Archive for May 29th, 2008

Digital Gospel Debuts in Tropics

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come”.
Matthew 24:14 (New International Version)

Teams with the organization Faith Comes by Hearing began working in the village of Makita [Brazil], which sits along the banks of an Amazon River tributary. The ministry provides tribes people with a device known as a “Proclaimer,” a self-powered, digital machine that has an audio New Testament preloaded on an embedded microchip.

Morgan Jackson, a spokesman for the organization, says the digital audio Bibles are having a big impact. “We’ve been in communities where … it transforms the entire community because they’ve never [before] heard the Word of God,” he notes.

But he says there are 235 spoken languages in Brazil, and the need for oral versions of the Bible is great. Faith Comes by Hearing is now sending teams out into the remote regions of the country to help record the needed translations. The first indigenous Brazilian New Testament recording is slated to start in early July.

Original Link.

Boy Scouts Sue Philly Over Impending Eviction

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

(CNSNews.com) – The Boy Scouts in Philadelphia have filed suit against the City of Brotherly Love to keep the city from evicting the Scouts from a building they have occupied for the last 80 years.

Members of the Cradle of Liberty Scout Council say the city raised the rent on the building from $1 a year to $200,000 a year because of the Scouts’ membership policies – policies that require scoutmasters to be heterosexuals and require scouts to pledge to “do their duty to God and country.”

“We believe the city is trying to punish us for exercising our First Amendment rights,” said Mark Chilutti, vice chairman of the Cradle of Liberty Council, which filed its lawsuit on May 23.

The suit alleges that the city of Philadelphia lets more than 1,000 nonprofit groups meet on city property for little to no rent, including a Baptist church, a Roman Catholic church and the Philly chapter of the Colonial Dames of America.

Ironically, Chilutti said the Scouts actually built the building they are in, and gave it to the city in return for the right to lease it for $1 per year.

“In 1928, we were given the land by the city, and the council raised money to build the building,” he told Cybercast News Service . “We believed we had it in perpetuity for as long as we continued to house Boy Scout-related programming.”

The Scouts spend about $60,000 a year to maintain the building and periodically renovate it.

“After the initial gift of the land, the city has not put one penny into that building,” Chilutti said. “The Scouts have maintained it on an annual basis. We have constantly done renovations – in 1994, we put over $1.5 million in it. We’ve put a lot of money into it, and we’re proud of the building.”

“We haven’t really changed anything in the 80 years that we’ve been in that building. It’s the city that has changed position,” he said.

The Philadelphia City Council voted 16-1 in May 2007 to break its agreement with the Scouts, accusing them of “discriminating” against homosexuals who want to be scoutmasters.

The city did not return calls from Cybercast News Service requesting an interview, but City Solicitor Shelley Smith told the Associated Press that the Scouts are “free to exercise their First Amendment rights.”

“What they’re not free to do is get a benefit from the city while violating our policy,” she said.

Peter Ferrara, general counsel for the American Civil Rights Union, said he thinks the Boy Scouts are being penalized for holding traditional beliefs.

“A state or local government cannot penalize an organization or a citizen for exercising constitutional rights,” Ferrara told Cybercast News Service . “The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that the Scouts have a constitutional right to choose their adult leaders and not to hire adult leaders they don’t want to, and the city cannot penalize them for those values.”

Chilutti, meanwhile, said the higher rent would force them to cut programs, and is equivalent to the cost of sending about 800 needy children to summer camp, a point not lost on conservatives like Ferrara.

“Philadelphia has the highest murder rate in the country, one of the highest rates of violent crime. They have enormous trouble with violent youth gangs, teen-age pregnancy, teen-age drug use and dropping out of high school,” Ferrara said. “What the city ought to be doing is supporting the Boy Scouts, as much as possible, to teach youth sound moral values, and to counter these terrible trends that are plaguing the city.”

The Scouts, meanwhile, say that if they must vacate, the city should at least provide compensation, not charge high rent.

“The city has tried to use the term ‘fair market rent’ but it’s really punitive rent — $61 per square foot for a building that is in Center City Philadelphia,” Chilutti said. “That’s unheard of, that’s ridiculous. It’s more like Trump Tower in Manhattan rates.”

Original Link.

First, The Polar Bear…Now, The Pacific Walrus

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Y’all must love paying $4.00 or more for gasoline. How much higher does it need to go before people with common sense start to assert themselves?
Of course this latest lawsuit is no surprise.
After the enviros got the Bush administration to cave on the status of the Polar Bear, it’s no surprise at all that they would go after another perfectly healthy species. This time it’s the Pacific Walrus.
For those who might have missed it, recently the government placed the Polar Bear on the “threatened” list despite the fact that they do not meet the criteria for being placed there. Quite to the contrary, their populations have increased over the past 30 years.
Because of this, many oil production companies are going to have to curtail operations in the proximity of the bears and possibly the walrus’ habitat. With oil reserves at an all time low, does it make sense to further restrict our supply further?
So in another year or so, when you are paying $8.00 for a gallon of gasoline, you can partially thank the enviros.

A conservation group gave notice Tuesday that it will sue to force federal action on a petition to list the Pacific walrus as a threatened species because of threats from global warming and offshore petroleum development.

The deadline was May 8 for an initial 90-day review of the petition by the U.S. Department of the Interior, according to Center for Biological Diversity attorney Brendan Cummings.

The group filed the petition in February.

Shaye Wolf, a biologist and lead author of the petition, said Arctic sea ice is disappearing faster than the best predictions of climate models.

“As the sea ice recedes, so does the future of the Pacific walrus,” she said.

The conservation group was one of three that successfully petitioned to have polar bears listed as threatened because of sea ice loss caused by global warming, a decision announced May 14 by Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne. That listing also followed court action to force deadline decisions.

Bruce Woods, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman in Anchorage, said the agency is close to finishing a walrus survey.

“We do have a population count from the 2006 survey that should be finalized soon,” he said. “That will give us a better basis for evaluating the petition.”

Original Link.