Archive for March 20th, 2007

Study Shows Huge Amount of Unchurched People in US

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

A Barna study shows that the number of unchurched people in the US is now near 100 million. That means that it is time for Christians to get to work. Not to say that everyone who does not go to church regularly is lost, but how will we know unless we ask them. Time is short. Many of our friends and neighbors are on the fast track to eternal torment. If you call yourself a Christian and the thought of people dying in hell does not concern you at all, you might want to read your Bible and re-evaluate your own salvation. The Great Commission does not give us the option of resting on our laurels while people are dying without Jesus.

Over the past decade, the unchurched population has remained stable at one third of the American population, the latest Barna Group survey showed.

The Barna study found that 33 percent of adults are classified as unchurched – people who have not attended a religious service of any type during the past six months. The statistic has remained relatively the same since 1994 when 36 percent were reported to be unchurched.

Still, the unchurched population in numbers is staggering. An estimated 73 million adults are presently unchurched. The number nears 100 million when teens and children are added to the population segment. That also includes an estimated 13 to 15 million born-again adults and children. On its own, the unchurched population of the United States would be the eleventh most-populated nation on earth, the Barna Group noted.

Some people groups are notorious church avoiders, the study found.

Political liberals were more than twice as likely to be unchurched (47 percent) than political conservatives (19 percent). Single adults were also more likely to avoid religious services (37 percent) than married adults (29 percent).

Those least likely to be unchurched are residents in the South (26 percent) while residents in the West (42 percent) and Northeast (39 percent) remain the most church resistant.

The study also found sexual orientation is closely related to church status with 31 percent of heterosexuals classified as unchurched compared to 49 percent of homosexuals.

Original Link

CA Students Disciplined for Using the Term “Gay”

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

Exactly what we have come to expect from the most liberal of the United States. When I was little, I asked my mother what “gay” meant and she told me “very happy”. I bet if you look up the word in Webster’s it still means happy, so why are kids not allowed to say it?

The president of the Pacific Justice Institute says officials at a California public school are having their free-speech rights violated in the name of “tolerance” for homosexuals. The school, he says, could soon find itself facing a lawsuit for telling elementary children they cannot use the word “gay” in a derogatory manner.

Last month, administrators at Gibson Elementary in Fresno informed parents that students would be disciplined for using the word “gay” in a negative fashion. A fourth-grader at the school has already been suspended for saying “that’s gay” during a soccer game — a phrase school administrators claim constitutes “sexual harassment” — and another student was sent to the principal for a similar infraction.

Brad Dacus is president of the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), which recently sent a letter to school officials, informing them of the constitutional issues at stake — and demanding they reverse the policy, or face the consequences. Dacus says the “broad, arbitrary approach” being taken in Fresno “seems more focused on normalizing homosexuality than on combating actual harassment.”

“This amounts to not only a free-speech violation,” says Dacus, “but a clear breech of parental trust, in that it engages an open endorsement of homosexuality and suppression of students who think differently.”

Matthew McReynolds, the PJI attorney who wrote the letter to the school, says the anti-harassment policy “sounds a lot like the thought police are back on the prowl” in public schools. “It’s one thing to teach kids to be respectful,” says the attorney, “[but] it’s something else entirely to enact a regime where only positive viewpoints of homosexuality are allowed — and that is what we’re concerned about here.”

Original Link

Psalm 119 – Zayin

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

Psalm 119:49-56 (New International Version)

ז Zayin

49 Remember your word to your servant,
for you have given me hope.

50 My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life.

51 The arrogant mock me without restraint,
but I do not turn from your law.

52 I remember your ancient laws, O LORD,
and I find comfort in them.

53 Indignation grips me because of the wicked,
who have forsaken your law.

54 Your decrees are the theme of my song
wherever I lodge.

55 In the night I remember your name, O LORD,
and I will keep your law.

56 This has been my practice:
I obey your precepts.

And We Wonder Why the Palis Hate Israel? Not Really…

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

If one wonders why the pali terrorist can’t seem to make peace with anyone (Israel or themselves) take a look at the picture and see just how young their children are as they begin the process of programming them with hate of everything Israeli and American. If all the child knows is hate, that is all they will ever know. And peace, for pali terrorist, is just a puff of smoke in a strong wind. Just as fleeting and just as impossible to catch. But they have brought this on themselves.

Pali Terrorist Teaching Hate

The Shabakat Falastin Lilhiwar online forum, which is associated with the Hamas website, has posted a photo of a little girl in a combat vest and an Al-Qassam Brigades headband, captioning it, “Have you seen the new child martyr who will soon shake Israel [to the core]?”

