detectives believe that Jama, 26, was allowed to board an international flight from Heathrow because no attempt was made to uncover his face. While British baggage security is among the strictest in the world, the system of identity checks is considered less rigorous than in countries such as France.

At the time of his escape, between Christmas Day last year and New Year’s Day, the 26-year-old Somali national, who had 21 criminal convictions, was the most wanted man in Britain. His photograph had been circulated to every police force, port and airport in the country after the bungled robbery in which PC Beshenivsky died and her colleague, PC Teresa Milburn, was seriously wounded.

David Davis, the Shadow Home Secretary, called for an urgent inquiry into the security breach. “The idea that in any circumstan-ces you could be let through passport control wearing a veil is barely credible,” he said. “Doing so when an all-persons bulletin for murder has been issued demonstrates that our borders are not just porous — they are non-existent.”

A Home Office spokesman confirmed yesterday that although immigration control staff had the power to ask people to remove the veil to prove their identity, it is not an automatic policy. The only visual checks at an airport that should always be made in relation to departing pasengers are at check-in and at the boarding gate. In each case, the task is the responsibility of the relevant airline. A BAA Heathrow spokesman said yesterday:

“Immigration control staff always do a visual check on people coming into the country but only random checks are made with outgoing passengers.”

Original Link.

IDF: Hizbullah almost at full strength

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

Hummm…now how can that be? Didn’t the mighty U.N. demand that they be disarmed? Oh yeah, I forgot…it’s only Israel that the U.N. expects action out of. The slimy terrorist of the word get a free pass to do just about anything they want to.
That pretty much makes the U.N. a terrorist organization too.

Predicting that it is “just a matter of time” before Hizbullah attacks Israel, a high-ranking officer from the Northern Command revealed to The Jerusalem Post Wednesday that the Lebanese guerrilla group had nearly returned to full strength and was almost at the level it was before this summer’s Lebanon war.

Syria, the officer said, had used the past four months since the end of the war to transfer – sometimes on a daily basis – truckloads of advanced rockets and weaponry to Hizbullah in Lebanon. The weapon transfers, he said, were not even executed covertly, but were conducted “out in the open” for the entire world to see.

“Hizbullah needs to legitimize its existence, and therefore will continue to fight,” said the officer, adding that if and when Hizbullah attacked, it would be up to the country’s diplomatic echelon to determine Israel’s response.

The IDF, the officer said, was busy training brigades and battalions in urban warfare centers in the North and the South in preparation for the possibility that a new round of violence would erupt. The officer said that while there was no clear intelligence indicating that war was on the horizon, the possibility of one was the “working assumption” for the Northern Command.

“We have a wide arsenal of potential responses,” said the officer. “From another Operation Change of Direction [name of the IDF operation during the Lebanon war] to limiting a response to shooting the guerrilla who attacks.”

The Navy has also been training for another war and on Tuesday night conducted a number of simulations during a visit by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz to one of its missile ships.
The officer said that while it was possible that Hizbullah would attack Israel in the near future, it was also possible that Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora’s government would succeed in enforcing both order in Lebanon and UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

“If the Lebanese government does not implement the resolution then we are most probably on our way to another round with Hizbullah,” he said.

Original Link.

Mexican Soldiers Freelancing for Drug Cartels on US Soil

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

All necessary resources should be committed to putting a stop to this. I have a feeling that the Mexican soldiers would give up pretty easily when faced down by battle hardened U.S. soldiers. Throw in an M1 Abrams tank or two and it shouldn’t be much of a contest.

(CNSNews.com) – Gun-toting members of the Mexican military are crossing regularly into U.S. territory, where they are partnering with drug cartels and criminal gangs to protect sophisticated smuggling operations, according to Texas sheriffs and lawmakers.

Some of the Mexican infiltrators are suspected to have been trained by the U.S. military.

U.S. Border Patrol agents and local law enforcement officials operating along the southwestern border have come under attack from the Mexican side in recent months, with automatic gunfire frequently erupting, Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) told Cybercast News Service.

Mexican military units and drug cartels have access to weaponry and communications equipment far more advanced than resources made available to U.S. officials on the state and federal level, Culberson said.

“The U.S. Border Patrol is telling its agents to just lay low and report on what they see,” he said. “They are instructed to determine the size of the [Mexican military] unit, the number of personnel, the direction of travel.”

The U.S. ambassador to Mexico has sent diplomatic notes to the Mexican government complaining about incursions into U.S. territory by “individuals dressed in military uniforms,” according to a congressional report.

Culberson plans to meet with the Mexican ambassador to discuss border issues early in the new year.

More than 200 incursions by the Mexican military of the U.S. southern border have been documented since the late 1990s, Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) said in an interview.

“Our federal government denied it occurred until the Texas sheriffs took photos,” he said. “There is no nation in the world that would allow this invasion to occur except for the United States.”

Mexican military personnel have been observed crossing the Rio Grande into Hudspeth County, Texas, in an apparent effort to safeguard drug shipments.

On one occasion early this year, deputies in pursuit of suspected drug dealers encountered “heavily armed soldiers in a Humvee,” while trying to apprehend individuals driving “load vehicles” for drug shipments, Hudspeth Sheriff Arvin West told a congressional hearing subsequently.

Although some of the narcotics were seized, the deputies were forced to suspend their pursuit once the Mexican soldiers intervened, according to West’s testimony.

Sheriffs in neighboring parts of Texas are also familiar with the techniques used to protect drug shipments in Hudspeth.

According to Sheriff Leo Samaniego of El Paso County, Mexican soldiers perform “flanking maneuvers,” forcing deputies into defensive positions.

