Archive for March 31st, 2009

“Evangelicals: The Time is Now!” by Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

During the last few weeks, there has been much discussion about the future of the evangelical movement and its impact on the American culture. For years, prophets of doom have been busy telling the world that the evangelical movement is dead or dying. This year as President Obama’s administration has shifted the nation’s stance on embryonic stem cell research and abortion, many in the faith community have justifiably become concerned. Further, RNC Chairman Steele’s decision to lower his personal and his party’s vocalization of socially conservative issues, such as protecting the life of the unborn and preservation of tradition marriage, has left many evangelicals feeling abandoned by both parties.

What’s next for evangelicals? It seems to me that evangelicals are on the verge of finding their collective voice in a very new way. In the future evangelicals will seek to be more of a swing vote, placing pressure on both parties to advance a theologically conservative and fiscally conservative agenda. They will base these stances on a combination of biblical orthodoxy and common sense. The conservative movement would do well to attempt to re-build bridges behind the scenes with mature and developing evangelical leadership – especially in minority communities.

Several groups are attempting to give their answers to this question. One man, Michael Spencer, who calls himself “the internet monk,” went so far as to say that a major collapse of evangelical Christianity is coming within ten years. He predicts that evangelicals will do the following:

1. Continue to confuse the true gospel with the culture war.
2. Lose the ability to pass on the importance of the faith and “a vital evangelical confidence” in the Bible to our children.
3. Lose financial strength.
4. Falter in aggressive evangelism.

While I disagree with Mr. Spencer for reasons I will outline at the end of this essay, I believe that his negativism is based on his personal disappointment with the last generation’s evangelical leadership. He has judged the so called religious right as being part of a massive attempt to drag the Church off its mission. The truth is that the evangelical church must desperately embrace both the biblical evangelical and biblical prophetic role of the Church. We cannot afford to think that there is an either/or choice in terms of cultural engagement and evangelism.

Interestingly, as the nation has been asking itself questions about how faith fits into the culture, Trinity University completed a survey of over 54,000 persons. The study shows that entire religious landscape in the nation is changing – not just the evangelical corner. Our national commitment to faith in general is waning. The study shows that approximately 15 percent of our fellow citizens claim no religion at all. This is almost double the 8 percent level recorded in 1990 by the American Religious Identification Survey. These numbers imply that one of the reasons the debate around religious issues is changing has to do with the fact that fewer people are religiously observant. Currently only 76 percent of the nation claims Christianity vs. 86 percent in 1990.

The surprising study shows that Catholics remains the largest church; 57 million people claim membership. Mainline Protestants including Methodists, Lutherans and Episcopalians, have experienced the greatest overall loss. Evangelicals would argue that these numbers show that church groups which do not preach the scriptures faithfully will fail. Further, denominations like these and the United Church of Christ (the famed home of Dr. Jeremiah Wright) may be in danger of preaching such a watered down version of the gospel that they cannot reproduce themselves. In other words, strong biblical messages produce a depth of faith in congregational members that cannot be shaken.

Read the rest of the article here.

Despite Divisions, Arab Peace Initiative Still Reflects Broad Consensus

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Koran 47:36 says “Therefore do not falter or sue for peace when you have gained the upper hand.”

Arab leaders convening in Doha for the 21st Arab League summit are reiterating their commitment to the Arab peace initiative, but some question whether a divided Arab world can even embrace a comprehensive, just peace with Israel.

It appears unlikely that Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu will lend his support to the initiative as written or to the creation of a Palestinian state as envisioned by the Arab world.

The initiative, first introduced in 2002, calls for a full Israeli withdrawal from all territories occupied since 1967, establishment of a Palestinian state on those territories with Jerusalem as its capital, and achievement of “a just solution” to the Palestinian refugee problem. In exchange, Arab states would enter into a peace agreement with Israel and establish “normal relations” with it.

But with divisions still evident between the Western-backed camp led by Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and the pro-Iranian camp that includes Syria, Qatar and Sudan, would Arab states be willing and capable of such a peace with Israel?

While a split Arab world may complicate matters, many experts say the answer is yes.

“The Arab initiative reflects a broad consensus among Arab governments and ruling elites for the need for a political solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, understanding [that] the solution needs to be one that recognizes the State of Israel and [that] conflict with Israel is brought to an end,” said Bruce Maddy-Weitzman, a senior research fellow at Tel Aviv University’s Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies.

Original Link.