The message accompanying the photo states that the little girl “is part of the Muslim generation which will go down in history [as a generation]… that refused to [accept] humiliation and defeat.”

Original Link.

Gore Goes to Washington

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

Al Gore is scheduled to testify about ‘global warming’ in front of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Climate experts are calling Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” a “sci-fi disaster film in the guise of a documentary. They are urging comittee members to take Gore’s alarmist attitude and with a grain of salt.

An expert on global warming and energy policy is urging lawmakers to be listening with skeptical ears to the “alarm and energy rationing agenda” being promoted by Al Gore when the former vice-president testifies Wednesday before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Marlo Lewis, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), says Gore’s Oscar-winning film An Inconvenient Truth is a “sci-fi disaster film in the guise of a documentary.” Lewis contends Americans should be skeptical of Gore’s global warming claims because nearly every statement he makes about climate science, policy, and politics is “either one-sided, misleading, exaggerated, speculative, or just plain wrong.”

According to Lewis, the film does not answer a critical point.

“The real inconvenient truth that I think Al Gore never addresses anywhere in the film is that we just don’t know how to meet the world’s energy needs today, much less over the next 30 years when energy demand is going to grow dramatically worldwide,” says the CEI fellow. “According to our Energy Information Administration, it’s going to grow by 71 percent by the year 2030.”

Original Link

Iran Stops Inspectors Visiting Nuclear Site

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

Here we go again. If Iran is allowed to continue its uranium enrichment, it could mean disaster for both Israel and the United States. I hate to think what it will take to stop Iran from continuing with its nuclear program. The liberals in America need to take note: if we don’t stop Ahmadinejad (who, by the way is quite insane) we will all pay the price.

Iran stopped UN inspectors from visiting an underground bunker where it is building an industrial-scale plant to make enriched uranium but the inspectors will try again, diplomats told AFP Monday.
Iran had however promised “frequent inspector access” to the site in Natanz, the UN watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported in February.

The highly sensitive inspections, and talks over how they are to take place, came as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was expected to plead Iran’s case this week before the UN Security Council, which is considering tightening sanctions on the Islamic republic over fears that it seeks nuclear weapons.

A centre of concern is the uranium enrichment facility at Natanz, in central Iran, where the Iranians are already operating above-ground a pilot plant carrying out research levels of enrichment, the process which makes what can be fuel for civilian nuclear reactors but also the explosive core of atom bombs.

A diplomat said Iran had last Saturday refused to let IAEA inspectors into the underground hall at Natanz where the Iranians have set up hundreds of centrifuges in what is to be a 3,000-centrifuge facility for enriching uranium.

Centrifuges are the machines used to refine uranium for the U-235 isotope that is valuable for fuel or weapons.

Original Link

Researcher Says Pro-Life Efforts Paying Dividends, Media Ignores Him

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

Our words and efforts are making a difference in ending abortion on demand. Keep praying that God will bring an end to the “legal” infanticide this country practices.
And as for the media…there use to be a time when the press had integrity, but that time is long past. Now all they can do is try to make good people look bad and bad things look good.

A social scientist at the University of Alabama says pro-life laws at the state level are effectively reducing the number of abortions nationwide among both teens and adults. But his research into the effectiveness of such legislation, he contends, has been virtually ignored by the mainstream media.

University of Alabama professor Michael New says the 20 percent decline in abortions across the U.S. since 1990 is largely the result of progress the pro-life movement has made in enacting pro-life legislation at the state level. Speaking recently at the Family Research Council in Washington, DC, Dr. New discussed his research into the impact that state-level pro-life legislation and advertising have had on abortion rates.

New says he hopes his research will encourage pro-lifers to tout their achievements.

“Superficially a lot of people don’t think the pro-life movement has really been very effective because 34 years later we still have not overturned Roe v. Wade,” he points out, referring to the 1973 landmark decision that legalized abortion on demand in America. “But we have made a lot of very good incremental gains.” And that, he adds, is something that pro-lifers “should be very proud of and … should highlight and should trumpet.”

Dr. New says although pro-life parental consent laws often yield success, most researchers would agree that restrictions on public funding are the most effective means of reducing abortion rates. And one of the ways to see that such restrictions are enacted is by electing pro-life advocates to office, he says.

“I also think [pro-lifers] should make the case that voting for a pro-life candidate does result in some solid protections for the unborn,” New offers. “It’s not wasting your vote; good things will come out of that vote and out of electing that candidate.”