“They are very involved in safeguarding these drug shipments,” he said of the Mexican troops.

Samaniego said he was in contact with farmers in the area who reported witnessing such incidents regularly.

Samaniego recalled another Mexican military incursion he said had taken place in Santa Teresa, N.M., located across the state line from El Paso. Mexican soldiers in two Humvees “chased after” a U.S. Border Patrol agent until backup arrived while another U.S. agent also came under gunfire, Samaniego told Cybercast News Service.

“Mexican officials gave the excuse that it was a new military unit that got lost and didn’t know it was in the U.S.,” he said. “But I find this hard to believe.”

Original Link.

“Shocker! Faithful Really Do Sin Less” by Rebecca Hagelin

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

In his 1971 song “Imagine,” John Lennon asks us to envision a secular utopia. There’s no heaven, no hell. Peace and harmony reign, and a global “brotherhood of man” flourishes. Amid this blissful state of affairs, of course, we find “no religion.”

Lennon was a talented songwriter, but when it came to theology, he was 180 degrees off. A world free of religion would certainly have no heaven. But there would be plenty of hell – and right here on earth.

This isn’t simply the opinion of a lady who takes her faith seriously. A large and growing body of social science research shows what a huge difference religious faith makes in our everyday lives. It’s no overstatement, in fact, to say that religion makes civil society possible. Without it, just about every indicator of human misery would be off the charts.

For a concise yet comprehensive catalog of just how bad things could be, take a look at a startling new paper by Pat Fagan, the Heritage Foundation’s premier social-science researcher. In it, he sifts through countless studies that show the remarkable effect of religion on marriage, divorce, child-rearing, drug/alcohol abuse, out-of-wedlock births – even mental and physical health.

Start with an area near and dear to my heart – family relations. My husband and I have raised our three teenagers in a loving, religious household. Our faith in God has sustained us in good times and bad, and it has been a steady source of inspiration, comfort and encouragement. So I was particularly pleased to read the following in Fagan’s paper:

Compared with mothers who did not consider religion important, those who deemed religion to be very important rated their relationship with their child significantly higher. … When mothers and their children share the same level of religious practice, they experience better relationships with one another. For instance, when 18-year-olds attended religious services with approximately the same frequency as their mothers, the mothers reported significantly better relationships with them, even many years later. … Moreover, mothers who became more religious throughout the first 18 years of their child’s life reported a better relationship with that child, regardless of the level of their religious practice before the child was born.

The same holds true for fathers:

Compared with fathers who had no religious affiliation, those who attended religious services frequently were more likely to monitor their children, praise and hug their children, and spend time with their children. In fact, fathers’ frequency of religious attendance was a stronger predictor of paternal involvement in one-on-one activities with children than were employment and income – the factors most frequently cited in the academic literature on fatherhood.

Couples are far more likely to stay together if they’re religiously active, Fagan found. Indeed, the risk of divorce more than doubles for couples who stop practicing their religion. Religiously active couples also report greater happiness and satisfaction with their marriages. The incidence of domestic violence drops, too. Men who attended religious services at least weekly were more than 50 percent less likely to commit an act of violence against their partners than were peers who attended only once a year or less.

How about adolescent sexual behavior? Good news here, as well. Fagan notes that traditional values and religious beliefs were among the most common factors teens cite to explain why they are abstaining from sex. And religion affects out-of-wedlock childbearing: Compared with those who consider themselves “very religious,” those who were “not at all religious” are two to three times more likely to have a child outside of marriage. In addition, the use of cigarettes and the abuse of alcohol and drugs drops significantly among those who are religiously active.

Religion is also a great help to those who never marry or have children. “A review of the research shows that religion significantly affects the level of an individual’s happiness and overall sense of well-being,” Fagan writes. “In the vast majority of the studies reviewed, an increase in religious practice was associated with having greater hope and a greater sense of purpose in life.” In addition, people who are religiously active are at a much lower risk of depression and suicide. They also tend to live longer.

None of this would surprise our Founding Fathers, who knew that no people could be self-governing without religion. In his Farewell Address, George Washington referred to religion and morality as the “great pillars of human happiness” and noted: “Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

As you head to church this Christmas – and, I hope, in the weeks that follow – remember the indispensable role that religion plays in free society. We’ve been told by the highest authority, after all, that if we seek first the kingdom of God “all these things will be given to you as well.” In a way, Jesus was telling us – almost 2,000 years before John Lennon wrote a single note – how to achieve a true “brotherhood of man.” Imagine.

Original Link.

Study: More Than 9 Out of 10 Americans — Even Grandparents — Had Premarital Sex

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

Guess I really am a minority. Albeit a minority not stricken by “social diseases” caused by indiscriminately having sex outside of marriage. A very proud minority, I might add.
There is always the possibility that the study is in error as well, but judging by what I see in the world today, that possibility is fairly remote.
Oh, by the way…just because “everyone” is doing it, doesn’t make it right.

NEW YORK — More than nine out of 10 Americans, men and women alike, have had premarital sex, according to a new study. The high rates extend even to women born in the 1940s, challenging perceptions that people were more chaste in the past.

“This is reality-check research,” said the study’s author, Lawrence Finer. “Premarital sex is normal behavior for the vast majority of Americans, and has been for decades.”

Finer is a research director at the Guttmacher Institute, a private New York-based think tank that studies sexual and reproductive issues and which disagrees with government-funded programs that rely primarily on abstinence-only teachings. The study, released Tuesday, appears in the new issue of Public Health Reports.