“Obama’s Sights on Second Amendment” by Janet M. LaRue

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

While campaigning for the U.S. Senate and then the presidency, Barack Obama said he believed in the individual right to bear arms.

Those aware of his record and rhetoric thought he might have been referring to his wife’s penchant for sleeveless attire, not the Second Amendment.

During his 2004 run for the Senate, Obama said “I think that the Second Amendment means something. I think that if the government were to confiscate everybody’s guns unilaterally that I think that would be subject to constitutional challenge.” No kidding.

He didn’t say it would be unconstitutional, just “subject to constitutional challenge.” Nor did he express any opposition.

During the presidential campaign, a case challenging Washington D.C.’s draconian gun laws was pending in the U.S. Supreme Court. The laws banned all handgun registrations, prohibited handguns already registered from being carried from room to room in the home without a license, and required all firearms in the home, including rifles and shotguns, to be unloaded and either disassembled or bound by a trigger lock.

In June, the Court released its decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, holding that the laws violate the individual right to keep and bear arms unconnected to service in a militia as secured by the Fourth Amendment. Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, emphasized that the individual right to bear arms pre-exists, and is independent of, the Constitution:

Putting all of these textual elements together, we find that they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation. This meaning is strongly confirmed by the historical background of the Second Amendment. We look to this because it has always been widely understood that the Second Amendment, like the First and Fourth Amendments, codified a pre-existing right. The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it “shall not be infringed.” As we said in United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 553 (1876), “[t]his is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed . . . .”

Obama admitted in a Feb. 11, 2008, interview that he supported the handgun ban, and that it was “constitutional.” On June 26, he said he agreed with the Court’s decision, but added that the right to bear arms is subject to “reasonable regulations.” He never “explained” how an absolute ban on handguns is “reasonable,” or how he can agree with the ruling, which said it was unreasonable. Obama’s inconsistencies are numerous, as John R. Lott Jr has noted.

Obama continued to duck and cover by talking about getting illegal guns off the streets, background checks for children and the mentally ill, and attacking the NRA.

Read the rest of the article here.

“‘Never Waste a Good Crisis,’ They Say” by Sandy Rios

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

“Get the bonus, we will get your children,” “Jacob the Killer” e-mailed AIG executives.

“In China they execute executives like you,” read a sign held by protestors outside AIG offices.

“All you [sic] should be shot…we will hunt you down.”

“Thanks for [messing] up our economy and taking our money,” wrote others.

AIG executives have been harassed and threatened … not just by fellow Americans, but by the government that’s supposed to be bailing them out. New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo threatened to release their names if they did not return financial bonuses, which many received in lieu of salary while trying to save the company. And while President Obama and Commerce Secretary Tim Geithner feigned outrage over the legislative provision of which they were both fully aware, to secure those bonuses, they maligned Wall Street types as often as they could, alleging repeatedly that it was specifically AIG executives who caused this “crisis.” Television and print and late night comedians have been eager to join the fray as have politicians from both parties. Anyone for a good lynching? Can there be any denying that the dynamics at work are not more than a hair’s breath different from the mob at a hanging or an arena?

“Never waste a good crisis,” said Rahm Emmanuel recently … quickly echoed by Hillary Clinton. That philosophical method goes at least back to European Communists who trained Mao Tse-tong in the art of disrupting in order to take power in China. They taught him to work through labor unions and natural disasters, stirring up dissension and distorting facts to agitate and pit people against each other. Class envy was a powerful tool used not only by Mao but by the Bolsheviks in Russia. “Fairness” and “equality” were established to make the state the center of all things. But in order to get to that point one had to sufficiently agitate to gain power. Create disturbance, anxiety—and “never waste a good crisis.”

“Agitate” repeated Saul Alinsky, who made it relevant in modern day America with “Rules for Radicals.” Hillary Clinton wrote her masters thesis on Alinsky while Barack Obama was the star “organizer” of his methods.

It’s not that there’s no wrongdoing, no natural disaster, no need for “fairness” in the workplace. It’s just that the Left takes these opportunities to twist and distort and confuse and promise things they can never deliver. Once the people have figured that out, more often than not, it’s too late.

The newest method, coming out of the Sao Paulo Forum in South America involves a change of sorts. Whereas revolutions in the past were bloody, the new plan is more seductive because it works through the system. Get elected … establish power … undermine the law and the constitution … disrupt and contaminate the election process and then you have the same radical result: revolution.