Still, he says, his findings linking state-level pro-life legislation and advertising with reduced abortion rates are conveniently dismissed by the New York Times and the Washington Post, noting the latter avoided referencing his research in a 2005 story on declining abortion rates.

“A reporter talked with me for about 20 minutes, but my comments — and the comments of every other pro-lifer — were removed from the article,” he says, offering his opinion that they were “probably spiked by a senior person” at the Post.

New says he finds it interesting that abortion advocates “never actually come out and say legislation doesn’t work” in reducing abortions. Instead, he continues, “they put the emphasis elsewhere — on contraception, on other factors — but they never actually pull the trigger and say … these laws don’t work.”

Evidently that is something in which the researcher takes pride. “In some respects,” says New, “I’m kind of flattered by the fact that they don’t feel confident in saying that anymore.”

Original Link.

“PASSOVER – FROM SLAVERY TO FREEDOM” by Fern Sidman

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

Every Jewish holiday is an opportunity for growth and self-discovery. Passover is the time to experience the freedom which comes from being in a relationship with G-d. On Seder night, “every Jew must feel that he himself has gone out of Egypt.” Freedom is not acquired once. It needs to be continually learned and reacquired. The essence of slavery is self-concern. Preoccupation with ourselves, our success or failure, our comfort, and others’ opinion of us rob us of our essential freedom. We become a slave to anxiety, fear, compulsion, and insecurity. We have become slaves to masters of flesh and blood.

G-d enjoins us to worship Him and Him alone. The concept is outlined for us in Parshas Mishpatim from Sefer Shmos.

Parshas Mishpatim focuses on the issues of halochos pertaining to a Hebrew slave. A Hebrew slave was someone who may have committed theft and was unable to make financial restitution. He was therefore obligated to pay off his debt by working for the person of whom he had stolen. The master is obligated to support the slave and his family and not to degrade or humiliate him. The slave is not in servitude forever. As a matter of fact, his master must encourage him to leave his master.

If the slave refuses to leave his servitude behind, he must be persistently encouraged to do so. If this is to no avail, and the slave insists on staying on as a slave, then his ear must be pierced. He is now considered to be someone who has chosen to serve a man rather than Hashem. His ear is pierced because this is the ear in which he heard at Sinai, the 10 commandments and the Torah and agreed to abide by these laws and remain committed to them for perpetuity. The slave now acknowledges by his adamant refusal to leave his master, that he has thrown off the yoke of Heaven and wishes to be enslaved to a man.

What can we learn from this? In today’s world we are are slaves to our taivas and inclinations. At times we are slaves to our yetzer hara. We make our hobbies and interests our new god. We become enslaved to people and worship them and fear them, more than we do the Almighty. Perhaps these people or interests are meeting our immediate needs and we are afraid to part with them. We forget that our needs are being met by the Almighty and the people in our lives who supply us with material and emotional comforts are sent from Heaven.

Ultimately, it is Hashem who provides for us. Once we place man ahead of G-d, once we fear man and his vacillating will above that of the Almighty, we have voluntarily thrown off the yoke of Heaven and have reneged on our commitment to observe Hashem’s laws. This can only lead to depression and self destruction. We degrade and humiliate ourselves as we obsequiously grovel before human masters. The master has no respect for the people pleasing slave and even displays contempt toward him that can manifest itself in severe emotional and sometimes physical abuse.

We also bring upon ourselves the wrath of the Almighty, who will punish us for serving humans rather than Him. Every day we say in the Shema Yisroel, “Beware, lest your heart be deceived and you turn and serve other gods, and worship them, for then Hashem’s wrath will blaze against you, and He will shut up the skies so that there will be no rain, and the land will yield no produce, and you will quickly perish from the good land which Hashem gave you.” This can also mean that Hashem will not reveal himself to us in our personal lives and everything that we attempt to do will be frustrated.

Once we come to the realization that it is only Hashem who we must fear, and once we have the courage and faith to take that leap will we truly free ourselves. How liberating it is, to break the shackles of human bondage and serve the One true creator, Hashem Yisborach. His kindness endures forever. His ways are the ways of pleasantness and His paths are the paths of peace.

It has been reported that in World War II, the rich suffered most in the concentration camps because they were devastated by the sudden loss of social position and respect. Their precarious sense of self could not withstand the loss of other people’s esteem.

How can we achieve inner freedom? The Haggadah recounts G-d’s redemption of the Jews from Egypt. The Haggadah repeatedly declares: “We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, but God brought us out of there with a strong hand and an out-stretched arm.” The first ingredient of true freedom is the recognition of G-d’s action in our lives.