The study, examining how sexual behavior before marriage has changed over time, was based on interviews conducted with more than 38,000 people — about 33,000 of them women — in 1982, 1988, 1995 and 2002 for the federal National Survey of Family Growth. According to Finer’s analysis, 99 percent of the respondents had had sex by age 44, and 95 percent had done so before marriage.

Even among a subgroup of those who abstained from sex until at least age 20, four-fifths had had premarital sex by age 44, the study found.

Finer said the likelihood of Americans having sex before marriage has remained stable since the 1950s, though people now wait longer to get married and thus are sexually active as singles for extensive periods.

The study found women virtually as likely as men to engage in premarital sex, even those born decades ago. Among women born between 1950 and 1978, at least 91 percent had had premarital sex by age 30, he said, while among those born in the 1940s, 88 percent had done so by age 44.

“The data clearly show that the majority of older teens and adults have already had sex before marriage, which calls into question the federal government’s funding of abstinence-only-until-marriage programs for 12- to 29-year-olds,” Finer said.

Under the Bush administration, such programs have received hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding.

“It would be more effective,” Finer said, “to provide young people with the skills and information they need to be safe once they become sexually active — which nearly everyone eventually will.”

Wade Horn, assistant secretary for children and families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, defended the abstinence-only approach for teenagers.

“One of its values is to help young people delay the onset of sexual activity,” he said. “The longer one delays, the fewer lifetime sex partners they have, and the less the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease.”

He insisted there was no federal mission against premarital sex among adults.

“Absolutely not,” Horn said. “The Bush administration does not believe the government should be regulating or stigmatizing the behavior of adults.”

Horn said he found the high percentages of premarital sex cited in the study to be plausible, and expressed hope that society would not look askance at the small minority that chooses to remain abstinent before marriage.

However, Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America, a conservative group which strongly supports abstinence-only education, said she was skeptical of the findings.

“Any time I see numbers that high, I’m a little suspicious,” she said. “The numbers are too pat.”

Leslee Unruh, who runs a South Dakota-based organization promoting abstinence-only education, contended that increasing numbers of young people were open to remaining chaste until marriage.

Original Link.

Border Agents Plead for ‘Christmas pardon’

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

If there’s something about these agents that they aren’t telling us, I wish they would, because right now this quote sums up the whole situation:

“This is the greatest miscarriage of justice that I’ve seen in my career. Two brave Border Patrol agents trying to enforce the president’s nonsensical border policy ending up being sent to prison, while an illegal alien drug smuggler is given immunity and walks free.”
-Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R, Calif

A Border Patrol agent sentenced to prison along with his partner for shooting and wounding a man smuggling drugs into the U.S. will appear with a congressman tomorrow at a rally asking President Bush to offer a pardon.

Jose Alonso Compean and Ignacio Ramos, were sentenced to 12 years and 11 years, respectively, in October by U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen Cardone in El Paso, Texas.

Compean will be joined by family; Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R, Calif.; Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist; and members of other border-security groups such as Friends of the Border Patrol at the courthouse in Santa Ana, Calif., at 10:30 a.m. Pacific time tomorrow.

Rohrabacher, noting the president already has received a letter about the case from more than 50 Congress members, is asking Americans to sign petitions and send e-mails and letters to the White House requesting a “Christmas pardon.”

“This is the greatest miscarriage of justice that I’ve seen in my career,” he told WND. “Two brave Border Patrol agents trying to enforce the president’s nonsensical border policy ending up being sent to prison, while an illegal alien drug smuggler is given immunity and walks free.”

Compean’s sister, of Huntington Beach, lives in Rohrabacher’s Southern California district.

The White House has not responded to the letter, according to Rohrabacher, and did not follow up a request from WND for comment. Press secretary Tony Snow has said he cannot comment on presidential pardons.

Gilchrist said what has happened to the two agents is “atrocious,” with “their lifes being ruined, their families being put in turmoil.”

“We would expect the president to give a full and unconditional pardon to these two wrongly arrested, wrongly accused, wrongly convicted members of law enforcement,” he told WND, “and retroactive pay and benefits they’ve lost over the past two years since they were originally arrested.”

As WND has reported, a federal jury convicted Compean, 28, and Ramos, 37, in March after a two-week trial on charges of causing serious bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon, discharge of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence and a civil rights violation.

Ramos is an eight-year veteran of the U.S. Naval Reserve and a former nominee for Border Patrol Agent of the Year.

On Feb. 17, 2005, Ramos responded to a request for back-up from Compean, who noticed a suspicious van near the levee road along the Rio Grande River near the Texas town of Fabens, about 40 miles east of El Paso. A third agent also joined the pursuit.

Fleeing was an illegal alien, Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila of Mexico. Unknown to the growing number of Border Patrol agents converging on Fabens, Aldrete-Davila’s van was carrying 800 pounds of marijuana.

Aldrete-Davila stopped the van on a levee, jumped out and started running toward the river. When he reached the other side of the levee, he was met by Compean who had anticipated the smuggler’s attempt to get back to Mexico.

“We both yelled out for him to stop, but he wouldn’t stop, and he just kept running,” Ramos told California’s Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.

“At some point during the time where I’m crossing the canal, I hear shots being fired,” Ramos said. “Later, I see Compean on the ground, but I keep running after the smuggler.”

At that point, Ramos said, Aldrete-Davila turned toward him, pointing what looked like a gun.

“I shot,” Ramos said. “But I didn’t think he was hit, because he kept running into the brush and then disappeared into it. Later, we all watched as he jumped into a van waiting for him. He seemed fine. It didn’t look like he had been hit at all.”

In a move that still confuses Ramos and Compean, the U.S. government filed charges against them after giving full immunity to Aldrete-Davila and paying for his medical treatment at an El Paso hospital.