Ask Hugo Chavez, ask Alejandro Peña Esclusa, who has been tried four times for opposing him. The people of Venezuela, especially the poor, were promised everything by Chavez but by the time disillusionment set in, he had changed the constitution and cemented power in a way they could not overcome without bloody rebellion.

AIG is certainly not perfect, but it is not a demon. Neither is big business, nor the wealthy. God bless them for the contribution they have made to our national prosperity, for their charitable work here and abroad, for creating jobs and giving opportunity to entrepreneurs and artists and gifted people everywhere. As we descend into “fairness,” we will miss them and long for the days when their bonuses were all we had to fret about.

“I’m having a very good crisis,” declared Hungarian-American-leftist-billionaire George Soros to The Australian newspaper. “The financial crisis has been ‘stimulating,’ the ‘culminating point of my life’s work,’” Soros reported to the Daily Mail Online.

We can’t know for certain who is orchestrating our downfall in this moment, but you can be sure this cagey financial giant of MoveOn.org and Daily Kos fame is giving us a major clue.

———-

Sandy Rios is the host of the “The Sandy Rios Show,” heard daily on WYLL in Chicago and a Fox News contributor. Contact her at srios@salemradiochicago.com.

Original Link.

Remembering Terri Schiavo, Continuing the Fight for Life

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Let’s take a moment to remember Terri Schiavo, a poor disabled woman whose husband no longer wanted anything to do with her, who was starved to death in order to get her out of his life.

Today is the fourth anniversary of the death of Terri Schiavo, the Florida woman who suffered starvation and dehydration at the hands of her physicians and her husband.

Married and in her twenties, Terri Schiavo suffered a sudden illness and was hospitalized, then put on a ventilator and a feeding tube. In a court battle with attempted congressional intervention, her family tried to prevent the removal of her feeding tube. However, her husband fought to remove it, and she eventually died.

The painful memory of that still lingers for her brother Bobby Schindler. “It certainly is a sad day. March 31 will mark the fourth year of Terri’s death by dehydration, and there’s really not a day that doesn’t go by where our family doesn’t think of Terri,” he notes.

Schindler fears tens of thousands of people worldwide may lose their lives in the same way. “Which was something that was absolutely barbaric, having to watch someone die by having their food and water taken away so that they could slowly dehydrate to death over a period of almost two weeks,” he explains.

Original Link.
See previous post here.

“AP Confuses Criticism of Obama With ‘Racial Slurs'” By Warner Todd Huston

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Proving that the left cannot tell the difference between “racism” and “criticism,” the AP posted a lengthy March 30 story confusing and conflating the two as it pertains to attacks on President Obama. As far as the AP is concerned it seems the whole country is running around with burning crosses and wearing pointy hoods aiming to cast racial epithets at Obama at every turn. It may as well still be the year 1860 around here.

The AP starts its piece by informing the reader that “racial slurs continue” against the president “despite” his “historic achievement.” But the main problem with the piece is that much of the report details political attacks that aren’t really racial in nature but are instead just those normal sorts of political attacks we see against any president. Granted they are tailored for Obama (like his citizenship and religion questions) but they aren’t really “racial” attacks per se. Still, the AP illegitimately lumps any and all attacks against Obama under the rubric of “racial slurs.”

Initially the AP approaches assumption instead of relating fact in the interpretation of the very first example it lists in its second paragraph.

In Obama’s first two months in office, a New York tabloid took heat over a cartoon appearing to portray the president as a monkey; a California mayor resigned after distributing a picture of watermelons on the White House lawn; and an e-mail making the rounds refers to Obama as “the magic mulatto,” with exaggerated ears and nose.

That political cartoon the AP mentions WAS NOT a portrayal of President Obama. It was a riff on the chimp attack that had been in the news that week. It had no intention of portraying the president as a monkey. An overreaction by race-baiters does not automatically equate to racist intent on the part of the original source.

Then the Obama birth certificate question is branded as an “untruth” despite that it hasn’t really successfully been debunked.

Disproved and disputed claims about his religion and citizenship, namely untruths that Obama is a Muslim and isn’t U.S.-born, zip across chat rooms and dominate the blogosphere. Fringe critics largely are responsible for perpetuating the lies, but even elected officials have raised them.

What ever you believe about Obama’s country of birth and its importance to his election, it cannot be said that it has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was born in Hawaii. The question remains murky because an original certificate of live birth has never been made public. Still, that issue is beside the point here because the AP conflates the birthplace question with racism when it has nothing at all to do with race.