Implicit in this recognition is the acknowledgment of God’s immediate care and involvement with us. The Haggadah states: “The Lord brought us out of Mitzraim-not by an angel, nor by a Seraf, nor by a messenger, but the Holy One, blessed be He, Himself.” G-d is directly involved in our lives, an expression of His love and caring.

Recognition of this yields the courage we need to risk freedom. When the Jews stood at the sea with the Egyptians at their backs, many of them thought the end had come. G-d told Moses to instruct the people to go forward and that He would split the sea for them. One man, Nachshon ben Aminadav, had the courage to jump into the sea. Only when the water reached Nachshon’s nose, did the sea split.

From where did Nachshon get the courage to jump into the sea? The miracles of the plagues and the Exodus had convinced Nachshon that G-d intervenes for their welfare. It was not a theological point for him, but an immediate experience, which he could trust and rely on. His faith in G-d’s love for him gave Nachshon the daring to take the plunge.

A significant and often skipped part of the Haggadah is the recitation of Hallel. Hallel is a series of psalms praising and thanking God. Hallel, which begins before the meal and continues afterward, is preceded by the statement: “Therefore, it is our duty to thank, to praise, to glorify, to exalt . . . the One who did all these miracles for our fathers and for us.”

A relationship must be two-sided. Once we have experienced the flush and thrill of all G-d did/does for us, we must respond with acknowledgment, appreciation, joy, and love.

The introduction to Hallel ends: “We will sing before Him a new song.” G-d is not interested in old songs, rehearsals of the last generation’s sentiments, recitations of last year’s thanks. Hallel is meant to be an outpouring of our own fresh enthusiasm once we have re-experienced God’s love and intervention in our lives:

As Hallel proclaims: “How can I repay G-d for all His benefits toward me?”

The effect the Seder should produce is encapsulated in one phrase of Hallel: “Because His lovingkindness has overwhelmed us.” The Seder should leave us with the feeling of being overwhelmed by G-d’s love and salvation:

“If our mouths were as full of song as the sea and our tongues could sing joyously like the endless waves . . . we still would not be able to give You sufficient thanks, O G-d, . . . for even one of the thousand thousands and myriad myriads of favors which You have done for our Fathers and for us.”

From the confidence of G-d’s love, we gain the courage to be free.

G-d’s love was also manifested in His commandment to sanctify His name and to remember the vengeance that He brought upon our enemies. We must remember His strength, glory and omnipotence by declaring these words from the Haggada, as we let Eliyahu HaNavi in our homes:

“Pour forth Your wrath upon the nations that do not recognize You and upon the kingdoms that do not invoke Your name. For they have devoured Jacob and destroyed his habitation. Pour forth Your fury upon them and let Your burning wrath overtake them. Pursue them with anger and destroy them from beneath the heavens of the L-rd.”

Make no mistake about it. Passover is the ultimate demonstration of G-d’s love for his people and it a holiday to remember that this vengeance is from G-d. “The L-rd is a G-d of vengeance; O G-d of vengeance, arise!” (Psalms 94). And the rabbis say: “Yes, when vengeance is needed, it is a great thing” (Berachot, 3a). Or “let the high praises of G-d be in their throat and a two edged sword in their hand – to execute vengeance upon the nations…” (Psalms 58).

Passover is a holiday that was created to commemorate the sanctity of vengeance; the punishment and the destruction of Pharoah and Egypt that mocked and humiliated G-d by crying: “Who is the L-rd? I know not the L-rd…” Vengeance so that the world shall know the L-rd and cry, “Verily, there is a G-d that judgeth in the earth…” and: “The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth vengeance, he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked” (Psalms 58). And why? For it is only vengeance that proves that there is indeed a G-d in the world, that there is good and evil and punishment for that evil.

Let us remember and speak of these holy concepts. Let us teach them to our children and our children’s children. In this merit, may G-d continue to have mercy upon us and may we have the strength and faith to hasten the Final Redemption.

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Fern Sidman holds a B.A, in political science from Brooklyn College. She was the educational coordinator for the Betar Youth Movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She was national director of the Jewish Defense League from 1983-1985. She was a researcher for several books written by Rabbi Meir Kahane, ZTK”L. She was the managing editor of the publication entitled, The Voice of Judea, and is a regular contributor to its web site. She is currently a writer and journalist living in New York City. Her articles have appeared in The Jewish Press, The Jewish Advocate, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, and numerous Jewish and general web sites including, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Pipes and Michael Freund.
We are pleased to have Ms. Sidman as a regular contributor to the Jesus is Lord, A Worshipping Christian’s Blog. Her previous commentaries are available on our website at The Fern Sidman Commentaries.