Andy Ramirez of Friends of the Border Patrol said the drug smuggler has “fully contributed to the destruction of two brave agents and their families and has sent a very loud message to the other Border Patrol agents: If you confront a smuggler, this is what will happen to you.”

The letter to Bush included the signatures of Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Fla., Rep. Gary Miller, R-Calif., Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, Rep. Virgil Goode, R-Va. and Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., the chairman of the House Immigration Reform Caucus.

“We ask that a full investigation of this case be ordered immediately,” the letter said. “We are confident that during such an investigation you will find that these Border Patrol agents were acting within the scope of their duty and were unjustly prosecuted. Also, we ask that you use your power of presidential pardon, as granted by the United States Constitution in Article II, Section 2, to pardon these two Border Patrol agents. We understand these requests usually are for those that have already completed their sentences; however, we feel in this case it would be a miscarriage of justice to send these two Border Patrol agents to prison for protecting our nation’s borders from an illegal drug smuggler.”

Original Link.

Even Though on Firm Constitutional Ground, School Board Caves to ACLU Terrorist

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

In an attempt to call the quasi-deity Darwin and his half-baked theory of evolution the theory that it is, the Cobb County (Georgia) Board of Education placed stickers on text books to clarify the FACT that Darwin’s theory of evolution is just that, a theory.
They were promptly sued by the ACLU (the Anti-Christ Litigation Union) and the somewhat illiterate people at Americans United for Separation of Church and State (illiterate because they apparently don’t know how to read the Constitution of the United Sates of America and actually understand what it means).
The school board caved to the judicial terrorism tactics of these groups and has conceded to remove the stickers from the book. Of course in this “agreement”, the only thing the terrorist give up is the suite against the school board.
Has it occurred to you parents that every time these terrorist sue a school system that they are in fact suing you and your children? They are also diverting valuable funds, that came out of your hard earned money and could be used to educate our children, and lining lawyer’s pockets with them. Just thought I’d mention that.
Read my article “What Does the U.S. Constitution Actually Say About Religion?”

(CNSNews.com) – Four years after a Georgia school board placed stickers on its high school science books stating that evolution is “a theory, not a fact,” the district agreed on Tuesday to abandon the ensuing legal battle with liberal groups.

“We are very pleased to reach this agreement and end the lawsuit,” said Cobb County Board of Education Chair Dr. Teresa Plenge in a statement on Tuesday. “The board maintains that the stickers were constitutional, but, at the same time, the board clearly sees the need to put this divisive issue behind us.

“With this agreement, it is done, and we now have a clean slate going into the New Year,” Plenge added. “There will be no stickers in textbooks, and, as always, we will continue to provide Cobb County students a curriculum that follows national and state standards in teaching science and the theory of evolution.”

Under the settlement, the district will not attempt to place “any stickers, labels, stamps, inscriptions or other warnings or disclaimers bearing language substantially similar to that used on the sticker that is the subject of this action.”

In return, the plaintiffs – the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Americans United for Separation of Church and State – have agreed to end all legal action against the school district.

In a separate agreement, the district has agreed to pay $166,659, which represents a portion of the plaintiff’s legal fees.

“Cobb County school officials have taken the right step to ensure that their students receive a quality education,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “Students should be taught sound science, and the curriculum should not be altered at the behest of aggressive religious groups.”

“Since federal courts have ruled that creationism is religion and cannot be taught in public school science courses, religious right groups have sought ways to undermine the teaching of evolution and sneak discussion of religious beliefs on the origins of life into public school science courses,” Lynn added. “Textbook disclaimers on evolution are one such tactic.”

Jeffrey Selman, the Cobb County parent who led the charge against the anti-evolution disclaimer and president of the Georgia chapter of Americans United, said the settlement put to rest a contentious struggle over religious and political agendas.

“The settlement brings to an end a long battle to keep our science classes free of political or religious agendas,” he said.

“I am very pleased that the Cobb school board has dropped its defense of the anti-evolution policy,” Selman added. “The board should be commended for taking this action.”

As Cybercast News Service previously reported, the school board passed the sticker policy in 2002 after a group of parents complained that evolution was being taught to the exclusion of other theories, including the biblical story of creation..

The stickers read: “This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered.”

School district parents sued, arguing that the policy promoted religion in science classrooms and therefore violated the separation of church and state. (which actually does not exist in the Constitution. -ed.)

In 2005, U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper agreed and ordered the district to remove the stickers from its 35,000 biology textbooks. Earlier this year, a federal appeals court vacated Cooper’s decision and sent the case back to the lower court.

“After the 11th Circuit Court vacated the decision, we faced the distraction and expense of starting all over with more legal actions and another trial,” Plenge noted.

Original Link.

“Is There a War on Christmas? You Betcha!” By Tim Wildmon

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

(AgapePress) – Perhaps you saw the story out of the state of Washington last week, where a Jewish rabbi wanted to have a menorah (seven-branched candelabrum) put up at the Seattle-Tacoma airport alongside the “holiday” trees that are traditionally on display this time of year. Before political correctness came along, we all knew that these trees were called Christmas trees. In fact, there is a fellow selling trees near my house whose sign reads: “We don’t sell holiday trees; we sell Christmas trees.” Now there is a man after my own heart!

Those responsible for putting the trees up at the airport — the Seattle Port Authority — took them down very quickly when they got the letter from the rabbi. When the rabbi explained that he was not threatening legal action to have the trees removed — only that he was requesting a menorah be put up — the trees went back up again. Follow me here? It was a total overreaction on the part of the Port Authority, but this is the climate the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has created in our country where public officials think they may be sued because they display Christmas trees. Not Nativity scenes mind you, but trees. It’s insane.