Here is the AP’s central thesis for this piece:

All that underscores how the accomplishment of one man who broke the highest racial barrier hasn’t entirely changed the dynamic of a country founded by slave owners. It also shows how far the nation has to go to bridge its centuries-old racial divide.

“All that” underscores the race conflicts in this country? All what? Thus far in the piece the AP only gave two examples of actual racism with the rest being political attacks that aren’t necessarily racist at heart. The religion question has little to do with racism — after all, we are at war with radical Islam — and neither does the birthplace question. But the AP persists in its own fallacious conflation.

In truth, Obama probably will continue to be dogged to some degree by entrenched stereotypes and viral fallacies.

Now we are talking about “entrenched stereotypes” and “viral fallacies” from the Internet. Notice how they lump the two together, notice this conflation? The AP is quite misleading, though, because a “viral fallacy” is not necessarily race based. Sure they can be race based, but viral Internet rumors aren’t by nature racial attacks. Every single political candidate out there is a victim of these Internet fallacies at some point in their candidacy or career. Heck, there are even Internet attack sites built to attack me, for Heaven’s sake. Clearly the AP is saying that every political detraction cast at Obama is racism.

Original Link.

Attacking Sderot in America

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

—Content Warning—

“…more than three out of four children in Sderot [Israel] have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)…The message I brought from Israel was lost”.
-Jacob Shrybman

Your message may have been lost in the bastions of liberalism and terror supporters that is our universities and colleges here in the United States. But we hear you Mr. Shrybman, and we will tell the world the stories that you were prevented from telling.

Terrorism in Sderot

Jacob Shrybman recounts unfriendly welcome at US university where he presented Sderot’s grim reality.

Recently I shared the human side of the conflict in southern Israel and told my personal stories from Sderot in a presentation at DePaul University in Chicago sponsored by StandWithUs, Hillel, and the university’s Political Science department. As a representative of Sderot Media Center, I traveled from Israel to explain the daily reality of rocket fire that has been plaguing the country for the past eight years.

Several anti-Israel posters draped the entrance to the building in which I was to tell my personal stories. I began my presentation with a small audience of around 20 people and as my presentation went on the room began filling with people not merely against Israel’s political policies and action, but also in clear support of terrorist group Hamas.

When I welcomed the custom of a question and answer period following my presentation, the very right of free speech that I welcomed to the audience of now over 100 people was thrown in my face and denied to me. First, an audience member verbally attacked me, expressed his support for the firing of rockets into Israel, and ended his anti-Semitic rhetoric filled rant with a question irrelevant to anything in my presentation. I then pointed out to the audience the same fact I want to point out in this article, that this person was not simply criticizing Israel but was clearly expressing his support for a terrorist organization.

Free speech denied

Yet before I could finish answering the question, I was interrupted and silenced by the overwhelming Hamas supporters. Next, another audience member stood up and screamed out, calling me a “dirty whore” in Arabic and proceeding to grab his crotch and scream “Here’s your Qassam!” in Arabic.

My free speech was denied, I was not able to utter a word, and the event was terminated. As I was collecting my belongings amidst the continuing anti-Semitic harassment, a small group of audience members interested in my presentation approached me and expressed their resentment over the interruption and their fear to speak out. The local police teamed with university security then had to escort me to my car several blocks down the street.

As I was there to tell the human side of Sderot’s daily reality of rockets, these Hamas supporters laughed at raw footage of kindergarten children running for shelter as a Qassam was fired at their city. If it wasn’t clear before, it was clear to me then that these people were not there to learn about this reality or gain understanding of the trauma and suffering in southern Israel, or even object to my personal stories. These people were there for one reason: It was an event about the Jewish State of Israel to whose existence they blatantly object. How was I even to proceed with promoting human understanding if the unruly crowd didn’t even recognize my basic right as a Jew to live in Israel?

This past week I have answered email after email, phone call after phone call from everyone ranging from people at the event, to event organizers, to journalists, to heads of major organizations. It is saddening that not one of the emails or phone calls was about the fact that more than three out of four children in Sderot have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or that now one million Israelis live under the daily threat of rockets. No one remembers the story I told of the baby in the stroller gasping while pointing to the sky as the Color Red alarm sounded in downtown Sderot. The message I brought from Israel was lost.

Original Link.

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