The NBC Today show interviewed me on Monday about this story and about the general idea of a war on Christmas. They wanted to know what I thought about it. They taped a good 20 minutes of questions and answers. Ten seconds of it showed up on the program. But what I basically said was, “Yes, there is a war on Christmas. How many examples do you need?”

I went on to explain that there are forces afoot in America that want to “sanitize” our country of its Christian heritage, and one of the ways this can be accomplished is by diminishing the impact of Christ on Christmas and diminishing the impact of Christmas on the American consciousness. You do this over time. This is also accomplished under the banner of promoting “multi-culturalism,” “diversity” and “tolerance” — all of which I don’t have a problem with in their proper context. But what I resent, and a whole lot of Americans resent, is when in the name of multi-culturalism, diversity and tolerance, we began to sacrifice traditions that have made America great in the first place.

For example, news services across the country reported this earlier in the week: “Zogby polling shows an overwhelming majority (95 percent) say they are not offended by being greeted with a ‘Merry Christmas’ while shopping, including 98 percent for weekly Wal-Mart shoppers. But greet them with a ‘Happy Holidays,’ and 46 percent say they take offense.”

The reason that 46 percent of those surveyed take offense is because they are Christmas shopping, not holiday shopping, and everyone knows this. Families don’t give each other presents on Thanksgiving Day. Kids don’t run downstairs on New Year’s morning seeing what awaits them under the holiday tree. The Christmas-gift buying season is what keeps the American retail business in business.

These numbers also mean that most citizens want Christmas to maintain the special place it has long held in the American heart. We don’t want to see Christmas melt into a generic “holiday season” or “winter celebration” some hard-core secularists and atheists want to see happen.

Now I am about to give you an example of how the political correctness / multi-culturalism movement seeks to remove the Christian message about Christmas from the scene. One of the things it has done recently is attempt to elevate Hanukkah and Kwanzaa as if they were equal to Christmas in American cultural relevance. They are not, but because we have been brainwashed with political correctness for a number of years now — and because we are fearful of being labeled racist or as anti-Jewish — many people in our country feel compelled to mention Hanukkah and Kwanzaa in the same sentence with Christmas. In America, Christmas — as a holiday — has always been in a league of its own. It points to the message of Christ and to our Christian heritage, and that is what the multi-culturalists and the politically-correct crowd want to change.

Hanukkah is actually a minor Jewish holiday. Passover and Yom Kippur are much more important to practicing Jews. As for Kwanzaa — which is a celebration of African culture observed from Dec. 26 – Jan. 1 — very few people had ever even heard of it before 10 years ago. The majority of African-Americans don’t even celebrate it. Compare that to the fact that the vast majority of black people do celebrate Christmas.

Another interesting fact here is that Christians do not consider the tree to have any spiritual significance. Especially in the same way a Jew looks at a menorah for instance. A Nativity scene would be the equivalent to the Christian. The tree is simply a traditional decoration that many Americans use to mark the Christmas season. Most people consider them just something nice to look at.

As a Christian I don’t have a particular problem with the menorah being up at an airport. After all, Christianity does have its roots in Judaism. But putting the Christmas trees back up was the right thing to do. We can’t give in to those who are on a mission to rewrite the history of America and remove any vestige of Christianity from the public square.

Original Link.

Pro-Family Advocate Blasts Wal-Mart’s Online Ad Gimmick Targeting Children

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

Wal-Mart just can’t seem to keep out of trouble this year. I guess this is what happens when a company completely rejects the core beliefs of it’s founder.

(AgapePress) – The direct targeting of children by advertisers and the encouragement of greed and materialism in young people through advertising media are two of the complaints a pro-family children’s advocacy coalition has lodged with regard to a Wal-Mart-sponsored website that helps children build Christmas lists of what they want their parents to buy for them.

The Wal-Mart wish list game at www.toyland.walmart.com features two elves, named “Wally and Marty,” who stand near a conveyor belt of toys and ask children whether they want to have the toys for Christmas. From their responses, a list is generated for them that ultimately can be e-mailed to their parents if the children provide the address.

Members of Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood (CCFC) are not pleased with this marketing approach. According to the group’s co-founder, Dr. Susan Linn, the online game is another attempt by advertisers to get around parents and their efforts to curb materialism in their children.

“This is another example of the way that corporate America is undermining parental authority, bypassing parents and targeting children directly,” Linn says. This website, she asserts, features “the world’s largest retailer, manipulating kids to nag their parents for products for sale at Wal-Mart — but also [for products] that Wal-Mart is being paid to advertise.”

Also, the CCFC spokeswoman points out, children are being encouraged to get more toys than necessary. She feels the online game uses an insidious, though not terribly subtle kind of pressure on young players when it presents them with a toy that is available for purchase: “If kids say they don’t want it,” Linn notes, “there is dead silence, and then one elf saying to the other that that elf is going to lose their job because of kids’ decision.”

Parents should be able to decide on Christmas gifts for their children without being bombarded by companies manipulative advertising, Linn insists — and without having their children targeted by aggressive ads designed to bypass the parents altogether.

Original Link.

Virginia Churches Commended for Leaving ECUSA

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

More self-destruction of the Episcopal Church. For those of this denomination who are remaining faithful to the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Bible as a whole, you have our prayers. You are inviting problems on yourself because of your faith in the truth of the Bible. Good for You. We are praying for you.
If you are not one of the congregations who is rejecting the non-Biblical teachings of your national leadership, I suggest you pick up the Bible and actually read it. It might surprise you what it says.

(AgapePress) – Evangelical activists are voicing their support for the Episcopal churches in Virginia who, over the weekend, voted strongly in favor of leaving the American branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion. And even though the combined average attendance of the eight churches exceeds that of many entire Episcopal dioceses, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church USA says the congregations’ departure doesn’t threaten the denomination’s survival.

It was August 2003 when ECUSA leaders consecrated V. Gene Robinson as bishop of Diocese of New Hampshire, making him the denomination’s first openly homosexual bishop. His ascension to that position was preceded by warnings from many leaders in the Anglican world that it would “tear the very fabric” of the worldwide Communion and likely cause local churches and dioceses to break away from the Episcopal Church.

Sunday’s action by eight churches in the Diocese of Virginia — including two of the most prominent Episcopal churches in the state — is evidence that those warnings were nigh unto prophetic, as those congregations voted to affiliate themselves with conservative Anglican groups in Africa and to join the newly established Convocation of Anglicans in North America. (See earlier article)

Out of Options
Rev. Rob Schenck is president of the Washington, DC-based National Clergy Council (NCC) and a member of Christ the Redeemer parish in Centreville, Virginia, one of the congregations that voted to leave the Episcopal Church. Schenck says the move was necessary, and that several of the churches that voted to severe ties with the denomination were out of options.

“The Episcopal Church as a whole departed long ago from biblical doctrine and biblical teaching,” says Schenck. “In recent days, their leadership have made pronouncements even suggesting that there are ways outside of Christ that one can be saved.” (See earlier article reflecting comments by ECUSA’s presiding bishop)

The NCC leader says the denomination’s “radical departure from accepted Christian doctrine” reflects the fact that the Episcopal Church has not only left worldwide Anglicanism, but also historic Christianity. “The new Episcopal religion,” he says, “should be more accurately called New Age spiritualism.” And those churches that are leaving ECUSA, he says, will be blessed.

“God bless these leaders and churches for their bold move,” says Schenck. “They’re not just talking the talk, but walking the walk …. [T]hat’s the kind of brave Christ-like leadership our nation and the church needs.”

Homosexual Bishop ‘Tip of the Iceberg,’ Says IRD Spokesman
Another observer in the Washington, DC, area echoes that support — but says consecration of a homosexual bishop is but one reason for the current schism in the Episcopal Church. Ralph Webb, director of Anglican Action at the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), says election of V. Gene Robinson to oversee the New Hampshire Diocese provides just one example of how ECUSA has “drifted away” from it scriptural foundations.

“Beyond wanting to be faithful to scripture, the churches [that voted to leave ECUSA] felt that their mission work was impaired by remaining within the Episcopal Church,” says Webb. “Perhaps most importantly of all, they felt that they could not be faithful Anglicans while remaining in the Episcopal Church.” Robinson’s consecration, he believes, merely “heightened” the issues within the denomination.

Still, Webb acknowledges that the churches’ decisions were not easy. “We recognize that their decisions were made soberly and only after much prayer and deliberation. They face a new day before them; a day full of many challenges, but also many opportunities.” And the departure of eight churches within a single dioceses, he adds, should cause the Episcopal Church to ask itself some tough questions.

But it is unclear if Sunday’s actions in the Diocese of Virginia will result in such self-examination. According to Associated Press, Katharine Jefferts Schori — the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church — says her denomination’s survival is not threatened by those congregations’ vote to join a rival Anglican group.

Presiding Bishop: ECUSA Will Remain Healthy, Engaged
Jefferts Schori dismisses the notion that the Convocation of Anglicans in North America might replace the Episcopal Church as the American branch of Anglicanism. “I think some people hold that fantasy,” she says, but added, “I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon.”

The presiding bishop does not seem to be deterred by the departure of almost ten percent of the roughly 90,000 congregants that make up the Virginia Diocese. Those eight congregations, she tells Episcopal News Service, make up “a very, very small percentage of the church” that consists of some 7,200 congregations across the nation. And the “vast bulk” of the church, she insists, “is healthy [and] engaged in mission and ministry — and that is going to continue.”

Both Jefferts Schori and Virginia Bishop Peter Lee have expressed their concern for those in the departing parishes who wish to remain with the Episcopal Church. In some of those churches where membership has been significantly reduced, says Lee, there are “faithful Episcopalians who need to be given every encouragement to establish structures necessary for their continuity as the Episcopal Church.”

Lee had stated earlier that the diocese intends to “assert the church’s canonical and legal rights” over the property holdings of the eight Virginia churches. But the potential battle over the property has been delayed for now. Representatives from both sides of the debate — the Diocese of Virginia, and the two largest churches that are leaving (Truro and Falls Church) — have agreed not to proceed with either litigation or property transfer for 30 days. The buildings and land at both of those churches has been valued at about $25 million.

Original Link.

“A Little Polonium 210 Goes a Long Way” by Todd Strandberg

Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

The murder of Alexander Litvinenko, the former Russian spy, with a lethal dosage of polonium 210, has brought to mind the terrorist terror possessed by radioactive, biological, or chemical substances. Even though Litvinenko appears to be the single target of most likely Russian agents, British authorities have found traces of radioactive contamination in a dozen sites around London and in commercial jets carrying more than 33,000 people.

It only takes a very small amount of radioactive material to kill a person. The amount of Polonium that killed Litvinenko weighed less than a gram.

In order for Polonium 210 to be deadly, you need to inhale or ingest it. When Polonium is outside of the body, the skin and clothes serve as barriers to block the particles. Once Polonium gets into the body, the alpha particle emitted during nuclear decay causes destruction by tearing apart the cells’ molecular structure. It’s like having microscopic cowboys constantly firing their revolvers in all directions in your body.

Terrorists don’t need to have access to a reactor facility to obtain radioactive substances. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission tracks over 21,000 organizations that are licensed to use such materials.

In November 1995, rebels from Chechnya planted, but did not detonate, the first so-called dirty bomb in Moscow’s Izmailovo Park. The bomb consisted of dynamite and caesium-137 removed from cancer treatment equipment. Authorities were tipped off about its location and it was defused.

A radiological bomb is unlikely to cause many deaths. Its use would be more likely for psychological reasons. A bomb made from radioactive material would generate fear and mass panic. The threat of cancer and other radiation-related illnesses would have the most lasting effect. Additionally, the affected area would be very expensive to clean up. An attack in a city like New York would contaminate several city blocks, create fear, and require a cleanup with a price tag that would reach into the tens of billions of dollars.

Many terrorist experts believe a biological attack on the nation’s food supply is the most likely option for terrorists. It is said that about an 8-ounce vial of botulism toxin has enough poison to kill everyone on earth.

The E. coli outbreak linked to lettuce sold at Taco Bell restaurants demonstrates how easy it would be to introduce a pathogen into the food supply. While we now have armed guards at every airport, no security detail is watching every farm in America.

I truly believe we are reaching the point where we will see a terrorist attack of a spectacular nature. If man continues to ignore God’s warning, the Lord will eventually remove His hand of protection, and the dispensation of judgment will advance to the next level.

“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:13).

“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [will let], until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy wit the brightness of his coming” (2 Thes. 2:6-8).

–Todd

Original Link.

“The Yellowstone Supervolcano Is Bubbling!” by Michael G. Mickey

Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

Middle East peace…blah blah blah! Land for peace…..blah blah blah! Same-sex marriage….blah blah blah! No Christmas trees allowed….blah blah blah! ACLU sues because of nativity scene…blah blah blah!

Meanwhile, as those who no longer fear the God of heaven and earth commit one sin against Him and His Word after another as though He is irrelevant in the affairs of mankind, especially inside the borders of the most blessed nation on the planet, the Yellowstone supervolcano, which could erupt and destroy the United States as a world power in one day LITERALLY, is bubbling up what could be trouble —- and possibly God’s hand of judgment against the mighty U.S.A.

The Billings Gazette is reporting the following in part (emphasis added mine):

Parts of the collapsed, restless volcano in Yellowstone National Park are swelling faster than has ever been recorded.

Geologists from the University of Utah say two domes inside the Yellowstone caldera have steadily inflated at two to three times the rate as some of the most rapid movements recorded between 1923 and 1984.

“We’ve gone to this really pronounced, and I would say unprecedented, uplift of the caldera,” said Bob Smith, a Utah geologist and one of the leading researchers into Yellowstone’s busy volcanic life.

Hello, America? Hellooooooo?

Anyone other than me thinking it’s time for this nation to hit its knees in repentance for joining in with the international community in calling for Israel to hand over its God-given covenant lands in the interest of a “peace” that those who would benefit from such a swap have no interest in in the first place as we just saw in Gaza and apparently learned nothing from?

Anyone other than me thinking it’s time for the Christian army in the United States of America to engage the ACLU in every fight it even mentions starting in relation to silencing the mention and respect of our God’s name in public?

Anyone thinking about the Holocaust of the unborn going on unimpeded in America every day with few people even caring that the most innocent of all human blood is being shed as a result of it?

Anyone other than me finding themselves wondering why God shouldn’t judge the most blessed nation on earth for embracing (more and more all the time) a sexual practice that the Father has forbidden and destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah and their residents for allowing to be practiced openly?

While I don’t believe the Yellowstone supervolcano is going to erupt on this side of the Rapture of the Church, it has been my thinking for some time, based on all I’ve read and seen on television, that the events resulting from a cataclysmic eruption of Yellowstone would be very similar to what we see recorded in Revelation 6:12-17 – a future event which will literally shake the world in the early Tribulation Period, getting the attention, albeit briefly, of all mankind, even the global elite:

And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;

And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;

And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

Did you think Mt. St. Helens was a big boom?

Am I being overly dramatic about Yellowstone and its potential involvement in end times prophecy? Here’s a portion of what the Discovery Channel has to say about Yellowstone’s destructive potential compared to the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens:

The crater atop Mount St. Helens is about 2 square miles. The Yellowstone “caldera” — a depression in the Earth equivalent to a crater top — is some 1,500 square miles.

The 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption blew 1,300 vertical feet off the mountain, sent an eruption column 80,000 feet high in 15 minutes, ejected 1.4 billion cubic yards of ash detectable over 22,000 square miles, and killed 57 people.

But the last major eruption at Yellowstone, some 640,000 years ago, ejected 8,000 times the ash and lava of Mount St. Helens.

Mankind has elected to go his own way instead of God’s. That is a problem and a big one at that, especially if the Yellowstone supervolcano’s caldera is swelling at an alarming pace all of a sudden in preparation for the Tribulation Period to come, an event I am convinced is closer than most suspect, many of whom are Christians no less.

Yellowstone is bubbling and the King is coming! Keep looking up, Church!

Original Link.

“Are Pastors to Blame for the Divorce Epidemic?” By Matt Friedeman

Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

(AgapePress) – We have a divorce epidemic in America today. And I am wondering how much pastors are to blame.

I am of the school that thinks we usually put way too little expectation on the Church and its pastors for societal woes. When it comes to the institution of marriage, the vast majority of ministers have dropped the proverbial ball and by so doing have led the nation to the brink of disaster.

Too few of us (pastors, and I am one of them) take seriously the words “holy matrimony.” By failing to recognize the importance of this expression, we assume that anybody who wants to should be able to enter into it and with our blessing. After all, not to perform such ceremonies could cause congregational discord; so as people who make a living by the offerings of that congregation, we allow almost anything.

But is it possible for “holy matrimony” to exist when one or both potential spouses have no love relationship with the Lord? Do pastors query their young lovers about such matters? Or have we assumed that the pastoral office has no business barging into people’s lives on these all-important issues?

I recently heard a program on American Family Radio in which a number of family counselors were asked, “Would you marry a young couple that was determined not to have kids?” Having never considered that question, I listened intently on my side of the radio. To my astonishment, every counselor interviewed said they would not marry such a couple. After all, biblically, procreation is a God-ordained purpose of marriage.

Interestingly, I have never known a pastor to broach the subject, much less take such a stance.

Do church leaders require intense marital counseling? Not a couple of sessions and a blessing, but serious examination of a range of relational issues? I know that most do not, and by not training people for marriage we leave them vulnerable to a secular worldview that is less than successful when it comes to matrimony. Candid and pointed discussion about finances, family, conflict resolution, personality match, friends and interests, communication, religion and values, parenting issues, etc., should be considered an essential precursor to every church-sanctioned wedding ceremony.

Research suggests when such matters are responsibly addressed and the church demands significant commitments of those seeking marriage, the divorce rate substantially decreases. Where such matters are not taken seriously, Christian marriages mirror the culture at large: the breakdown of the family unit that threatens our very survival as a nation and a serious Christian community.

We pastors, and the churches we represent, are not to be “blessing machines” — throwing out words and sacraments willy-nilly to anyone who asks. For in the end, by adopting a low view of the Church, of the institution of marriage and of the pastoral office, we haven’t really blessed but most assuredly have cursed the people we intended to help.

Original Link.

Teacher: NEA Uses School Safety Rhetoric to Push Homosexual Agenda

Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

(AgapePress) – A former chairman of the National Education Association’s Ex-Gay Educators Caucus says the NEA is engaging in a “big misinformation campaign” with the goal of changing public opinion on homosexuality, starting with the youngest generation.

The NEA has unveiled a new web page [Caution: This page contains pro-homosexual material] on “gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students,” stating that the educators’ union is “committed” to fighting harassment, bullying, and discrimination aimed at those students. The page cites statistics from a study published by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, or GLSEN, and even provides a link to an interview with that group’s founder, homosexual activist Kevin Jennings.

Conservative critics of Jennings have blasted him for promoting what they see as radical pro-homosexual policies and ideas. Culture and media critic Bob Knight of the Media Research Center calls the GLSEN founder a “very controversial” figure, one “who has covered up an incident of molestation [of a 15-year-old boy by a homosexual man], who presided over a session in Massachusetts in which kids as young as 14 were exposed to graphic descriptions of homosexual sex acts,” and who has said he wants children, even kindergartners, to be acquainted with homosexuality.

The NEA’s web page on GLBT students provides a link to an NEA Today article and interview with Jennings called “Safe Schools for Everyone.” In it, the homosexual activist advocates teachers helping to combat the problem of harassment faced by GLBT students — by working “to create a classroom culture of respect and acceptance from day one.”

California teacher Jeralee Smith, who founded the NEA’s Conservative Educator Caucus and formerly chaired the union’s Ex-Gay Educators Caucus, says the new web page on GLBT students is all part of the union’s ongoing agenda to legitimize homosexuality. However, she says she hopes this latest move by the national organization will finally open the eyes of some of its members.

“Maybe, finally,” Smith comments, “some of the conservative and Christian teachers and other faiths who take issue with children being urged to adopt a gay identity” will recognize the NEA’s pro-homosexual agenda for what it is. “Maybe, finally, some of these people will really believe that this is what their dues money is going for,” she says.

Is the NEA Helping to Spread GLSEN Misinformation?
In July, at the NEA’s annual convention, the educators union voted overwhelmingly to endorse legal same-sex civil unions and same-sex “marriages.” And now, with its new web page on GLBT students, Smith feels the NEA is using misinformation in an effort to change public attitudes toward homosexuality, and she suspects the union’s embrace of GLSEN’s “safe schools” rhetoric is little more than a smokescreen for its support for and collaboration with the activist organization’s agenda.

According to GLSEN’s 2005 National School Climate Survey, homosexual students were five times more likely than the general population of students to report having skipped school in the last month because of safety concerns and were twice as likely as the general population of students to report having no plans to pursue any post-secondary education. The survey also found homosexual students who reported experiencing harassment had an average grade point average a half point lower than that of homosexual students who were not harassed.

Jennings, as quoted in NEA Today, says the “safe schools” initiative is “not about how you feel about gay people, it’s about making sure all of our students achieve.” However, Smith believes the NEA’s and GLSEN’s special emphasis on GLBT youth is telling. She says the NEA has no business encouraging students to adopt a homosexual identity, and the organization needs to recognize that all students are equally deserving of a safe learning environment.

“Children — by children, I mean anyone younger than 18 — need to all be protected from any kind of harassment at school,” the California teacher insists. “I teach physically handicapped children,” she notes; “my kids look different from everyone else in very obvious ways, and kids like mine are much more likely to get bullied and harassed at school.”

Also telling, Smith suggests, is which data the National Education Association chooses to report about GLBT students, and what it chooses to omit. She notes, for instance, that the NEA’s new web page does not provide statistics about the many young people who have had same-sex sexual encounters in the past but have since abandoned such behavior.

Original Link.